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Still not a great latch on one side - will it get better on it's own?

(13 Posts)
ejbab Mon 29-Jun-09 00:28:17

I've had lots of problems getting going with breastfeeding - incredibly painful nipples, using nipple shields for the first 4 weeks, weaning off them, several bouts of mastitis etc. Luckily I've had lots of help from the hospital lactation consultant which is probably how I've got this far. My DD is now 8 weeks old and I think we're finally there - the right side rarely hurts now but the left which has always been the dodgy side still isn't perfect.
Nine times out of ten when DD comes off that side the nipple is bent in a lipstick shape and is blanched and it's a bit painful (not nearly as toe curlingly painful as it used to be though). But it is sore enough that I don't feed from that side for as long as the other and now have nicely lopsided boobs! Another issue is that the let down in that side is strong so DD often finds it overwhelming and clamps down on the nipple to slow the flow.
So I was wondering - is it likely that this shallow latch will get better in time as DD mouth gets bigger or should I get more help to sort it out. Do these niggles sort themselves out over time or have most of you found they've stayed?

nevergoogledragonbutter Mon 29-Jun-09 00:33:59

i'm not sure i can give advice on your exact situation but DS1 finally managed to latch on at 8 weeks after lots of problems including mastitis and using shields.

it did all sort itself out in the end and we managed to continue for the whole year.

my only advice therefore, is that 8 weeks is still early days and supply and demand take a while to balance out.

it's worth getting more help from a professional though if you have access.

well done for getting this far.

HeadFairy Mon 29-Jun-09 00:35:31

Hi there, it's great you're getting lots of support from your hospital. I had similar problems though I didn't have mastitis luckily. I too had one side that was much more painful that the other one. It was always my left side (I wonder if me being right handed has anything to do with it). I was a bit desperate for advice in the early days and paid for the lactation consultant to come and give me a private consultation. She was fab and agreed ds had a worse latch on the left side. My nipple was also blanched and lipstick shaped when it came out.

I can't remember when, but eventually it did come good. The lactation advisor said to me that as long as it wasn't really painful I should continue as long as I could, and eventually over time ds's mouth got bigger, and he got better at latching on. I wish I could let you in on a secret tip to making them open their mouths wider to take more of the nipple in, but I didn't ever really find it myself. My feeds used to take hours as a consequence.

One thing I did use to do was once he was on the nipple I'd gently use my finger on his chin and pull his bottom slip slightly outwards so he would slide slightly further down on to the nipple. He'd eventually slide off again, but it did help a bit at times.

Good luck!

mrsmick Mon 29-Jun-09 08:29:32

I had a very similar problem initially - so much so that I had to express and bottle feed from the bad side as BF'ing was such agony!
The good news is that yes - it did settle with time and at 16 wks DS has been fine on both sides for ages.
I faffed about with thrush treatments in case this was stopping the cracks healing but I'm sure in the end it was simply time that was needed for his mouth to get bigger and the latch to improve. Why it was so different on each side is a mystery - prob to do with nipple shape or right/left handed-ness.
I would agree that putting a finger on the chin can help.
Hope it setttles soon as I know that its frustrating!

westlondonmumof2 Mon 29-Jun-09 17:03:39

I had/am having the same issues - so its reassuring I am not the only one. My dd2 is now 9 weeks and am JUST feeling like the "bad" side is improving. I was in tears the first few weeks for each feed on the bad side, also had to pump that side for at least a feed a day to have a break. It was really touch and go as to whether I could continue BF'ing but I perservered and hpoefully we are now coming through it.

Anyhow, one tip i got from the nurse at my GPs when I went to the 6 week check (she is a former midwife and an excellent resource on bfing) is to take your hand and tip the nipple upwards (making sure your hand is right under the breast so you dont get in the way of baby taking in the whole areola). Apparently the pain we are experiencing is b/c the baby is suckling on the hard palate instead of soft. tipping the breast up in this fashion helps them get the nipple in the right spot. I just wish I had seen her earlier as the HVs looked at my latch loads and were baffled.

Best of luck with it all!

GYo Tue 30-Jun-09 02:57:37

i had this issue too. Great latch on right but left was never as good. I saw a lactation consulantant who suggested that the left side was uncomfy for DD to drink from due to a stiff neck from the birth. She suggested some cranial osteopathy for DD and different positions for feeding.

The different positions helped immediately and I think the cranial osteo did too. Now at 14wks she is expert feeder and lipstick nipple is thing of past. Think it suddenly all got better around the 9/10 wk mark and now I barely notice her feeding.

Well done for perservering, its so hard especially when so many people seem to think that the solution/ help is to suggest formula... they did for me anyway.

