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Week old baby just won't latch on

(28 Posts)
Surya Sun 29-Sep-13 10:52:07

And I am in despair. She is lovely, but very sleepy and was born full term but at 6 pounds, and either won't open her mouth wide enough to get a good latch, or simply snuggle up with the nipple in her mouth and go to sleep. She has managed to have one full feed since we got home after the foeceps delivery, which was so lovely, but the rest of it has been bottle feeding expressed milk. Please help.

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Wed 02-Oct-13 07:02:43

How are you getting on OP?

Kimindi Wed 02-Oct-13 00:15:16

Its a very emotional time when you are unable to breastfeed. My breasts were just so big and nipples not pointed. I brought a Medela Swing breast pump (great product and so much easier than manual pumping). The midwife was great and I think even she thought i would never be able to breast feed in the end. I was shown and tried rugby ball style, lying down etc... During this time I used the medela calma bottles. It was around day 13 that he finally latched on (ok - only for a very short time but it was a latch). At first i could only get him to latch on one side but with time we were able to do both sides and increase latch time. I do not know if it will help but i used to use the pump to get the milk flowing and then try and get him to latched on. I also used special pads which you put in the microwave to heat up and then put on your breasts to help breast discomfort. I know it is difficult but keep trying (do not overdo it and also give yourself time to relax )and do not give up. I know its supposed to be the most natural thing to do and yet some of us (around 2% i believe) have problems. I used to get so so frustrated. Its well worth it in the end. My aim initially was to do 3 months. I am now still breastfeeding at night and he is nearly 14 months old. Good luck. From the sounds of it you are doing everything you can do. Give it time and enjoy your bundle of joy.

Justyou Tue 01-Oct-13 14:39:00

Yes I was told that too and we used that position during it but it was the actual touching of the roof of the mouth that made baby latch on

BlackberrySeason Tue 01-Oct-13 14:02:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Justyou Mon 30-Sep-13 22:35:32

Also baby kept lifting her tongue up so the nipple was going underneath , as I was getting ready to feed I had to quickly slip my little finger to hold her tongue down to help her latch on

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Mon 30-Sep-13 22:35:19

Just popping on to wave some pom poms! You're doing great.
It's funny, I expected to give birth, have skin to skin and she would just immediately latch and we would feed bathed in golden light... In reality some babies need to learn how to do it.
It sounds like you're really making progress. In time, you'll be able to feed in whatever position you want, including while walking to answer the for!
A word of warning about pumping! I ended up with terrible over supply which meant engorgement made the latch even more difficult. Try to express only as much and as often as your baby feeds and your supply should settle down. If you haven't already found it, Kellymom is an amazing source of bf information.
Your baby sounds lush by the way!

Justyou Mon 30-Sep-13 22:31:48

Hi, I ve just joined mumsnet to pass on advice I d received , tried to b feed all 3 children without much luck at all . After two weeks of struggling to feed my 3rd and countless visits from b feeding helpers a midwife who popped in to check on me told me that the nipple had to be stroking/ touching the top of the baby's mouth to trigger the natural sucking reflex. We had tried various positions , shields etc and I was upset baby wasn't getting enough milk but as soon as we tried this it worked fantastic. I m not guaranteeing it will work but it was definitely a "can't believe this is 1st time we've heard this" moment and enabled me to feed my baby as I d wanted. After everything we d tried it was a simple piece of advice but we d never been told it

Swanhilda Mon 30-Sep-13 22:27:50

In my case baby was also quite distressed after jaundice, and dehydrated after milk didn't come in for 6 days after a section. All this played its part in making latching on more difficult for him. You can still get through it, please don't despair. There will be good feeds and bad feeds over the next few days. And I felt so emotional.

Swanhilda Mon 30-Sep-13 22:21:25

Just to say that I had a baby that did not properly latch on for six weeks, and then suddenly got the hang of it. I bottle fed him until then; luckily he had a twin so the milk was flowing for her and there was a chance for him to try. Don't lose heart. When they are less sleepy it is much easier. He bfed for another two years! He really wasn't a very good feeder in first six months because he kept sticking his tongue in the wrong place, but he still worked it out. Cranial osteopathy helped too. He hated people touching the back of his head, and that was one of the reason he found bfng difficult.

