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4 day old, problems with latching, nipple as dummy, please help!

(11 Posts)
AJH2007 Tue 12-Jul-11 06:55:48

I am in need of some advice! Our son was born last Friday by planned C section (he was breech) at 38+5. He weighed 6lb11oz at birth. 

We were discharged from hospital on Sunday evening. For the first few days he fed well. He has produced plenty of poo and wee so we were happy enough, and I didn't have any problems in the hospital other than my nipples becoming a little cracked. 

However, he has developed a tendency over the last 12 hours not to latch properly and instead to want only the end of the nipple - for comfort we think. If we put him in his Moses basket during the night he screams and mouths as though he is hungry - but then wants the nipple to settle himself back down and has not actually fed.  

I think it's possible he is finding it harder to get a big mouthful from below the nipple as my milk is coming in and my breasts have swelled a lot and become quite hard. 

Do you have any advice re what to do to get him to latch on properly to feed again? Also anything we can try when he wants the nipple as a dummy but isn't hungry/interested in latching?

Thank you in advance!

RitaMorgan Tue 12-Jul-11 08:05:01

You can hand express a little to soften the breast before latching him on if you're engorged.

As for wanting to be near you at night - most newborns do this! It's a survival instinct, they feel safe next to their mother. Just keep him in bed with you.

japhrimel Tue 12-Jul-11 08:35:20

So called comfort sucking can be quite important for stimulating supply. But you need to correct that latch so you don't damage your nipples.

As the PP said, hand expressing can relieve engorgement and try to make sure you don't let things slide at night when you're half asleep.

It may be worth getting someone to check for tongue tie if LO struggles with latch a lot.

allhailtheaubergine Tue 12-Jul-11 08:37:23

Congratulations smile

He's not really using your nipple as a dummy. He needs to suckle as much as he wants to so he can regulate your milk supply. By suckling he encourages the milk to arrive. By taking what he needs when he needs it, he shows your boobs how much they need to produce to satisfy him - obviously this will change as he gets bigger and needs more milk so you will get periods of frantic non-stop feeding.

Milk is like sweetpea flowers; the more you take, the more grow back.

I would let him suckle every time he wants to, even if you don't think he's hungry or 'doesn't really need to'. I would also operate zero tolerance about the crap latch - you don't want cracked nipples. If he latches on wrong gently break the seal with your finger and try again. I found a >>BAM<< of quickly shoving a whole mouthful off nipple in worked for me. Even if you have to unlatch and try again 40 times, do it. No sucking the end allowed.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Tue 12-Jul-11 08:38:44

As rita says you can express to let a little milk out, making it easier for him to latch. Just give a gentle squeeze behind the nipple...repeat.

Newborns need to suckle LOTS. It stimulates your supply so you make the right amount of milk. I don't think it would be a good idea to use a dummy at this age, it could cause nipple confusion. Just go with it and it will get better.

If his latch slips just take him off and put him back on again as many times as necessary. Don't let him carry on...it will hurt...as you know! If you have trouble getting the latch right you need rl help. Is your mw any good? If not try and find a bfc, try the nct helpline.

You are doing a wonderfull thing. smile

birdofthenorth Tue 12-Jul-11 09:16:53

DD was the same. Great feeder for 2 days, then constant suckling combined with weightloss & I had bleeding nips. I went to a SureStart bf group & was lucky enough to see a local authority lactation expert who sat with me for an hour til we perfected the latch (in my case DD needed to take much more nipple into the mouth). I then followed this expert round all the local groups for 4 days until it was sorted! I know this level of support is not available everywhere though -if you have any close friends who've bf maybe get them to take a look whilst you're doing it?

Good luck, congrats & well done for trying. It gets easier I promise. DD is 10 months old now & has fed brilliantly from day 8 xx

crikeybadger Tue 12-Jul-11 10:45:11

You could try the exaggerated latch on page 9 to get a deeper latch and get more breast tissue in the mouth. See here.

Oh and think it was tiktok who said that "your baby is not using as a dummy, he's using you as a mummy". Comforting a baby and responding to his need to be close to you, is absolutely the best thing to do- as long as it's not making you sore.

Hope all goes well for you both. smile

moonstorm Tue 12-Jul-11 13:14:43

Whay everyone else said.

A dummy is a mummy substitute anyway. Nothing wrong with letting him suckle smile

AJH2007 Wed 13-Jul-11 08:56:17

Thank you all. We got a private lactation consultant out yesterday, who helped - although we had another 'not brilliant' night - and are hoping to see our NCT bf counsellor today. The latch has improved but I think we have a way to go still. I am only feeding from my left boob and expressing (chucking milk away) on the right until that nipple heals a bit. DH and I take it in turns to sleep while the other cuddles the baby. Given up on the Moses basket for now. Thanks again for your advice.

WhatsWrongWithYou Wed 13-Jul-11 09:04:17

Sounds like things are on the up. Just to say, DD, my 2nd baby, had a 'lazy latch' which I let go on for a couple of weeks but it had become truly agony by then. I was advised to 'tease' her with the nipple; pull away if she wasn't opening her mouth fully, like a baby bird. Then to aim the nipple to the roof of her mouth.
Gives the right position for the baby to 'milk' the breast rather than suck on the nipple.
Believe me, once you take it away a couple of times he'll soon gape nicely for you!

crikeybadger Wed 13-Jul-11 10:21:05

You could freeze the milk in bags rather than throwing it away. Shame to waste it. smile

Glad you're getting some good help and things are improving.

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