Good luck.

ejbab Thu 09-Jul-09 08:12:04

I just wanted to give an update on this for everyone else who is struggling with breastfeeding. Even though I only wrote the original question 10 or so days ago, things have suddenly got better without having to go back to the lactation consultant.
DD is now 9 weeks old and I finally feel like we've got the hang of it. Maybe it's that her mouth is suddenly bigger or just practise makes perfect, but now 9/10 she has a brilliant latch on both sides. I can even master the cradle hold and (almost) look like an old pro - something I never achieved with DD1 - we always needed millions of pillows and supports etc otherwise it hurt like hell.
So, I just wanted to reassure anyone out there who is suffering as I was with incredibly painful nips - they can and will get better! The lactation consultant said that sore nipples often settle down about 6-8 weeks after birth just because your hormones settle. Hmm, I don't know if that's true, more likely it's just having a better latch and them toughening up but this morning I even found myself towel drying them after my shower without wincing once!
And the best part of all of this is that I'm actually able to enjoy feeding DD. In fact, it can be positively blissful - something I never thought I'd be saying. Okay, blithering over.

redboxer Thu 20-Aug-09 21:42:16

So grateful for your posts as I am only at the 4 week stage and already going out of my mind with painful nipples, the cluster feeds are a nightmare and I was about to give it all up and formula feed. However, after reading your posts I will persevere and hopefully get the latch right soon. DS has a very tiny mouth at the moment which is causing a lot of the problems.

Once again many thanks

vanimal Thu 20-Aug-09 21:50:04

ejbab, thanks for your update, it's good to know it gets so much better.

My DD is 8 weeks old and having read your post I am looking forward to being able to towel dry without having to swear profusely avoid my poor nipples.

Will think of it as a milestone to aim for.

Caro1302 Fri 21-Aug-09 09:34:42

Thank you for posting this ejbab. I'm on day 17 and have had sore nipples right from the start. I have flat nipples and my baby just can't seem to open wide enough on the left side to take enough breast in. I have a GP appointment today as I think we both have thrush now which isn't helping! If I know there's light at the end of the tunnel I can keep going... I'm taking 1 day at a time at the moment. I look forward to being able to use a towel on my nipples!

DrCosyTiger Fri 21-Aug-09 12:14:03

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to add a little post here by way of reassurance to you, Vanimal, Redboxer and Carol and any others who are struggling just now. Any one of your posts could have been me - painful nipples, cluster feeding, terrible latch. I have large flat nipples that point the wrong way and my tiny DD only had a little mouth and just would not open wide enough. Bf was hell on earth for the first few weeks and many times I was soooooo close to giving up. People kept telling me to hang on in there if I could as it would get better. I didn't believe them! But they were right. Somehow, I think round about the 6-8 week mark it started to get better and by 3 months, my DD was latching on like a total pro. She's now 5 months and I love feeding her. I have to wind it down a bit soon as I'm going back to work PT and I'm so disappointed. One things that I wish I'd known/believed back then is that it doesn't matter if the latch isn't perfect, as long as the milk is going in and your baby is gaining weight. I wasted so much time stressing over this. In the end, my LO learnt how to latch on perfectly well all by herself - they do just naturally become much better at this over time. So if you can, try and hang on in there, however difficult it seems (and believe me I found it almost impossibly difficult at times - I lose count of how many times I was in tears over it). It does get easier and you will be so proud of yourself for keeping it going.

Skillbo Fri 21-Aug-09 21:25:09

Not to sound like a broken record but you will probably find in the history somewhere on this topic, that I had exactly the same problem as ejbab, almost to the letter.

Reading her update was like I had posted it, at 9 weeks everything clicked and although we're not 100% all the time (my DD is 10 weeks on Sunday), I remember telling anyone who would listen about being able to dry myself fully after a shower.

It is so hard to continue - I was lucky and had a really supportive DP and can't imagine struggling through this alone. BUT - as everyone keeps saying, it gets better and who cares what the latch looks like as long as baby is gaining weight. My left nip still comes out looking like a lipstick most of the time but there is NO PAIN (hooray).

Best of luck xxx

ejbab Sat 22-Aug-09 02:52:20

Just wanted to reiterate what Skillbo and DrCosyTiger said - hang in there and it will get better and it will be so worth it, and soon enough you will feel really quite proud of yourself to be still breastfeeding.
Equally if you can't and it is just too painful there are ways to get yourself through the truly awful times - nipple shields, expressing or even the odd formula feed all helped me and meant I didn't give up. That and constantly repeating to myself that I just needed to get through one more feed, or one more day, get to 3 weeks, 6 weeks then 12 weeks etc etc then if it really was all just too awful and painful still I would let myself give up.
Most importantly don't feel like a failure and be kind to yourself. Even if you don't breastfeed for longer than a few days, weeks or months, then you've still done brilliantly.

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