Help please! Can't get 13 day old to latch

(25 Posts)
Gbnewbie Sat 02-Mar-13 12:13:59

Oh my goodness! You're all so lovely to take the time to add to this your advice smile

He was checked for tt in the hospital. He is able to latch, he just doesn't seem to be bothered most of the time.
I do the squeezing of the boob, making sure I guide him then put him on when mouth at its widest (not that wide sadly). I've tried all the suggested position and the rugby for the right is definitely the most successful. Tried the lying down one this a.m but he just nuzzled.
We persist!!
Have a good day all!!

paperclips Sat 02-Mar-13 09:03:00

Has he been checked for tongue tie?

The other thing is if your breasts are quite large or very engorged it can be hard for their tiny mouths to get on, like if you tried to suck a beachball. If you kind of gently squish your breast into a more manageable shape, for him he may be able to get a better mouthful. And express a bit if their very full so they're softer. Sorry if that's all really obvious and you've tried it all.

My DS only used to feed for 3-5 minutes at a time when he was a newborn. He would feed really really often. I worried but he gained weight fine, and it got better as he grew. But even at 5 months he wants to feed roughly every 2h in the day. It's quite normal, I used to just settle with him on sofa and watch dvds so he could go on and off the breast as often as he wants. I used to gently blow on him to wake him. It was the cutest thing!

Well done for being determined. Please try to stick at breasfeeding it is so worthwhile. Keep asking for help. Is there a breastfeeding support worker? they're often far better than midwives.

Lostonthemoors Sat 02-Mar-13 08:31:30

You are doing so well OP - all that colostrum will be doing wonders for your baby and the health benefits you've already given will last for life - lower risk of allergies and infections and the immune properties you get from milk. It can be really hard while you and your baby work our how to feed so thanks to you for continuing.

I made it ebf from where you are and just taking it one day at a time we got to past 6 months ebf. The first few days were hard and I remember thinking - if I can just do another day of bf that would be good. There came a point where it all just clicked and we were away and this could be the same for you.

I found our local LLL group a lifeline - very good support. You can also call their helpline and they will have lots of info about latching and making the transition from top ups to full bf - think you will be better with RL help for that.

IME the following could also help:

Lots of skin to skin

Offering to bf often and well before baby is really hungry as they latch so much better when calmer

Keeping an eye out for early hunger cues - fidgeting, rooting, fist sucking and not letting it get to crying wherever possible

Different positions - some people find a laid back position - called biological nurturing the easiest and if you google this you will find info and videos.

This might have some useful info:

www.laleche.org.uk/pdfs/Beginning_Breastfeeding_Leaflet.pdf

Londonmrss Sat 02-Mar-13 08:12:06

Glad to hear it's getting better. it's always worth listening to the experts but in my experience, they have read all the books and knew how breastfeeding should work but I think they are generally not people who have struggled and fought to keep breastfeeding like we have.If they had, they wouldn't just keep saying 'keep trying skin to skin' to a mother with a baby who is clearly never going to even attempt to latch regardless of how much nudey time they have together.
It really sounds like you're getting there and your baby is progressing well!

In many ways, its goods that your baby had had a Bootle a few times. Many women who ebf find that when they do need to give a bottle, their baby just refuses it. I never had that problem because my dd had bottles from the start.

Gbnewbie Sat 02-Mar-13 06:31:09

London and Zara, thank you so much. That is exactly how I'll think of you. I really can't tell you how much it means to me and how much it helps my drive to keep going having your support smile
Perhaps he is one of those efficient babies as his nappies kept on coming dirty and wet yesterday which must've been the boob feeds so I'm greatly reassured by that. Again the 'experts' said that he couldn't possibly be getting enough blah blah. They are meant to be supportive but honestly I've had such varying info from different ones its so confusing!
thanksthanks For both of you!

Zara1984 Fri 01-Mar-13 19:58:43

Second what Londonmrs says - we have both been through what you have OP and have come out the other side!

Think of us as your Latching Issues Tag Team grin PM us if you need to

Londonmrss Fri 01-Mar-13 19:38:34

At first dd feed every 2 hours around the clock for about 5 mins at a time. Now it's every 2-3 goes during the day and usually once overnight- still 5 mins at a time. When she takes a bottle of expressed age can take a full one in 5 mins ago it is possible! Plenty of babies just fed really efficiently. The real test is weight gain, wet nappies and a satisfied baby.

My good friend Zara1984's story is an interesting and helpful one and if you do find yourself feeling like a switch to formula would be best for you, know that that is absolutely fine and Zara is a great person to speak to about that- on both a practical and an emotional level. Zara and I struggled together (via mumsnet) at first and it really helped to talk to rather!

