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Has anyone not been able to latch their newborn and gone on to successfully breastfeed?

(20 Posts)
Fedupofplaystation Tue 18-Nov-14 11:17:17

DD1 never latched. We managed with nipple shields for three months, probably only because I have an over supply. I became very ill with mastitis multiple times throughout.
I constantly tried to latch her directly onto my nipples during this time period.
By three months, she was no longer able to get enough to meet her needs through shields and started refusing them. I expressed for two more months and eventually gave up.
DD2 is 7 days old. She latched during the colostrum stage although apparently not well as my nipples became sore, cracked, bleeding and my breasts became terribly engorged.
Since they became engorged, DD has not latched and has been having expressed milk.
I don't feel I can carry on expressing much longer. My breasts are still engorged: hard, red, sore and all the tricks aren't working.
I have had good support from professionals about correct latching but I worry that the longer this goes on, the more used to the bottle Dd will get and I'll never get her on.
I'd love to hear experiences from real people who haven't been able to get their newborns to latch, but have managed it eventually. How long did it take?
Thank you.

Smartleatherbag Tue 18-Nov-14 11:21:45

Hi, yes, I have. It can be done!
I'd recommend phoning national breastfeeding helpline or BfN or going to support group.
It is really really common, the volunteers are good with this issue.
Also kellymom. com has a big section on 'HELP, my baby won't latch!', really useful! Also expressing tips etc there.
Good luck!

Smartleatherbag Tue 18-Nov-14 11:22:40

Ps, unmumsnetty hug, it is emotionally tough x

Littlepinkpear Tue 18-Nov-14 11:24:24

Yes, me with both DDs.

Two weeks with DD1 and 10 days with DD2. Even then it was just on one side. I've managed more than 6 months with both of them with various bouts of mastitis. It's horrible, you have my sympathies.

It feels like the worst time of your life but you mention you have good support. Hang on in there if you can but don't be afraid of bottle feeding.

Someone else more knowledgable will be along soon but you have done an amazing job so far.

Big hugs xxxxx

Emstheword Tue 18-Nov-14 11:25:40

Yes my DD took 6 weeks before it finally clicked and we breastfed successfully for 7 months....check with your health visitor if there is a breastfeeding guru or similar in your area. Good luck!

Emstheword Tue 18-Nov-14 11:26:47

Oh and we topped up with expressed milk in a sippy cup until them to ensure she got enough

MrsHathaway Tue 18-Nov-14 11:27:03

Yes! DS1 couldn't latch at all for three weeks, then a mixture of expressed and shields to about 20w. Then finally we got it.

For us it was a physical compatibility thing: small mouth v large breast with flat nipples.

Anyway I'm on my third nursling now, total of 5y5m (moooooo).

Good luck, and brilliantly well done so far - what perseverence!

Poledra Tue 18-Nov-14 11:33:08

It took me the best part of 10 weeks with DD1 to get it right, and give up the top-up bottles of formula DH was giving her. The key to finally getting there was a visit from an NCT bfeeding counselor, who was absolutely brilliant. It made such a difference, having her there in my home where I was most comfortable, helping me out. I fed her to 10 months, only giving up because I was back at work and needed to be away overnight.

It was very hard, and I cried a lot but we did get there. I remember being out at a stately home type place with my sister and her DH when DD1 was about 15 weeks, sitting leaning against a tree feeding my baby in the sunshine and thinking 'This is why it was worth it.' I hope you get that moment soon flowers

longtallsally2 Tue 18-Nov-14 11:36:21

Yes, DS1 didn't latch on his own for about 8 weeks. I expressed and used shields, but kept offering the nipple inbetween. We had fabulous support from a breast feeding clinic twice a week: they could get him to latch on, but I couldn't, so he had a couple of feeds a week with them grabbing my boobs and his head to get him latched on their help. It took 8 weeks of sitting on different chairs/experimenting/watching/adjusting positions by a cm this way or that, and eventually worked - ds1 went on to feed for 3.5 years!

Sending you lots of positive thoughts and good wishes.. It is such tough going early on, and no-one will blame you if you don't manage it - you've already given them a brilliant start in life - but yes, it can be done. Best of luck smile

Fedupofplaystation Tue 18-Nov-14 11:59:54

Wow.
I'm surprised with so many responses so quickly as I've never met anyone in real life who's done this.
Thank you.
I'm not sure atm whether I'm finding the responses positive or not as not sure I could carry on like this for weeks.
I'm currently heavily relying on DH to take care of high maintenance DD1 and he goes back to working long hours next Tuesday.
I had a c section and the wound is currently bleeding, open and infected so am on antibiotics. I'm wondering if I'll feel better about it once this is done.

TheBiggestDinosaur Tue 18-Nov-14 12:21:21

Yes, with both DD's, although in my case I could manage to (imperfectly)latch on one side about 50% of the time.

With DD1 I struggled massively, no clue what I was doing, multiple bouts of mastitis. Once she had latched and fed a bit with the shields, I could usually get her back on to continue the feed without them. It took about 4 months of pain at every feed - I'd be shaking and crying before trying to latch her before trying to latch her on, it hurt so much, and I'd usually be bleeding when she came off - before we really got the hang of things. I hired a pump, but she wouldn't take a bottle or cup, so I just had to struggle on, I pumped to keep up my supply but had to pour most of it away. I would spend hours and hours feeding her, because she was so inefficient at it. Now looking back, I have no idea how I managed, it was just so awful, but in fact in the end once she got the hang of it, everything just magically became easy and painless and she fed until 20 months old.

With DD2, I knew what I was doing a bit more. I ignored all advice and I just fed her from the better side, and I hired a pump for the hopeless side, and pumped while she fed from the good side, then topped her up at the end with it. I first managed to latch her on the bad side at 8 weeks, and she didn't look back - fed until over two years.

