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Can I teach three month old to latch properly again?

(13 Posts)
fadingfast Thu 17-Jul-08 21:53:17

My 13 week dd seems to have forgotten how to latch properly. It's got progressively worse over the past 4 weeks or so. She is now clicking almost constantly when feeding (although this varies from feed to feed) and her mouth doesn't look as though it is open wide enough. The trouble is I just can't seem to improve it - she just wants to get on and feed her own way. Some feeds she is also pulling off and crying but I can't work out why. No signs of thrush as far as I can tell.

She is generally happy, sleeping and putting on weight well. Should I be worried about improving the latch and if so how on earth can I break the habit?

ElmMum Thu 17-Jul-08 21:57:40

This is exactly what's happening to me... see thread a couple below this one which starts "Green poo..."

I think it's nipple confusion. BF counsellor reckoned growth spurt.

Some of the replies to the green poo thread might help you.

I know exactly what you mean about her wanting to get on and feed her own way. I'm almost tempted to let her do it wrong, even though it's making my boobs hurt a bit, it's not so painful that I can't feed at all. But I also kind of know that if it's wrong, I should try and fix it or it may get worse until I can't do it any more.

Found lots of info about nipple confusion (what it is, what it's like etc) but almost nothing about how to correct it.

Does yours use a dummy or take bottles at all?

fadingfast Thu 17-Jul-08 22:13:24

Hi EM. Yes, did see your post and it does sound similar to our problem, although I'm not convinced it's nipple confusion.

We have used a very few bottles but I've been a bit crap at finding time to express and the last was two weeks ago - she's probably only had a bottle about 6 times in total. She has never seemed very keen on having a dummy, and I don't think she's had one at all for at least 6 weeks. Lately has preferred her thumb - not sure if a thumb can cause confusion?!

I went to a BF clinic last week and they seemed to think my positioning could be improved, but to be honest they were really busy and didn't have time to show me how to improve it.

Feeding isn't painful, but is becoming very frustrating for both parties.

ElmMum Fri 18-Jul-08 09:45:54

Right. Prob not nipple confusion then. Our prob has been going on since Monday this week and wasn't painful to begin with but is definitely getting painful now. She's crushing my nipples and I can feel when she sucks my finger that her tongue isn't far enough out so there's no cushion under the nipple, just gum on either side.

Hope you find an answer x

Dawnie6577 Fri 18-Jul-08 13:37:32

Fadingfast, I'd find the nearest NCT breastfeeding clinic or ring the Breastfeeding Network helpline (will be on web) and get some practical help with this.

I had exactly the same problem when my DS was 3 -4 months old and he just didn't open his mouth wide enough and it was bloody painful. Excruciating.

She can learn again, particularly when she does latch on properly and will get more milk. I was told to keep taking my son off if he wasn't on properly and to keep trying. I wasn't being patient enough and waiting for him to open really wide before putting him on. I was putting him on way too early.

Also, I think I was so nervous about it hurting that I wasn't pushing him on far enough (IYKWIM) with conviction!

You need to find a decent lactation consultant who will be able to help you.

Please please don't just continue as it will continue to hurt and she can relearn (but this does take a few days).
Good luck xx

Dawnie6577 Fri 18-Jul-08 13:41:54

PS she is probably pulling off and crying because the latch isn't brilliant and might be frustration that there isn't as much milk? She will get more milk with a better latch.

PPS tongue tie could be another possible reason, which can stop some babies latching properly/on far enough? (Bt think this would be apparent from birth)

LackaDAISYcal Fri 18-Jul-08 13:50:02

You definately need to be worrying about the latch as if she isn't latching properly she won't be emptying the breast properly and this in turn might lead to blocked ducts and mastitis and eventually a drop in your supply.

Can you take a couple of days and just work on getting her latch sorted, and do you have any access to a baby cafe or other BFing support?

If not, try calling one of the helplines and seeing if you can see a BFC that way.

Re the positioning, it's common to not adjust exactly where the babies head is as it grows, so maybe she is too far towards your armpit, or is tending to lie flat and is having to twist her neck to drink. <diffiuclt to describe over t'internet>

Agree, keep taking her off and relatching until she gets the hang of it again; it will come back smile

TettyLouBar Fri 18-Jul-08 16:41:59

I'm having the same problem with DD, she's 5 weeks old and has just forgotten how to latch on, sometimes days its worse on one side, sometimes she's doesn't start to click until the latter end of the feed which suggests to me that it might be when she's tiring or when the flow slows up. Then she starts to squirm and wriggle and cry and eventually pull herself off the breast.

I'm determined to get her latching on properly again, but waiting for her to open her mouth wide enough sometimes takes ages and she gets really frustrated with me!

I know this isn't a helpful message but thought I would let you know that your definatley not alone!!


VictorianSqualor Fri 18-Jul-08 16:58:30

I know you say there are no signs of thrush or I'd normally say that, it's exactly how DS went when he had thrush.

Apart from that, have you trued offering the other breast when she does it?

For some reason (I was going to post about this today actually) DS will keep pulling off and not latch properly but as soon as I put him on the other side he is fine.

No pattern in which side he will take as I've checked, It's like he just fancies the other side!
Not sure if it's related to him teething?
He is also 13weeks btw.

fadingfast Fri 18-Jul-08 18:07:14

Sometimes it is better if I swap sides, but today has been generally terrible. She takes a few good gulps and then pulls off crying and every time I try to put her back on again she gets hysterical. I have wondered about teething, as it seems she wants to feed but something is stopping her. I am at my wits end with it - ds was slow to get the hang of things but once he did, we never had these sort of issues. Dd was good at the start and I just never expected this sort of problem to develop. I keep changing my mind as to what it could be. The only reliably happy feed at the moment is the first one of the morning - so I was beginning to think it could be due to tiredness the rest of the day, but it happens even after she's had a good daytime nap. I also thought it could be that my fast let down was adjusting and she was getting frustrated at the slower flow, but it happens even when I can feel there is a lot of milk gushing.

Will definitely try to get to see a counsellor. We are going on holiday tomorrow though (great timing) so might have to persevere in the meantime. Thanks for your support.

Dawnie6577 Fri 18-Jul-08 18:44:17

Hang on in there.
You never know, a relaxing holiday might help!
Good luck,

nik76 Sat 19-Jul-08 10:15:44


I found that DD seemed to get her own ideas about feeding around this age. Got my BF info out and made sure I checked I was still doing as I should and then just kept taking her off and putting back on until it was right. If its hurting its not right you must change it or you will get problems. She's getting milk cause she's putting weight on but it could be taking longer and not emptying breast all over. Make sure up use the nipple on her to encourage her to open up and then get her on.

Good luck

pricey4 Mon 28-Jul-08 10:41:42

thanks for this - i've been having exactly the same problem and my son is 4 months. he stays latched on but takes ages to feed, clicks and it feels like he's squashing my breast between his gums (his tongue was always forward before). keep trying to re-latch him but it's difficult as the second he's anywhere near he just launches himself at my breast!

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