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:

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.

BeanoNoir Sun 08-Dec-13 09:21:25

After me feeding ds at 4.30 til 5.20pm and then again at 6.30am til about 7.30am, dh gave him a bottle of formula. He drank 7oz and is now fast asleep in his cot.

I didn't think it was possible for my milk to not be enough for him but maybe this is the case? Hv said that because my exhaustion has gone on so long I might not be producing enough milk? My breasts have gone v soft, one in particular feels just like it did pre pregnancy.

tiktok Sun 08-Dec-13 10:09:40

Beano, it's gonna be difficult for a talkboard, or a bf support group, to help you properly with this. I think you need real life face to face help with someone who knows what they are about, breastfeeding wise, and who doesn't clutch at (totally non-evidence-based) straws like your HV (your exhaustion has will not impact on the quantity of milk you are producing.

I would suggest an experienced breastfeeding counsellor (not a peer supporter - their training is great but it does not 'fix' long-standing and complex challenges like yours, or a good LC.

Your breasts sound normal - the softening you describe is normal.

His weight, growth, health and development I take it are normal.

So....what clues do we have here? You are topping up a lot - not only is it disheartening and time consuming to be feeding this way (at most feeds? With a baby who is feeding often? He may be taking large amounts and this will impact on supply, so he becomes less satisfied at the breast. He also clearly likes to suck and would bf forever if he could....if you get supply issues addressed, or rule them out, then I agree a dummy might be worth persisting with.

Would your partner help you settle him after a feed? Could you work out a way of making night feeds easier (not sleeping on the floor!!) ?

A bfc/LC would talk about why this behaviour started 6 weeks ago. If it was me talking with you, I'd ask what bf had been like up to that time, what formula he had had, when does he start sleeping and coming off and on....loads to ask and talk through.

I'm not sure this will help but my DS has always had this type of shallow laych and I saw countless LCs who in the end just said tgey think it's the way he wants to feed and I couldn't change it basically.

Like your LO mine had a PTT cut at 4 weeks and it never improved latch.

He is now 17 mo and still feeding frequently but has gone used to be at least every half hour day and night up until about 9 months.

I coped but only just and he was my first so didn't have to worry about a toddler!

The top ups were essential for us at about 4 montha...he was skinny and evwn the frequency of feeds wasn't giving him enough milk...I used nipple shields before that point because of pain and one day he just decided he didn't want tyem any more. Weaning off top ups wasn't too hard actually once he put on weight.

One thing I wish I had done is go back to tongue tie clinic regardless of what anyone says to you about it growing back it is possible and ttheyare so hard to find you need opinion of TT experts.

DS is now too old for correcting TT so we just get on with it...but what you mentioned aboit your nipples carried on for me..they are permanently indented top and bottom. I wish I had got help with this too.

Anyway I have come to my own conclusion. I think that even if TT is seperated successfully babies who have TT may have tighter connection between tongue and throat all the way down their throat.

If yiu can imagine breastfeeding uses whole of tongue then it seems reasonable to assume that this will cause problems. In our case it is like when I try to latch ds on deeper he can't control the sucking action properly and so needs to slip down to a shallow latch in order to do this.


Chocchip88 Sun 08-Dec-13 13:25:10

Beano my (now toddler) had a very shallow latch and used to feed 2 hourly but had started to space it out a bit more by the age of your DS. I was on my knees by 12 weeks (also have older DS too). I can't imagine how you must be feeling now : (
He still has quite a shoddy latch now and kind of pushes away at the breast until he's less deeply latched. I don't have much advice I'm afraid. Have you tried taking him off every time he makes the latch more shallow? But him back on w a deeper latch and then when he pulls away take him off again - repeat ad infinitum until hopefully he starts to 'get' that the deeper latch is better?

Sunflower1985 Sun 08-Dec-13 21:08:35

No advice as such as I have many of these issues with my 18wo ds, so just sending supporty thoughts.
Your perseverance is admirable.

CheeseTMouse Sun 08-Dec-13 21:34:00

Don't think anyone has answered where you can get nipple shields from -places like Boots in with the baby stuff. They are inexpensive and helped me when my daughter bit me and I was in pain from that. Not sure about the effect on a latch, but worth a try.

WaitingForPeterWimsey Sun 08-Dec-13 22:30:07

I would chat to a lactation consultant before trying shields as they can cause their own problems with poor latch and reduced milk transfer. They may well not help.

neunundneunzigluftballons Sun 08-Dec-13 22:32:47

Definitely sounds like tt is back I had a world of shit info on tt for years and 3 children. Everything you have described fits with the tt.

neunundneunzigluftballons Sun 08-Dec-13 22:36:11

Shields definitely help with painful latch I found them an absolute godsend. Many women I know used them with no adverse effect the modern ones are thin silicon. That said if he is a slow feeder that might make him slower it was not an issue in my case. If you use shields you might like to try breast compressions as well.

Xmasbaby11 Sun 08-Dec-13 22:45:55

Personally I'd sooner formula feed than cosleep - or at least do mixed feeding. Do formula at night. DS may go a bit longer, but even if he doesn't, your DP can do a feed and you can get some sleep.

Every 2 hours sounds horrendous at 18 weeks. DD was down to every 3 hours by 4 weeks, and it was still knackering. I have no idea how you are surviving!

Rollermum Sun 08-Dec-13 22:46:43

Sympathies, that sound very frustrating and exhausting - especially with another LO.

I had a similar situation at 9 weeks - DD suddenly breaking each latch to make it shallow which was painful and feeds took ages. I have a great HV who got me to slightly alter my position and that basically solved it. I felt I should have been able to figure it out - did research, called LLL etc - but as others have said having a good and experienced person look at you really helps. I feed rugby style and DD had grown so I needed to sit more forward and turn her on her side. Obviously each person will be different, but the change was effective but looked like nothing different iyswim.

I also baked lactation cookies. Not convinced they work on anything but a placebo level but my boobs felt fuller and leaked for the first time in ages. Also DD seemed more content with one side (which had been the previous pattern). Recipe:

Hope you get a break / improvement soon.

Xmasbaby11 Sun 08-Dec-13 22:47:55

It is entirely possible you don't have enough milk. I didn't with DD. BF consultant could find no explanation, there just wasn't enough. It is a myth that everyone produces enough.

mathanxiety Sun 08-Dec-13 22:55:43

Is there any way you could get even an air mattress (and blankets obv) for you in the baby's room? Or a bedside/clip on cot for DS in your room?

How about having your DH give bottles if DS wakes up from 1 am onwards, so you can get some sleep? Just to take the edge off the exhaustion for a bit?

Has DH tried giving him a dummy or is it just you? Sometimes a baby will accept a dummy from someone other than mum.

Does he nap at all during the day? Are you carrying him around a lot?

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