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baby won't latch - need encouragement that he WILL get it

(16 Posts)
SparkyUK Thu 04-Nov-10 23:38:42

I'm hoping someone can offer me some encouragement and maybe a success story. DS2 is 6 days old and we had a wonderful homebirth. Everything has been great except he won't latch on. He has a few times, but certainly not with any regularity and in fact, less and less.

I'm cup feeding him expressed milk but it is exhausting putting him on the breast while he screams, then feeding him, then having to pump. I find my whole day is consumed trying to get him to feed and keeping my supply up. Not sure how I will cope when DH goes back to work. I've seen a lactation consultant and have an excellent midwife. They keep telling me that I'm doing all the right things and just to persevere and that DS2 will just get it one day. I really want it to work, but I'm finding it pretty depressing.

Please tell me that someone has experience of their baby learning to breast feed a bit late?

OP’s posts: |
ClimberChick Fri 05-Nov-10 00:12:07

Firstly congratulations on the birth of your wonderful DS and for doing so well on the BF effort front.

While mine had started to get it by 6 days, she was slow getting on. I'd say for the first 3 weeks it was normal to spend 20mins trying to get her on. This would involve both me and DH (him to trying to control her flaying arms and keep them out of the way)

I would try and keep on seeing people in real life, LLL, BF cafes, regular bumps n babies groups (i.e. other mums) and maybe a different consultant (or same one) as it's still going on quite strongly.

Unfortunately they can and do forgot how to latch from session to session.

Has he been checked for tongue tie?

Does he scream as he approaches the breast, or is it after a while trying to latch.
This info might help.

Also have you tried biological nursing (I think basically you put the baby down and let him wiggle he's way to the breast). I believe people have quoted Jack Newman when mentioning this, so that's worth a google.

good luck

Hopefully someone more experienced will come along. Have you tried the helplines?

ClimberChick Fri 05-Nov-10 00:14:02

there's some videos and info on this sight

ClimberChick Fri 05-Nov-10 00:16:12

actually I think it's breast compression he's name is associated with, but there's still some info about latching on the above site. Also you can google under videos dr. jack newman and there's some latching vids

(sorry excessive ramblings happening)

elphabadefiesgravity Fri 05-Nov-10 00:38:45

Hi Sparky,

Huge sympathies, it must be so hard for you. What you have said mirrors my experience with ds (he is almost 7 now so forgive me if I am a bit hazy in the details.

Basically around day 3 he started to refuse to latch on, well to be honest we think he never really latched properly to start with.

Lovely home birth here too, had a midwife visit who was a bit too hands on mind (head shoving) also ds was unexpectedly small for his age.

We expressed and cup fed and it was very hard going.

For the moment stop trying to put him on the breast. It is distressing you and him and is serving no purpose. Yo need to slowly get him back to calmness. Take him in the bath with you and have lots of skin to skin but no pressure to try and get him to latch on. My main aim at this stage was to just get to a point wherw he was happy to be near the breast without screaming.

When you are ready then give him a little expressed milk via a syringe (drip it down your breast if necessary) so he associates it with getting something.

I hired an electric pump which was a Godsend. I also made the informed decision tonce my supply seemed established to give the night feed as formula (still fed by cup though.). I felt like it would give me the impetus to keep trying that bit longer rather than give up completely. It has to be your decision though.

To be honest we had everyone stumped, my lovely bfc, the b/f specialist at the hospital and the HV but eventually after about 4-5 weeks he did suddenly and without warning latch on. It was agony as he couldn;t open his mouth wide enough so his hard palate rubbed my nipples so I continued to express until he grew a little more. Breast compression helped.

I went on to breastfeed him until he was 15 months old.

lizlou Fri 05-Nov-10 08:03:16

Much sympathy- I understand what you're going through and it is so frustrating.

My little one didn't latch until we got home from hospital and my midwife friend suggested 'rebirthing' which involved having a bath together and getting him spend time on my chest, no pressure. it helped me to relax. He still used to bat my breast with his arms and scream, we cup fed him expressed milk for about 4 weeks and then even intermittently for a break after he got the hang of it- latching on could take 20 mins and my husband had to hold his arms out of the way.

we tried the syringe squirting milk onto my nipple and that's when he got it.

