latch issues please help! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 01-29-2011, 09:51 AM - Thread Starter
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my little girl is a couple weeks old now, and isn't latching. i'm exclusively pumping which is a bit exhausting. my supply is good, thank goodness! but i really want to latch her so i can take her anywhere and not worry about having milk on hand, pumping on the go, etc.

 

here are some problems we've identified:

-i have extremely large, floppy, "national geographic" boobs. it's hard to put them in the right position for nursing, but it's totally possible, it just ties up one hand.

-i have flat nipples (approx 1-2mm long) that invert when stimulated. also when stimulated, my areola hardens into a dense chunk of tissue that baby can't open her mouth around.

-baby never, ever gets a "wide-open yawn". i think this is the biggest problem, since i was able to bf her big sister in spite of my breast issues.

-baby's tongue is constantly up at the top of her mouth, behind her gums, rather than down on her lower gum, which blocks the way for any nipple (real or artificial). i've no idea how to make her put her tongue down or open up wider.

 

i'm desperate to make this work, i can keep pumping for as long as i can, but it's just not the same as directly feeding from the breast. please help! right now she's being bottle fed because i'm exhausted and it's the easiest way to get milk into her.. but i know that's not a particularly good idea because it doesn't teach her proper latching. the longer we go without latching to the breast, the bigger the problem might be i think..


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#2 of 24 Old 01-29-2011, 07:56 PM
 
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 My suggestion would be to try nursing in a tummy to tummy position, which is also called "Laid Back Breastfeeding"  It's a newer way we are learning about in getting baby to take the breast. Not a magic bullet, but lots of moms have found that it can be helpful when baby has latch issues and/or mom's breast shape makes things harder.  Some babies don't like to latch when they are on their backs (as they are when they are laid on a nursing pillow or in side-lying) so this position can be helpful.  Humans, we are finding, are abdominal feeders.

 

Here is some info:

http://www.nancymohrbacher.com/blog/tag/laid-back-breastfeeding

 

And a video: http://www.biologicalnurturing.com/video/bn3clip.html

 

And a handout:  http://www.llli.org/docs/0000000000000001WAB/WAB_Tear_sheet_Toolkit/01_laid_back_breastfeeding.pdf

 

PS - Nancy Morbacher literally 'wrote the book' on breastfeeding.  She's one of the authors of "The Breastfeeding Answer book from LLL.   I can't say enough positive about her other publication - Breastfeeding Made Simple -- 2nd edition: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1572248610/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=1572244046&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0WFC68VKCS9TVZCH75QP

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#3 of 24 Old 01-29-2011, 08:02 PM
 
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Sorry, DS made me hit "reply" early.

 

I also wanted to say to hang in there!! You are doing a great job staying committed to BF for your LO.  Hugs!

 

PS-  check into tongue-tie.  I can't tell from your description if that's what's going on or not, but maybe.  Easily fixed at dr.s office if that's what's going on.

 

PSS -- The second edition of Breastfeeding Made Simple has lots of good info on weaning from bottle to breast, too, if that is what you need.

 

Good luck!

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#4 of 24 Old 01-29-2011, 08:34 PM - Thread Starter
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when i tried laid back nursing.. my boob ended up in my armpit with the nipple no where near the kid. solutions? :)


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#5 of 24 Old 01-30-2011, 03:06 AM
 
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It's the tongue thing that caught my eye in this one here.  Does your baby have a shorter than usual chin - mandible?  This can often be the case with the tongue raising up to the palate, small exercises can help, with clean fingers 'ask your baby if you can put your finger in her mouth' you can do this by stimulating the upper lip, if she puts her head back and opens her mouth then very slowly with index and middle finger walk them from the tip of the tongue - pushing the tingue gently down, to as far back as she will let you.  You can do this several times a day.

 

For those of us with larger - floppy breasts we just have to be resigned to supporting the breast with one hand - such is life and all that, hoping that you have a super long wrap that you can breastfeed in then at least you can support your breast with one hand and hold your older child's hand in the other if your wanting to go out for a breath of fresh air and that - but remember to take it easy and rest up alittle too. 

 

You're doing a great job and I'm sure that all will resolve itself and sometimes we just have to wait a little longer that our babies grow alittle so that they can really take in a fair amount of breast into their mouths, with regards to the opening of the mouth if you feel that really isn't the 180° sort of opening then maybe looking into an oesteopath - who specialises in babies - would be helpful to you.  Best of luck and keep us posted.  Hugs to you all!


