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Thread: latch-on problems?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Default latch-on problems?

    I posted a message earlier today about how proud I was that my daughter (2 mo. old) was finally breastfeeding, but it seems like we have a latch-on problem. Sometimes she seems to latch-on well, but most of the time, it is really painful when she first latches on, and I can hear a "clicking" noise while she is sucking. Should I be hearing this? How can I correct latch-on? If I try to push her chin or lips down, she gets mad. I am worried I will turn her off from breastfeeding if I keep messing with her during feedings. Thanks, Kristen

  2. #2
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    Default Re: latch-on problems?

    Congratulations on successfully breastfeeding your baby! It's hard work and you should be proud you are giving such a priceless gift to your daughter!

    The clicking sound you hear is your baby repeatedly breaking suction, not a good thing. It would be a wonderful idea to have your local LLL leader evaluate your latch and position. They can guide you much better than anyone can over the computer, especially in latch/position issues when they can actually see the mom and baby in person.

    Have you tried making a nipple sandwich (I know ... weird name )? To get a correct latch tickle your baby's lips with your nipple. Then you wait until he/she opens wide. Then you smoosh down your areola (the dark area surrounding your nipple), this will make it fit easier and help baby take in more of your breast. Your areola should hit your baby's bottom lip first, then the top lip. Your baby should have more areola on the bottom in their mouth than on the top (so baby's bottom lip is farther away from the nipple than the top lip). You should find this makes nursing much more comfortable for you. Essentially you are shaping the nipple to get more breast tissue into your baby’s mouth.

    Some really great info on this clicking problem can be found here:

    My baby makes a clicking sound when nursing.
    Is this a problem?


    I've heard it's not a good idea to push their chin and/or lip down to try and get a better latch. A good resource site, kellymom.com, says this:

    Latching: Thoughts on pushing baby's chin down when latching

    When it comes to pushing down on baby's chin to get a wider latch, sometimes it works but often it doesn't... Many a baby will naturally resist the downward pressure and close his mouth further if you push down on his chin.

    I've been told that occupational and physical therapists learn that if you "force" a muscle to go the way you want it to, it will tend to go the opposite way. So if baby is clenching his jaw, it can be helpful to do the opposite of what you want him to do - gently push baby's jaw closed (before nursing, of course!) then quickly remove your finger to allow him to open his mouth. You might try doing this several times before nursing.

    If you do try pushing down on baby's chin, use a very gentle pressure back and down (more like simply resting your finger in the "notch" between baby's lower lip and chin). Do this after baby is already latched on to widen the latch a bit. If baby resists this, then stop and try something else.

    Here are some more really helpful pages on latching correctly ...

    http://www.lalecheleague.org/FAQ/positioning.html
    http://www.lalecheleague.org/FAQ/sore.html

    Latching and Positioning Resources

    LLL's The Mother-Baby Dance:
    Positioning and Latch-On


    Good luck and keep us posted on how you guys are doing!!

    Mama to Adeline Brett, breastfed for 4.5 years (12/14/05) and little Eliza June, new tiny sprite in my arms and still learning the ropes (7/18/10)

    Family Blog • If I'm here I'm nursing and typing one handed ... forgive the typos!
    And I'm not a newbie at all ... I'm trying to get my old user ID working from back in the day ... paint-the-moon

  3. #3
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    Jun 2006
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    Default Re: latch-on problems?

    I contacted a lactation consultant near me, and they charged $90.00 if my problem was an easy fix, more if it was harder. Is this typical? I can't afford that. -Kristen

  4. #4
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    Default Re: latch-on problems?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristen
    I contacted a lactation consultant near me, and they charged $90.00 if my problem was an easy fix, more if it was harder. Is this typical? I can't afford that. -Kristen
    Is there a La Leche League Group in your area? The leaders will help you for free.

    Here is the link to find one:
    How to Find a La Leche League Leader Near You

    If there isn't one in your city you can call one in a nearby town. My leader and group I attend is actually in a nearby city because we don't have a group here.

