Constant feeding, poor latch and tongue tie

(19 Posts)
Utini Thu 03-Nov-16 12:03:51

DD is 7 weeks old and I'm still struggling with breastfeeding. Her latch has never felt right, despite being told by midwives it looks good, and my nipples have been pretty sore on and off. In the early days she used to feed every couple of hours, but she's now constantly hungry.

I saw a lactation consultant yesterday who thinks she has a posterior tongue tie. That, along with a slightly recessed lower jaw, and high palate, means her latch is shallow. I was shown a technique for improving it but it's still but working that well, so I don't think she's feeding very effectively.

Weight gain has been ok so far, think I had an oversupply for the first few weeks which probably helped. I'm worried now that my supply has settled down, that she's not getting enough from me. I frequently have blocked ducts and am struggling to clear one side at the moment, and I don't think she's getting much from that breast.

I have an appointment with Dr Minocha for tongue tie assessment / division in a week, but that seems so far away, and with her other structural issues may not solve the problem.

I really don't want to give up breastfeeding but I wonder if I should be topping up with some formula. Or am I just going to make things harder by reducing my supply? I'm so sore from constant feeding, and expressing doesn't produce much, I just don't know what to do.

CarrieLouise25 Thu 03-Nov-16 12:16:20

Firsty, I feel your pain. I'm on baby number 3, and the first 6-8 weeks (sorry) are hell. Whether tongue tie or not, whether a good latch or not, your nipples just aren't used to that much attention abuse

Please note the following growth spurts: Common times for growth spurts are during the first few days at home and around 7-10 days, 2-3 weeks, 4-6 weeks, 3 months, 4 months, 6 months and 9 months (more or less). Babies don't read calendars, however, so your baby may do things differently.

At these times a baby will feed constantly literally off one side, and back on the other. You will feel like you are running on empty, that they are not getting anything, but they are just stimulating milk to increase and match their demands as they are growing.

So many women feel they aren't producing enough, when they are. Your body knows exactly what it's doing, there's definitely no need to top up with formula.

With the blocked ducts, take a long hot shower, and massage any lumps out. This can take a while (about 15-20 minutes) but invaluable for pain and preventing mastitis.

Weight gain is good, so that's very positive. You're doing so well 7 weeks in is very hard. I promise you it will get easier. But I remember those days so well (8 month old still BF) - and I remember getting so upset I wasn't providing enough, felt so empty, and yet I've already done this before!

I wish there was more support out there. Get whatever support you can, and make sure your DH/DP is with you. It is very hard work, your body is working very hard to do what it's doing.

It seems far away now, but you'll look back when it's easier and be so glad you kept going.

Good luck flowers

CarrieLouise25 Thu 03-Nov-16 12:21:22

Also, evening feeding (where it's constant) is normal. Called cluster feeding, and it's to stimulate supply ready for the next day. It's like putting in an order for the milk the following day, and they do this by feeding all evening. It'll feel like they are being very fussy, and you'll feel like you're not producing enough but it's all normal (although tough) and you will come out the other side x

Utini Thu 03-Nov-16 18:01:50

I originally thought growth spurt but she's been like this for maybe 10 days! Hopefully it'll settle down soon. I wouldn't mind the hours of feeding so much if I wasn't so sore. Hopefully paying more attention to the latch will help somewhat, but I probably do just need to push through it. Everyone keeps saying it shouldn't hurt if you're doing it right...

For the blockage I've been trying hot showers, hot flannels and massage but this one is stubborn! I think it's resolving slowly as it's much less painful and the lumps feel smaller. She also seems to be feeding better on that side now. I was hoping for a more dramatic resolution like the last time, where I had a jet of milk that just kept coming and coming, with instant relief, but we're getting there.

Resisting the formula top ups for now, as I suspect it'll be a slippery slope to reduced supply. I've managed 7 weeks, hopefully I'm nearly through the worst.

Thanks for the reassurance. flowers

CarrieLouise25 Thu 03-Nov-16 18:17:20

Everyone keeps saying it shouldn't hurt if you're doing it right...

Well childbirth hurts understatement and it's right grin

It's definitely going to be sore, and IME definitely for the first 8 weeks. I'm sure you're getting through the worst of it.

Some blockages are stubborn. Just keep up with the baths/showers etc. It's easier to say as I'm on the other side now, but I really do feel your pain.

I know others who have tried nipple shields and it's worked for them.

I wish everyone was more honest with how painful breastfeeding can be. I think they don't want to put anyone off, but in fact, if we had more honesty, we wouldn't feel like we were failing or doing it wrong (when we're not).

melonribena Thu 03-Nov-16 18:53:06

Op, I have the same situation as you. My ds2 is 5 weeks old. Posterior tongue tie, Hugh palate, shallow latch, painful feeding.
It's hard hard work. I understand.

My ds1 who is now 4 was the same. It was so hard but it got easier at about 3 months I realised I wasn't feeding 24 hours a day and my nipples started to heal. I started feeding 20 hours a day then it gradually reduced further.

He will be getting enough, babies are excellent at getting what they need. Believe me. Trust the nappies and the weight gain.

I ended up feeding ds1 until he was nearly 3. But it's the hardest by most rewarding thing I've ever done.

I did it by taking it one feed at a time. I knew I could give up if I wanted so just took it one feed at a time and that helped me feel it was under my control.

Please contact me individually if you want to talk further.

Kstar8 Thu 03-Nov-16 19:52:42

Same here, DD 10 weeks old tomorrow. Had TT done at 5 days and then spent weeks in pain as it wasn't cut deep enough! Had it done at 8 weeks and nipple pain is lessening (I think, tentatively) but still getting blocked ducts sadI think we are some of the unlucky ones. Pats on the back for everyone making it this far with such miserable circumstances. I too was clinging on feed by feed but now think i can review it week by week.

