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Small Baby...Having Latching Problems...Please Help??

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

So in the beginning, breastfeeding seemed to be going well and there was no pain. (I didn't talk to the lactation consultants in the hospital btw; they were more concerned with putting her on a feeding schedule than making sure I was doing things properly...which made me uncomfortable with them and since things were going well anyway I didn't ask them anything.)

Well about a week later I started getting really really bad (tear-inducing) nipple pain. I'm not sure if she changed her latch, or if we just didn't have it down in the beginning and it took a week to get sore. Anyway, my breasts were also fairly hard and painful in spots as well. After extensive googling, we figured out she most likely had an improper latch. (Also that I should massage the hard spots on my breasts while she nursed...they are doing much much better...are soft and don't hurt anymore,) We found lots of info on how to latch properly (asymmetrical). The problems are:

1. Most sites said to position the baby in the beginning with her nose at nipple level. My nipples point down  (not out...when she's in football, she's basically on her back UNDER my breast for the nipple to get in her mouth) and my breasts are much fuller above than below, so if I start her like that, her nose is buried in my breast. Does that really make a difference?

2. She either won't open her mouth wide enough, or she will clamp down too soon, or both. She's not getting enough of the areola in her mouth, and no matter what I do to try to get her to get more in, it doesn't happen. My nipples are sore, pink, and when she lets go of them (or I decide I have too much pain and take her off to rest a minute) they are white (vasospasm? It only happens sometimes that they are white). Someone also told me to start her with my breast on her chin, which will make her open wide...still not wide enough.

3. I read some places that said NOT to adjust the latch until she decides to let go, and some places said keep re-latching her until she gets it. Which is right? (Obviously if it's too painful I try again!) Sometimes I'll try and try to get her to get it right and she doesn't, even if the last 5 times she got it. Does this mean she's not hungry?

I want to be able to do this without pain!! She's just 3.5wks old too...not even due until the 30th lol! She was 5.5lb at her 2wk appointment. (5lb at birth) I'm fairly certain I don't have thrush; I KNOW her tongue isn't tied (it's really long!! lol); she just doesn't get enough areola in her mouth. Oh and when she finally lets go/gets off, my nipple is short, like squished side to side however her mouth was. She has a great suck.

Oh also what about when she lets go of me (or hurts my nipple so I get her off) and acts like she wants back on, but then decides she's fine? Is she still hungry, or satisfied enough?

Anyways if you have any thoughts/advice that would be appreciated!!

Edited by AveryLamb - 12/28/11 at 5:07pm
post #2 of 9

nak so this will be short for now:


you are besically aiming your nipple towards her soft palat (top of the mouth, past the hard ridge) so whatever you do in terms of position, just focus on getting that nipple in high and to the back,


use tons of lanolin, after every feed

ibuprofen is safe for bf if you are in serious pain (it saved my bf relationship)


also...baby may be hitting a growth spurt, my ds has a very lazy latch when goes through them


her mouth WILL get bigger

see an IBCLC if possible, my ds statred clamping on my nipple after tge 10 day growth spurt because my letdown was too forceful



good luck and congrats

post #3 of 9

I would try compressing your breast between your fingers and thumb like a sandwich to make your nipple and areola smaller and more stable to get into that little mouth. If you do a google search, there are several blogs and bfiing resources that talk about the breast-sandwich. I found this youtube, too. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_U5BM6L9F8 She has an older baby, but it might give you some idea of what I'm talking about. Here's a written description of it: http://www.naturalbirthandbabycare.com/latch-on.html And here's one mom's experience. http://aiminglow.com/2010/04/breastfeeding-cant-latch-give-kid-sandwich/  I hope some of that might be useful to you. Good luck and congrats!

post #4 of 9

AveryLamb, when I was having trouble getting my baby to latch on, the best position for us was the football hold, since I could see my breast going into the baby's mouth. If she can't breath, you will be able to tell because she will pull back or let go of the nipple.


Also, if the latch on is painful, put your finger on the side of her mouth to break the suction and relatch! Use your instincts more than anything to tell you what to do!


Your baby is still little, please dont give up, you guys will definitely get it. I have 3 sons, and with my first one I had the most trouble trying to breastfeed him.....to the point of almost giving up. And all of sudden.......well, more like 4 weeks after he was born......we got it!  


Here is a website that shows you a trick on how to get your new baby to latch on quick when you just can't get it right. http://www.breastfeeding-issues-and-solutions.com/how-to-breastfeed.html


I'm almost positive this will help you get enough of your areola into your baby's mouth to get a good latch on!

post #5 of 9

My 35 weeker had big latch issues until around his due date.  Hang in there ... Lots of preterm babies take a while longer to latch well.  I would try sandwiching your nipple like pp suggested... Both of my kids have been unable to latch until I did this.  If that doesn't work, you may want to consider a nipple shield until your baby is bit bigger.   They shouldn't be used long term but again with both of my kids they were super helpful short term (probably four weeks for my preterm babe and a week for my full term baby). 

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
thanks ladies! (the site stopped my subscriptions for some reason so I didn't see this until now lol) Things are getting better...I've been googling like crazy...using football, sandwiching...she still only can nurse on the right; the left is too painful. The nipple on the left is slightly larger and slightly vertically oval so that may be the trouble. I nurse her on the right and pump the left and this seems to work for now. Can't wait until her mouth gets bigger!! lol

(BTW at four weeks she was 6lb 4oz, so basically the size of a newborn, so I expect in a couple more weeks it'll be better.)
post #7 of 9

How's it going now?

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
doing MUCH better. Still have trouble sometimes with the left side, but the right is painless all the time now ^_^
post #9 of 9
Originally Posted by AveryLamb View Post

doing MUCH better. Still have trouble sometimes with the left side, but the right is painless all the time now ^_^


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