View Full Version : Need suggestions for help with strange latch-on problem
06-03-2003, 09:35 AM
About a week ago, at 2 weeks old, DD developed a frustrating habit of not opening her mouth wide - only about half way - and snapping it open and shut while I try to offer my breast. At the same time she is moving her tongue as if she alraedy has the nipple (kind of curling/lapping with it). Oh, and she also likes to add the additional obstacle of sticking her arm or hand in the way at the crucial moment! At first I thought all these antics were because she was too hungry and kind of frantic, but she nearly always takes this approach now, even if it's a feeding I've woken her up for.
Has anyone else has an experience like this, or any suggestions? Fortunately she is still eating well, as evidenced by her weight gain, but this is making nursing a really difficult and frustrating experience for both of us. I am starting to dread feeding time!
Thanks for any help!! :)
#1 due 5-13-03
06-03-2003, 09:50 AM
Abigail did this for a while! I know how frustrating it is. It will pass. She is just getting better at anticipating nursing, and forgetting that she has some work to do to make that happen. Keep modeling for her. Say, "Open wide!" and open your mouth really wide to show her. If she doesn't open up, don't give her your breast. I think for us this was tough for about two weeks, and then got better. Also, if you're giving anything like a pacifier or bottle nipple, stop for a while until this problem resolves. Those nipples don't require her to really open her mouth, and could be confusing her.
If all else fails, call LLL! They've usually got some good ideas. Hang in there!
Mom to Abigail Rose
06-03-2003, 10:49 AM
I had the exact problem and it was very frustrating! We used a nipple shield ($6. at Target) and had immediate success. She only used it for a week or so and then was on her own.
06-03-2003, 03:04 PM
hmm... i have a similar situation but it's more amusing than worrisome. i attribute it to her being a boob gourmand. it is akin to snoopy's ecstatic suppertime dance. she opens her eyes wide, leans back and throws her head forward, nuzzles around and puts the nipple in her mouth and rolls it around, leans back off of the breast and smiles -- does this 3 or 4 times -- and puts her little hands up to 'help' (get in the way) before finally getting down to business and latching on con mucho gusto. it is both cute and drives me a little nuts... i cannot imagine going through this ritual trying to BF in public! as maddening as it can be, it is idiosyncratic and adorable and i am sure i will miss it when she doesn't do it anymore ...
06-03-2003, 04:59 PM
I'm a big fan of nipple shields when absolutely necessary, but I wouldn't recommend introducing one without the guidance of a lactation consultant. It's very likely that you don't need a nipple shield, particularly since your baby was nursing fine at the start.
06-03-2003, 09:16 PM
I would definitely agree with this statement!
We used it for 2 weeks and it took another 5 months to wean DS off it!
Here are a couple things you could try:
-Swaddle for feedings (at least it would eliminate the arm/hand thing!)
-Try a couple different feeding positions to see if one works better than others
-If you normally tickle the upper lip for latching on, try the lower lip, and vice-versa
-Open your own mouth very wide for her to see while she's latching on
It's never a nice feeling to dread feedings, but since she's been doing great thus far, it sound like something that will just pass. In the meantime, you can try to spice things up a bit so she doesn't get too used to it!
I know how you feel. When I was first starting out nursing my babies, I became filled with anxiety as soon as I heard the first peep of hunger each time. Getting a good latch is so important to your success and your baby. I agree with all the suggestions above. I haven't tried the nipple shields, but if you are using bottles, pacifiers, or other device, you might want to stop for a while - at least until 6 weeks age.
Trying different positions helps alot. Also, try guiding her mouth with your fingers, keeping the jaw open wide. If you need to break the latch and keep adjusting during the feed, than do that.
Keep up the good work!!! It does get sooo much easier. I can't imagine if I were bottle feeding having to wake up in the night to bottle feed. With nursing, you'll eventually be able to nurse in the dark while half asleep and it's sooo relaxing!
Do try calling LLL. They can offer really specific techniques and help with any other issues. Plus, they're available free of cost. If you have a good LC, that would be great too. They can observe and evaluate techniques with you. Having a good support group has helped me alot. It seems as though with each week and month that passes, new issues or 'themes' arise with nursing and infant nutrition. Mothering.com is another good website for breastfeeding support.
twin girls 7.20.02
charlotte & else
06-06-2003, 07:35 AM
Thanks for everyone's responses. It's reassuring to hear that it is something she will probably grow out of. I'm sure I can hang in there if I can tell myself it's only temporary! In the meantime, I will contact LLL and see what wisdom they might have. It is frustrating bec things were going very well at first . . . I did introduce a pacifier, which she loves, but hadn't thought that was the problem, since about a week later was when the snapping started. I'm going to try going without. Any suggestions on how to 'pacify' without a pacifier? She loves to suck (even in utero, always had her hand in her mouth!).
Thanks again! :)
It's a girl!
06-06-2003, 08:15 AM
My 2 little ones never would take a pacifier at all. I'd try, but they both spit it out and gagged.
Instead, I just held them and sometimes used my clean finger. Also, I've learned that babies and children cry for various reasons. Usually, it's because something is wrong and needs to be fixed: a tag is bothersome, they're over-tired, just want to do something different, gas in the tummy, etc. If all else fails, I give a bath. Seems to work EVERY time! :)
I agree with changing nursing positions frequently. Do you have the same problem while lying down to nurse or in the football hold? It took 3 babies before I even tried the football hold, but it really works well.
Super-switching seems to work well too. This is when you nurse from one side for a few minutes, then switch sides. Keep repeating by switching sides every 3-5 minutes again and again. It really helped wake up my sleepy DD when she was lethargic from jaundice. I was equally amazed that the technique worked well when my 2nd DD was wild and extremely active during a session and almost hurting me with her hands. Changing sides makes baby work and concentrate on the feeding all over again.
I almost wore the #s off my phone calling for help after baby #3 arrived, even after nursing 2 babies with great success! (I developed Mastitis 5 times in the first 3 months after delivery!) Don't feel foolish reaching out to the hospital Lactation Consultants AND LLL leaders. They are all seriously devoted to helping BFing Moms and speaking to several different people helped give me LOTS and LOTS of ideas.
Keep us posted!!!
gina, mom to 3
BFing for 4 years and counting!
06-06-2003, 07:26 PM
Let's see, while holding the breast you are offering, use the bottom/pointer finger to pull down baby's chin to force it open wider. I also used either cross-cradle or football hold so I had one hand on Ds' head to push him quickly on.
Does that make sense?
The arms? That was tough...I think I had Dh hold them every time for the first weeks/months!
06-06-2003, 09:04 PM
Well, a week would be a good period of time for her to start getting used to sucking on the pacifier...that could be contributing to the problem. I would second the finger suggestion, a pinky finger inserted nail side down works great!
06-07-2003, 12:32 AM
>Well, a week would be a good period of time for her to start
>getting used to sucking on the pacifier...that could be
>contributing to the problem. I would second the finger
>suggestion, a pinky finger inserted nail side down works
Or pointer-finger to the 2nd knuckle if you might have shallow-latch problems.
Mommy to Jonah
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