My 7 month old DD's latch has gone from nearly perfect to horribly wrong. And it seems to be just getting worse. I am in PAIN and I can't get her to correct her latch. I apologize for the length of this post ahead of time, I'll try to keep it condensed, it's 7 months of problems all tumbling out at once. A little background before I explain our current problem ...
DD came out ready to nurse ... perfect latch and suck, she actually latched onto the outside of my gown a minute after being born and was nursing the next minute ... see here.
Then I found I had overactive letdown and an oversupply. Then at 3 weeks DD was diagnosed with reflux.
Bad advice from an LC who had me using cross cradle hold and never explained I shouldn't keep using it ... thus, my girl HATES it when I try to nurse her in cradle position. I have to do the "no-no" and use a pillow in my lap to support her (with my arm behind her back) or we just side lie nurse.
And the worst thing that makes me want to cry just thinking of it is that she had me FORCING my little girl's head into my breast those first couple months when she would try to pull away. She was most likely reacting to the OALD, oversupply and reflux combined. And we both had severe thrush for 3 months. My motherly instincts told me that it was WRONG to be holding her head there when she'd try to pull away, but the LC said she was just trying to be "lazy" and slide down to the end of my nipple to make it easier on her, and told me to be aggressive in forcing her to stay (and I was a new mom and trusted that the "professional" knew better than me). I did this for a couple weeks until I just couldn't bear doing that to her any longer, it just felt really wrong to hold her head so forcefully (the LC took my hand several times to show me how hard to hold her head there).
This same LC contributed to my oversupply by telling me the third day of my baby's life to start pumping 3-4 oz. of milk out of each breast before nursing every time ... this just created a monster oversupply that caused my DD to gag, choke and projectile vomit at every other nursing (I finally got the oversupply under control with the help of my LLL leader).
Next came the nursing strikes starting at 3 months. She developed an "aversion to nursing." I mistakenly went back to the same LC because I didn't know any better. She told me that my baby was just "being a brat" when she saw her scream and cry as I attempted to nurse her. I told her that I sensed that something was "wrong" with her and she told me again that she's just being fussy and said, "if that baby wasn't so cute I'd send her back."
I cannot describe how emotionally painful those months of my baby refusing to nurse were. Every day revolved around trying to coax her back to nurse. Every time she refused (and she did so violently), it broke my heart a little more. I felt like I was failing her and like she was personally rejecting me. She would start crying when I just began to lay her down to nurse. And she was starving, clawing at my chest, but the second she saw my breast she'd lose it again. To watch us you would think I was poking her with needles she was so scared. The number one question family asked was, "Did she nurse?" and I found myself in tears right along with my baby every day. Thank heavens for our nights, since her poor little mind seemed to forget about being afraid to nurse and she would come to me peacefully to get comfort and nourishment throughout the night.
Now she still has bad days when she'll only nurse once or twice during the day, but we're also having many good days where she LOVES to nurse once again. So, one of my questions is now ... how do I work on correcting her latch? It started slipping when her teeth cut through, and with her new, heightened distractibility. She opens wide, but then clamps shut at the last second, and her bottom lip ends up right under my nipple. This is made worse by her habit of tilting her head up while nursing. "Sandwiching" my breast with an asymmetrical latch helped a tiny bit. But because of our history she won't go for repeated attempts to re-latch and get it right.
I have fought so hard to maintain our BF relationship - it is so precious to me and my DD. She's still an EBF baby and has never had a bottle in her mouth, and has stayed in the 80th percentile in height and weight since birth, despite our problems. Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated!