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18-6-2010 - Why Won't he latch on!? frustrated and sadMy mood while writing this blog:
frustrated and sad

Hi, hope you are well. Thank you for your time to come and read my blog. I would really appreciate some help.

My son Samuel is 9 weeks old, I have been trying to breast feed from day one but its not going well. He has never latched on (I have flat nipples, which I don't think helps him) and in the beginning we had to cup and syringe feed him, then I got told about nipple shields. I was very happy when Sam latched on and we were able to stop using a cup and syringe I thought we would be fine.

My problem now is he is feeding constantly. I barely have time to do anything. I know by using the shield he is not getting the milk as efficiently as he would like. He gets tired falls asleep for 5 minutes then is hungry again. I think he is getting enough as he has bowel movements around 2-5 times a day and is having around 4-6 wet nappies a day, and his weight gain is not great but he is gaining slowly. But I am starting to feel down with not being able to do anything but feed. I love breast feeding and want to carry on, but I am really struggling.

I try before every feed, during each feed and when he is sleepy to try and get him onto me without the shield, he just screams the moment it touches him or just opens his mouth and doesn't suck. I have watched many clips and looked at loads of pictures to get him latched on correctly but with the shield he slips down so that by the end of the feed he is just on the nipple, so he just won't latch onto me.
I have tried all different ways too... skin on skin, in the bath, different times of the feed, sucking on an empty shield then trying him on me with milk flowing. I don't know what else to do!

I am also starting to worry about my supply as I have heard that using shields the milk supply can drop and I really don't want that to happen. And with him feeding all the time I literally switch breasts all day, I give around an hour to two hours on each one, I feel like they are not having time to produce more because by the end of the day he gets really fussy like he is not getting much or anything and they feel very soft and empty.

My health visitor said the last time I saw her (which was a week and half ago) to carry on and he should get better and go longer between feeds, when actually it is getting worse, he is getting more and more hungry.

I really really want to continue breast feeding but cant go on like this. How can I get him onto me? I very much do not want to use the "cry it out" method, but will try anything else.

Sorry for such a long blog, but I thought I would give the whole story!

Thanks again for reading and if you have any help I would be very grateful.

5 Comments on Why Won't he latch on!?

~annalyn~ - Saturday, 19 Jun
Thank you so much for your help and support. It has been hard but I really want to breastfeed so I will try all your ideas and keep going :-) Not sure about a lactation consultant, not heard of them here in the uk. I have spoke to my health visitor but she wasn't any help.All your stories has really inspired me to keep going and that hopefully samuel will get it soon. Thanks!!

Bri - Friday, 18 Jun
Just thought of something else. Make sure you "prime" your breast first. Massage it, pluck your nipple. Get it ready to go first. It'll make letdown much faster and Samuel will start liking the breast and how much better it is. Also, about sleep. It does get better. Babies go through so many growth spurts in the first 3-4 months that they need to eat often. Alex (Super Chunk as we foundly refer to him as) used to eat every half hour to an hour. It was crazy. He just needed the calories. Also, remember their tummies are very little maybe the size of a bing bong ball. It goes from a marble to a plastic egg size in the first three months. Once you can get him to latch on without the shield and his grow slows down you'll see a noticable difference. Good luck!

