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Thread: Latch at 3 months vs. newborn

  1. #1
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    Dec 2008
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    Default Latch at 3 months vs. newborn

    I have been working very closely with an IBCLC. Actually, I've been to 5 LCs, but I've been primarily working with this one because she's also been doing Cranial Sacral Therapy and suck training with my little guy. We're finally making progress... *sometimes* it doesn't hurt to nurse! That's a HUGE improvement. Maybe when I get this thrush all cleared up, things will be even better!

    I've noticed that my little guy wants a shallow latch. No matter how much breast he gets in his mouth during the initial latch, he always manages to push out or slide off to the same shallow place. It doesn't change before/after letdown, and it doesn't matter whether it's first thing in the morning (when I'm full) or late at night (when I'm not full). I can't really say how uncomfortable it is because pretty much everything about bfing is uncomfortable for me! My nipples have lots of bruising and cracking (it's been that way since I left the hospital 15 weeks ago ), so I can't tell if he's continuing to cause damage or not. It bothers me that his latch looks/seems to shallow. I just keep refering to all the Newman video clips and other video clips online, but all of them are for newborns.

    Do babies change their latch as they get older? Do you expect something different from a 3 month old than from a newborn?

    Finally, how do you measure how much breast tissue the baby takes in his mouth? I've read that it should be an inch to an inch and a half, but how exactly do I measure this? My LC told me that at this age, as long as he has 3/4" in his mouth, it should be okay. How can I tell?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Dec 2008
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    Tallahassee, FL
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    Thumbs up Re: Latch at 3 months vs. newborn

    I have no idea, but I would love to know the answer to the latch at 3 months too. I have zero experience feeding -- BUT I think that you're amazing for keeping with the experience despite the pain! Thats what scared me about BF -- though if I could get LO to the breast at this point, I wouldn't care!
    Good luck in finding your answers. Wish I could be of help.
    pumping sucks
    But I'm EPing for my baby girl!
    Josie Grace -- 9/9/2008
    Heart Baby
    with Interrupted Aortic Arch (repaired at 2 weeks old), large cleft palate and G-tube with no oral feeding -- yet! But soon!

    ***Josie had her heart cath 2/12 and had perfect results! She is doing very well

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Latch at 3 months vs. newborn

    I found with DS, when he was over 3 months, he started latching on all by himself, no discomfort at all. His suction power increased and his head control got better, I guess. He just latches on and sucks my nipple right in.

    I know you've seen 5 LC and this just shows your determination. If your current help is working, but you feel things are not improving enough, then I'd start making some phone calls! Call you local LLL league or ask the parents in your area who is the breastfeeding guru in your city.

    About the depth of the latch, I don't know how to tell other than that, if its a good latch and your nipple's in the right place ie. the comfort zone (the junction between the baby's hard and soft palate), it won't hurt. You can perhaps put a clean finger in the baby's mouth to find this 'comfort zone'.

    One more thought is, do you have OALD/oversupply? I know when my oversupply was out of check, DS adopted a shallow latch to deal with the abundant flow. Smart baby.
    Last edited by @llli*monika.h; January 3rd, 2009 at 02:52 AM.
    Canadian mom and breastmilk fan.
    We have 2 beautiful children: Luana who's 9 y/o, had breastmilk for 2 years and is smart as a whip. Lucas who came out kickin', is 4 y/o and continues to enjoy his milkies.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Latch at 3 months vs. newborn

    I have a 3 month old and my LC always talks about how the baby's latch changes at 3 months. I'm dealing with my own feeding issues with my LO, but I had to laugh when you mentioned Newman's videos...I've watched them all a million times and never seemed to get a comfortable latch for AGES, until I actually just gave up in my mind and decided to just put her on the best I could. The pain just went away after I stopped trying to approach it like a mathematical formula.
    I'm wondering if you have a fast flow and the only way your LO can comfortably nurse is if he pulls back a little. If he just hangs out on the nipple he can control the flow better. Have you tried "scissoring" your breast so that the flow is slower coming out? You take your first 2 fingers, one on top and the other on the bottom of your breast and kind of scissor your boob so that the flow slows a bit.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Latch at 3 months vs. newborn

    As a matter of fact, i do have a major case of OALD/oversupply. yesterday i nursed exclusively on one side (pumped the other a little bit-don't want mastasis), but i really didn't notice a difference. i've been block feeding for 2 months, and the OALD hasn't changed- i'm always squirting everywhere! i've never tried the scissor grip. i'll have to try it at our next session.