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#6 of 24 Old 01-30-2011, 03:14 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewe+lamb View Post
For those of us with larger - floppy breasts we just have to be resigned to supporting the breast with one hand - such is life and all that, hoping that you have a super long wrap that you can breastfeed in then at least you can support your breast with one hand and hold your older child's hand in the other if your wanting to go out for a breath of fresh air and that - but remember to take it easy and rest up alittle too. 


Yup = this was me for a looooong time (still often is if baby (now 9 months) is sleepy and unable to participate!)

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#7 of 24 Old 01-30-2011, 08:50 AM
 
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If you want to try Laid Back Nursing again: Try sitting up at a higher angle - like in a comfy chair with your hips scooted forward.  If your breasts are in your armpits, you are reclined at too much of an angle.  Sit up higher - but still be reclined and well supported from your feet to your neck with lots of pillows.  Your DD can lay on your tummy below your breasts. 

 

Undress from the waist up, have DD only in diaper -- lay tummy to tummy for lots of skin-to-skin time.  Imagaine that baby is saran-wrapped to your body.  No gaps between her body and yours.  Take your time. Let baby come to the breast herself (her instincts to do this remain intact for a long time after birth).  It may take a while -- 30 minutes --- an hour.  Let her have this bonding time with you.  Try it a few times a day for several days if necessary.  Express a few drops of milk onto your breast so she can follow the scent.

 

When she begins to go for the breast she may just lick it for a while.  That's fine.  Just let her do what she wants to do.   You will get there eventually.

 

Good Luck!

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#8 of 24 Old 02-04-2011, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
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my breasts hang down to my waist.. nipples almost even with my belly button. i've tried but i don't know where to put everybody to make it happen, and my nipples are not on top of my breasts, they face downwards, so if she rooted she would root above the nipple, not on it. therein lies the difficulty.. we don't all line up!

 

i'm definitely in for some major cuddle time though. nearly naked cuddling, expressing a few drops and letting her just taste it.. that's always a good thing.


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#9 of 24 Old 02-04-2011, 07:45 PM
 
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there are tongue exercises to get that tongue off the roof of the mouth...you can probably find them in a computer search.

 

Can you support your breasts with a rolled up towel or cloth diaper?  What about nursing lying down?  

 

According to breastfeeding guru Dr. Jack Newman, the inverted nipples should not be a problem as long as you can get your babe to take a good portion of your breast in his/her mouth.  You can look up his instructions for a good latch on--most important part I think is to have baby make the approach with chin first (think about how you would get a big submarine sandwich into your mouth)

 

You can do this!

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#10 of 24 Old 02-04-2011, 08:26 PM
 
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When I was first breasfeeding my son my nipples were so sore I would cut holes in a tank top with built in bra so they wouldn't be rubbed, but i would **** have support (my husband though this looked really funny, haha). Perhaps wearing a tank top or bra that supports the breasts and cutting holes in it would make it easier for your baby to root to your nipples because they wouldn't be hanging down so low, but would still be out for easy access and they kind of protrude out of the hole, maybe making it easier for them to get into the mouth. Good luck!

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#11 of 24 Old 02-05-2011, 03:55 PM
 
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Have you ever breastfed before?

I have large breasts as well. You do have to hold it and keep the baby a decent distance from you in a way. It can take a little bit to figure out the best way for your body.

 

Can you lie down and nurse her, where you would be facing each other on your sides, but she would be far enough away or whatever feels comfortable for her to be able to get a good latch?

 

I second getting her checked for tongue tie.

 

I know it is hard right now, but seriously the bottle will completely sabotage your efforts.

 

Have you contacted LLL? I think you really need their support and expertise right now.

 

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#12 of 24 Old 02-06-2011, 10:29 AM
 
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I would also recommend checking in to a tongue tie (and possible lip tie if her lip isn't flanging out).  My youngest is tongue tied and if he would have been my first we never would have made it.  I too have HUGE breasts...I have always been only able to use the football hold to nurse.  After checking in to my sons tongue tie I realized that all three of my kids have an upper lip tie which made latching difficult for them hence the reason that only the football hold worked!  Good luck....hang in there...you can do it.


