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Help baby won't latch

(10 Posts)
Teabagtits Mon 19-Jun-17 14:44:58

With my first child I didn't produce any colostrum or milk at all but she latched perfectly. I'm determined to feed this new baby myself and am producing milk, the problem is he won't latch. He's only 5 days old and has jaundice (we're waiting to find out if he needs treatment) so is constantly sleepy. He doesn't really wake for feeds. He shows signs of rooting permanently but won't attach to the breast and starts screaming and getting hysterical if we try. He's successfully latched four times in 5 days and only on one side but usually falls asleep/stops sucking within 10mins, often earlier.

He's lost 6% weight which is within normal but with the jaundice etc they're keeping an eye on things. We're also a dairy intolerant family so can't just top up with normal shop formula and are waiting to hear of GP will prescribe neocate for us in case we need to top up but I'd rather not go down that route as I'm worried I'll see it as an easy option and give up with the breastmilk

As he won't latch I've been pumping and I'm happy to do this but I worry that my supply is already dwindling or that he's not getting what he needs. It started off really well but isn't increasing from first few days although now milk has come in I'm only getting 30ml maximum per breast. I know the baby would stimulate exactly what he needs but that's not happening.

Midwives at the hospital tried and said I'm
Doing nothing wrong. There are no local lactation consultants that I can find and the groups that seem to exist are all at times I need to be available to get my other child to and from school and miles away from where I live. LLL are at other side of the nearest city one day a week but again it coincides with school drop off and rush hour (and I'm not allowed to drive for 6 weeks anyway) which would mean it would take 45+ mins to get there for 9am. NCT are just 5 minutes away from them.

I'm feeling very stuck and like a complete failure. I've no idea what to do. If I try different positions to get him to latch he goes into screetching meltdown and I'm not far off it myself. He doesn't open his mouth wide enough and no amount of stroking his nose with a wet nipple will help.

I'm at my wits end.

Please, any advice that isn't just 'stick at it' is welcomed.

drinkyourmilk Mon 19-Jun-17 15:08:09

I've been in your exact position regarding latch and having had a csection. Somewhere on this board is my post.
I couldn't get my baby to latch come he'll or high water, I was able to find a lactation consultant who was able to get her to latch- but I couldn't replicate it alone. Due to this we ended up using shields-and we still are 12 weeks later. I can't get her off the shields-but she is ebf and doing everything she should.
My lactation consultant recommended using avent as they are cut away both sides to allow both nose and chin to be free. She had me switch feed to encourage total milk removal from the breast to keep supply, and to express after each feed had finished for the same reason.
She said that with long term shield use you risk supply dropping as it's harder work for baby's to empty the breast.
to try and prevent long term use you should try without at each feed, and sometimes if I slip it off mid feed my daughter will suckle without.
In your red book do you have the helpline number for nct or LLL? They will be able, to tell you to if there is an independent lactation consultant in your area. Sometimes they will also send someone to your home.
It is also possible to exclusively express if he won't take the boob.
Kellymom has information on expressing, increasing supply, and shield use.
You have done such an amazing job getting this far, I remember just how soul destroying and emotional this was, and I didn't have any older children. The only thing I'd advise is be careful how far you push yourself. The first 3 weeks of my daughters life was awful- because of the press put on myself, I'm very lucky I didn't develop PND.

yecartmannew Mon 19-Jun-17 15:32:44

Has he been checked for tongue tie? My daughter has really struggled with getting my GD to latch and spent the first 12 weeks expressing.

We finally got her checked by a private tongue tie specialist and 4 weeks ago we paid £100 to get the tie snipped. It was the best money we have ever spent and has made a massive difference.

GD is now BF well.

2014newme Mon 19-Jun-17 15:35:32

My babies never managed to latch in four weeks in hospital with every midwife and lactation support available.

AssassinatedBeauty Mon 19-Jun-17 16:22:21

I was in a similar position with DS2 who didn't know how to latch after being tube and then bottle fed.