    monika.h- did your ds always keep a shallow latch? if i can get my supply under control, do you think he'll get a deeper latch? or is this just the way he's going to stay now?

    thanks ladies!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    1,090

    Default Re: Latch at 3 months vs. newborn

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*hippychickaquarius View Post
    As a matter of fact, i do have a major case of OALD/oversupply. yesterday i nursed exclusively on one side (pumped the other a little bit-don't want mastasis), but i really didn't notice a difference. i've been block feeding for 2 months, and the OALD hasn't changed- i'm always squirting everywhere! i've never tried the scissor grip. i'll have to try it at our next session.

    monika.h- did your ds always keep a shallow latch? if i can get my supply under control, do you think he'll get a deeper latch? or is this just the way he's going to stay now?

    thanks ladies!
    Hi at some point i had over supply and my DD was frequently pulling out of the breast, what it help me was to change possition, I know you have try many but may be if you breastfeed you laying down face up and your baby kind of sitting reaching your breast... at first it will be weird but after 3-4 times trying you will see how easy it is... This help me cause the flow wasnt so strong as with other possitions... I know your baby is still small but you can find the best way for both of you

    About your question your baby will acomodate her/himself depending on the circunstances, at least my baby did and I am only sharing my personal expirience.... dont stress and enjoy the most you can... Time flys

  7. #7

    Default Re: Latch at 3 months vs. newborn

    Hi, there!

    Congratulations on your new baby! It sounds like you're doing all the right stuff to help you get over this obstacle.... Many moms who experience something similar have gone on to have the breastfeeding relationship they want. Hang in there!!


    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*hippychickaquarius View Post
    I have been working very closely with an IBCLC.... We're finally making progress... *sometimes* it doesn't hurt to nurse! That's a HUGE improvement. Maybe when I get this thrush all cleared up, things will be even better!
    How wonderful that you've been seeing different IBCLCs. That is a great place to start... congrats on your progress! Hooray for you to also be looking for mother-to-mother support on these boards, too. If you're able, you might consider finding a local LLL group for even more support, if you aren't already done so.

    Do you need any suggestions for thrush? Many mothers have found using a vinegar and water solution after every nursing to be very helpful to "balance" things out.



    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*hippychickaquarius View Post
    My nipples have lots of bruising and cracking...
    Are you using any type of lanelin like Lansinoh? This is great for cracked/sore nipples. Though, if you think you have thrush, the lanelin may only exasperate and allow the thrush to thrive. Nursing isn't supposed to hurt.

    Also, sometimes if applied before a nursing, the Lansinoh can create a "slippery slope" and give baby a little harder time to latch on.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*hippychickaquarius View Post
    I just keep refering to all the Newman video clips and other video clips online, but all of them are for newborns.

    Sometimes after watching tons of videos the opposite may happen... A mom may feel like breastfeeding is very confusing & be a bit frustrated. Sometimes it can be easy to forget that babies really do "know how to breastfeed" all on their own.
    http://breastcrawl.org/

    Sometimes, going back and just reviewing the basics and then letting mom and baby get the hang of it all can be so empowering.

    Baby's body should be lined up next to mom's... chin to breast... stomach to stomach... baby's knees should be close to mom... baby is level to breast... tickle baby's lower lip & pull baby closer when he's ready to latch on...

    Also, watch for suck-swallow motions with "ear/jaw" movement.


    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*hippychickaquarius View Post
    Do babies change their latch as they get older? Do you expect something different from a 3 month old than from a newborn?
    At 3 mos, a mother and a full-term, healthy baby (who has had a good latch-on until then) has usually gotten the hang of breastfeeding and latching on can be easier. As another mom mentioned, baby's muscle strength has increased and latching on is a little easier with more head support. Many times mothers find it helpful if they help support their breast while nursing during the first months or so. So, you can think along the lines of being a little more "efficient" as they grow older.

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*hippychickaquarius View Post
    Finally, how do you measure how much breast tissue the baby takes in his mouth? I've read that it should be an inch to an inch and a half, but how exactly do I measure this? ... How can I tell?
    Generally, a nursing baby with a good latch-on will take in more of the bottom part of a mother's areola, have good suck-swallow motions with "ear/jaw" movement, is not making any kind of "clicking" sounds other than "swallowing" sounds and seems to be satiated at the end of a nursing session. Of course, the number of wet/poopie diapers are important, since if there's "input" there will be "output" in 5-6 wet diapers and 3-5 poopie diapers each day.

    take care and rest!
    Carla
    LLL Leader

  8. #8
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    Dec 2008
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    Default Re: Latch at 3 months vs. newborn

    Thanks Carla!

