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Why can't my DS stay latched on?

(7 Posts)
GuineaPigMum Mon 18-Jul-11 12:03:36

My DS is five weeks old and I have breastfed since birth. After a shaky start I felt we had cracked bf and was starting to enjoy it. Since birth he struggled to stay latched on but it didn't seem to upset him too much. At about 2 weeks old though he started to get agitated when at the breast.

However he has only very rarely stayed latched on for an entire feed. During a feed he will take 30 seconds to get on to the nipple and then comes on and off throughout the feed, sometimes every few seconds. During a bad feed he will often become agitated and distressed in between latches. This often results in me getting upset and stressed and means I am reluctant to veture out the house and feed in public. It also means he finishes a feed still agitated and sometimes crying rather than contented. I think sometimes he takes in a lot of air so I have been giving him Infacol which has helped with wind and this no longer seems to be a problem - I can always get a good burp out of him after a feed.

Because he comes on and off the breast a lot, I am having trouble working out when he has finished a feed and sometimes feel I am forcing him to have more when in fact he has finished and had enough. Does his crying while at the breast mean that he's had enough or that he's unsatisfied and wants more??? I'm so confused.

I have consulted different HPs to try and get help with this and to work out what is going on. My HV suggested engorgement might be to blame, so I have been trying to offer the breast every 2 hours before my breasts get too full, which seems to have helped a bit.

I also have a very forceful let down so have tried hand expressing some milk off before offering the breast to try and prevent him becoming overwhelmed with a fast flow (my milk often squirts halfway across the room when he pulls off the breast! lol). Hand expressing doesn't seem to have made much difference though.

I have been giving him a dummy for a couple of weeks now as he is a very sucky baby and this was the only thing that would comfort him. I wondered if nipple confusion might be to blame, but since he has been having trouble with staying latched on since birth I am not sure. Also my nipples aren't sore at all thank goodness.

He is putting on weight well and has lots of wet and dirty nappies a day.

A feeding specialist is coming to visit me on tuesday to re-assess my latch but in the meantime I wondered if anyone else could offer any advice or has been through the same thing?

coldcomfortHeart Mon 18-Jul-11 12:17:25

My DS is similar- he comes on and off and it's worse during let-down and if I haven't fed for a while and my breasts are full. Offering more often is what I do and when I feel the let down happening (like you it's impressively forceful!) I take him off (or he pops off himself spluttering and crying) and I just catch the milk into a muslin until it calms down.

I imagine I'd cry too if I was hungry and thirsty and I couldn't eat or drink because it was flooding into my mouth, hose-like! Have you tried feeding 'uphill' (google biological nurturing) or lying down (they can let the excess milk dribble out more easily)?

As my DS is gaining weight and peeing/pooing fine (like yours) I am trying not to let it bother me too much (the slurpy noises as he breaks the seal annoy me it must be said!) and I know he'll grow out of it as he gets bigger and more able to deal with the flow. The feeding specialist might give you some more tips though so come back and share them with me!

MigGril Mon 18-Jul-11 12:56:54

You say you have a fast let down have you tired feeding in a different posstion. Google biological nursing.

Any position where you are lying back should help. www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/fast-letdown.html

GuineaPigMum Tue 19-Jul-11 20:32:56

An update since my visit from the feeding specialist today...

Basically she said that as long as DS is happy, putting on weight and has good nappies, there's no major concern about his latching on and off. She suggested that I adapt my positioning slightly as I have been supporting the back of his head with my hand to try and keep him latched on - she said that sometimes babies dont' like pressure on the back of their heads and that might be causing him to pull off. She showed me some baby massage techniques to help with excess wind. But other than that she didn't offer any major solutions...

I have tried feeding lying down and lying back and that doesn't seem to make a difference.

Any other suggestions?

nightshade Tue 19-Jul-11 20:43:53

let your initial let down flow naturally into a muslin or something, offer the breast when it has slowed, expressing will only increase your milk supply. feed from the same breast for two or three feeds in a row, until empty, this will help decrease milk supply, don't swap between breasts too often in a feed. in a few more weeks baby will be bigger and more able to cope with your let down, it will get better!

ThisIsYourSong Wed 20-Jul-11 04:47:31

Has he been checked for posterior tongue tie - properly checked by an expert? He sounds an awful lot like my DS who wasn't diagnosed until three months, until I found this article:
milkmatters.org.uk/2011/04/15/tongue-tie-the-hidden-cause-of-feeding-problems-however-you-feed-your-baby/

A bit further down there is a list of symptoms. I was also told it was due to fast letdown, high supply and too much foremilk (as he was feeding from both sides) but this didn't make sense to me as he had been like this since birth. As the baby can't use his tongue fully to move the milk to the back of his mouth, it spills out and makes it look like he can't handle the supply.

There are also another couple of articles there. Charlotte who runs the site can help you find someone local who is experienced in TT if you think it might be a problem. I was told DS's TT was mild but having it snipped it made huge differences in the way he fed, my level of pain and the amount of wind he has. Also, he is maaasssive so weight gain isn't always an issue.

Before the snip, things did get better at six weeks and then again at three months, then just after three months the TT was snipped and its been a huge improvement.

good luck!

cockle84 Wed 20-Jul-11 22:41:43

I have a similar problem with DD but it is mainly because of wind that she gets agitated and starts headbutting! The other day I was in a cafe and normally have no problem feeding discreetly but she started fussing and crying at the breast so I took her off and tried the other side which she immediately settled on???!!! Do you always start with the breast you last fed on? That will make sure he's getting all the good stuff ;0)

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