It was a physical problem for us - big, flat inverted nipples, small mouths, and I'm pretty sure there was tongue tie too - (in fact I asked for DD2's tongue tie to be cut but the doctor refused because he said it was unecessarily traumatic for her when she could just be bottle fed instead.) Once they got bigger, they were finally able to latch on.

I hope you manage to find a solution too, it's an awful time while it lasts, but it will pass flowers.

CheshireSplat Tue 18-Nov-14 19:37:27

Another saying yes. I managed to latch her by having lots of warm baths with her and then using nipple shields (as I see you did with DD1). It took me three weeks and lots of visits from breastfeeding people. Nipple shields worked for me and I used them for 8 months. Partly it was so long because I had got used to the protection, so latching without them hurt!

I was able to do this because it was DC1 and I didn't have anything else I needed to do. It'll be harder with an older child around. On a more positive note I have started a thread asking for people to remind me why bfing is worth it and have had lovely replies so if you need motivation, maybe have a look at that.

I can't imagine expressing for 2 months as you did - 3 weeks nearly finished me off. Well done.

Have you tried nipple shields with this baby?

Good luck!

mipmop Tue 18-Nov-14 19:51:02

Me too. It all came together when DC developed some head control, at which point we could feed now upright or lying down. Until then I was kept going by Lansinoh and a stubborn determination. The "nipple flip" technique helped too. Lots of skin to skin and just being at home with minimal commitments helped. Oh and a hot water bottle was nice. You have my sympathies, shredded nipples can be agony.

mipmop Tue 18-Nov-14 19:53:22

To clarify , it could have been due to DC developing head control or due to his mouth being bigger that it all came together. Real life support plus Kellymom helped me.

mrsjohno Tue 18-Nov-14 19:57:14

Yes, us too! DD1 didn't latch ever until she was a month old. I pumped full time to keep up my supply (and bottle fed - we were initially advised to finger feed - unsustainable in our experience for a month with a ravenous baby) and finally she latched when I used the 'flipple' technique. Kellymom and LLLI good on non-latching babies - techniques etc. Jack Newman also says almost all non latching babies will latch by 4-8 weeks - which gave me hope when I was crying all over my medela flanges ... It is incredibly hard emotionally and physically but so worth it - DD1 still feeding (a bit too much!) at 2.5 years.

Now having all sorts of issues with DD2 but that's another story. Also have a seriously high maintenance DD2 and it is very very hard so well done at getting this far. Only perservere for as long as you feel you can whilst remaining sane - the most important bit. Assuming you've had advice on expressing a little off beforehand etc in case engorgement making it difficult? I was also worried about bottles (and am currently with DD2 who can't really suck) - we had success with the calma bottle with DD1 as it made her work a bit more for the milk which I think didn't get her used to an easy flow bottle.

Really hope you have latching success soon smile

NakedFamilyFightClub Tue 18-Nov-14 19:57:48

Yes, DS had a tongue tie that wasn't diagnosed in hospital and he just couldn't latch. I ended up expressing using a double pump until his tongue tie was clipped. It tool about 2 minutes for the whole thing and the difference was fantastic afterwards. He's still feeding now and he's 1yr.

Have you had a breastfeeding consultant check for tongue tie? Midwives and health visitors told me he didn't have one, but she spotted it right away.

flowers sounds like you're having a tough time of it!

DrownedGirl Tue 18-Nov-14 19:58:13

Ds3 had a tongue tie clipped at 2 weeks but didn't manage to latch until 6 weeks

Canyouforgiveher Tue 18-Nov-14 20:00:10

Yes with my son. I was very sick after he was born and they gave him a bottle that night. The next day, he could not get the latch. The wonderful nurses worked tirelessly with me, trying different positions etc. The one thing that worked was they would position his mouth over my nipple, then syringe a small amount of formula into his mouth from next to my breast. He would clamp down and latch on correctly. We did this for about a day and then he had got the latch by himself.

best of luck to you OP

SASASI Tue 18-Nov-14 21:51:27

Like many others - DS had tongue tie snipped at 10 days. I expressed & gave formula too ups until my milk came in at day 5 then exclusively expressed until combination of nipple shields & expressing until week 5/6 when nipple shield feeds seemed enough then finally off nipple Shields at 8 wks - it's been amazing since , so much quicker easier & I'm just loving it (13 wks now). Plan to continue for a year.

Large breasts mean I have to hold the breast at each feed so I never have a free hand for coffee or anything! Also I think the nipple shields brought my flatish nipples out so never had any nipple pain & the early expressing & now occasional expressing mean I've never had any blockages etc. Silver lining & all thAt!

First few weeks were unbelievably stressful & I was so close to giving up but knew I would regret it.

I wish someone had told me formula in the beginning didn't mean breastfeeding wouldn't work out!!

violetlights Tue 18-Nov-14 22:21:41

Wow - I'm so happy I stumbled across this thread in active. DS1 had a lot of feeding issues due to horrible ventouse delivery and didn't latch much the first few weeks - but by 2.5 months we were exclusively bf. It wasn't fun getting there... But one thing that really helped was cranial osteopathy. He bf after every session even in the darker days...

However now I find myself in a similar situation with DS2 who's only 8 days old. On the first night it was apparent he was incredibly hungry so I gave him a bottle and have had to continue 'supplementing' since (although when I say supplementing he hardly ever latches). He's ridiculously hungry (in the past 4 hours he's had 350ml formula... shock I'm expressing and offering the breast at every feed but he's not very interested. I've spent many of the past few days crying over feeds. This thread has given me a lot of hope so thank you... I hope you get there OP - best of luck to you.

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