breastfeeding a newborn that wont latch or has weak suck

Sunny - posted on 01/10/2010 ( 9 moms have responded )

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A friend just had a baby 1.5 weeks ago and she is really wanting to breast feed. But he is not wanting to latch on. She has tried a shield and its not working. does anyone have any tips or tricks? She is pumping and bottle feeding now but would like to do the real thing. she said he has a weak suck.

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Sophie - posted on 01/11/2010

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There could be a number of reasons why its not working and its difficult to say without seeing what the problem is so she should definitely try to find a lactation consultant to help.

My experience: Does she have flat nipples? (youmentioned she was using nipple sheilds) My baby had trouble latching on at first because my nipples were a little flat and I used sheilds which worked but before I got them I would have to almost pinch my nipple to get it into the right shape (but dont pinch too close to the nipple as you'll stop the milk coming!) Try expressing a little just before a feed the expresser can help to draw out the nipple so that it is easier for the baby to get a latch.
As someone else on here mentioned as she has introduced the bottle so early bubs has learnt that this is a much easier way to get the milk so it will take a lot of perseverance on her part to get him back to the breast and if she can she should do away with the bottles completely at least until bubs has learnt to latch on properly (it is advised that you wait at least a month before introducing a bottle to help breast feeding succeed)

Also in regards to what Gayle said about his tongue its called tongue tie and when he pokes his tongue out does it pull back in the middle? There are varying degrees of tongue tie it can either stretch out or if it is severe they can clip it http://www.tonguetie.net/

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Nicole - posted on 01/11/2010

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I would suggest that she stay away from the bottles as well. They aren't as much work for the baby who would be better off building a stronger suck at the breast. My son developed nipple confusion/preference in hospital after only 24 hours on a bottle as a newborn! It was so hard to get him to BF again... and so emotionally trying for me because I really wanted to BF. Guidance from her midwife or lactation consultant would be best. I basically let the midwife latch my son for me and tried to take her encouragement seriously... because I began to doubt myself and really just needed some positive support.

Hope she gets through this!

Sarah - posted on 01/11/2010

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Definitely see a lactation consultant. I had my 4th baby 6 months ago. The first 3 never had any issues nursing, but this baby would not latch onto the left side. She nursed on the right side just fine, but would scream and refuse the left. After a week I called a lactation consultant, who came to my house and watched us nurse, examined the baby's mouth, gave advice and encouragement, and then made follow-up calls for a few weeks. She was wonderful! Baby eventually started nursing on the left side, and is still exclusively breastfed now at 6months, with no intentions of giving it up anytime soon. So find a lactation consultant, the hospital or pediatrician should be able to give a recommendation.

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Try a lactation consultant or osteopath.

New babies do have a week suck - it took my son about 30-40 minutes to finish a feed when he was that age. He kept falling asleep, so I'd work hard to tickle him and keep him awake. (I've never been a fan of nurse-to-sleep).

My son had a bad latch on one side. Our doula said it was likely because his neck was cramped in the womb. I took him to see an Osteopath, who confirmed that his neck was tight. She released it, and he's been nursing well ever since.

Gayle - posted on 01/10/2010

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i agree, a professional will really help. But in the mean time, if you haven't already tried. You could try some hand expressing(this will maintain a level on milk in the breast, do it as often as your nipple will allow - even 2 hourly) into your bubs mouth so your baby recognises this is also where milk comes from, i had a 29week premmie baby and i had to teach my little one to suck and gain his feeding 'fitness' as he was getting feed thru a tube in his nose, his mouth was simply to small to fit on the nipple and the hospital said just to continue laying the baby across in the feeding position very often, 'spray' the bub with the milk, let them lick and give positive talk. then hold your baby away for a few minutes and he will get frustated and start opening his month wondering... 'well come on don't tease me.and then use the method the lady below discribed to guide in you nipple. i sometimes had to wait for my baby to yawn and then 'shove it in'. he will get tired quickly so be patient as he might want to feed more regulary at the start but hopefully this helps. oh and one more thing i got told at the hospital is if he does fall asleep on your breast after just a small feed the lacation specialist said to move the baby away and let him stir on his own accord and then bring him back to a second attempt, but the feed shouldn't take more than half an hour. or i whole other topic is have a look in his mouth and look at the webbing under his tongue, does it allow his tongue to move freely or does the webbing continue to the end of his tongue and suppress movement? he may not be able to securly grab the nipple. again hope something i've said helps.

Cristy - posted on 01/10/2010

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Lactation consultant should help also sometimes issues like high palate or tongue tie can be an issue. She can try expressing and getting let down started then putting bubba on.

Melissa - posted on 01/10/2010

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I would strongly recommend getting help from a professional lactation consultant in your community. My pediatrician gave me a name and she was amazing. She helped my daughter and I really "gel" in our breastfeeding routine.

Joanna - posted on 01/10/2010

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My advice is she needs to keep trying and let go of the bottle before the child gets to attached to it. Not all but most babies will refuse the breast after having the bottle because the bottle is easier for the baby to drink out of, the breast the baby has to suck harder and work for the milk. She needs to get a good latch. Sometimes you can but you thumb on top of the nipple and your finger at the bottom and guide the breast into the babies mouth you need to get as much of the nipple and the area around it to in the baby's mouth to get a good latch. Also your body lets off a hormone when the child is eating to produce more milk. that hormone doesn't release the amount it should if the child is not eating. That could cause the milk supply to go down. She needs to see a lactation counselor they have them at WIC for maybe your doctor can recommend some one but they will show you how to latch correctly and what you need to do to help your supply of milk so you can breast feed longer.

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