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Thread: 9 day old won't open mouth, no rooting

  1. #1
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    Default 9 day old won't open mouth, no rooting

    My baby was born at 36w1d and is now 9 days old. We have had basically no luck with nursing. He has latched on only 3 times: once with the help of an LC on Monday, finally for me last night for about 20 minutes, and again this morning but only for 5 mins or so.
    I spend at least a half an hour trying to get him on my breast before I have to give him EBM out of a bottle but most of the time he refuses to open his mouth. I've tried tickling his lips and his cheek with my nipple but he does not seem to have a rooting reflex yet. He often pinches his little lips together tightly or he will lick at my nipple but will not open up wide. The few times he does, his tongue ends up on the roof of his mouth, no matter whether I "aim for his nose" or not. He seems very sleepy at the breast, even if he was wide awake when I first try to put him on it. I have tried every position, changing his diaper to wake him, all the usual suggestions.
    What can I do to make him open his mouth? I'm sure its not that he isn't hungry because he will take the bottle. Please help... I hate this stupid pump.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 9 day old won't open mouth, no rooting

    Latching was like a 3 ring circus for Owen and I at first- we called it the "pre game" show it sucked- for us what worked was stripping him down to just a diaper to make him cold. He hated it, I hated it but it worked. Also we used the side lying position so he could be lazy and just lay next to the boobie but stay away from me and my warm sleep inducing body.

    I am so sorry I can't help more with the latch- I am sure someone will chime in super soon though.

    These first few days and weeks are so hard, but it gets so so easy in a flash!
    Allie, moma to Owen born 11/23/2006 and breast feeding ever since. .

    No time for flash cards! ~fun and learning for toddlers and preschoolers.

  3. #3
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    Cool Re: 9 day old won't open mouth, no rooting

    my lo did the same thing we would do the same as the pp, strip him down and my hubby would rub his body while he ate so he wouldn't fall asleep. He just seemed so tired those first few weeks but it did get better and since then he has never stopped eating! He was also born early at 37 weeks, dont know if that has anything to do with it or not?!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 9 day old won't open mouth, no rooting

    I feel like I could have made this post myself a week ago! I also feel like I suggest this so often however since he is taking a bottle and having no problem? Have you tried a nipple shield? This works fabulous for us. I am a bit scared of getting him off of the shield because I know it can be a hard time but its not a bottle its your breast however to him since its silicone it might help a bit feel more like the bottle he is getting used to.
    I have mastitis in my right breast and my son is refusing the breast and so I have had to give him a bottle of pumped milk twice and was scared of getting him back on my other breast but I didnt have much of a problem because of the shield I think. My only worry and maybe a small part of your problem is the milk is not work out of the bottle as it is out of the breast.

    Also congrats on your new little love and good luck!
    Christine
    lots of for the cloth dipes!
    Sara Elizabeth 5.25.04 and Holden Joseph 10.18.07

    Wife to Eddie. <3


  5. #5
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    Default Re: 9 day old won't open mouth, no rooting

    this might sound cruel, and i am ready to be "stoned to death" for it, but dh and i had soooooo much trouble waking the lo that we sometimes had to touch him with VERY cold objects.... sometimes from the freezer. NEVER more than a split second though... but you might try a cold wet washcloth, or something similar. another thing that worked for us was sitting ds up on my lap and leaning him really far forward and backward over and over again until he woke up. something about that will wake them. hth & good luck.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 9 day old won't open mouth, no rooting

    Quote Originally Posted by RichelleG View Post
    My baby was born at 36w1d and is now 9 days old. We have had basically no luck with nursing. He has latched on only 3 times: once with the help of an LC on Monday, finally for me last night for about 20 minutes, and again this morning but only for 5 mins or so.
    That's great! Things are moving in the right direction.

    Keep in mind that it sometimes takes a while longer for preterm babies to get the hang of nursing. Lots of time, patience, skin to skin contact, and opportunities to nurse will pay off in the end. Here's an article that you might find helpful:
    www.llli.org/llleaderweb/LV/LVDecJan03p123.html

    Quote Originally Posted by RichelleG View Post
    I spend at least a half an hour trying to get him on my breast before I have to give him EBM out of a bottle but most of the time he refuses to open his mouth. I've tried tickling his lips and his cheek with my nipple but he does not seem to have a rooting reflex yet. He often pinches his little lips together tightly or he will lick at my nipple but will not open up wide. The few times he does, his tongue ends up on the roof of his mouth, no matter whether I "aim for his nose" or not.
    Did your IBCLC have any suggestions regarding these two issues?

    Quote Originally Posted by RichelleG View Post
    He seems very sleepy at the breast, even if he was wide awake when I first try to put him on it. I have tried every position, changing his diaper to wake him, all the usual suggestions.
    Maybe try working on self attachment to see if that might help? When babies are overstimulated, they tend to shut down (go to sleep). By keeping the stimulation to a minimum, that could help a lot. Another thing that could help is breast compressions (once latched on comfortably, of course).

    Quote Originally Posted by RichelleG View Post
    What can I do to make him open his mouth? I'm sure its not that he isn't hungry because he will take the bottle. Please help... I hate this stupid pump.
    I don't blame you. I don't think anyone has a loving relationship with their pump.

    You're doing all the things I can think of to do to get baby to open wide. Will he open wide for the bottle? If you tease his mouth with the bottle nipple, does he open at all, or do his lips remain sealed?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 9 day old won't open mouth, no rooting

    Thank you all for your responses!
    Most of the time I can keep him awake with prodding. The bigger problem is his refusal to open up! He may open up enough to stick out his tongue and lick me but he usually won't open up to latch. He can be wide awake and looking at me but keeps those little lips pursed together.
    There is good news though... he has latched on two of the last three times I tried to nurse him! I was so proud!
    Home Exec:
    To answer your questions:
    My IBCLC was somewhat helpful, but when I asked her what she was doing differently than I was to get him latched, her answer was "oh, I've just been doing this for a hundred years". Not that helpful. She was helpful with positioning and answering some general questions, though. I am now in touch with my local LLL leader, and hopefully I'll get better help from her.
    When I give him the bottle, he doesn't open wide. He may open up just enough to get the bottle in but not always. When that happens, the bottle nipple is stiff enough to get between his lips into his mouth and then he goes to town.
    Thanks for your help! I'm hoping we've turned a corner and maybe he's just acting his gestational age, which is 37 weeks and 4 days.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 9 day old won't open mouth, no rooting

    Quote Originally Posted by wanting3more View Post
    dh and i had soooooo much trouble waking the lo that we sometimes had to touch him with VERY cold objects.... sometimes from the freezer. NEVER more than a split second though...
    oh my goodness! we had to do this too! gracie would NOT wake up! i actually took an ice cube and placed it on her foot out of desperation (of course... it really didnt work for us... she still wouldnt wake up... but i understand why you would do it. lol.)

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 9 day old won't open mouth, no rooting

    Do you pump for a few before putting him on? It will make the nipple more "formed" and may be easier to help you get it in his mouth.

    I found that nice warm baths with my son worked. I'd fill the bathtub with warm water, strip us both down, get in and just relax in the tub with him on my chest and just gently rub warm water on him. Within minutes, he was rooting.

    Another thing that worked for me was doing a little manual expression to get the nipple wet with milk and then gently rub that against his mouth...it would usually get the taste in there and he'd be more willing to open up.

    Good luck and keep us updated!

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