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#13 of 24 Old 02-07-2011, 08:13 AM - Thread Starter
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my first had difficulty latching for 3 weeks, and then finally got it, and i was able to nurse for 4 years. i KNOW it's possible to nurse with these monstrous breasts of mine (though they are saggier than before.. i was a 36J then, i'm a 38L now). theoretically, the bad nipples shouldn't be the major factor, but combined with her issues, it's definitely a big contributor. i had her ped check for a tongue tie and he said no, not a problem. i'm toying with the idea of taking her to a pediatric dentist for a second opinion but i think it's just that she puts her tongue to the roof of her mouth instead of forward, not that she's unable to bring it forward.

 

there is no LLL in town here. there's one an hour away, which has not been possible to go to so far (bad weather, bad roads, and my incision still hasn't closed after 4 weeks!) but i'm still planning on it. there are no LCs in my region either. i am very lucky though that i have several online friends who are my cheering squad. and there's always brainstorming here, right? that's why i started this thread!

 

i think cutting nipples out of a bra is a fantastic idea. i have one bra that is too big at the moment, i can sacrifice it. how big should i make the holes? i was originally going to make a pumping bra out of it, but a latch-favourable bra might be an even better idea! i wonder if the same bra can be designed to accomodate both - make the holes small enough to hold the flange, but large enough to accomodate her mouth? if i do that, is there some way to keep the fabric from fraying/stretching out of shape or is it not really a problem?

 


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#14 of 24 Old 02-07-2011, 08:39 AM
 
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I know skin to skin is best but maybe a good nursing bra would be helpful. Recline a bit with baby in football hold supported with pillows. Express a little milk but wait for baby to start bobbing and rooting. C cup or scissor hold right behind your areola with opposite hand of side baby is on. Put finger of other hand behind babys neck and thumb on chin. When she start to open up... Hold the chin down and shove her on, get as much in her mouth as possible. Adjust the pillows so her body is more vertical than horizontal at first so you can tilt her her back a bit, with the back and chin pulled down, she shouldn't be able to keep her tongue up. Tilt her head back up once you've got the nipple far back in her mouth. I'm not an LC, just a mom who has nursed 5 babies. It's hard to put into words what I'm picturing. Maybe have a LC come to your house and show you.
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#15 of 24 Old 02-07-2011, 12:30 PM
 
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This certainly isn't the most comfortable, but have you tried laying your baby on your knees, while you sit, feet to stomach, and raising your breast to her mouth? Once latched, turn her in to your stomach?

 

I love the bra with holes idea, though i'd imagine using a bra that's too small (cup size) would be best, so the smushed boob can escape through the hole with more support underneath...

 

I'm very curious to hear how it goes.  (And it's fabulous you nursed your other baby for four years! Go, you!)

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#16 of 24 Old 02-07-2011, 08:29 PM - Thread Starter
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i absolutely cannot do the football hold.. never could do it with my first, and haven't figured out how to do it with this one either. seems my breast shape (nipples located so my breasts look "crosseyed") makes it virtually impossible to hold her like a football and get my nipples anywhere near the mouth.. 2 different LCs tried to help me with my first and said it just isn't going to work. (yeah.. i have breast issues LOL)

 

the baby on knees, feet to stomach - i'm having trouble picturing it. i'm willing to try it though if i can figure out where each of our body parts are supposed to be!

 

unfortunately i don't have a too-small bra to sacrifice, only one that is one cup size too big. support is still ok with it, but the top of the cups wrinkle indicating a poor fit. in a few weeks i'll measure myself properly for a new bra, and buy one that fits well, but that was one i bought for pregnancy (and then i lost weight during pregnancy so it didn't fit at the end).


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#17 of 24 Old 02-08-2011, 10:28 AM
 
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The feet to stomach may not be awesome for your back, but if you can then switch to a normal cradle carry after latch on, it might be okay. The way I'm picturing it is how most people lay a baby on their knees when sitting and just look at the baby for play time. Only you'll be holding your breast, leaning forward, one hand under babies head and upper back directing baby toward breast, other hand holding breast, so nipple is placed above baby's mouth - like feeding baby grapes. :-P I've never done this in practice, but I imagine it's like my toddler son (29 months), who insists on plucking some breast time when I get out of the shower and am leaning over for clean clothes... he's a sneaky one, that...

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#18 of 24 Old 02-08-2011, 10:29 AM
 
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Oh! And maybe you can find a smaller bra at a goodwill or clearance rack (TJ maxx or marshall's or walmart or something), for about $2. ... in case the bigger size seems prohibitive.

