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So how do you fix a toddler's latch?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
<sigh> I wish that once you got past the infant stage that breastfeeding would be smooth sailing.

DD had a horrible latch when she was a newborn. I went through 3 weeks of pain before I finally got my stubborn butt to an LC who fixed her latch in 5 minutes. So I'm familiar with checking her latch.

Well, here we are, dd is 2 years 8 months, and her latch has gotten lazy on both sides. When she unlatches the nipple is flat and compressed, with that white stripe. I really only feel it on one side b/c one breast has always been more sensitive than the other, and I'm prone to blisters and plugged ducts on that side, but obviously I want to fix both.

I tell her to open wide, I do the c-position hold on my breast, dd comes to my breast rather than breast coming to her, etc. I rechecked alot of points at kellymom, so I *think* I've got those parts right.
But what I think is happening is that dd is closing her mouth a little like the instant before she latches on or she's "slipping" down the nipple during the feeding. Her bottom jaw seems to be clamping a little tight.

Any advice, suggestions? I can't find an LC in the area since we're living overseas, and our base clinic is really kind of small. As it is, the doc is referring me for another matter to a breast specialist at another base (an hour plane ride away), b/c they just don't have the resources here. [I'll have to post about that isse, too, another time.]

Thanks everyone! I appreciate any insights.


ETA: I have unlatched and repositioned but we're still not getting it and then both dd and I get frustrated.
post #2 of 7
This probably won't be helpful, but I'll tell you my experience...

My son's latch has been lazy lately. I think because he's been drinking so much from sippy cups. I've talked to other mothers that this has happened to, also. (I'm not advocating not using sippy cups, I'm just saying that I think my kid gets lazy because sippy cup require almost no effort, you know? ) I just break suction and re-latch, again and again, if I have to. Irritating? Yes! Sometimes I just suck it up and deal, too.

Also, I've noticed that sometimes it is partly his latch that is painful, and sometimes just his teeth. Not that he's biting, but that they just press into my breast tissue. I've got giant boobs, too, so that doesn't help.

I know this probably is redundant to your experience, but I just wanted to offer some support!
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Dd never did use sippy cups. But I could see how even a regular cup could make the latch lazy -- you compress your lips much closer than you would on the breast.

I try not to unlatch and relatch too often b/c then dd gets frustrated and won't want to nurse at all. : And I'm not trying to wean her, so I hate to do that to her.

Yeah, she does the teeth thing, too sometimes. Not really biting, but I'll see teeth marks on the top of the areola.

It's gotten better the last couple of days. Instead of latching on from the top, I've been doing it from the bottom. This is kind of hard to describe, but instead of tickling her lips with the underside of the breast, I've been tickling with the TOP side of the breast. She seems to open her lower jaw more that way. It as if I'm pushing the nipple against her TOP lip and she then opens the lower mouth wide. Does that make sense? : When I was doing it with the underside, it was as if I was pushing against her lower jaw, so she was automatically clenching it.

Anyhoo, it seems to be working. No compression lines lately. So keep your fingers crossed!


Thanks so much for the response and support jadegirl!!!! I do appreciate it!
post #4 of 7
I always did the same thing as when she bit me. If my nipple hurts or if I feel teeth at all, I know she isn't nursing right. I will gently unlatch her and tell her it hurts. I will let her latch back on, but remind her no biting, no chomping down, no sliding off Mama's nipple... NO TEETH!!!! It works. Now she's almost four, and I just have to remind her before she nurses, "no biting" and I won't feel the slightest sensation of teeth on my nipple.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
If dd uses her teeth at all, it's usually toward the end of a nursing session. The nursing session will be fine and suddenly I feel irritation. It's as if she's done, she's just holding on. KWIM? I tell her "no teeth, sweetie." Then she giggles and unlatches as if to say "oops, i forgot." :LOL
post #6 of 7
I was just coming here to post a similar question. My dd has had some latch difficulties lately (she's almost 22 mos.) It started with a bad cold, when she'd have to let go to cough frequently, and then was sort of diving back at the breast when she was done coughing. She sort of closes her mouth too early, so I feel her teeth as she's latching. She mananges to slurp her way on after a few seconds, but it's really annoying. It's definitely not a behavioral issue with her, especially since it's most common at night when she's really pretty much asleep. During the day if I tell her "Say aahh!" and show her an open mouth with tongue out, she pops her tongue out over her bottom teeth and latches nicely. At night, I'm usually mostly asleep, too, though, and I don't think of it. She's having terrible time lately with wheezing and coughing, so she's up a lot at night to nurse. I usually don't remember to wake up and remind her how to latch, so I'm getting shocked awake by her teeth! And then she's miserable from coughing, mad when she has to let go to cough, and irritable when I take her off to relatch!
Anyone with a good idea for this situation?
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
doctorjen, Your poor dd! I'm sorry she's not feeling well. Since you're doing well during the day, hopefully it will transfer to night once her cold is better. Sorry I have no good advice. When I remind dd to open up, we do okay. Hopefully the more we have a good latch, the more it will become automatic.


ETA: Gee, I talk a lot on my own posts, don't I? :LOL
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