Utini Fri 04-Nov-16 00:07:58

Carrie I'm reluctant to try nipple shields as I'd read they can make feeding less effective and lead to blocked ducts. I've got some though so will give it a go if I'm desperate.

Agree that more honesty would be better. Our NCT breastfeeding class was so unrealistic... Told we shouldn't need lansinoh, nipple shields etc as if we have pain our latch is wrong and we just need to sort that out. No acknowledgement of the fact that can be difficult and painful, especially in case like ours, and that these things can be useful tools while we get used to it or heal. If I wasn't already aware of other experiences I'd read on here, I'd have felt much worse about this, like I was doing it all wrong, and would probably have given up by now.

Utini Fri 04-Nov-16 00:10:27

melonribena it's reassuring to hear things got better with your ds1, I hope things improve with ds2. Did you have the tongue tie divided?

Utini Fri 04-Nov-16 00:11:35

Has anyone tried supplementing with lecithin to prevent blocked ducts? Some people seem to swear by it, I started yesterday so we'll see if that helps.

AGBforever Fri 04-Nov-16 01:25:33

With my first we struggled for 6-7 weeks mostly cos she didn't seem that interested but we definitely had just one side that she preferred - and lots and lots of lansinoh helped me. My first HV made a 'mistake' converting kg to lbs so that we didn't have to go back to hospital at 14 days...(thank you Tess!) by 9-10 weeks all was fine and we went on to bf till she stopped (herself) at around 15-16 months. I was so thankful I stuck with it but it can be so hard in the early days and like you, I wished NCT etc had been more honest about how tough it can be.

With my second she was a pro by 3/4 days so take heart. And congratulations on your lovely bairn.

mawbroon Fri 04-Nov-16 02:00:01

You need expert help from people who specialise in tongue tie.

Even if a posterior tie is properly revised, it can take a while for the baby to adjust to the "new" tongue. The high palate can also cause problems, but I believe that can be helped with cranial osteopathy by someone who specialises in ties. I understand that manipulation inside the mouth can help.

Ds1 had this exact set of problems however it was undiagnosed until he was 6yo. I don't want to scare you, but it caused him all sorts of problems which could have been avoided had it been dealt with when he was a baby.

Dig and dig until you find information and specialists who can help you just now.

Sierra259 Fri 04-Nov-16 02:09:32

I've had similar with both of mine. DC1 just could not/would not latch onto me without a nipple shield and became jaundiced, so we started formula top ups early. DC2 mangled my nipples within 2 days to the point where the lactation specialist told me not to breastfeed for 48hours to let them heal, and express instead. She had a severe posterior tongue tie and lip tie (in hindsight, I think DC1 did too, just never diagnosed). Again we went down the nipple shield and formula top up route. I mix fed DC1 for over a year and DC2 is 11 months and attached to my boob right now, so it is definitely possible to use the shields and formula as adjuncts if you choose to. I would not have been able to continue breastfeeding without them.

You can get gel pads which are amazing for damaged nipples - the lactation specialist put them on prescription for me. Congratulations on your LO and hang on in there flowers

melonribena Fri 04-Nov-16 02:28:46

Op, yes, both of my ds's had their tongue ties divided. Ds1 had his done at 6 weeks and ds2 at 4 weeks. We went private each time due to the NHS waiting list and had very positive experiences with both.

Ds1 has beautiful speech and sticks his tongue out perfectly. He's trying to teach ds2 to do his!

I would highly recommend getting them done. Friends of ours who didn't know about tongue tie got their daughters done when she was 5. It had to be done under general anaesthetic and had caused all sorts of speech issues

melonribena Fri 04-Nov-16 02:39:55

In terms of latching, I found the most effective way was just to let them latch themselves on naturally. It hurt less than me doing everything I could to try and latch perfectly.
I just sat upright and did the nipple to nose thing and they latched on. It hurt like hell a few times then got easier

Utini Fri 04-Nov-16 13:52:35

Thanks melonribena, I'm glad the division worked well for you, sounds like we're doing the right thing then. I just hope the consultant agrees that it is the problem. We've also chosen to go private as I can't wait for weeks to get this sorted. I'll try letting her latch herself and see if that helps at all.

mawbroon sorry to hear it's caused problems for your ds1, what effect has it had on him? The IBCLC lactation consultant I saw seems really good, and highly recommends the paediatrician she's referred me to, so hopefully we're on the right track. I'll ask him about the palate and jaw issues too.

flowers for everyone else unlucky enough to be going through this, it's such hard work but it'll all be worth it when we're through the other side.

Utini Mon 05-Dec-16 11:58:41

The paediatrician said DD's tongue was quite severely restricted, so we went ahead with the division. Feeding initially seemed better, then I had a week or so when it seemed just as bad as always. I was warned it might take a while for her to get used to.

Now, three weeks on, there's a definite improvement. Some days feeding can still be a bit uncomfortable, but nothing like the pain of before. She still wants to be on the boob a lot but I can tell now that she's not desperately hungry all the time, often it's just for comfort / to get off to sleep. She now feeds quite well when she's actually hungry.

Really glad we went ahead with it!

gluteustothemaximus Mon 05-Dec-16 12:17:15

What a lovely update. So glad everything is getting better.

On month 9 with DC3 and it's easy peasy now. Luckily no teeth yet!!

Brittanyspears Mon 05-Dec-16 17:29:11

Lovely to read!

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