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Multiple attempts to latch on- please tell me it gets easier!

(15 Posts)
Daisy222 Wed 31-Aug-11 05:34:02

My dd is now 4 weeks old. From the start breastfeeding has been difficult. To start with I have very flat nipples and she had huge difficulty attaching in the first couple of days. She then became jaundiced and I was told to formula feed with subsequent nipple confusion. We have really battled back to breastfeeding despite cracked nipples, an episode of mastitis and oral thrush. She now as been ebf for 3 weeks.

The major problem that we now have is it is a real battle to get her to latch on. Every time, on both sides it will take a good 10 or so attempts, her getting upset and lots of windmilling of arms! We always get there eventually and when she is on she ll feed well.

Does anyone have any similar experiences and can reassure me that this will get easier? I am desperate to be able to feed discreetly but there is no way we would be able to manage this. Any advice would be really appreciated- thank you!!!

moondog Wed 31-Aug-11 05:39:58

Daisy, 4 weeks is still early days.
I wouldn't worry yet about managing discreetly. That will come.

Have you tried the following?

-Lying down to feed
-Rugby hold
-Stroking her cheek to get her to turn reflexively to the nipple

raspberryhead Wed 31-Aug-11 06:06:38

Oh Daisy, I've been there. Crying at 3am thinking it isn't working. Hang on in there. My dd is now 5 months old and I'm still bfing. It WILL get easier, promise. Tbh it took just over 2 months to really get going. I had same problem as you, she was jaundiced at 5 days and needed to go it to hospital at 5 days for phototherapy. We gave her top up bottles which I think is why it took so long to establish bfing. She was rubbish at latching on for the first couple of months, but now latches before I've even settled her in position. You're doing an amazing thing for your dd. My best friend said to me just remember to enjoy it. Hmmm, took me a few months to get there.
For the first few months I kept saying "I'll just do this for another few days/week, then I'll switch to bottles". Take each day as it comes, and if it really is a nightmare she's had your colostrum you can express or bottle feed. Happy mummy = happy baby. Good luck.

raspberryhead Wed 31-Aug-11 06:10:16

Also have you contacted your HV or local breastfeeding support line? I got several home visits to help with positioning.

PorkChopSter Wed 31-Aug-11 07:27:29

Swaddling her arms may help - it's one less thing to worry about. But I second/third getting a BFC to watch you feed. They will give you tips. Is there a baby cafe near you?

DomesticGoddess31 Wed 31-Aug-11 08:17:45

I too have so been there....my DD is now 11 weeks old and its only in the last week or 2 that I've really felt the BFing has settled down. No more taking ages to get her latched on...and off...and on...and off...and on. No more sore nipples (hurrah!). No more flailing arms and head shaking.

If she's doing this by the way try winding her...also scratch mits on baby gros are brilliant for hiding flailing hands which seemed to calm my DD a bit, or swaddling, or getting dad to gently hold her arm down. I also found it helped now and again to strip her down to her nappy and do it skin to skin like the early days.

Its worth remembering that its a skill you and baby are both learning and thats gonna take a brand new person longer than 4 weeks when they're learning with someone whos never done it before.

Like raspberryhead says, take each day as it comes, no matter what you've already given her a whole months worth which is brilliant.

Well done and good luck.

Cosmosis Wed 31-Aug-11 09:31:08

Yes it definitely gets easier, one day you will realise you only have to shove the baby in the vague direction of your boob and she latches on. Or even that she has helped herself when you have not noticed (don’t go and get her out of bed without a top on unless you are prepared for random bfing!!).

I would try to get along to a support group to see if someone can have a look at you trying to latch her on and give you some tips.

Annpan88 Wed 31-Aug-11 12:52:58

It will get easier. I remember thinking in the early days that I couldn't see how it would, but it does. Lots of love

Daisy222 Wed 31-Aug-11 13:38:44

Thank you all for your messages and advice. Really lovely to know that I am not the only person who has felt like this! We went to see a bfc this morning and she gave us some more tips as to how to improve dd's latch so hopefully things will get better. We ll just take it one day at a time and maybe in a few months I ll be bunging her on wondering what I was making all the fuss about!

raspberryhead Wed 31-Aug-11 14:35:06

Just had another thought, our local surestart centre has a weekly breastfeeding peer support group. (also do free lunch - yum!). Maybe they have one near you? Nowt like moaning about sore nipples with other mums smile

crikeybadger Wed 31-Aug-11 14:40:11

Good idea to get some more advice from the bfc Daisy. smile

You could also have a look at biological nurturing which is here.

Also, it may help to try and get DD on before she is starving hungry (crying is a late hunger cue) so that she is relaxed and not fussing when trying to latch on.

But you're right, give it a few weeks and she'll be latching on by herself - it just takes time to get through the 'breastfeeding boot camp' before you become an absolute pro!

crikeybadger Wed 31-Aug-11 14:42:11

Free lunch raspberryhead? Sounds perfect, you won't even get a hot drink at ours. grin

raspberryhead Wed 31-Aug-11 15:00:56

<scandalised>
nothing to drink at a bf group!!!!!
hmm

crikeybadger Wed 31-Aug-11 18:51:48

Oh, there's a drink alright, it just can't be hot. It seems that mothers lose their ability to drink tea safely once they've had a baby. confused

EvaPeron Wed 31-Aug-11 21:27:28

Your post sounds really familiar. I'd forgotten that I couldn't feed DS without swaddling his arms. I think it took about six months for me to figure out how to feed in a chair, I found the easiest for me was a variation of the rugby hold with me sat on the floor (on a cushion!!) with my knees up in the air so I could hold his weight on my legs. Then I had enough arms to control the wriggling. Even so, we did seem to spend a lot of feeds shouting at each other; everyone else looked so calm!

When he got to about 4 months, he had a massive growth spurt (1lb a week!!) and the latching problems were replaced with un-latching problems. I think as his mouth got bigger, it became easier for him to latch on well.

He's still feeding now at 2.4 years whenever he gets the chance and it is much easier than it was.

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