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Positive stories please - did a bf counsellor manage to help you improve your DC's latch?

(29 Posts)
YellowYoYoYam Thu 20-Mar-14 05:45:22

I posted at the weekend about pain in one breast when feeding. The response I got has led me to believe its caused by poor latch rather than thrush etc, but I'm having no luck improving it on my own. I phoned the NCT bf line yesterday for some tips but I'm still finding it difficult to change anything, so I'm going to go along to a meeting on Friday.

I've been feeling quite positive and the idea of stopping bfing didn't enter my head until this morning. We've had a bad night - 5wo DS, 16mo DD and I all have a horrible cold and I think my attempts to improve latch during the night have actually made me more sore. I'm beginning to doubt whether anyone could improve the situation.

Please tell me your positive stories of improved latch - I want to believe its possible.

fluffandnonsense Thu 20-Mar-14 05:54:26

Have you had your little one checked for tongue or lip tie?

My daughter is 9 weeks and it was missed by every midwife and health visitor. It was only when I went to breastfeeding cafe and saw a lactation consultant was it picked up that she had upper lip tie and posterior tongue tie.

I've paid privately to have it cut and its already improved her latch just 24 hours later.

LocalEditorOxford Thu 20-Mar-14 06:14:38

A good lactation consultant can be worth their weight in gold. Sometimes you can access their advice for free at a La Leche League/Baby Cafe/Baby Lunchbox type bf support group.
When my son was born we struggled for a few weeks until I saw a lovely midwife/lactation consultant who helped so much. Good luck - you're doing wonderfully. It's so much harder when you're ill as well as sleep deprived

YellowYoYoYam Thu 20-Mar-14 06:16:04

Thank you for your reply.

No one has mentioned tongue tie or lip tie - so I don't even know if it's been considered in order to be ruled out. I guess no one has checked that or they would have told me. The woman I spoke to on the bf helpline never mentioned this either. Would a bf counsellor be able to check for this?

I'm a little unclear about the differences between bf counsellors and lactation consultants - is one more qualified in some way?

geekaMaxima Thu 20-Mar-14 08:44:22

There are differences in training and roles between a bf counsellor and a lc - this post outlines them quite well.

It's needlessly complex, not helped by clashing terminology, and most midwives and HVs I've met don't understand the differences at all and think their bf training is the same or better. (It's reeeeeeally not). hmm

geekaMaxima Thu 20-Mar-14 08:50:48

Oops - wrong link. I meant this one.

Kakaka Thu 20-Mar-14 09:01:23

I saw a lactation consultant who sorted it all out for me. I went from feeding agony (was taking trandol for bfing, not the C section!) to bearable pain in 24 hours.

The main points I remember are:

bring baby to breast, not to hunch over to try and do the opposite. The posture should feel natural.

Get as huge a mouth as possible. My consultant showed me this trick to put a finger on one side of my nipple, wait for a huge mouth then release the finger and sort of flick the nipple in. There should be very little nipple exposed.

If the latch doesn't feel right, stop and try again. Break the seal with a finger.

Apologies if you have already tried all of those things.

Good luck.

Sunshineseeker80 Thu 20-Mar-14 09:29:19

I had a nightmare for 6 weeks with tongue tie, strep infections, thrush and poor latching even after tongue tie was cut. Then we but the bullet and paid to see a LC - best thing i spent money on since being pregnant. She was fantastic, did home assessment so taught me how to feed in my environment etc. She (like many of them) also can assess / cut tongue ties so could rule that out as well as help with latch. I spent hours with BF counsellors and in cafés but one session with a professional made the most difference. Am typing this while feeding which I could never imagine doing 3 weeks ago as I cried pretty much through every feed whilst clasping my boob in one hand and baby in the other. If you are in SE London area PM me and I'll send you her details. Hope you can get some help and good luck

Superworm Thu 20-Mar-14 09:31:51

A lactation consultant helped me too. DS had a tongue tie which was snipped and she helped to relatch him properly. Took a while but she was great.