    "La Leche League Leaders are experienced mothers who have breastfed their own babies and who have been trained and accredited by La Leche League International to help mothers and mothers-to-be with all aspects of breastfeeding. They are available by phone whenever you have breastfeeding questions or concerns."

    Also, if your doctor or pediatrician makes the referral, then many times insurance will cover the lactation consultant's fee.
    Last edited by @llli*paint.the.moon; July 27th, 2006 at 12:15 PM.

    Mama to Adeline Brett, breastfed for 4.5 years (12/14/05) and little Eliza June, new tiny sprite in my arms and still learning the ropes (7/18/10)

    Family Blog • If I'm here I'm nursing and typing one handed ... forgive the typos!
    And I'm not a newbie at all ... I'm trying to get my old user ID working from back in the day ... paint-the-moon

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: latch-on problems?

    Kirsten, I second Annie's suggestion to seek help from a LLL Leader who can meet with you in person -- over the phone help may not accomplish much for a latching problem.

    I'm sorry to hear you are having pain at latch-on, but let's keep the big picture in mind -- for the past six weeks, she wouldn't latch at all! It is NOT surprising to have some bumps to smooth out as you two negotiate this big and wonderful change in your breastfeeding relationship. Try not to get discouraged.

    How is your pain today? Does it hurt only with the initial latch, and then fade away so that the rest of the feeding is comfortable? Or is there some pain or discomfort throughout the feeding?

    The "clicking" sound does signify that she is breaking suction. This may be her way of keeping up with a fast flow of milk, or it may be due to her weeks of bottle-feeding, and she just needs practice to retrain her tongue and strengthen her breastfeeding muscles. Either way, the clicking in and of itself is not an emergency -- your pain is what worries me, and I think that should be the first thing we focus on.

    Let us know how you are doing. It's a rollercoaster, isn't it? Hang in there.

    --Rebecca

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    57

    Default Re: latch-on problems?

    The pain is worst at first, but continues throughout the feeding, increasing when I hear the clicking noise. It seems that she is only getting the nipple a little ways into her mouth. I have tried everything to get her to open her mouth wide, the nipple sandwich, etc., but nothing is really working so far. Do I have to be a member of LLL to receive services from them? I will call them in the morning. Thanks! - Kristen

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Oregon
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    Default Re: latch-on problems?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristen
    The pain is worst at first, but continues throughout the feeding, increasing when I hear the clicking noise. It seems that she is only getting the nipple a little ways into her mouth. I have tried everything to get her to open her mouth wide, the nipple sandwich, etc., but nothing is really working so far. Do I have to be a member of LLL to receive services from them? I will call them in the morning. Thanks! - Kristen
    Nope! Anyone can call for help. Let us know how it goes. You are doing awesome!

    Mama to Adeline Brett, breastfed for 4.5 years (12/14/05) and little Eliza June, new tiny sprite in my arms and still learning the ropes (7/18/10)

    Family Blog • If I'm here I'm nursing and typing one handed ... forgive the typos!
    And I'm not a newbie at all ... I'm trying to get my old user ID working from back in the day ... paint-the-moon

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,168

    Default Re: latch-on problems?

    If the pain gets worse as she nurses, instead of fading away within the first minute ... ooooh, I know you're not going to want to hear this .... but you need to unlatch her, encourage her to open wide, and relatch.

    Yes, it is frustrating, and yes, she's not going to like it, and I'm sorry you're dealing with this. Do seek help from a local LLL Leader or someone else who can give you skilled in-person help.

    If you just grit your teeth and put up with the pain, her latch will not improve and your nipples may become too badly damaged to nurse AT ALL for some period of time. Unlatch and relatch. As often as it takes. If she gets too upset to keep trying, take a break, maybe take a warm bath together, and come back to it later.

    Good luck -- we're rooting for you!

    --Rebecca

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