Bad latch is it my fault?

(38 Posts)
BeanoNoir Sun 08-Dec-13 07:07:06

Ds is 18 weeks and feeding is going really badly. He always takes over an hour to feed, falling asleep a lot at the breast.

His latch either slips to lips just around the nipple, or if I manage to get his latch nice and deep he pushes away with his hands until he's just round my nipple.

He's feeding every 2 hours day and night and has been for about 6 weeks. I'm obviously getting next to no sleep and feel like it's starting to affect me mentally/emotionally. I also have a two year old to look after.

Hv has suggested topping up feeds with formula. He will take between 1 and 5 oz after a feed. But still feeding so frequently. Last night he was in bed at 9 I was up at 11, 1, 3, 4.30 and 6.30 this morning - and that was quite a good night. I try and bf for as long as possible before giving the top up but feel as if he would just bf forever.

I don't want to stop bf but I'm in tears and overtired all the time. Does anyone have any tips or is it time to go to bottles? I just wanted to breastfeed but it's been so hard this time.

Had posterior tt snipped at 8 weeks.

Thanks if you can help.

Sephy Sun 08-Dec-13 07:23:38

Sorry Beano I can't help but posting to keep an eye on any answers that might be useful for us too.

Have you been to a bf support group for tips on latch?
When the tt was cut, did you get some LC support to help?

BeanoNoir Sun 08-Dec-13 07:28:20

Yes I've been to a bf support group.

Not v helpful. I was crying due to lack of sleep. Was told 'yes that does sound very frustrating' 'well it's not the deepest latch I've seen' on showing my imo misshapen nipple after a feed was told it looked ok. It was suggested I sleep on the floor next to my boy's cot so I didn't have as far to go to get up to him in the night (!). This is not a workable solution to me.

I have tried to cosleep with him latched on my nipple. He's not latched on and I got little sleep.

No after care given after tt. I have tried to be referred back but told by everyone I ask that it won't have grown back. Tbf he can open his mouth wide and tongue seems to be right down when I first get him latched on.

BeanoNoir Sun 08-Dec-13 07:33:15

How long should I bf for before giving a top up feed. I've been going for about an hour because I feel bad like I'm giving up too soon on the bf otherwise, but I think this is getting me down. Surely every feed shouldn't take over an hour at 4 months old? Especially as it doesn't even last him very long and he wants another 1 or 2 hours later.

Sephy Sun 08-Dec-13 07:36:03

Oh and forgot to say it obviously isn't your fault - you are doing your very best. It's just one of those things, a quirk of biology or something.

I spoke to a mum of six the other day who bfed babies 1-5 fine, but then couldn't seem to succeed with her last. She tried everything too - but there just seemed to be something about the combination of DC6's mouth and her breast that didn't quite work like it had with the others. No one's fault.

mathanxiety Sun 08-Dec-13 07:38:50

How is his weight gain?

If he seems to be gaining enough weight, have you considered introducing the dreaded dummy? He may be sucking just because he likes it. Nothing wrong with that up to a point, but you need to get more sleep.

Are you poking him or otherwise trying to keep him awake while feeding?
Are you giving him both sides at every feeding?

sykadelic15 Sun 08-Dec-13 07:40:45

Have you tried a nipple shield? Have you tried expressing and feeding from a bottle? You could also try taking some fenugreek which is known to increase your milk supply (as much as 900% so heads up!)

My sister had serious issues breast-feeding, convinced herself she "had" to or she was a bad mother, had friends telling her she should give it more effort and all she got was a shitty couple of weeks worrying herself into PND (which she ended up on medication for).

You've got the colostrum into him. You've tried. No-one should vilify you for doing what will not hurt your child and would benefit you. Do what you feel is right.

Personally I would try expressing for bottle feeding and if that didn't work, I'd switch to formula.

BeanoNoir Sun 08-Dec-13 07:48:51

His weight gain is good, maybe slightly slower than the charts but ok.

I keep trying a dummy but he spits it out looking very unimpressed.

I poke, stroke, tickle and change nappy to keep awake while feeding.

Switching sides more than once at every feed.

Expressing is a joke. Spending half hour plus to get out half an ounce. I'm feeding him so much that I don't want to express in the little time I'm not feeding either.

Haven't tried nipple shields or fenugreek. what do nipple shields do?

BeanoNoir Sun 08-Dec-13 07:49:54

Thank you for kind words. I fed dd with no problems at all, I don't understand what's going wrong this time but it's definitely starting to affect me, emotionally and physically sad

Nipple shields can help make a baby with tongue issues latch on better. They can be a godsend in these situations.

Breast compression might help, too? Look here.

I'm not sure it's helpful to think in terms of 'fault'. I think of breastfeeding as a dance - but it's a dance you learn right after a rather difficult experience. Your partner is one of the least coordinated human beings you have ever met. Before you start dancing, you may not have ever seen anyone dance. And the people who are meant to help you learn to dance, in the hospital, may themselves never danced, and may have had only minimal training in dance.

Mothers who have a hard time, have been doing their level best in a difficult situation, with the knowledge and skills available to them. I don't think I would ever want to blame a mother.

BeanoNoir Sun 08-Dec-13 08:17:40

bump. Any other ideas? What would nipple shields do?

Oh, didn't read your posts properly - so you have done the dance before, and it's been fine, but you're having a hard time with this partner. blush Sorry I missed that detail. But I still don't think 'fault' is a term I'd want to use.

I'm not sure why nipple shields help, but they can help with tongue-tie issues. Maybe they make it easier for the baby to have a deeper latch.

BeanoNoir Sun 08-Dec-13 08:18:57

ok, how do we learn to 'dance' properly then? I've 'danced' properly before.

BeanoNoir Sun 08-Dec-13 08:21:28

I just feel like if it's something that can be fixed then it's up to me to fix it. If I can fix it I must need to do something differently to what I'm doing now. That's what I mean by fault.

If it can't be fixed I'm just banging my head against a brick wall.

Where do I get nipple shields from? Just a chemist?

BeanoNoir Sun 08-Dec-13 08:27:42

How long should I breastfeed for before giving the formula top up?

Thiscoukdbeme Sun 08-Dec-13 08:31:24

Don't be so hard on yourself. You've done amazingly well to have breast fed him up to this point.
Have you tried Le Leche League helpline? I found them very helpful when I was struggling with breast feeding.
Having said that I really think that nobody could blame you for switching to expressed bottles or formula. You haven't failed, you've managed very well in a difficult situation.

WaitingForPeterWimsey Sun 08-Dec-13 08:38:20

Beano, you've done a great job with him so far - you've given him so much by bf him to this stage.

The frequency of feeding - every 2 hours, is around 12 times in 24 hours, which I wouldn't say is unusual for a baby this age. Some babies also just like the comfort (best place in the world being bf from you!!) of long feeds. If he is gaining weight ok then all is well from his point of view and you aren't doing anything wrong at all.

This is a good resource from Kellymom, which talks about the effect a shallow latch can have on milk transfer:

kellymom.com/bf/normal/frequent-nursing/

What I would suggest is that you go back to a RL bf drop in and say that you feel the length of bf may be due to ineffective milk transfer and ask for help to encourage a deeper latch.

Breast compressions may also help as they can increase milk transfer speed, so might be worth a try.

My DS always fed a lot (though with shorter feed duration) and I found over time his feeds naturally spaced out as he grew and his stomach had a larger milk capacity. This could be an intense frequency period too, as there is the usual 4 month sleep regression and a possible growth spurt also in the mix?

WaitingForPeterWimsey Sun 08-Dec-13 08:42:08

Another thought - if he is in his own room you probably have to wake up totally to go to him each time he feeds iyswim.

In the end I co slept with DS which worked amazingly for us. I see you've tried that and it wasn't right for you though. What about a bedside cot (like the bed nest) or moving his cot right next to your bed to see if that helps?

WaitingForMe Sun 08-Dec-13 08:45:33

Do you have a DP? I struggled with supply but rather than top up I exchanged a feed.

I would feed DS then go straight to bed. DH stayed up and did the next feed with a bottle. Then I did the next one. This gave me 4-5 hours sleep which saved my sanity.

There isn't nearly enough information on mixed feeding.

BeanoNoir Sun 08-Dec-13 08:51:33

Right so if feeding every 2 hours is normal is it also normal that each feed could go on and on and on? When am I meant to sleep? When am I meant to look after my toddler daughter?

OhGood Sun 08-Dec-13 08:55:25

Beano I don't have the skills to help you properly but this sounds really difficult and I agree it's not sustainable.

First, banish thoughts of guilt and fault from your mind. I know how emotionally insane BF is. Try to pretend you are a friendly stranger reading your own post on MN and thinking 'Right, how can we help get this sorted?'

So I have had some similar issues to you. Some thoughts.

1. Has he been feeding this frequently since the off or is this a new thing, like perhaps a 4-month sleep regression? I am just out the other side of this. Can offer more on this if you think this might be the case. So the question is is this a maybe sleep issue and not a feeding issue? DS would feed happily whenever he woke. Then when (touch wood pray God it lasts) he started sleeping better, he could go 7 hours so I knew it could not always have been hunger.

2. After the TT was sorted, did he feed any differently? My BF consultant (hired cos we could not go on any longer at about 10 weeks) said that after TT snipped some babies have to be taught to latch again as is new and different. She decided against snipping DS very slight tongue tie but did try to teach us a deeper better latch. Had some success, was v similar to you with DS just pulling back. We did persist but TBH he had learned to BF in his preferred position we did not have much success. Nonetheless feeding has improved.

3. Your BF support group sounds crap. Is there somewhere else you can go?

God my DS is up and needs to feed.

We need Tiktok! I have more to add, will get back when I can.

rockybalboa Sun 08-Dec-13 08:56:29

You've been given duff info about a posterior TT not growing back, it's perfectly common, very possible and in fact more likely than a normal TT is to regrow because of how low down it is. Have you considered contacting a private lactation consultant (if funds permit)? Much better attention than at a group. I struggled to get bf established with DS3 (having bf DS1 and 2 so technically knew what I was doing) and it was so frustrating. Yes, you can get nipple shields in the chemist but I still got sore with them with ds3. Does give them a bigger mouthful to get hold off though which helps.

But don't beat yourself up, a two hour feed schedule is punishing (ds3 did it for a full week when he had a growth spurt at 15w) and I thought I was going to collapse. Get as much help with your two year old as possible, do whatever you need to do to get milk into your baby (whether ff or bf) and remember that this phase will pass, you just need to survive it in a way that works for you.thanks

OhGood Sun 08-Dec-13 08:57:45

Sorry I see you said it's about 6 weeks.

rockybalboa Sun 08-Dec-13 09:02:10

Oh and I meant to say that it took ds3 a couple of weeks to learn how to latch properly post posterior TT snip. Then it grew back a bit and we struggled again but decided against re snipping as things settled down.

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