Sunshineseeker80 Thu 20-Mar-14 09:32:12

Ps I has virtually no symptoms of infections apart from extreme pain - it felt like someone was ripping my hair out when DD first latched on - nothing visible at all. I would encourage you to go and get a swab from GP just to rule it out.

YellowYoYoYam Thu 20-Mar-14 10:04:50

Thank you everyone, your insights are very helpful and your kindness has made me a bit teary <emotional and sleep deprived emoticon>

I am in Scotland and a google search suggests that their is only one actual qualified lactation consultant in Scotland. sad Could this be true? They are at the opposite end of the country to me. sad Does anyone know?

IUsedToUseMyHands Thu 20-Mar-14 10:10:00

Yes! I wasn't tucking his legs around my body. Since then I've fed no problem despite a tongue tie. She went round a roomful of women and seemed to be helpful to everyone.

qumquat Thu 20-Mar-14 11:31:23

Sunshine- I don't know how to pm but which lc did you see in SE London? I've seen Hazel Jones and Katherine Fisher- either of these or somebody different?

overthemill Thu 20-Mar-14 11:34:42

I had a terrible time with dd who was 4 weeks prem and fed ALL the time and seemed to be starving. It was really painful. I went to one nct breast feeding group which was very woo and earthy and sandlewiod and Birkenstocks but so brilliantly helpful! Shied me a way if helping her grasp the nipple which was kind of like a rugby ball hold. Really can't explain but so good as she fed wonderfully ever after.

Good luck, and dont despair

Poppy954 Thu 20-Mar-14 12:57:51

This thread is really reassuring thank you. I'm having the same problems as sunshine - tongue tie , thrush. I can't fill her up on breast due to poor latch. I'll look into a lactation counsellor.

minipie Thu 20-Mar-14 13:05:10

A lactaction consultant spotted DD's TT after we had been told by NHS staff that she did not have one.

Got it cut and amazing difference a few days later.

In general it seems the NHS is a bit shite about detecting TTs, and trained BF counsellors and LCs are the only people who can be relied on to spot them (tho sadly there are even some BF counsellors/LCs who can't properly assess them).

qumquat I'm in SW london and saw Geraldine Miskin who was fab (in case this is helpful).

NotCitrus Thu 20-Mar-14 13:33:08

I saw a local bf volunteer counsellor, who was lovely and gave me tea and malt loaf and agreed to update the NCTs list of counsellors - the nearest 3 had all moved with no forwarding details. I think she helped the latch a bit but more usefully gave me details of various NHS and other support groups around London.
The MW bf counsellor at one of those helped a lot despite being in a room with only plastic bucket chairs, figured something beyond her expertise was going on, and suggested I travel to the far end of Croydon to a lactation consultant who did a drop in service once a week.

Who was wonderful, diagnosed thrush as the main problem but gave me more tips on latching (if his mouth isn't wide open, don't put your breast anywhere near it), and from giving up bf for two days at six weeks old, ds ended up 98% breastfed to 6 months and continued to 14 months. Kate something. Addiscombe Baby Cafe.

CelticPromise Thu 20-Mar-14 13:38:42

I'm a peer supporter so not nearly as qualified as a bf counsellor never mind an LC, but I think there is really no substitute for real life bf support. If the local group is run by volunteers like me and they feel your issue is beyond them they are likely to know who best to refer on to. Good luck!

geekaMaxima Thu 20-Mar-14 13:42:36

Yellow - it's possible that the IBCLC website doesn't have all the lcs in Scotland listed. I know some in my region are left out.

Best way to find one might be good old fashioned word of mouth. Can you get to a La Leche League meeting? Their leaders often know who is in the local area, but you do need to chat to the local group as opposed to their general helpline. If you have a local Breastfeeding Network centre, or NCT bf group, they might also know. Lots of lcs cover a wide geographical area, so you might find someone is willing to travel even if based elsewhere.

