8 week old has suddenly stopped latching properly!
I have an almost-8-week old who I was breastfeeding great till last week. Then he suddenly won't latch on properly. As in, no matter how much I try, he just won't open his mouth wide enough! Its been so perfect so far, I wasn't ready for this so late in the game I normally touch the nipple to his nose, he puts his head back and opens his mouth wide, and in it goes. Even his health visitor and the mid-wife commented on how text-book his latch is.
Now he just won't open his mouth and even if the proper amount of nipple goes in, he will slide it out within a few sucks till he just has the tip in his mouth and THEN he will start sucking. Its excruciatingly painful, as you all must have experienced, and its utterly useless because he doesn't get much milk that way. The more I try re-latching, the more hysterical he gets and refuses to open his mouth bigger than a pound coin.
I'm bloody on both sides and have a huge blister on the right from the friction of his gums where he's biting. For two days I've expressed from the right to help it get some rest. I alternated him between feeds as:
left breast - bottle - left breast - right breast
So the right gets bitten (OUCH) every 6-7 hours or so. But its a lot better now.
He LOVED the bottle and those have been the few times he's actually taken all 3.5ozs that I can express, in, and then slept well. Before that, his sleep has been terrible all week because he'll wake up every hour hungry again.
Shall I shift him to the bottle for the achy right breast ... will it confuse him so he stops feeding directly at all? Will nipple shields help instead? I LOVE the intimacy of feeding and the bond with him and I really don't want the bottle if there's another option Has anyone here tried nipple shields and then stopped using them when LO stopped biting?
Oh dear, I wish I knew more about this and could help you out. I had been using a nipple shield but not due to Little One biting. (He found latching and sucking difficult at birth, so they gave them to me at the hospital.) I've also been giving him 1-2 bottles (of pumped breast milk) per day. I've recently weaned him off the nipple shield for the most part. He's now between 3 and 4 weeks old.
My experience is that sometimes it takes many tries to get him to latch properly without the shield, but other times he latches right on, so I don't think that he has irreparable "nipple confusion" (even though I was using the shield plus a bottle every day.)
I personally don't think "nipple confusion" is as big a problem as the books make it out to be, but that's just my experience. Maybe it depends on the baby.
As for trying a nipple shield, it does make it much easier for them to latch on and drink. I didn't have a lot of nipple/breast pain while using it. I don't think it hurt my milk supply (though I started trying to wean him off it @ 3 weeks old). He seemed to get plenty of milk with it, and there was much less drama with latching.
Weaning him off has been filled with drama, though, because getting a proper latch without it can be frustrating for both of us. That's something you have to think about. But your baby was able to latch well without it in the first place, whereas mine wasn't. So I don't know how your experience will compare to mine.
The main problems with nipple shield for me (and the reasons I wanted to wean him off it ASAP): it's a pain to keep clean. You have to rinse it with hot water after each feeding and disinfect it daily. It can fall off the breast easily, especially while they are trying to latch on and when they pull away. Milk can leak out the bottom and get on you and your clothing. It's very difficult to deal with the shield when trying to nurse in public. I found it embarrassing to use in public.
As far as bottle-feeding, my baby likes it, too (usually.) I don't think 1-2 bottles per day has negatively affected breast-feeding for us, but then again, I have nothing to compare it to, as I feel he is still learning to nurse properly without the nipple shield, and I am still learning the different nursing positions.
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