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Baby won’t latch(23 Posts)
Hi all. I have a 10 day old who seems to hate breastfeeding, and I really need help. He was born via section (elective, due to breech), and for the four nights we spent in hospital he seemed to take to it very well. Since we got home though, things have been really difficult. He really resists latching on, even when he’s clearly hungry. He pulls back, slips on and off, bobs frantically but won’t latch even when the nipple is right in his mouth. He gets increasingly distressed, and it can take up to 30 minutes to calm him down enough to finally latch. It’s very upsetting for everyone. I have a lot of nipple pain, so I know the latch is not perfect when we do finally manage it - trying to work on that (flipple) but it’s hard when he slips off so easily. Feeds can last up to 1.5 hours, as he often falls asleep as well as coming on and off all the time.
I’m a bit panicked about it, because he lost 8% since birth, but hasn’t started gaining back yet (weighed on Monday). He isn’t losing, but isn’t gaining either. He is also a bit jaundiced. Plenty of wet nappies. Lots of dirties also - maybe too many? He’s quite windy, and goes every time he passes wind, it’s mustard coloured, but very very liquid. HV not worried as yet, and is coming on Monday to re-weigh. I’ve had a lactation consultant, who was flummoxed by his behaviour on the breast. Her verdict was to feed home some expressed milk first, then try to latch, then pump after to protect supply. I’ve been doing that for two days, but it hasn’t made any difference to his latching issues. Also, it means that I’m either feeding or pumping or washing/sterilising for 2.5 hours, and then he’s up wanting to feed again. It’s not sustainable for much longer - I have a 2.5 year old as well who my husband is taking charge of now, but he goes back to work next week.
I’m at my wits end. I had some difficulties with my daughter, and I really was hoping for an easier ride this time. I find feeding an emotional rollercoaster and I feel very depressed about it at the moment. Can anyone offer any advice/their experience? Thanks.
That's sounds really rough.
I'm sorry I don't have any advice on the latch issue but you do not have to sterilise in between every pumping session. Pop the washable parts in a ziplock bag and stick them in the fridge to use again, then do a wash and sterilise once a day, you will save tons of time. (I've seen a lot of people saying you don't need to sterilise anything if it's only for breast milk but I liked to do it once a day just in case).
I hope things get better for you soon.
I can remember my second ds being like this, the only way he'd feed quietly and happily when like this was with me laid down on the bed and him next to me. I have no idea why, can you try that?
Also will add there is absolutely no need to feed him expressed milk, this could be confusing his latch to be fair. Just feed directly from the breast it will be easier for you as well. Put him to the breast as often as you can. Bf poos are very runny, well all mine have been anyway. Fennel tea is great for you to drink as well and can help with baby's wind. I swore by it.
Thanks bobster. I’ve tried every position, but none work. Eventually cross cradle will, if he calms down. WRT the expressed milk, this was recommended by the LC who thought it might be a “h-anger” situation, and that it would calm him and make it easier to latch after. Also, for weight gain reasons - she weighed before and after a feed and thought he wasn’t getting enough. I would prefer not to risk nipple confusion, but at the same time can’t bear to think of him hungry. Putting him to the breast more is fine, but it’s a battle every time, and he gets exhausted. I try to lift him as soon as he stirs, I don’t clock watch, but it’s so stressful trying to latch him on, I’m terrified he’s going to develop an aversion.
Nina thanks - I’d forgotten that about sterilisation.
Could someone have your eldest for a day or two so you can just focus on feeding?
Could it be that your let down is so strong that it is shocking him and making him come off? One of mine had this issue and we found hand expressing off a bit of milk to get my let down going before trying to latch helped.
Also lots of skin to skin even if you're not trying to feed might help. Take to bed with baby and box sets plenty of snacks and just snuggle.
Rugby ball position also helped with my third who had trouble latching with the strong let down.
If it is a healthy full term baby there is no need to sterilise anything. Hot spot water and air dry in kitchen roll once per day. Sorry I have no advice re latch apart from plenty of skin to skin, free access to the breast. Maybe take a baby-moon and camp out in bed with baby, plenty of snacks and Netflix.
I've been through this. My eldest was emcs following undiagnosed breech and she just wouldn't feed at all. It was awful. I mix fed for 3 weeks with mostly formula and as much expressed milk as I could manage to get out which was very, very little. Then she started feeding a bit from me so I was able to express a bit more as my supply increased. I'd say 1/3 expressed, 1/3 breast and 1/3 formula. At 6 weeks I stopped expressing and she was 2/3 breast and 1/3 formula. At 10 weeks we got rid of the formula and she was just breast. I fed her til she was over three years old.
Things that helped:
Skin to skin pretty much all the time
Biological nurturing (loads of videos online)
Lots of support from Dh and from my mum
Things you need:
A hospital grade, double breast pump. You can hire them.
