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Thread: Shallow latch and sores on breasts

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    45

    Default Shallow latch and sores on breasts

    My daughter is now 9 days old and I've had nothing but trouble getting her to latch on correctly and now I think she has nipple preference.

    Unfortunately, after birth she had issues with jaundice and underwent UV light therapy for 3 days. Because her bilirubin was high, the doctors insisted that I supplement her breastfeeding with formula. She breastfed for 20 on each breast and then I would give her a bottle (usually 1-2oz).

    At 3 days old I developed crescent shaped sores on the outside of my nipple. Through research I figure she must have a shallow latch. I have tried reading tons of articles and watched many video clips and I still can't get it right. My nipple comes out of her mouth looking like lipstick. I have some nipple shields, but I can't seem to get them to stick on my boobs.

    She has begun to show signs of nipple preference, as she does not really open her mouth wide enough to get a good latch and she sort of sucks around the nipple. I will see if she's tongue-tied at her next appointment. I have contacted a LC and she actually suggested that I take her off the breast and pump exclusively until the wounds are healed for two days. That advice scared me and I didn't follow it.

    I don't know what to do, I am waiting for another LC to call me back, but I am just walking around crying about not being able to feed my baby.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    19,886

    Default Re: Shallow latch and sores on breasts

    Welcome and congratulations on the new baby! What you're experiencing sounds awful- I had similar issues when my first was small and it's excruciating.

    Your LC's advice is not terrible advice. Pumping and bottle-feeding for a couple of days might give you the time you need to begin the healing process. But there's a catch- as you know already, your baby could end up with even worse nipple confusion than you're already experiencing. Not will- could. What's worse is that if your child's latch is traumatic enough that it has caused serious cracks, you might pump for 2 days, get a good start on the healing process, start nursing again, and see the cracks come right back.

    So, here's what I did when I was in your shoes:
    1. Ditch the shield. It wasn't helping me and only causing additional frustration as I tried to get my baby to latch. Also, a shield can decrease stimulation to the breast, resulting in lowered supply.
    2. Keep calling professionals. Hands-on help with latching makes all the difference. I strongly encourage you to seek out an IBCLC. Make sure she evaluates your baby's latch, her tongue (tongue tie could be an issue), milk transfer, and gets you set up with the right equipment (hospital-grade pump, scale, properly sized breast shields, etc.)
    3. Pump. I had to supplement- my kid's latch was so bad that I ended up with low supply and a baby who wasn't growing. So I supplemented with pumped milk.
    4. Watch your baby's diaper output and weight gain carefully. Latching problems don't necessarily lead to supply problems, but if they do, diaper output/weight gain will tell you it's happening.
    5. Get hold of a professional scale. You might want to do some weigh-feed-weigh sessions with your baby to evaluate how much milk she's taking in at the breast.
    6. If you must supplement, consider alternate ways than bottle-feeding: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/a...e-feeding.html
    7. Treat the cracks in the following ways:
    - Experiment with different nursing positions.
    - If the weight of the breast is dragging at the baby's mouth and causing the breast to slip out, prop it up with a rolled-up washcloth.
    - Go topless/braless as much as possible to reduce chafing.
    - Moist healing. Slather the cracks with lanolin ointment, use gel pads, and keep the humidity in your house cranked up high.
    - Try a combination of 1% hydrocortisone cream and Bacitracin antibiotic ointment on the cracks. Use pea-sized amount mixed and applied w/ clean finger.
    - Immerse cracks in shot glass of warm water or soak w/ wet washcloth for 30-60 seconds before nursing. Hydrated scabs tear open with less pain than dry ones.
    - GIVE IT TIME! Many latching issues are caused by the small size of the newborn mouth. But babies grow, and as they do, latch issues generally improve.

    Hang in there!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    132

    Default Re: Shallow latch and sores on breasts

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*fefe View Post
    My daughter is now 9 days old and I've had nothing but trouble getting her to latch on correctly and now I think she has nipple preference.

    Unfortunately, after birth she had issues with jaundice and underwent UV light therapy for 3 days. Because her bilirubin was high, the doctors insisted that I supplement her breastfeeding with formula. She breastfed for 20 on each breast and then I would give her a bottle (usually 1-2oz).

    At 3 days old I developed crescent shaped sores on the outside of my nipple. Through research I figure she must have a shallow latch. I have tried reading tons of articles and watched many video clips and I still can't get it right. My nipple comes out of her mouth looking like lipstick. I have some nipple shields, but I can't seem to get them to stick on my boobs.

    She has begun to show signs of nipple preference, as she does not really open her mouth wide enough to get a good latch and she sort of sucks around the nipple. I will see if she's tongue-tied at her next appointment. I have contacted a LC and she actually suggested that I take her off the breast and pump exclusively until the wounds are healed for two days. That advice scared me and I didn't follow it.

    I don't know what to do, I am waiting for another LC to call me back, but I am just walking around crying about not being able to feed my baby.

    Any help would be appreciated.
    We too, had the disruption of the UV treatment for high bilirubin. The doctor was really pushing me to supplement with formula or pumped breastmilk. The lactation consultant at the hospital, however, advised us to do a lot of skin to skin at home to help her with latching on.

    Once your nipples heal a little bit maybe some skin to skin time will help you guys as well.
    TW
    <Abigail 9/6/10>

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Shallow latch and sores on breasts

    i won't say don't follow the lc's advice, because im no professional, but i will tell you my personal experience. my daughter has tongue tie, a more rare type that can't be clipped so i have to wait for it to correct itself as she grows. she is 8 weeks old and i've had terrible cracks from the start that are still not healing, so you can imagine i've researched and tried everything. at some point i tried nursing from one side only and pumping from the other. actually i don't pump, i express by hand because the pump also hurts. anyway, i planned to switch sides after the first one heals. i did this for a few days but when i started nursing the cracks opened right back up. i decided they just need more time to heal so i tried again and this time i went a full week. the nipple was mostly healed and supply in that breast decreased so i couldn't wait anymore. and the sores opened again. so i am not sure if you will achieve anything by pumping for two days - it might take longer to heal. meanwhile, my other breast that didn't "rest" while i was doing all this experimenting, started healing on its own. right now it's the 'rested' side that's much worse and still hurts a lot.
    oh and i also tried the nipple shields for 2 weeks before that - they did nothing for me, in fact it seemed to get worse. and i WAS using them correctly because i had a lc show me how.
    sorry if i sound disappointing but that's just my experience. i think it's better to see another lc if you need to, and to work on the latch - nothing else will help.

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