Week old baby just won't latch on

(28 Posts)
Surya Sun 29-Sep-13 10:52:07

And I am in despair. She is lovely, but very sleepy and was born full term but at 6 pounds, and either won't open her mouth wide enough to get a good latch, or simply snuggle up with the nipple in her mouth and go to sleep. She has managed to have one full feed since we got home after the foeceps delivery, which was so lovely, but the rest of it has been bottle feeding expressed milk. Please help.

lem31 Sun 29-Sep-13 19:24:15

I would speak to your midwife or health visitor to get a breastfeeding expert out to you to help. They are lovely and very helpful.
Also worth checking for tongue tie - I don't know much about it but I gather it can cause problems with bfing and is often not diagnosed.

Good luck and well done for carrying on trying. X

thistlelicker Sun 29-Sep-13 19:25:58

Has your milk come and in feel very full and engorged? Sometimes that
Can stop baby latching? Try massaging breasts or hot
flannels to soften breast or hand express your milk! Try speaking to fb support! Good luck

BlackberrySeason Sun 29-Sep-13 19:32:40

You are doing very well to be expressing and there is every chance she will still latch over the next few days. Call LLL for RL support and I will try to paste some links.

BlackberrySeason Sun 29-Sep-13 19:34:25
BlackberrySeason Sun 29-Sep-13 19:35:27
BlackberrySeason Sun 29-Sep-13 19:37:07

LLL will speak to you right now - their helpline is open evenings and weekends for emergencies and your situation qualifies - they will be very happy to help you, so please call.

The links I just posted are to evidence-based advice.

BlackberrySeason Sun 29-Sep-13 19:42:24

PS sending you huge un mn hugs - all will be ok. She almost certainly will latch if you persevere.

xx

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Sun 29-Sep-13 20:05:41

Hi OP.
I have been through this. My baby just wouldn't latch. First thing to do is to check for tongue tie. Was your baby jaundiced at all? This can make a baby too sleepy to latch and they need to feed in order to flush this out.
My story however does not involve any of these- just a perfectly healthy baby who wouldn't latch and a lot of bf support workers who were completely stumped and just observed that she really didn't know what to do with a nipple. My nipples are fairly flat but they said this shouldn't make too much difference.
when she was a day old I began expressing and bottle feeding. I continued to try and bf but she just wouldn't latch. I was in tears every time I tried; it just felt like such a rejection. I spent hours bonding and doing skin to skin and baby-wearing and everything you will be advised to do but nothing worked. I continued expressing and then when she was 4 weeks old, I tried with a nipple shield and immediately she latched perfectly. I kept building on this until by 10 weeks she was exclusively bf (ie no expressed bottles) with a nipple shield. I successfully breastfed her this way until she was 11 months and I went back to work (and after those first weeks, I never wanted to look at a breast pump again!).
I tell you my story because it is possible to make it work. It was hard but it didn't cause any problems with my relationship with my baby- we have an amazing bond and she is my world. Take all the support you can (all are wonderful and there should be NHS support locally too) and keep working on that latch. If you do pump a lot, I would suggest hiring a hospital grade pump- this is truly life saving.
I just asked my husband what advice he would give and he said 'tell her partner to enjoy the feeds he can give now because I missed them when you were able to bf all the time'!
Finally you need to know that it's OK to find this hard. It can have an enormous effect on your self esteem and if it is truly affecting your sanity, please stop and move onto formula. Your baby will still thrive- and more so with a healthy mummy.
Please PM me if you need support. I know how hard this it. It will be ok, I promise.

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Sun 29-Sep-13 20:53:31

Sorry- I meant to make my post to sound more positive that it did! You're doing brilliantly and it can definitely work even after a difficult start.

BeansAndCheese Sun 29-Sep-13 21:19:33

I second shields. My niece had a very similar birth and latching problems but the shields work wonders and my sister was able to wean her off them and back on the nipple after a few months. Still bfing now at 8 mo.

BlackberrySeason Sun 29-Sep-13 22:27:14

Shields can be great but I would speak to a bf counsellor before starting with them

Surya Mon 30-Sep-13 22:02:57

Guy, I could have written your post, and hopefully, the latter part of it will come true too! I feel so lucky to have all this online support, as well as lots of real life support: the la leche league and baby cafe people I've seen are similarly a bit stumped, and several people have suggested that its a matter of time: the baby is quite small with the cutest rosebud mouth, which she just doesn't want to open.

