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I am feeling a bit fragile about things with my DD - why did she never manage to latch?

(8 Posts)
LadyintheRadiator Tue 07-Dec-10 10:47:52

This is probably going to get long and maybe I shouldn't be posting in here but I don't know where is best and I can't face the mental health topic.

By way of background, I BF my DS without a hitch - after a long and fairly typical first labour he opened his mouth beautifully wide, like all those leaflets on how to BF latched well, and pretty much remained that way for the next few months, and I fed him until 18 months. Maybe it was too easy?

So DD is 7 weeks old. And she just would not latch. I wonder if I am to blame - I was not ready for her birth, I was a bit in denial when my waters broke, I had to be induced, any ideas of a home birth were out of the window. The induction was hell. I won't go on about that, because at the very least it was on the short side and although the first stage was the stuff of nightmares, her birth itself was actually quite good and by this point I was on a bit of a high, and I had some of the things I missed out on with DS - a fresh gooey baby launched onto my chest and tucked inside my top immediately

Maybe I was too exhausted, or out of it after G&A? G&A made me sick with DS so I was hesitant when offered while having stitches but I tried it and found it rather nice actually. But I felt so sleepy afterwards and DD was having trouble, she would root but carry on rooting IYSWIM as opposed to realising, ah, there's the nipple. They said I should rest and try later.

This is getting long already but with all the help I had she never really got a good latch, and when she managed to suck at all, she would immediately then open her mouth and we'd start all over again. It was hell. Because my waters had gone I had to stay in for 24 hours, though I can't say we'd have had more success at home, who knows? It was horrible, and this was then a Sunday, and DP had to return to work (*had* to, really ) so I therefore had to go home. They wouldn't let me without her feeding one way or another so out came the formula. I kept trying once home and a MW visited lots but it just never happened.

At the time I think I was in a bit of a haze, a mix of fear over being a new mother again, a bit of a post-birth high, and feeling very on edge at having no time with DP, having a trying-to-be-helpful-but-not-quite-getting-it mother hovering around, and of course my DS... I just shrugged and accepted it thinking that oh well, no big deal. But it is, isn't it? And I'm struggling with DD, so much. I can't even write down what I am thinking and feeling but the HV says it is PND and I think, have I really brought all this upon myself?

So without tongue tie why would a baby just not latch? She was very mucousy, or so they said, and isn't the suckiest of babies even now, sometimes she has a dummy to fall asleep but will always spit it out once almost off. She won't fall asleep feeding, and I am finding her a funny little thing. I feel like SUCH a bloody novice with no clue what to do with this baby because, with DS most problems were resolved by feeding. I feel like a bloody huge failure. I don't feel the guilt, I think, that is often bandied about, and I don't need cushioning or protecting, I just need to know how we got here and I don't suppose there is an answer.

Now I've typed it all out it feels so small, I am sorry for waffling on so much, pass me a grip if you like

EMS23 Tue 07-Dec-10 11:01:22

Can I point you toward the below thread, which is also in this section, currently on the second page: "Support for those FF" 2940-Support-for-those-FF

There are a lot of mothers out there like you, myself included who tried to BF but for various reasons couldn't. My reason was an unsuccesful latch and like you, I wish I could have a definitive answer as to why this happened.

It's so sad that so many of us are spiralling towards/ already suffering PND as a result of the guilt/ feelings of failure etc.. about how we feed our children and I wish I could give you the answers you need. I can't do that but maybe you can find some support in that thread.


RJandA Tue 07-Dec-10 11:05:15

Sounds like you could do with some RL help - if the HV has said PND has she referred you for counselling? Or can you get an appointment with a consultant midwife to go over what happened at the birth? Ask for it at your 6-8 week check if you haven't had it already, or go to your GP and ask.

You are NOT a failure, you are a brilliant mum who did everything she could and you need to give yourself a break. Every baby is different, so you might have found DD a funny little thing anyway, even if you were breastfeeding so don't put so much pressure on yourself.

Have you talked to DP about how you feel? I really think talking about it all is your first step.

Hope you feel better soon.

tiktok Tue 07-Dec-10 11:07:02

I understand the need to know why things haven't gone the way you wanted them to - and the profound feeling of sadness and disappointment, and the feeling of 'missing'.