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#19 of 24 Old 02-09-2011, 07:00 AM
 
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Hi,

 

The bra thing might really work. I made a pumping bra with my last baby and then put cloth breast pads under the holes so I could wear the bra all day and look normal under my shirt. This way the bra wasn't really sacrificed, it was still usable. I had a lot of breast issues too...mine were a DDD with flat nipples and I had a baby with low tone so he couldn't suck well. He would actually scream and turn away if I tried to put him to my breast and never rooted. I tried every position...side lying didn't work because my nipples faced the bed and the ceiling (wall-eyed) and I couldn't get them into his mouth except if I supported him off the bed. Ugh,  I remember hiring an LC for hundreds of dollars only for her to tell me to bottle feed. I'm having another baby in May and I'm determined to exclusively breast feed this time.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by myk View Post

 

there is no LLL in town here. there's one an hour away, which has not been possible to go to so far (bad weather, bad roads, and my incision still hasn't closed after 4 weeks!) but i'm still planning on it. there are no LCs in my region either. i am very lucky though that i have several online friends who are my cheering squad. and there's always brainstorming here, right? that's why i started this thread!

 

 

 

 


You can go on the LLL site and have your issues sent to an LLL leader who will answer you via e-mail.  Not as useful as in person perhaps, but it always helps, I think, to have lots of input.

 

 

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#21 of 24 Old 02-10-2011, 07:02 AM
 
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When I was nursing my youngest, my lact. consultant at the hospital gave me this thing....it was almost like a straw or tube you tape just at your nipple, (but the other end of the tube was attached to a bottle of pumped milk --even formula for moms who don't have an adeq supply)..anyways when baby gets anywhere near nipple or straw milk comes out...does that make sense?


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#22 of 24 Old 02-10-2011, 10:34 AM
 
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Have you tried calling a LLL leader?  They are trained to help over the phone.  You might be amazed how much help you can get in a conversation.  I second the idea of a facecloth, hand towel or whatever works under the breast (sitting up or side lying).  It can really feel like having a 3rd hand!  I did a google search for breastfeeding large breasts and a ton of sites showed up, including this: http://www.thingamababy.com/baby/2010/01/breastnest.html

 

My mind is spinning with all the info in my head (I went to a LLL workshop on nursing with large breasts).  There is a ton of info out there... you just have to find it.  I don't want to overwhelm you, so I will mention a few of the things I learned.  You can feel free to message me if you want more details.

One tip was to make sure not to lean into the baby.  It makes it "heavy" for the baby and harder to maintain a good latch.  Some women find lying down on their side easier in the beginning.  Some babies with latch issues actually latch better when they are asleep - try it and see what happens.

Also, mime an open mouth and try to get your baby to mimic you.  I had a preemie and it took a little while, but it worked!  I also found the osteopath helpful, but they can be a bit hard to locate if you are not in an urban area.

Another thought - any doula's or midwives in your area who might be experienced?  Some of them do a bit of cross-training and may be able to help you until you get to an LC or LLL.

Dr. Jack Newman has a bunch of videos on latch which are fantastic.  I am not sure any are specific to large breasted women, but there might be a gem in there that might help you.

Best of luck!

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#23 of 24 Old 02-10-2011, 07:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Virginia Mom View Post

When I was nursing my youngest, my lact. consultant at the hospital gave me this thing....it was almost like a straw or tube you tape just at your nipple, (but the other end of the tube was attached to a bottle of pumped milk --even formula for moms who don't have an adeq supply)..anyways when baby gets anywhere near nipple or straw milk comes out...does that make sense?



supplemental nursing system perhaps?

 

i wish there was an LC, LLL, or midwife in the area. there aren't. i do know a couple doulas that have come out from the big city (an hour away) to come help me out, they're priceless! they've had suggestions for me, but nothing that worked so far. it's so frustrating. i like living in my town, but when you run into specific problems, sometimes the resources just aren't there.

 

i like the "demonstrate open mouth latch" idea. i never would have thought of that!

 


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#24 of 24 Old 02-11-2011, 11:28 AM
 
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In case you haven't already found this, from the LLL website re: breastfeeding & large breasts:

http://www.llli.org/llleaderweb/LV/LVMayJun89p35.html

 

Calling a leader on the phone is also helpful - they are very knowledgeable and may know a retired leader in your area who could help you in person. Their phone help may also be all you need. You never know!

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