Best of luck, op. I hope it works out for you.
Tongue tie - that’s what’s jumping out at me you’ve described my little one to a tea
Have him checked by someone who knows what they’re doing - my DD has a very posterior tongue tie and struggled to latch just as you descrIbed. She lost 8% too and had the most explosive windy nappies as her latch was so rubbish she was just swallowing air.
My nipples were mess cracked and bleeding and I know people say it hurts but I’d already breastfed my first and it doesn’t hurt like that! It was like glass
Flipple is a great technique so keep going with that but do get him checked for TT and btw don’t believe anyone who says it’s mild or slight (if it’s there) there’s no such thing. It’s euther there and causing problems or it isn’t. You’ve got pain and struggles to feed so if it is a TT it needs snipping. GL
Another vote for biological nurturing or "laid back breastfeeding". Also spending a couple of days in bed in skin to skin contact with the baby.
Thank you all. Tongue tie was ruled out by both LC and a doctor that specialises in it here. I agree that he shows all the signs, but seems not. Going to take all your suggestions re skin to skin and biological nursing on board (though that position is frightening to me because of the nipple pain!). I’m going to give it another week and then reassess if no improvement. Encouragingly, today hasn’t been too bad so far, so that’s good. Seems to be worse in the evenings/night time.
Ahh could be the "witching hour"
It sounds strange but I had this with my second DC when he was just days old. I read somewhere that sometimes standing up, holding baby in cradle hold, and then twisting moderately quickly from side to side can help. It sounds a bit strange but completely worked for me.
Tiger in the tree hold also supposed to be good for colic-y babies
Mine did this and still does at 11 months. Turns out he has tounge tie and reflux might be worth a wee look. I know it prob gets over diagnosed lately.....loads of skin to skin helps also try feeding him in the bath if possible
I had similar with my daughter last year although she was 4 weeks when it started. I found the issue to be my let down was very forceful which upset her and then made her refuse to feed even when clearly hungry. I found that expressing off a little helped and that reclined feeding would encourage her to latch. Hope it gets better for you soon.
Sounds very very similar to my DDs who both had posterior tongue tie (with DD1 it was ruled out by two midwives and a dr before being diagnosed. ... though does sound like you've seen the right people).
I also had fast let down, side lying position helped with that but wasn't possible till after the tie was cut.
Sorry to say but I would suggest continue to investigate tongue tie, posteriors are notoriously hard to spot.
Again, thanks so much for the responses. Today, encouragingly, the pain has lessened considerably, and there’s been a lot less frantic distress on latching. He’s been weighed and has made a small gain - still not near birth weight but at least going in the right direction. Feeds are still very long - at least an hour, usually 80 minutes - which is tough going with a toddler as well. I’m hoping that things will continue to improve, though I have such doubts now about my supply. I’m finding it almost impossible to find time to pump, with the long feeds/settling/finding time to eat and shower or just go to the toilet/toddler. So long term, if I do have a supply problem, that’s not going to be a viable solution.
I might see another tongue tie specialist next week for a second opinion, in any case.
Definitely see a tongue tie specialist for a second (or third) opinion. You are describing lots of the signs I had for sure
In terms of pumping perhaps try a haakaa pump? They aren’t expensive about £15 and you pump while your LO feeds. I get loads out just sitting there doing nothing while my daughter nibbles away and I don’t have to then find time to pump as well once she is finished. Might be worth a go anyway!
Long feeds are not unusually at this stage baby is establishing your supply. With my three it was round about the three week mark that feeding seemed to settle down. Things suddenly became painless and I wasn't stuck to the sofa for hours all day just bigger feeds in the evening as they cluster fed. Though still feeding every 3 hours throughout the day for amour 20/30 min at a time.
Glad to hear that things aren't as painful.
Laid back breastfeeding! This article is fascinating and so informative about babies natural instincts and explains what seems to be resistant behaviors!
Thanks again. That’s a really interesting article. I’ve tried laid back feeding and he just bobs and bobs, and doesn’t latch. If he does, he just kind of sucks in the nipple, which hurts, and even when I encourage a deeper latch, I still get the lipstick shape. I fear it’s just going to be like my daughter - things won’t improve till his mouth gets bigger.
Anyway, had a second opinion on the tongue tie, and the second doctor also thinks no. But, he was back to birth weight today at the doctors - he’s now 2.5 weeks, so a bit later than ideal, but getting there anyway. Feeds are getting a bit shorter, especially with breast compressions. Settling is still taking forever - he wants the breast, but basically just chews the nipple. Won’t be set in a Moses basket, but will sleep on me for ages, on the move in the pram, or sometimes in his bouncy chair. All in all, feeding and settling is taking at least 1hr30 minutes, usually more. So no time to express, since I have to take care of my daughter and myself in his down time. Oy. Newborn phase is very hard.
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