Surya Mon 30-Sep-13 22:21:04

See, this is MN at its best. Nest of vipers indeed smile

thistlelicker Mon 30-Sep-13 22:18:07

Your feeling happier with things
Today op :-) take each feed on its own merit and do what u need to do! Best of luck xx

Surya Mon 30-Sep-13 22:17:27

Would love to feed side lying, but cradle hold works best for us at th mo'. Biological nursing reults in the baby either going to sleep or getting totally frantic, as do I: long periods of skin to skin seem to have a very weird effect on me, and make me really emotional and tearful.

Surya Mon 30-Sep-13 22:13:30

And I did hire a hospital grade pump, which has possibly saved my sanity, because it means that atleast I'm not worried about the baby not getting enough food. I'm in fact typing this while hooked up to the pump with a home made rubber band contraption to make it hands free.

Also, Guy, I'm so glad that you mention bottle feeding: I'm quite worried that the bottle feeding means that she'll never get breadt feeding, but we really were in no shape to feed her with a syringe or a cup.

redcaryellowcar Mon 30-Sep-13 22:11:19

keep going you are doing brilliantly, I think feeding your baby is one of the most emotive things you experience, it will get better, do ask for help and use the very good services and advice out there as much as you need.

BlackberrySeason Mon 30-Sep-13 22:05:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Surya Mon 30-Sep-13 22:02:57

Guy, I could have written your post, and hopefully, the latter part of it will come true too! I feel so lucky to have all this online support, as well as lots of real life support: the la leche league and baby cafe people I've seen are similarly a bit stumped, and several people have suggested that its a matter of time: the baby is quite small with the cutest rosebud mouth, which she just doesn't want to open.

To answer other questions: my milk is in, and I tried feeding the baby after expressing a bit today, both to relieve th engorgement and to make my nipples a bit pointier. This worked really well, so I'm feeling a lot less despairing today: yesterday really was rick bottom.

A bf counsellor did suggest trying nipple shields, but they didn't work for us.

BlackberrySeason Sun 29-Sep-13 22:27:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BeansAndCheese Sun 29-Sep-13 21:19:33

I second shields. My niece had a very similar birth and latching problems but the shields work wonders and my sister was able to wean her off them and back on the nipple after a few months. Still bfing now at 8 mo.

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Sun 29-Sep-13 20:53:31

Sorry- I meant to make my post to sound more positive that it did! You're doing brilliantly and it can definitely work even after a difficult start.

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Sun 29-Sep-13 20:05:41

Hi OP.
I have been through this. My baby just wouldn't latch. First thing to do is to check for tongue tie. Was your baby jaundiced at all? This can make a baby too sleepy to latch and they need to feed in order to flush this out.
My story however does not involve any of these- just a perfectly healthy baby who wouldn't latch and a lot of bf support workers who were completely stumped and just observed that she really didn't know what to do with a nipple. My nipples are fairly flat but they said this shouldn't make too much difference.
when she was a day old I began expressing and bottle feeding. I continued to try and bf but she just wouldn't latch. I was in tears every time I tried; it just felt like such a rejection. I spent hours bonding and doing skin to skin and baby-wearing and everything you will be advised to do but nothing worked. I continued expressing and then when she was 4 weeks old, I tried with a nipple shield and immediately she latched perfectly. I kept building on this until by 10 weeks she was exclusively bf (ie no expressed bottles) with a nipple shield. I successfully breastfed her this way until she was 11 months and I went back to work (and after those first weeks, I never wanted to look at a breast pump again!).
I tell you my story because it is possible to make it work. It was hard but it didn't cause any problems with my relationship with my baby- we have an amazing bond and she is my world. Take all the support you can (all are wonderful and there should be NHS support locally too) and keep working on that latch. If you do pump a lot, I would suggest hiring a hospital grade pump- this is truly life saving.
I just asked my husband what advice he would give and he said 'tell her partner to enjoy the feeds he can give now because I missed them when you were able to bf all the time'!
Finally you need to know that it's OK to find this hard. It can have an enormous effect on your self esteem and if it is truly affecting your sanity, please stop and move onto formula. Your baby will still thrive- and more so with a healthy mummy.
Please PM me if you need support. I know how hard this it. It will be ok, I promise.

BlackberrySeason Sun 29-Sep-13 19:42:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BlackberrySeason Sun 29-Sep-13 19:37:07

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BlackberrySeason Sun 29-Sep-13 19:35:27

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BlackberrySeason Sun 29-Sep-13 19:34:25

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BlackberrySeason Sun 29-Sep-13 19:32:40

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