These are (some of) the reasons why a baby might not latch (bar the obvious ones of prematurity, disability, illness):
* pain relief (pethedine, diamorphine) depressing the usual instincts and behaviours
* over-enthusiastic manhandling to 'try and get the baby on' which can mean babies 'switch off' or struggle
* other oral anomaly apart from straight TT
* lack of opportunity to do it at the 'right' moment ie being offered when the baby wants to sleep
* lack of skin to skin post-birth
* rejection of breast in favour of bottle - not so much 'confusion' as favouring the productive bottle over the stressful breast (see manhandling above)

Having said all that, it seems to me that the sense of 'something missing' in your post might be more than feeding or more than the type of milk, anyway. Would it help you to recreate breastfeeding with a bottle - so lots of skin to skin, baby practically on the breast when feeding from the bottle, bathing together, quiet, snuggly time in bed together? Would she enjoy just being on the breast - you prob have some milk still, you know.

Is relactation an option for you? Hard work, and you need a lot of confidence to do it...

What do you think?

shongololo Tue 07-Dec-10 11:10:16

my son was induced early and would not latch on in the early days - he was a very sleepy babe and was jaundiced after 3 days.

Midwife told me to strip him (and me) so he would be cold, and then would snuggle in for some milk and warmth. It worked for us.


I think there is so much pressure on mums to BF - and that we have reached a point where mums feel guilty for not doing so. Same a we are all supposed to have natural childbirth. SOmehow we are supposed to be able to do everything "naturally" and in reality, this just doesn't happen sometimes.

So stop beating yourself up about something over which you had little control. If baby is feeding well and you are watching her thrive, and giving her all that lovely snuggly love, then just accept that in this instance, BF was not to be. Its OK. You know that you tried your utmost, but it just wasn't to be.

snugglepops Tue 07-Dec-10 11:17:01


Please realise that you do not bring PND upon yourself.

It is a huge massive deal, going through a traumatic birth, finding yourself back home with a funny little baby, to enable your DP can go to work and earn a crust, having your baby be fed formula then trying to bf, which will have impacted your supply, having someone in your house for whatever reason who is not providing the support you need, all the while looking after another child at the same time. Trying to get a baby to latch when all you want to do is feed the baby. Even dealing with MW and HV visits is another thing for you to do.

Can you go to a bf group or see a lactation consultant?

Also - when you feel ready would you be able to go through you notes with a professional. THis might bring you some closure and/or acceptance with the birth itself and just what you have been dealing with.

Wishing you every support.

You write a great deal more eloquently than I think I could ever muster in such a situation.

mollycuddles Tue 07-Dec-10 21:14:04

Hi. Really feel for you. I can still remember the pain of not being able to bf my DS 12 years ago. Some similarities - induced birth, poor latch, weight loss etc. I developed PND and took a long time to forgive myself which in hindsight was ridiculous. He is a big healthy young man now and there are no ill effects.

In terms of why - getting into a negative spiral from the induction onwards and it is very easy for bf to start going wrong and to just get worse. And also regarding the latch. Ds never opened his mouth wide either. Dd2 now 6 months latched perfectly first time. If a baby can randomly be a good latcher then they can randomly be a bad latcher. Bad luck basically. You are very hard on yourself. Try to be a bit kinder. Hope you get the help you need to get over the PND. It truly sucks.

Ozziegirly Wed 08-Dec-10 00:40:35

I felt the same, I tried and tried to BF with various support from the hospital. DS would latch, and then just sit there. I had milk, plenty of it, and he had the latch, but he would just never suck.

I felt bad, and actually did stop coming onto mumsnet becuase of how bad it made me feel about "failing" in this way.

DS was express fed for 6 weeks and is now ff and is a robust, healthy 3 1/2 month old.

If you have to ff, please don't worry, if you look at the stats carefully, the "risks" are so tiny, and the benefits although real, don't outweigh having a happy mother who is not worrying about "failing" in some way.

It would have been great to bf and the downside of the campaigns of "breast is best" are that when you really really want to bf but can't, it makes you feel a total failure, as does reading on here that ff is like a "ready meal" and bf is like "home cooked food" - really unhelpful.

Also, once your baby is a couple of months old, it will seem way less important, especially as you find that more and more mums mix feed or go onto ff as well.

I really feel for you though and have broken my self imposed mumsnet strike to post as I know exactly how it feels to have really planned for things to go a certain way and then have something like breastfeeding just not work out, despite all your best efforts.

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