Bri - Friday, 18 Jun
Your son sounds a lot like my first. Although, he didn't even take the shield. I pumped for over 2 months before getting him to latch on. First, I would talk to a lactation consultant. You said that he's slipping down to the nipple. Have you had him checked for tongue tie? My second was tongue tied. Since I knew what I was doing I knew something was wrong the first time he latched on. I couldn't get him to stay on the breast. It's easy to get that fixed. It's like clipping a hang nail. Can he stick his tongue out? Alex couldn't at all. It was so tied that the skin went right to the tip on his tongue. If that is the case then it's easy to fix and should be good. But if he's not then I would continue to keep trying to latch him. I would also use compression nursing. He's used to the pastic now so he needs to know that he can get milk from you without it. When you latch him on squeeze the base of your breast to get the milk flowing into his mouth. He should start gulping. Once he stops drinking do it again. Also, don't try when he's overly hungry. It'll just frustrate him that he's not getting what he wants. It'll just end up with tears between both of you. As mere said they now have a product out for inverted and flat nipples. Your nipples will eventually come out. I wouldn't worry about that but the product looks like a penis pump. HAHA! It uses suction to pull it longer. I had a flat left nipple but after years of breastfeeding it's fine now. It only takes a little bit. I'm sure Babies R Us or even Target carries it. I know Avent is one of the brands. Just keep trying. I want to share my story with you to keep your hopes up. With my first, he was born without a suck reflex. We had to use a cup and shringe as well. He just wouldn't latch on. He also was a very sleepy baby. He wouldn't stay awake long enough to feed. I bought a pump and begin pumping my milk for him. We had to wake him during the night to get him to feed. It was lots of work and very tiring. I was almost ready to give up. No one in my family uses formula so it hard on me to think that I might need to. My husband was breastfed for 3 years and I was for 2. I was so sad. When Chris was about 2 1/2 months he was sl;eeping. So, I went and took a shower. My phonerang and so I wrapped a towel around myself and sat down to talk to my sister. Meanwhile, he woke up. I picked him up and was cuddling with him on my bed talking. It was then that he just rolled over and latched onto my breast. I was so amazed that I just sat there crying while my little boy fed. One of the happiest days of my life. He went onto feeding for almost 2 years. Now I'm feeding my 5 month old and man was that a different experience. Alex had such a strong suck reflex. Of course he was tongue tied so that didn't help with the bruising of my nipples. Basically, the moral of my story is, don't give up. You are doing well. I'm glad the shield is helping but like you said it can lower your supply. Eat plenty of almonds, oatmeal and sticky white rice, along with plenty of water. It'll help keep your supply up. After he feeds you can pump the rest out to help maintain supply. Like I said, keep trying to get him to latch on. I've heard it a million times. Some babies just have a harder time doing it in the beginning. You can do it. Definately contact a LC. The le leche league is a good source to finding one in your area. They are international so just look up Le Leche League International on bing or google. They'll direct you to the right place. Keep trying and make sure you get him checked out. If Alex was my first I don't know if I would have asked someone to have a look. I would have kept nursing him and hurting my breasts that way. Good Luck. Let us know how it comes out. The breastfeeding forum is a good place to come to for help. We can all brain storms things you can try.

R-N-E-H - Friday, 18 Jun
This all sounds so very frustrating and I'm sorry you're having such a tough time. Have you tried speaking to a lactation consultant? They are trained specifically to help people in your situation so it would be worth it to find one in your area. Also, as far as Samuel constantly eating, will he take a pacifier? My kids all liked to suck in between feedings and would cry if they didn't have anything to suck on. Two of them suck their fingers and my newest son takes a paci much better than the other two did. It helps immensly. Also, do you have Samuel on any sort of schedule? How long is he eating before he falls asleep? My son Eli only eats for about 5 minutes and he's done. Then he usually falls back to sleep. If he wakes back up I try the paci before trying the second breast and usually he's satisfied to suck on that so I know he's full enough. He eats every 2 1/2-3 hours and at this young age he spends most of the time in between sleeping. I don't know if any of this is helpful at all because I don't have any experience with flat nipples. But I figured I'd try just in case!

mere-and-girl - Friday, 18 Jun
Good for you for sticking with it. There is a product that is designed to pull the nipple out, I think it's called latch assist. I believe (I could be wrong though) that it pills the nipple out without having that barrier between you and babe. It sounds like your son is just used to that plastic-y feel. I would say to try and latch him every feeding before, during, and after without the shield. Also, when he isn't feeding, try and offer him your pinkie instead of a pacifier. This will help him get used to your smell, feel, and taste. As far as feeding all the time, it truly will get better. Levi view through her spells where she's on the boob all day. It sucks, but in the long run is totally worth it.
No photos added.

Samuel (2010)

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