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Old Sep 14th, 2017, 14:36 PM   1
kittykat7210
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Bad latch, what's the harm?


Hello,

I know this is an odd question but my baby doesn't latch well, she refuses to take in very much boob, and if there's a lot in her mouth she won't suck and will just turn away. She's almost 4 weeks old and I'm ready to give up on getting her to latch well. I want to continue breastfeeding but apart from my pain are there any problems with having a bad latch? Baby is gaining really well and my breasts haven't developed any blocked ducts or anything, and she seems to 'empty' them during her feeds.

So if I can handle the pain is there any other problems that can arise from a bad latch?

Thank you in advanced x



 
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Old Sep 15th, 2017, 01:51 AM   2
noon_child
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Theoretically a problem that could arise would be loss of milk supply. Your baby may be gaining very well at the moment if you have a strong milk ejection reflex (letdown) and abundant milk, as it will still be making its way to her without her needing to do "proper" sucks. Commonly this loss of supply after initial abundant milk, presents at around 3-4months old with nursing strikes or fussing at the breast (as supply has regulated by this point, and in response to less nipple stimulation and less milk removal it has decreased).

However strong milk ejection may be one reason why she pulls away when she has more breast tissue in her mouth as milk may flood her mouth leaving her overwhelmed. I don't know what help you have had so far or what you have tried, but a reclined feeding position (around 45% is good but you can go more or less depending on what's comfy for you) can both help get a deep latch and reduce the speed at which milk is ejected - so whatever is happening in your case it may be worth a go. Warning: it can be tricky to master at first, especially with newborns being not as in control of their movements. So if you can get any help from a home visit from La Leche League or NCT etc. to help you figure out the best position, how to make sure you have enough back support, how to encourage and support baby to stay latched in this position, etc. then that would be a real help. However there is always YouTube if you can't get local help. If this position does help you, don't be worried that this is how you have to feed forever! Babies change and grow and as they get bigger they cope with milk flow and find it easier to get breast tissue in to their mouth etc. so you will be able to do more positions and go out and about as time goes on. Your baby is still very young so give yourselves time to adjust to this very steep learning curve.

It is also possible that your baby has a tongue tie (although not every feeding problem and pain can be explained by this and has such a quick fix). Again as this will prevent baby from sucking properly, you may see her weight stop increasing once milk supply has regulated, you may get blockages etc.

What shape are your nipples after a feed? Do they look uneven (slanted down one side)? or squashed/flattened? or are they nipple shape just longer?

What colour are your nipples after a feed? Normal nipple colour for you, or pale and colourless?

The answers to these questions can help find out what is happening when baby feeds without being able to see a feed directly.



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Old Sep 15th, 2017, 03:31 AM   3
kittykat7210
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Hello, thank you for replying, I hadn't thought about loss of supply, I do have a lot of milk, I can hand express 2oz and still do a full feed from that side. I will keep persevering with getting her to latch properly then, she does do it sometimes and it's pain free for me then by the majority of feeds, especially at the start she's just on the end of the nipple!

As far as positions go I have only just managed to get her to latch in the cradle hold this week, previous to that she was laying proped on a cushion with me leaning over her and that was the only way she would latch.

My nipple is longer and slightly flat at the end of a feed, and sometimes after a few minutes the end will go a bit pale.

In terms of tongue or lip ties she doesn't have one, she's been checked, I was told by the midwives in hospital (one was a lactation consultant) to open her mouth for her and shove my boob in but when I do that I feel like I'm going to hurt her, and even then after a few sucks she resumes normal small mouthed service!

I will keep preservering but it's common to be feeding for 40 minutes to an hour or longer. So night feeds kill me because I tend to be up for atleast an hour every time.



 
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Old Sep 15th, 2017, 03:58 AM   4
WackyMumof2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittykat7210 View Post
Hello,

I know this is an odd question but my baby doesn't latch well, she refuses to take in very much boob, and if there's a lot in her mouth she won't suck and will just turn away. She's almost 4 weeks old and I'm ready to give up on getting her to latch well. I want to continue breastfeeding but apart from my pain are there any problems with having a bad latch? Baby is gaining really well and my breasts haven't developed any blocked ducts or anything, and she seems to 'empty' them during her feeds.

So if I can handle the pain is there any other problems that can arise from a bad latch?

Thank you in advanced x
Speaking from experience, even if you CAN deal with the pain, don't do it!! I was in the same mindset as you for the first 3 weeks with DS3 in convincing him to get a decent latch that it didn't matter in the end if he did or not. The pain didn't last after he finished feeding - at first. Come 4 weeks old, he was latching better than he had been but every time he cried for a feed, I would cringe and just break down myself. I was at the point where my boobs were so damn sore, cracked, bruised and bloodied I couldn't bare the thought of feeding again. I expressed between feds until the pain subsided but it still hurt as I was expressing by hand as my pump had not yet arrived. It's worth the effort to get her sorted properly for your own sanity from the get go. And if you are having an excess of milk and she's struggling with a heavy let down, try expressing half an hour before a feeding. It won't go to waste anyhow. Freeze it for later in the week or put it in the fridge for night feeds. I found expressed milk was a Godsend if my older children wanted to feed baby or I was exhausted and needed to sleep because it meant hubby could deal with a hungry baby too.



 
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Old Sep 15th, 2017, 14:15 PM   5
thexfadingpat
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A shallow latch can also cause baby to inhale a lot of air and can cause bad gas and tummy troubles.

I know you said baby was checked for ties, but I would get a second opinion from a pediatric dentist that specializes in ties. Many midwives and LCs aren't trained properly to assess ties.



 
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