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Thread: latching problems

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Cool Feeling desperate about breastfeeding..help!

    I am almost hating breastfeeding at this point, need some help! My baby girl is 3 weeks old and has had latching problems from the beginning. She is my little 'snapper', which means that she never keeps her mouth open long enough for me to get a good latch. Usually when we do get a pretty good latch, it's because she's so frustrated that she's screaming and crying and then her mouth is wide open long enough for me to get my nipple in there. After the first week my nipples were cracked and bleeding, so I rented a pump and pumped for 5 days straight, then went back to trying to breastfeed about 1-2 times a day. Breastfeeding is no longer 'excruciating' as it was at first, but just very uncomfortable and ANNYOYING when she is latched on. Feels like she is rubbing my nipple to death, then I take her off, try to get a a better latch, and it just gets more and more frustrating! I need help...does anyone know how I can get her to keep her mouth open for longer than a split second? I just know if she can do this that we can get better latches. Help!
    Last edited by jnugget; February 7th, 2006 at 03:11 PM.

  2. #2
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: latching problems

    My now 8 MO was the same way. I was in terrible pain for a long time. Can you work directly with a lactation consultant who can observe your latching process and offer tips? I did, which helped us get through the excruciating part. My little one also has a very small mouth, so to some extent we kind of had to wait for her to grow into the process. FWIW, it was around the 1 month mark that I really stopped feeling like there was no way I could go on BF-ing. By 2 months we felt like old pros. She's 8 MO now and still nurses like a champ.

    Hang in there, it really does get easier!

  3. #3
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: latching problems

    I am so sorry that you are experiencing this latching trouble with you dd. I would suggest you try, if possible to contact an IBCLC or LLL Leader. Have you been working with anyone? Do you have any in your area? If not, you can check this link.

    http://www.lalecheleague.org/leaderinfo.html

    It is really difficult to give too much information on latch without seeing you, but you can check this website link for some good pictures.

    http://www.wiessinger.baka.com/bfing...latchtalk.html
    http://www.wiessinger.baka.com/bfing...latchlist.html
    (not an LLLI source, but still great info)

    Please let us know if you need more information or can't reach anyone for a personal visit.

    Good luck to you!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    1

    Unhappy Re: latching problems

    I'm a new mom and I'm really struggling to breastfeed correctly. I'm in tears most of the time. My nipples are really pink and raw looking. I know that my son is not latching on properly, but I really don't know how to fix it. I've talked to the lactation consultant at my pediatrician's office four times over the last three weeks, and her advice isn't helping. It's taken three weeks to get him back up to birth weight. He's having regular BM's and urination. I know he's getting milk, but my breasts are in such pain that now I dread every feeding. We end up wrestling to try to get him in any suitable position and it takes an hour to feed him. When I finish, it always seems like he's still hungry and now my breasts don't seem to be deflating as much with each feeding. I just can't take it, and I need someone to help me. I don't know if I should just pump and give him the breastmilk, but I really want to breastfeed. I feel like such a failure. Is there any way someone can show me exactly how to latch him on and put him in the right positions? I know there has to be a better way.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: latching problems

    Michelle,
    We can try in this type of forum but it really is better if you can get someone to help you one-on-one. Have you contacted your local LLL Leader?

    When baby latches on, what does it feel like? Does it feel like pinching? Aside from being pink & raw looking, what shape are your nipples when they come out of baby's mouth? What position are you using when nursing baby?

    If you are using the cross-cradle or cradle hold, you'll need to position baby across your rib cage/stomach area so that he's tummy-to-tummy with you. When you look down at him, you'll see his ear, his shoulder, his hip. As an example, if he's nursing on your left side, hold his body with your right forearm and use your right hand to control his head. Then, using your left hand, grasp your left breast with your fingers on the bottom of the breast and your thumb on the top of the breast -- so as to "C" cup the breast. Wait for baby to open his mouth up wide and the moment he does, with a bit of force, push him into the left breast/nipple. Some women are then able to release the hold on their breast but others need to keep holding it in order to maintain the latch. Honestly though, there are other ways of latching a baby on and this was just one example.

    I'll show you a hand out by Dr. Jack Newman on latching -- the page also has links to video clips of latching/positioning that you may benefit from: http://www.kellymom.com/newman/a-when_latching.html

    Also, not LLL approved but it has a whole slew of latching resources: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/start/bas...resources.html

    I hope this helps but do try to get in touch with a LLL Leader and ask her to pay you a visit. Hang in there - you'll get through this!

  6. #6
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: latching problems

    Michelle, if the advice from the lactation consultant you're seeing doesn't seem to be doign the trick, can you see someone else or contact a leader? Like all professions, some people are better than others. I worked with one consultant in the hospital whose advice really didn't do me any good. I worked with another via work (if you can believe it they provide a lactation program for free to all employees!) and 2 others at the pediatrician's office. The non-hospital ones were terrific and I'm glad I got more help than just hers, because I would definitely have given up without it.

    Don't feel like a failure! You're doing everything right by looking for help and support! It will get easier!!!