To answer other questions: my milk is in, and I tried feeding the baby after expressing a bit today, both to relieve th engorgement and to make my nipples a bit pointier. This worked really well, so I'm feeling a lot less despairing today: yesterday really was rick bottom.

A bf counsellor did suggest trying nipple shields, but they didn't work for us.

BlackberrySeason Mon 30-Sep-13 22:05:59

That sounds good!! The bf answer book says where baby has a very small mouth the passage of a little time for her to grow will help latching.

Have you tried reverse pressure softening?

Does side lying or a biological nurturing position help?

redcaryellowcar Mon 30-Sep-13 22:11:19

keep going you are doing brilliantly, I think feeding your baby is one of the most emotive things you experience, it will get better, do ask for help and use the very good services and advice out there as much as you need.

Surya Mon 30-Sep-13 22:13:30

And I did hire a hospital grade pump, which has possibly saved my sanity, because it means that atleast I'm not worried about the baby not getting enough food. I'm in fact typing this while hooked up to the pump with a home made rubber band contraption to make it hands free.

Also, Guy, I'm so glad that you mention bottle feeding: I'm quite worried that the bottle feeding means that she'll never get breadt feeding, but we really were in no shape to feed her with a syringe or a cup.

Surya Mon 30-Sep-13 22:17:27

Would love to feed side lying, but cradle hold works best for us at th mo'. Biological nursing reults in the baby either going to sleep or getting totally frantic, as do I: long periods of skin to skin seem to have a very weird effect on me, and make me really emotional and tearful.

thistlelicker Mon 30-Sep-13 22:18:07

Glad
Your feeling happier with things
Today op :-) take each feed on its own merit and do what u need to do! Best of luck xx

Surya Mon 30-Sep-13 22:21:04

See, this is MN at its best. Nest of vipers indeed smile

Swanhilda Mon 30-Sep-13 22:21:25

Just to say that I had a baby that did not properly latch on for six weeks, and then suddenly got the hang of it. I bottle fed him until then; luckily he had a twin so the milk was flowing for her and there was a chance for him to try. Don't lose heart. When they are less sleepy it is much easier. He bfed for another two years! He really wasn't a very good feeder in first six months because he kept sticking his tongue in the wrong place, but he still worked it out. Cranial osteopathy helped too. He hated people touching the back of his head, and that was one of the reason he found bfng difficult.

Swanhilda Mon 30-Sep-13 22:27:50

In my case baby was also quite distressed after jaundice, and dehydrated after milk didn't come in for 6 days after a section. All this played its part in making latching on more difficult for him. You can still get through it, please don't despair. There will be good feeds and bad feeds over the next few days. And I felt so emotional.

Justyou Mon 30-Sep-13 22:31:48

Hi, I ve just joined mumsnet to pass on advice I d received , tried to b feed all 3 children without much luck at all . After two weeks of struggling to feed my 3rd and countless visits from b feeding helpers a midwife who popped in to check on me told me that the nipple had to be stroking/ touching the top of the baby's mouth to trigger the natural sucking reflex. We had tried various positions , shields etc and I was upset baby wasn't getting enough milk but as soon as we tried this it worked fantastic. I m not guaranteeing it will work but it was definitely a "can't believe this is 1st time we've heard this" moment and enabled me to feed my baby as I d wanted. After everything we d tried it was a simple piece of advice but we d never been told it

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Mon 30-Sep-13 22:35:19

Just popping on to wave some pom poms! You're doing great.
It's funny, I expected to give birth, have skin to skin and she would just immediately latch and we would feed bathed in golden light... In reality some babies need to learn how to do it.
It sounds like you're really making progress. In time, you'll be able to feed in whatever position you want, including while walking to answer the for!
A word of warning about pumping! I ended up with terrible over supply which meant engorgement made the latch even more difficult. Try to express only as much and as often as your baby feeds and your supply should settle down. If you haven't already found it, Kellymom is an amazing source of bf information.
Your baby sounds lush by the way!

Justyou Mon 30-Sep-13 22:35:32

Also baby kept lifting her tongue up so the nipple was going underneath , as I was getting ready to feed I had to quickly slip my little finger to hold her tongue down to help her latch on

BlackberrySeason Tue 01-Oct-13 14:02:26

Just you at my bf class the BFC said 'nose to nipple, tummy to mummy' smile

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