    I am dreaming of the day when breastfeeding no longer hurts. That would be so nice. I keep hearing and reading that it's such a great experience, but my reality is that it is very painful. At least I'm still hopeful.

    I have been using the All Purpose Nipple Ointment for the thrush and nipple damage. For my baby we're using that on his diaper rash and a mix of baking soda/water in his mouth. DS and I are also both on probiotics. Hopefully this will clear up soon.

    I've been running everywhere trying to get help. Everyone has been very nice and supportive, but no one seems to be able to help. It's nice that people are complimentary of my latch technique and give me kuddos for sticking with it, but I'm still in pain. In addition to the LCs and LLL people I've talked to, I've emailed people and posted on several message boards. At this point, I'd be willing to travel anywhere in the US or Canada for help. I just don't know where else to turn. So who is the best of the best?

    Thanks for the tips!
    Melinda

  9. #9
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    Dec 2008
    Location
    Victoria, BC, Canada
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    Default Re: Latch at 3 months vs. newborn

    As a matter of fact, i do have a major case of OALD/oversupply. yesterday i nursed exclusively on one side (pumped the other a little bit-don't want mastasis), but i really didn't notice a difference. i've been block feeding for 2 months, and the OALD hasn't changed- i'm always squirting everywhere! i've never tried the scissor grip. i'll have to try it at our next session.

    monika.h- did your ds always keep a shallow latch? if i can get my supply under control, do you think he'll get a deeper latch? or is this just the way he's going to stay now?
    Yes, once I got my oversupply under control, he stopped doing his trick of sliding down on my nipple and adopting a shallow latch.

    There's other ways to get your oversupply under control. Are you doing block feeding intervals of 12 hours then? I found when dealing with my oversupply I got the best results when I was really strict about the time-intervals. I wrote the times down, day and night. If you have to pump, do so 'to comfort', no more. The way to manage block feedings and reduce your risk of mastitis is to gradually increase the intervals. Work with 1 interval, say 6 hours. Do this religiously for 4-7 days. Write your time intervals down. If this doesn't have the effect you want, increase the interval to say, 8 hours. Then another 4-7 days. You might end up doing 12 hour intervals, that's fine, you've got company. Kellymom's page has some good advice and also many links about oversupply.

    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/fa...down.html#help

    There are options other than block feeding. These include drinking 3 cups of sage tea/day (steep 1 Tbsp of fresh whole leaf dried herb in 1 cup of boiling water 15 minutes), cabbage leaf compresses. You could also use a nipple shield under the supervision of a LC. Another option is to go on a 4-7 day course of low-dose oral contraceptive pills with estrogen and progesterone. (This is from the Breastfeeding Answer Book, page 127) My guess is, once you've tamed your milk supply, baby will realize he doesn't have to adopt the shallow latch. I'm guessing that he does it all the time, out of habit. When a mother has oversupply, its like drinking from a garden hose. If you think of it this way, it makes sense the way he's latching.

    At this point, I'd be willing to travel anywhere in the US or Canada for help. I just don't know where else to turn. So who is the best of the best?
    I remember feeling like this when DS was little. After my experience with hospital LC and public health lactation consultants, I was ready to literally fly across the country. I pumped for 2 years with my 1st and wasn't doing this again. Dr Newman has a clinic in Toronto, Canada. He's considered one of North America's top breastfeeding experts. You can also email him your questions.

    http://www.drjacknewman.com/contact-us.asp
    Last edited by @llli*monika.h; January 5th, 2009 at 01:54 AM.
    Canadian mom and breastmilk fan.
    We have 2 beautiful children: Luana who's 9 y/o, had breastmilk for 2 years and is smart as a whip. Lucas who came out kickin', is 4 y/o and continues to enjoy his milkies.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    1,601

    Default Re: Latch at 3 months vs. newborn

    I'd go see Catherine Watson-Genna with latch problems.

    Just google her, she's in NY.
    Like in any profession there are good ones, bad ones, and rockstars. She would be a rockstar.

    Here's her bio from here
    Catherine Watson Genna has been an IBCLC in private practice in NYC since 1992. She has a special interest in the anatomical, genetic and neurological influences on infant sucking skills, and writes and speaks on these topics. She is co-researcher in a study utilizing ultrasound to examine tongue movements during breastfeeding in infants with ankyloglossia and other sucking problems. Her clinical photographs have been published in both lay and scholarly venues, and her text book Supporting Sucking Skills in Breastfeeding Infants has just been released by Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

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