  7. #7
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    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: latching problems

    Hey, I am having the same problems with latching. My ds is 4 weeks now and people keep telling me hat one day you just won't hurt anymore. Well, I don't know that I believe them. It has hurt since i started, the pain in my nipples comes and goes. I went and saw a IBCLC and for about an afternoon it didn't hurt. Now I can't get ds to latch on. He is just now about 7 lbs, so I think he has a really small mouth. I think I am tired of people telling me it just shouldn't hurt without advice. Last night I just cried and then made him upset. I know that doesn't help. I just don't want to give up on this...can someone just encourage me instead of just telling me it shouldn't hurt. I have a call into IBCLC again and to LLL leader.
    Also, when I went to the appointment with the IBCLC she and my dh were there to help. What happens when ds gets older and I don't have anyone around to help him latch on? Will he just latch on his own? I have a friend whose child is a week older than mine and he just lays on her lap and latches on without help. What freedom! Empathy to Michelle and jnugget!

  8. #8
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: latching problems

    Maggie -- It shouldn't hurt. That said, the reason it hurts is because baby isn't latch on properly. Heh, you already knew that didn't you? Unfortunately it's very difficult for us to help you when we can't be with you physically. But try not to worry so much -- As your son gets older and you both learn how to breastfeed, you'll be able to get him latched on without anyone else's help.

    Breastfeeding is natural but babies aren't necessarily born knowing how to do it and mother's certainly aren't pre-programmed to know how to do it either. It's a learned process. Just hang in there - you'll get through this! It's great that you are seeking out the help of an IBCLC as well as a LLL Leader. I'm sure they'll help you figure it out!

  9. #9
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    Jan 2006
    Location
    New Orleans, LA
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    Default Re: latching problems

    Sorry to hear about the rough start! I did not have the cracked, bleeding nipples, but my little one would not latch on....mouth too small and wouldn't keep mouth open long enough. The lactation consultant at the hospital said she was a "lazy eater"....they provided a nipple shield, which is a bit contoversial, b/c sometimes they don't want to let the shield go - another problem. Anyway, it's a clear, flexible plastic nipple that goes right over your own nipple. It makes it very easy for them to slide the nipple (with your nipple inside) into their mouths.

    The cons are that it could slow down milk production.

    Here's my experience.

    She wasn't going to eat w/o it. It took me 3 1/2 weeks to get her to eat on my nipple. I would start her with the shield, which would pull my nipple out, then pull it off midway and latch her onto my nipple real quick. It was a serious BATTLE getting her off of that thing. At 4 weeks, she was latching onto my nipple like an old pro and has been for the past 6 weeks. Get past the rough patch and it gets MUCH easier.

    My milk supply is very heavy and I have an overactive letdown....lots of milk coming at her now.

    A lot of people advise against them, but it can help establish a better breasfeeding relationship or save a breastfeeding relationship you are considering letting go.

    Medela made the one I used. The hospital provided it, but I saw them at Target.

    Best of luck. Hang in there!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    41

    Default Re: latching problems

    I COMPLETELY sympathize with you michelle, maggiemay and jnugget. my little girl is 10 days old and i have spent the first 7 out of those 10 days feeling like a complete faliure in between my bouts of crying spells. she wasn't latching on properly, my nipples were KILLING me and she is jaundice which makes it CRUCIAL that she eats a lot in oreder to poop and pee out the billirubin. i contacted a lactation consultant, which was very expensive but also weel worth it. she showed me what i was doing wrong and taught me how to do it right and put me at ease that it will get better and that it is very normal to have latching problems in the beginning. she also told me that it shouldn't hurt, which is super frustrating to hear when your nipples feel like they are a bout to fall off. while i am no where near a breastfeeding expert, it does get better everyday. there are times when my nipples still hurt so bad, especially after feeding her every 2 hours all day long (they sting) and i ask my husband to bottle feed her. i felt very guilty about this at first but realized that we are not super women and cannot be perfect so it's okay if she needs a bottle every now and again. we need to feel relaxed in order for the little cuties to latch. if we're stressed, then they are stressed.

    so, here's what worked. i brought her into a nice, quiet room and got her into the cross cradle position described previously. i would not even attempt to shove my boob in her mouth until she was correctly positioned, which can feel like FOREVER when they are screaming but the position is so important for a proper latch. after she is positioned correctly, i wait until she opens her mouth wide and i pinch the areola a bit to condense it (putting my index finger under and my thumb on top) and then push her head forward (your hand is cradling her head, positioned on her neck) and (somewhat aggressively) shove it into your breast. it's really important to NOT move your breast to find her face, you move her head to your breast. Most important, relax. i was hysterical for 7 days and she really felt that, which just added to the problem. it still takes me time to get her to latch and it is still very frustrating at times but again, it gets better every day. if she stops (or falls asleep), i breathe deeply a few times (which makes the nipple vibrate) and she usually starts up again. i hope this helps a bit

    i know this is long but i have a question, too. how can we increase our milk supply? i think i have a low milk supply (but not really sure) so what can i do?

    Thanks!!!!!!!

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