How to get baby to open mouth wider? - Mothering Forums
Breastfeeding Challenges > How to get baby to open mouth wider?
Dillpicklechip's Avatar Dillpicklechip 03:43 PM 08-16-2008
Maybe this is a really stupid question, I don't know...but is it possible in some way to get the baby to open his mouth wider?

My ds is 4 weeks old in two days, and breastfeeding is still really painful. My nipples are no longer cracked after getting some APNO, but they are still very red and sore and tender. I desperately want to get a better latch but ds is making it impossible!

I understand you're supposed to wait until baby's mouth is open wide before putting him to the breast, but what if he never does? My son only opens his mouth halfway, even when he's really hungry. Only once in a blue moon does he open all the way. The very few times we got a good latch (literally only enough to count on one hand) I was AMAZED how much less pain there was. I really want to get him to open up all the time, but I don't know how! I have tried every position, and also he doesn't get any bottles or pacifiers whatsoever.

Any advice anyone could give me would be really appreciated!!

MommyJoia's Avatar MommyJoia 03:59 PM 08-16-2008
Its a little tricky, but with the cross footfall hold, you hold the baby's head in your hand like a softball, with the baby's weight evenly distributed against your forearm, with one leg on either side of your arm. Hold the breast with the same side hand=left breast-left hand, baby in right hand & vice versa.

Do the sandwich thing with the same side/breast hand and bring baby to breast.

with one finger, gently poke baby's cheek to create open mouth reflex.

with that same finger, at the same time you try to latch, pull down chin to open mouth wider and quickly smush baby's mouth onto nipple. baby should latch correctly. if not, break latch and try again.

drjacknewman.com has some helpful videos.
smanore's Avatar smanore 04:33 PM 08-16-2008
You might try expressing a drop of milk to put on his lips before you start the feed. Let him smell the breast and the milk. It might help him to open wider. Often, just very lightly tickling his mouth by barely brushing the nipple up and down over his lips can get a baby to open wider to see what's being presented. Does he open his mouth wide at other times (i.e. yawning etc)? If not, maybe having someone look at his jaw mechanics might help. I'm thinking of a chiro, or CST etc. I don't know honestly, if they do that or not though. Sue
Dillpicklechip's Avatar Dillpicklechip 05:32 PM 08-16-2008
Yes, he opens wide when yawning, and he has opened wide a few times during feedings, just not 99% of the time!

Thank you for the responses. Actually I have tried those things already (with the exception of the chiro) and nothing worked.

I am starting to think that maybe the milk is just coming too fast, and he just wants to take the tip so he doesn't get as much. Usually when I am trying to latch him on, milk gets everywhere, and he is pulling on my nipples and generally fussing...argh it's so frustrating.

Maybe I will just have to wait until his mouth is bigger and he can take a greater milk flow. And in the meantime suffer...
Dabble's Avatar Dabble 05:49 PM 08-16-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dillpicklechip View Post
I am starting to think that maybe the milk is just coming too fast, and he just wants to take the tip so he doesn't get as much. Usually when I am trying to latch him on, milk gets everywhere, and he is pulling on my nipples and generally fussing...argh it's so frustrating.

Maybe I will just have to wait until his mouth is bigger and he can take a greater milk flow. And in the meantime suffer...
If you think you are having over-active let-down, check out kellymom.com - Here is one page about this issue.

It sounds like your baby might be trying to regulate the milk flow by just taking the tip instead of the areola like he should. Kellymom has some great tips for helping that problem.

Good luck to you!
LittleGriff's Avatar LittleGriff 11:48 PM 08-18-2008
Yes, I had major oversupply issues and getting poor DS to open wide enough was very challenging. Re a lactation consultant's advice I found doing the breast sandwhich thing and moving his mouth very quickly onto the nipple and then actually adjusting his latch once on was very helpful in the early months. I would make sure he got the top part of the jaw in the right place and then gently encourage his bottom jaw to open wider as he was nursing. As he got older (past 2 months) I no longer needed to do this. It's not the most elegant solution but it got us through.
azedazobollis's Avatar azedazobollis 11:52 AM 08-19-2008
There is a little trick to getting a newborn's mouth to open wider, but the reflex usually disappears by the 9 week mark. Gently compress the baby's fatty part of the hand below the thumb on the back and front of the palm.
milkybean's Avatar milkybean 06:34 PM 08-19-2008
My guy had a really weird, small-mouth latch until I took him to a massage therapist who did CranioSacral Therapy on him. Over the course of the rest of the day we could see his head and face changing shape, and within a week he was opening his mouth much wider, and the pain lessened quite a bit.

If you haven't tried a chiro or a craniosacral therapist, do it. Can't hurt, might very well help.
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