I have to say it was worth persevering and it's lovely now, but there were times when I thought I wouldn't feel guilty about bottle feeding if it meant I could be less frustrated and have a better experience with our newborn.I though at the time he was never going to get it but given time something clicks and it all fell into place.

Keep going for as long as it feels right and you have the energy, and make use of all the support out there, I found the national breastfeeding helpline brilliant

good luck

SparkyUK Fri 05-Nov-10 23:45:39

Thanks everyone for your posts. I now remember Jack Newman from stumbling blocks I had with my supply when bfing DS1. That website is a great resource and tomorrow we'll go down to the high street to search for a tube to make a finger feeder.

He's been checked for tongue-tie and that isn't the problem, so no biological excuse for him. I think we just need to keep trying, stay calm, and increase the skin to skin. We've tried 'biological nursing' (didn't realise it had a name) in the bath a few times and it is amazing how he searches out the boob. but when he gets there he just bobs around. If I try to help him, he screams.

Anyway, I really admire you ladies who have stuck with it for 4 weeks +. Not sure if we can hold out for that long, but I keep hoping that we won't have to and he'll get it any day now. We tried squirting ebm from a syringe into his mouth while trying to get him to latch and while it didn't quite work, it was encouraging. So maybe with a tube tomorrow we'll make some real progress.

thanks again, and wish me luck (and patience!)

OP’s posts: |
crikeybadger Sat 06-Nov-10 09:52:50

Good luck sparkyUK!

Sounds like you are doing everything you can.smile

Although I didn't realise it at the time, my DS1 wasn't latching on properly. In the end my SIL took rather drastic action and pulled his chin down, got his mouth wide open and literally shoved him on the breast.

Not very gentle and probably not at all recommended - but it did work.

I'm sure you'll find that with your DS, it will suddenley just click and you'll be away.

thisisyesterday Sat 06-Nov-10 10:02:01

my first baby was like that.
i spent 4 days in hospital being manhandled while my baby screamed and screamed and arched away from me

got home and just expressed a lot and bottle fed him.
on day 10 he latched on and was fine!!! it was quite bizarre

the only thing i would say is not to upset him at the breast. I used to offer the breast before every feed, i would express a bit so the milk was there and he didn't have to work for it and i would make sure some was on my nipple for him to taste. but if he got upset i stopped straight away so as not to form a negative association with the breast

it helped if i put him to the breast after he'd had a bit of milk so he wasn't really hungry, and if i did it while he was a bit sleepy.

good luck!

ooh, actually one other thought... cranial osteopathy in case he is in some discomfort?

SparkyUK Mon 08-Nov-10 22:42:53

Thanks for all your advice again. End of last week, I stepped back a bit and this weeekend noticed a difference. Baby was much calmer at the breast. Still wasn't latching but at least wasn't screaming when brought to the breast.

today we went to another bf cafe and they recommended I try a nipple shield. I explained that i had, and it hadn't worked but that I wasn't sure I was putting it or my son on correctly. They did it for me and baby latched and fed for 20 minutes! it was bliss!!

haven't gotten as good a latch since then but feel so so so encouraged. Just need to find some tips on how to use the shield and we may have some serious progress.

OP’s posts: |
crikeybadger Tue 09-Nov-10 11:09:35

So pleased that you are making some headway SparkyUK- you must feel much happier.

It might be worth starting a separate thread about nipple shields as I know lots of mnetters have used them- gaelicsheep in particular may have some good tips.

Keep going smile

octopusinabox Tue 09-Nov-10 13:47:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

unloadthecheese Tue 01-Jan-19 21:04:59

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

MrsG010814 Tue 01-Jan-19 21:11:10

@unloadthecheese I suspect after 8 years the op doesn't need any support with breastfeeding.

Megasaur5keeper Tue 01-Jan-19 22:15:43

Or indeed 15/5 years....exactly this message has appeared on a whole heap of zombie threads tonight!

Mille90 Wed 02-Jan-19 10:26:28

@MrsG010814 and @Megasaur5keeper

You guys are right. I do not know the statistics on how many people read these old threads or if any, I intended the message for anyone who might be reading this threads looking for information now or in the future. When I was having issues with breastfeeding and my baby was really suffering with undiagnosed reflux, I would be searching and reading all threads new and old in various parenting forums.

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