Is there any way to train a baby to open his mouth wider? - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-11-2011, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 3-week-old has trouble opening his mouth wide to latch on. It's not an issue of being patient and waiting for it--he will literally never open his mouth wide, so I have no choice but to just shove my nipple in there as deep as I can and hope for the best. Unfortunately, this is destroying my nipples and causing an already challenging breastfeeding relationship to be practically unbearable. I took him to the chiropractor and it didn't help even a little bit. Are there are exercises or techniques I can use to train him to open his mouth wider? Or, if not, is there any hope that this problem will resolve itself as he gets older and his mouth gets bigger? (For what it's worth, he is not a small baby or anything; he was 9 lb 12 oz at his last weigh-in a week ago.)


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Old 01-11-2011, 02:00 PM
 
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I remember that, and it was no fun!  It seemed like she only opened wide enough when frustrated enough to scream. (Stick the boob in quick then!)   Baby's mouth will only get bigger, so it does get better.

 

Meanwhile, do you do the duck lip thing?  You kind of stick your finger under his top lip, and flip it out.  Then, gently pull on the chin to pull the bottom lip ducky.  Hard to describe, but helps lots with improving latch and reducing pain. 

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Old 01-11-2011, 02:55 PM
 
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Oh no, we have been dealing with this since day 1 also. We have seen 3 or 4 lactation counselors and 2 OTs. Nothing has helped. We try the duck flip/chin press and she either loses it and pulls off, or just goes right back to a tight jaw within seconds. We have tried mouth exercises with one OT and full body exercises with the other. That's just about all the professionals in our dinky town.

 

I hope you have better luck than we did, because I am still in pain. I would just say to persist now, don't wait a minute. The LCs at the hospital at around 2 or 3 weeks told me it would get better, and it didn't.  Now we are having issues with solids/gag reflex/tongue thrust. Not too worried yet about that...

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Old 01-13-2011, 12:18 PM
 
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I too am having issues w/ my 4 week old opening up wide enough, my nipples are sore and its so frustrating.  This is most frustrating during the night hours of feeding, I find I'm on the verge of screaming, but I know thats not going to help the situation....I'll keep looking to see if anyone has any suggestions.

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Old 01-16-2011, 08:00 PM
 
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I always used my nipple to tickle DD's upper lip. That would make her move her mouth up which made it open more.


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Old 01-18-2011, 05:29 AM
 
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This could be me.  My girl was small at birth (though only 1 week early), and I have large nipples, making the issue that much more challenging.  I spent the first 2 weeks screaming in pain half the time.  I went to a LC and that helped make it less of a screaming in pain issue, but still not comfortable by any stretch.  It got better for a couple of weeks, then at 6 weeks she started clamping and ripping her head from side to side as well as again not opening her mouth wide.  Saw the LC again, and this time it really didn't do much good.  It's been a struggle from day 3.  And despite what everyone says about nighttime being easier because they're more relaxed I find the opposite is true - she flatly refuses to open wide at night and gets more and more frantic because I just can't help her get the nipple in. 

 

That being said, I have seen spurts of improvement - for the first time ever she latched on with a non-painful good deep latch by herself while I was getting situated at a restaurant under a nursing cover (surprising the heck out of me), and while evening and nighttime are still bad (but better than they had been for certain!), days are getting better and better. 

 

My advice: get lots of help and often and address new issues immediately with an LC or other support before they become ingrained behavior so you don't end up like me (a person who now assumes that BF will have to stop as soon as she cuts her first tooth since I can't stop her clamping).

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Old 01-18-2011, 06:22 AM
 
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I recently had an assessment w/ an LC, she used a "reboot" method for the latch...I would reach out to an LC and see if they are familiar w/ this technique.  Its very similar to the way they get the baby to latch right after birth; allowing baby to find her way to the breat and latch on, then turning her body to cradle her.  Worked great for me.  Good luck!

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