Gbnewbie Fri 01-Mar-13 17:17:20

Thank you Zara. I'm sorry it didn't work out for you.
You are so right about the books etc not mentioning what to do if the ont latch!!
My little mischief has only had the boobs today (I still plan to do the 3 bottle feeds over night). I still worry that he isn't taking enough in with his short feeds but each time he gives a cue I oblige. If only he would stay awake!!

Zara1984 Fri 01-Mar-13 13:54:12

Londonmrs' advice is excellent. I had the exact same issue but unfortunately DS just didn't get in the end, I stopped trying to bf when he was 2 weeks old in a flood of tears and exhaustion.

But please don't be discouraged by my experience. You are doing BRILLIANTLY and you are doing ALL THE RIGHT THINGS. This is damn damn hard and it is so frustrating because you look up all these bloody bf books and they don't really deal properly with "what to do when you baby refuses to latch"!

So I am just here to wave pom poms in your support and say GOOD WORK you're doing well. Be kind to yourself smile

Gbnewbie Fri 01-Mar-13 11:27:29

Thanks London. Very reassuring to read that you lo feeds for short bursts too and is gaining weight smile Roughly how often does she feed? Several times an hour? A couple? That would be good to know.

Londonmrss Fri 01-Mar-13 08:53:35

Hello there. Well done toy for getting this far - breastfeeding can be so so hard.
I had exactly the same-my baby didn't latch. There was no real reason, she just didn't find my nipple and didn't know what to do with it. I spent the first few weeks exclusively expressing. During that 3 week's, we were finger feeding (using the little tube that your midwife can give you) and also giving a bottle. I kept doing skin to skin and all that and it just didn't work. She eventually managed to latch using a nipple shield. I know any lactation specialist would advise against introducing a shield at this stage, but without it I would have had to give up because I couldn't continue expressing every two hours on top of everything else and I found the boob rejection so distressing. She is now sometimes able to latch and feed well without the shield so I am weaning off it.

It might not be a problem that you're baby only feeds for a few minutes at a time. Our feeds have always been about 5 minutes each and never more than about 8 and my baby is gaining weight perfectly (now 18 weeks). Just keep an eye on weight and wet nappies and keep trying.

Good luck! No one tells you it will be this hard... you're doing brilliantly.

Gbnewbie Thu 28-Feb-13 22:43:01

Yes expressed milk only since last weekend. I spent last week expressing every 2 hours or as close to that as I could to get my milk in properly. He was weighed yesterday and has put on weight but that I'd thanks to the expressed bottle feeds as I've only been making this real effort with the boob since yesterday afternoon.

All I can say right now is ouch!! Roll on 12! grin

Meringue33 Thu 28-Feb-13 22:16:09

Yes it's the hardest thing I've ever had to do! Is it expressed milk you're giving in the bottle? I wouldn't worry too much about short feed times at this stage as long as he has plenty of wet and dirty nappies. Has he been weighed?

Gbnewbie Thu 28-Feb-13 21:53:11

Hi cantdo, they gave me a nipple shield to try in the hospital as apparently my nipples are the wrong shape?!? That proved that he was capable of a strong enough suck but it was really painful for me so I haven't tried it again. We're the shields painful for you? I thought it was painful for the same reason as without it, i.e. because he wasn't opening his mouth wide enough to take in the right amount.

It is certainly easy to see why so many people give up! He's wanted the boob every hour!

cantdoalgebra Thu 28-Feb-13 21:27:59

I had very similar problems with my first - the advice from the hospital and midwife did not result in any success. Eventually I used a nipple shield which seemed to help DS latch on strongly and after a week or two I was able to discard it. BF was very hard to establish but it was more than worth it in the end. Hope it all works out for you.

Gbnewbie Thu 28-Feb-13 21:11:56

Oh meringue, I hope I'll be in your position soon! Thank you for your advice.

With all of the encouragement from each of you, this afternoon and evening I have offered him the boob every time he's given a cue and counted through the start which definitely helps with the stinging/ burning/ crocodile clip to the nip feeling! The max he's been on is 10 mins each boob so it's def not enough but a good start. I do worry that his weight will drop and am selfishly not wanting to give up the decent sleep I've been getting so will give him a bottle feed at 12 and the 4am one until the latch is properly sorted. I am reassured by sleepyb who it sounds like was both breast and bottle feeding for a while. I know the main advice for the 'ideal' is not to use a bottle as its such a different technique for them but I believe this is a clever little fella I have here. Am going to try to find someone via nct/the bf network who can watch what I'm doing to see if there's anything obvious too.

If anyone else has any other tips/their experiences etc I would be very grateful to read them. Every little bit of input helps!!