You might well get the support you need from these voluntary organisations, though - face to face meetings, where someone can observe a full feed and then advise, can be much more useful than phone support or a busy bf cafe.

If you're still stuck, you could try asking your HV to be put in touch with your local infant feeding coordinator. Some are IBCLC, or on the way, even if the NHS doesn't employ them specifically as lcs. I found one in my area through that route.

Dannygirl Thu 20-Mar-14 13:54:09

So sorry to hear you are in pain yellow. There's no substitute for real life support as Celtic has already said, so I do hope your meeting goes well tomorrow. You may also find this DVD helpful which describes in detail and actually shows what a good latch looks like and shows in detail how to achieve it as well as what some common problems are/how to resolve them. It's called 'Breastfeeding without tears' by Clare Byam Cook, you can buy it on Amazon. I am in London and was lucky enough to see Clare in person with both my babies and she was wonderful (she can get flamed on this forum by people who haven't met her but my personal experience has been fantastic and I am sure I wouldn't have successfully breastfed my first DS to 9 months without her - DS2 is 5 weeks so hoping to do the same). All the very best xx

Notafoodbabyanymore Thu 20-Mar-14 14:18:07

The BF counsellors at my hospital were a godsend. Diagnosed tongue tie, referred us to have it cut, then came to my house several times to help her latch back on after I'd been expressing and bottle feeding for 5 weeks. (Had to express only to give my nipples time to heal!)

One wonderful lady even gave me her home phone number. DD1 ended up feeding until she was 18 months old thanks to these absolute stars.

It's worth asking for help! Good luck.

Sunshineseeker80 Thu 20-Mar-14 14:25:26

qumquat we saw Sue Ayers. She works at the tongue tie clinic at Kings as well as doing private consultations. She's also super friendly, and gave my self esteem a massive boost by being so kind whereas I have heard others are a bit more business like.

(Sorry OP to hijack, am just a bit evangelical about the difference it made to me and want to spread the word. I really hope you can find someone local to give you RL support as well)

YellowYoYoYam Thu 20-Mar-14 20:52:23

Thanks for the replies, it has made me feel better today to hear about people who have overcome a poor latch.

I went to the GP to rule out mastitis and thrush, which she did really although she said there might be a touch of thrush and if the group tomorrow says latch is fine (which I really doubt they will) then to come back and get a prescription for thrush.

I've been expressing off the sore side and feeding normally from the other and giving him a bottle - a short term fix hopefully.

I phoned to check about the group tomorrow and was passed on to a few different people, but it does seen to be on and hopefully run by someone very experienced. So fingers crossed!

littlealien01 Fri 21-Mar-14 09:23:25

Ive had help from an nct bf supporter, a bf counsellor (health visitor referred me to) and a bf cafe. Latch improved each time.

At 1 point i didnt feed off left breasr for a wk as too painful, dd is now happily feediing off that side as i type.

If you go somewhere and it doesnt help try another group. I hated the firrst bf cafe i went to but have since found another lovely one...and push your health visitor, i got a home visit from counseelkor which helpwd loadsbut only after crying at her when dd was losing weight.

Sorry for typos

YellowYoYoYam Fri 21-Mar-14 16:28:19

Thank you littlealien, that's good to hear because the group today wasn't much cop really. It was run by a nursery nurse, who said yes, he's not latching on properly, oh, he might have thrush. Then she got a health visitor to come in and check for thrush and she said it's not thrush, it's his latch. They're advice was to wait until he opens his mouth really wide. And that was that.

So quite disappointing. Expressing seems to have given it a break and made it less sore so that's good. And a health visitor is coming to the house on Wednesday so I will push for more support if its still sore.

The leaflet I was given about local groups only 5 weeks seems to be totally out of date. I guess I'll wait until I see the health visitor if I want more help.

No wonder breastfeeding rates in this country aren't on a par with others.

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