I was initially expressing and just about managing to keep up with demand. We did use some formula if I hadn't managed to express enough.

We left hospital after a week with DS2 being wholly bottle fed. At home I tried him at the breast at each feed, and gradually he got better at latching until eventually he was feeding more directly than he was via the bottle. That meant we could drop the bottles and he was then exclusively breastfed. I'm continuing to feed him now he is 1 year old.

What I found helped was using a bottle/teat like the Medela Calma ones. They aren't free flow and the baby has to work harder to get milk. I felt that helped him persevere with the breast rather than prefer the easier faster flow of milk from a normal teat.

Teabagtits Mon 19-Jun-17 20:32:15

Thabks all. We've ended up back in hospital due to jaundice. I'm now feeling very sorry for myself as I can't really give him a cuddle without his blue light paddle board sad

He wasn't getting anything from the calma teat but will persevere with it if it's likely to work. I'm wondering if the jaundice has made him lazier at feeding.

I'm expressing less and less from the one boob he has managed to latch onto in past which would explain why he doesn't stay on long if nothing is coming out. I'm terrified it's going to dry up soon but I'm a way that might also make the decision for me to stop stressing myself over this. Everyone else in the ward seems to be feeding so well.,

Afaik he doesnt have tongue tie as I asked about this at birth but I might ask again.

Sorry if I've forgotten any other points raised

CherriesInTheSnow Tue 20-Jun-17 14:18:17

I know I'm going against the grain here but would consider topping up small (20 - 30ml) amounts of formula?

I've read into it myself after doing something similar with DD but oversupplementing so my supply dwindled, so while I know the possible negatives of supplementing, I do believe that done properly it can save breastfeeding and reduce the stress/take the pressure off.

I did read an article about this, the the author said about how it can be a bit of a vicious cycle, as if baby isnt getting enough milk, then he won't have the energy to suckle well, and if he doesn't have the energy to remove milk from the breast well then so it continues.

If he is being hospitalised for jaundice and is lethargic I would really speak to a midwife and see what they suggest about this. If he is hungry the bottom line is he needs to be fed, and this may help calm him enough to take the breast.

CherriesInTheSnow Tue 20-Jun-17 20:19:54

Sorry OP, I also meant to say sorry to hear you are in hospital but I hope you're both being well looked after - wishing him a really speedy recovery flowers

Teabagtits Wed 21-Jun-17 01:19:14

Thanks cherries I did too up with some formula today as he was getting hysterical and there's no way I could have satisfied him quick enough. At home I'd be less stressed but I'm aware of everyone else in the ward having to listen to his screaming.

We made a small breakthrough with latching and he's been doing reasonably well. Pumping was getting me too down as I could see how much I wasn't making but he has suckled away at the poor breast today a few times so I'm hoping he's getting what he needs.

When people said breastfeeding was difficult, it wasn't the mental aspect of it that I considered would be the hardest part. I was wrong.

CherriesInTheSnow Wed 21-Jun-17 10:56:30

Really glad to hear he is getting better smile

You are right, breastfeeding can be very emotionally draining, especially with the high expecations and preconceptions we have about it before we have tried it. It's a huge learning curve! You are in the right place for feeding support - have you also considered contacting LLL?

Your HV and people who have actualy seen you and baby IRL are the best to offer advice, but here are a couple of things I can think of that might help from this point are

- remember that pumping/expression isn't an accurate indicator of how much milk you are producing - some women with fine supplies cannot pump very much.

- consider nipple Shields; these situation's of poor latch are what they are designed to help with. They may also help him if he gets stressed at the breast. Once he has gained weight etc they can be dropped and he can go back to direct BF.

- consider continuing conservative formula top ups, as the most important thing is that baby is fed and hydrated, especially after the first few days.

- DON'T feel guilty if it truly doesn't end up working out for you in the end. Feeding is also a spectrum rather than an either, so don't necessarily think that mixed feeding can't work out. There are many important things about looking after a baby, and you need to balance BF with the impact it has on other aspects, like your emotional wellbeing.

Good luck!

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