Meringue33 Thu 28-Feb-13 19:52:32

What the others said! Just wanted to add well done and stick with it - your positive attitude will be making all the difference! We're still here 7 weeks on which I thought would never happen, and LO is now alert skilled and strong enough to latch himself on properly x

Gbnewbie Thu 28-Feb-13 17:31:59

Thank you too Tubeg! The rugby hold for the right boob works most often. I haven't tried lying down so will def give that a go. I often end up sort of leaning over him while he's on a pillow which can be ok too.
I will have to get the cream!! grin

Tubegirl Thu 28-Feb-13 17:21:11

Have you tried different positions? This also helps with sore nips as they get to mangle from a different angle. I very much recommend the lying down side to side on a bed - this one was best for me initially as I found I relaxed more. Also the rugby ball hold worked quite well. I just found it much easier to position baby one handed lying down. You could try feeding your baby in just a vest so they are not as warm when feeding and gently tickling his feet to keep him sucking. The cheek thing mentioned above also works for me. Plus there's nothing wrong with just lifting him away and waking him before putting him back after the first latch. I also agree with the lansinoh advice, it's great stuff. Good luck you're doing amazingly well to be still trying after all these initial setbacks. Keep at it, you'll get there.x

Gbnewbie Thu 28-Feb-13 17:11:16

Hi Sleepy and the mammy. Thank you for your input. Just hearing others have had similar problems and have overcome them helps so much! Last night I was just desperate as I'd tried for 2 hours, kept taking him off ( easier said than done as he clamps on so hard sometimes!!) but didn't get anywhere. This afternoon we've had some success, 3 latches of 5-10 mins!! It really does seem often that is 1 step forward and 3 back!! smile

themammy73 Thu 28-Feb-13 10:57:00

When my babies were getting used to bf as I went to put them on the breast I would use my finger gently on their chin to keep the mouth open as they latched on - hope that makes sense. Inevitably they would slide up to only take the nipple so I would take them off and start again. I did this quite often in early days as they learn.
I second the lansinoh as this stage can be painful and sometimes even when they are latched on properly it would be painful for the first 20-30 seconds I found in those early weeks.
Have you also tried hand expressing a bit of milk before starting so supply is flowing before latching on - might encourage him to keep going as the initial flow of the bottle will be less work for him. I also used to drop a bit on their lips.
Good luck!

Sleepybunny Thu 28-Feb-13 09:35:12

Hi, I had this problem and I know how very hard it is to get things established when latching just doesn't seem to come naturally.

I would recommend pumping if you can as these early days are really important for getting your milk supply established.

The best advice I got was to attempt to latch at each feed (2-3hrs), if no success after a few atempts (baby getting grumpy) then offer a bottle of expressed milk. If baby latches and seems to feed then don't bother with expressing. It took several weeks, but we did transition over to BFing and just expressed at night (to help with the epic cluster feeds)

Good luck!

Gbnewbie Wed 27-Feb-13 22:27:49

Thank you LHW. Today he's only fed for bursts of around 4 mins so he can't have had enough. I will try the cream, thank you!

LHW123 Wed 27-Feb-13 22:18:03

hi -oh, i hope you manage to get this sorted out. congratulations on your new baby too.

I would try to stick with the breastfeeding (without pumping) as with such a small baby, it seems impossible to find any spare time when you can pump milk.

if the b/feeding hurts, i'd suggest getting some lansolin cream asap as that makes a big different to your nipples if they are feeling a bit 'chewed'. it does take a bit of getting used to breastfeeding so they do hurt a bit to start with.

if he seems to be falling asleep when he's breastfeeding, then try using your index finger on your spare hand to gently 'draw a line' from the part of his cheek by his ear towards the corner of his mouth on the side of his that you can see when he's feeding. i can't remember why, but this is supposed to gently wake them up a bit and encourage them to keep feeding. I don't think it's a problem if they feed until they sleep, mine always did that and I never thought it was a problem.

good luck - it's always difficult to tell how much milk they get when feeding. if he still has wet nappies then he must be getting milk from you.

other people may offer good advice too ! I can only suggest from my personal experience but hopefully this may help a bit...?

Gbnewbie Wed 27-Feb-13 21:36:21

Please can anyone offer any advice or tips? I've been to a breast feeding class, a group, spoke to midwives at the hospital straight after birth and the one now allocated to me. I couldn't get my ds to latch so the hospital insisted on feeding by cup, then the wouldn't let me leave until I agreed to bottle feed. I hired a pump and managed to get my milk going and have been feeding breast milk by bottle and trying him on the breast. He only properly (so it isn't painful) latches 1 in 10 times and when he does he tends to fall asleep. I've been told to stop with the bottle entirely as its confusing him and mist keep offering the breast and remove him if he isn't properly latched. I can't get him to open his mouth enough, or when he does he seems to move his mouth after a few seconds so he's back to just having the nipple in his mouth which is agony as he grips so tightly. The problem we are having seems to vary. He either seems like he can't be bothered or goes for it and attacks my nipple. I'm so desperate to succeed but don't know what to do!

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