baby can't latch to breast- too full!!

Melanie - posted on 10/17/2010 ( 12 moms have responded )

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hi, my breasts are so full, my 5 day old baby can't get my nipple into his mouth to latch properly. and I can see how frustrated he gets. I have thought about expressing a little before I feed him, but that will only make the supply more and he doesn't drink for more than two or three minutes at a time. also, the milk flow is so fast that he chokes and then I can hear him swallow air. (which I really struggle to get out)

any suggestions?

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Minnie - posted on 10/17/2010

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That must be frustrating and uncomfortable!

Expressing a bit to soften your breast is one way to help your baby latch on. Expressing just a little bit isn't going to cause you to make more milk. That fullness isn't 'too much milk' but interstitial fluids and blood accumulating in the area that is helping your breasts begin milk production.

One way to soften the areola so your baby can latch on is reverse pressure softening. Take the tips of your fingers and press into your chest wall directly at the base of your nipple. Keep up the pressure for about a minute and then latch your baby on.

Frequent nursing is another way to keep fluid levels down in your breasts. It will also help ensure good milk production.

Nursing your baby in positions that help him control the flow and make your milk flow against gravity can help him deal with a fast flow. Nursing him as upright as possible or with you leaning back on some pillows with your baby tummy down on your chest are some positions mothers and babies find to work well.

Amanda - posted on 10/19/2010

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I was like that first thing in the morning I found pumping right before bed and then early in the morning worked well for me. Plus you have frozen milk in case you need it

Laurian - posted on 10/19/2010

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Hi, I have large breasts and also had a lot of problems with attachment and wind due to fast flow (cause I had a lot of milk) and gulping from my baby. If you hand express first of all it won't increase your supply but will just make the nipple softer and easier to attach to. A warm washer or warm water in the shower can also relieve some of the fullness. Remember that in the first few weeks (sometimes up to 6wks) your breasts are still trying to gauge how much milk to create, especially if you have a baby that feeds in small amounts and frequently, or drinks for ages and feeds infrequently. By hand expressing you are letting some of the hydrating milk out and your baby can then more easily get to the more satisfying hind milk (which is creamier and fattier) and will hopefully get into a feeding pattern of long deep filling sucks and much more satisfying sleep (for both of you). Also with the swallowing of air, give him more breaks and burp at least twice in each feed. If he is really difficult to wind lay him over your lap or use a warmed washer over his belly and gently massage either his lower back or tummy, then burp upright. The warmth will break up the air very easily. Some of the wind or colic medicines that can be recommended by your nurse or chemist can help sometimes too. I wish you all the best with this! Also don't forget you are still both learning! He needs to get used to sucking on the nipple and feeling what it feels like, if you can get away with not using a breast shield try it but if you are very sore try the breast shield just until your nipple heals.

S - posted on 10/17/2010

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Easy fix, get a breast shield it will work wonders until the two of you adjust to each other. My preemie used them until she was able to latch successfully on her own

Katherine - posted on 10/17/2010

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i had this problem also and putting a warm compress on a few mins before seemed to help

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Editor - posted on 10/20/2010

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what you can do is u have to put all the darker part of the breast in his mouth so that its not painfull 4 both of u just keep on breastfeeding him as time goes on he will get used to the flow and he will adjust as for the air it will come out naturally

Melanie - posted on 10/20/2010

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thanks ladies, I tried a few of your tips and found them quite helpfull!!! (heat does wonders for sore boobies, the nipple pinch pushes back that thickness and now my little one latches better, and I discovered colix drops, and now the burping goes a lot easier. ) keep up the good advice, sometimes just a kind word from another mom, helps lift that frustration we all sometimes feel.

all the best to all of you!!!

Natasha - posted on 10/19/2010

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If you only express enough to make it so he can latch, it shouldn't affect your supply. You just don't want to pump a whole lot.

Jayde - posted on 10/17/2010

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definitely express enough to get him latched t's important- you wont get more milk from it. I wish i had've known this when i had Summer, my nurse wouldn't let me express at all & i couldnt sleep i was so full & in so much pain. My boobs were square & veiny & milk backed up until under my armpits. I couldn't lay down or stand up properly & was hard to latch Summer. I cringe still thinking about it

Laura - posted on 10/17/2010

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I had this issue in the beginning and I ended up having to pump some because they would be so full that hand expressing didn't do enough. I would pump for about 2-3 min a side and then sit down and nurse and it seemed to help a lot.

Kendyl - posted on 10/17/2010

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this happened with both my babies for about the first 2 weeks, if your too full right when baby is ready to eat, i'd just hand express enuff to make it 'unfull' enough for them to latch on, with my first i wasnt sure about pumping but then i ended up pumping 8oz 2x a day between when vanessa would eat, same with my second, its a good way to get a good stock of milk in the freezer ! :) and then it seems that they start to eat more and i didnt need to pump so often then not at all :)

Amy - posted on 10/17/2010

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I would definitely express first, within a few weeks your supply will regulate and you won't feel so full. Don't worry about over production soon enough baby will have a growth spurt and you won't feel like you're producing enough. Besides you may find that by expressing he may stay latched on for a longer period! Congrats on you new addition to your family!

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