preemie latch issues - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 02-03-2008, 10:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I had a 33 weeker who is now pushing one month old(on the 5th) and while she nurses well and has a strong suck, I am in RAGING pain from her awful latch. She doesn't open her mouth very wide and she gets stressed out easily and screams and thrashes and takes twice as long to latch. She's a good weight now(6 1/2 lbs) and takes a bottle VERY well but nursing is awful. I nursed my two other girls and I'm feeling stupid with this one. I need help! I dont' know what to do to fix her latch. How do I make her open her mouth wide without making her stress so much that she freaks out and screams? And when my milk lets down she constantly pulls off because it's too much for her so we dont' nurse in public. I'm just really not doing well with this and I'm getting frustrated and in constant pain and I dont' want to give up in a month or so because of it.

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#2 of 8 Old 02-03-2008, 01:47 PM
 
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Congratulations on your newest addition!!! I have a 35 weeker and it's brutal getting those early babes to latch well... We were on a nipple shield for six weeks, so I'm impressed your nursing without one at all! I will say that they get so much better as they get older. DD's nursing improved greatly after her EDD, but still took a few more weeks to get off the NS and it was probably 10 weeks before she had a latch that was comfortable. I'm still astonished when she latches herself now!!! I never thought it would happen.

So, encouragement that yes it's super hard, but it gets so much better. And preemies need momma's milk more than a full term babe, so it's worth it.

Let's see - first find a good LC.

I had good luck getting a deeper latch by making the "sandwhich" or "taco" where you smoosh your areola flat to fit into their mouth. After the smooshing, I'd push the skin down toward the nipple so that it was crinkled up. Then when she latched she'd have more areola in her mouth and didn't even know it.

I also had better luck with her on the Brestfriend in cross-cradle, but try football hold maybe? You can use the Brestfriend for that as well. I would put my nipple against her upper lip so she had to reach up for it, which opened her mouth a tad more. I would also hold her upper back in really closely to myself, which pushed her head back some.

Some of it is just tiny babe = tiny mouth and it just improves as they grow.

Hang in there - you're doing so great to keep trying!!! I kept making little goals for myself like, "I won't quit until her EDD." And then it was until she was six weeks, and then it was maybe I'll keep going until Friday or until I see the LC next week... Eventually, we got through it.
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#3 of 8 Old 02-03-2008, 07:19 PM
 
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Congrats so far! Sounds like you've overcome a lot of breastdeeding obstacles. Sometimes, a baby will mimic mama when she says "ahhh..." & opens her mouth.

Is your baby possibly frustrated because she might be wanting your let-down to come quicker or she's over hungry? You may try to offer your breast more often to see if it's hunger or use a warm compress & massage a few minutes before nursing to help stimulate your let-down.

I would encourage you to continue seeing either an LC or an LLL leader. LLL meetings would be a great source of support for you, too.

Here are some extra ideas & resources.

take care!


http://www.drjacknewman.com/index.ph...114&Itemid=156
Premature Baby
When the Baby Refuses to Latch On

When Latching
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#4 of 8 Old 02-04-2008, 12:51 AM
 
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Oh, mama! This is so hard! I did this with two of them, and they finally got the hang of it. You can totally do it!

I remember when our guys were about where you are now, and I was so frustrated. The thing to remember is that they probably won't be nursing really well until at least their due date. It wasn't until a couple of weeks after our due date that the boys started really nursing well, and they still had a bad latch (because I didn't know what I was doing.)

Also (and I know this is the advice I give everyone, but it makes a big difference!), you might want to get yourself cultured, because you may have an infection. We dealt with thrush and were treating it for six weeks before I finally found out that it was a staph infection. so it definitely wouldn't hurt to get yourself checked out, just to rule that out as a source of pain (it was SOOOO painful for me!).

And I totally second what Veganone said: get yourself a really good lactation consultant! That was the final piece of the puzzle for us. she was so fabulous, and now we have pain-free nursing, finally! We ended up paying for one to come to the house because our insurance wouldn't cover it, etc. But it was, hands down, the best $130 I've ever spent.

So good luck, hugs to you, and you are doing a great job!
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#5 of 8 Old 02-04-2008, 01:02 PM
 
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One more idea, mb05 may have hit on something, I would get a few drops of milk already coming out before latching, so that there was milk immediately for her. Made for a much less frustrated babe.

How are you doing today?
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#6 of 8 Old 02-04-2008, 06:25 PM
 
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i also did this with 34 week twins.. took a while to get them nursing well, and without my LC i would've been in big trouble.

i did exercises with them that the LC gave me, now at 4 1/2 months i still do them sometimes when they get lazy at latching and pinch me.

mine also had to fight with super strong letdown. they et used to it.. somewhat. if you have that (i forget now), burp often.

and def check for thrush, the LC can halp there too. i fought that for months too!
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#7 of 8 Old 02-04-2008, 07:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mb05 View Post
Congrats so far! Sounds like you've overcome a lot of breastdeeding obstacles. Sometimes, a baby will mimic mama when she says "ahhh..." & opens her mouth.

Is your baby possibly frustrated because she might be wanting your let-down to come quicker or she's over hungry? You may try to offer your breast more often to see if it's hunger or use a warm compress & massage a few minutes before nursing to help stimulate your let-down.

I would encourage you to continue seeing either an LC or an LLL leader. LLL meetings would be a great source of support for you, too.

Here are some extra ideas & resources.

take care!


http://www.drjacknewman.com/index.ph...114&Itemid=156
Premature Baby
When the Baby Refuses to Latch On

When Latching

thank you for the resources and thank you everyone for the support and advice. At least I know one thing for a fact and it's not that she's frustrated that her milk takes so long to get to her. One good thing(maybe) about me is that my letdown never takes longer than 15seconds to achieve. 99% of the time it's less than 10seconds. And it overwhelms her a little I think because she gulps for a second and then she pulls off and drenches both of us. We haven't been able to nurse in public because of it actually.
my first preemie and I battled thrush(due to me on iv antibiotics for 4 days and baby on iv antibiotics for 2 days at the hospital) for 2 months after delivery so I have a general idea of it. But this time there's no skin irritation, no pain while pumping(I still have to supplement with bottles to give her her iron and her extra formula), etc. I will treat again with GSE and probiotics like we did with my first preemie but I hesitate to think that will help the pain. I think it's more of a latch issue.

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#8 of 8 Old 02-04-2008, 09:56 PM
 
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I would do probiotics as a precaution, but not GSE unless you suspect thrush... It can be kind of strong on sensitive nips!
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