My son won't latch & I'm ready to give

Marci - posted on 03/02/2009 ( 8 moms have responded )





I had an unexpected C section & then my son was very jaundiced & didn't want to eat. The nurses & lactation people in the hospital were so aggressive to get him to breastfeed, that he would get really angry & frustrated, with people grabbing his head & shoving it at my breast. I confronted them on this and they finally admitted to me that they were overly aggressive with their own agenda, but the damage was done by that point. So now any time I put him to the breast, this is his reaction, anger. They took him away from me for light therapy for 36 hours & during that time I pumped. But my milk really hasn't come in, it started to today, but I just don't have the time or the energy to pump like I should. My son was born a week ago, and so I know my window of opportunity is closing. I have a breast shield, and he uses the low flow bottles. I try to put him on the breast with the shield & put a syringe of pumped milk in his mouth to get him to suck. He just won't. It's become really emotional & frustrating, I don't want him to start to associate negatively with me because I keep trying to get him to do something he really doesn't want to. I always thought I would breastfeed, so this is tearing me up, but I'm exhausted & about to give up. My breasts are very large, & I've tried it from every direction I can think of. Any ideas? I can't hang on for much longer.

thanks for any help!!


Ericka - posted on 03/02/2009




Your baby got angry and frustrated because your milk was not in....that's normal.  His reaction now is not necessarily anger--its because you two have not been able to become acustomed to each other. Your milk let down is not fast enough for him. With a bottle it is immediate and instant gratification. I am glad to hear that you pumped even when they took him away for the light therapy. But  think it was wrong of them to take him for 36 hrs. Light therapy could have been done in the room with a portable light. And allowed you to focus on the nursing.

Find a lactation consultant in your area.

I would only use the shield as a last resort--as it can decrease your milk and cause problems with low birth weight. And can be difficult to wean from.

Big breasts can get in the way but try the football hold and get a boppy!

Try this site: (great resource for breastfeeding) and (world renowned guy on breastfeeding)



The 3 day nursing sabbatical

So… what is a 3 day nursing sabbatical?
(Desperate? Skip down to get to the nitty gritty instructions).
A 3 day nursing sabbatical is really the cure-all for most of the common early problems in Bfing. Low supply particularly, but even poor latch, nipple confusion, etc can all benefit. Its really useful if you’ve found yourself in the viscious cycle of trying to get baby to stay interested, nurse more, increase supply, reduce formula, get where you don’t have to pump as frequently, etc. This is also ideal for growth spurts (in fact, its darn near mandatory).

All too often the story goes something like this: wonderful woman meets cute guy, they fall in love they have kids, they have grand plans. Wonderful woman plans wonderful birth. Things may or may not go as expected, but most often NOT as expected. Shes spent 9 months reading all about how to have a great birth, what colors to paint the nursery for the best developmental stimulus, and how to escape it all without too much damage to show for it while still enjoying and tolerating the stretch marks that don her belly. Then – she has the baby and realizes, NOBODY told her the half million things that might come up as she nurses her baby, who seems to be also clueless about what to do. Also news - theres a difference between lactation counselors and consultants, few pediatricians receive any training about breastfeeding, and the ones that did apparently missed that day of class b/c they had a frat party the night before. (Oh come on – you think he was a saint in college?!)

So – here you are – a postpartum mom, trying to figure out nursing in a world where few people you know nurse (IF you even know someone). You’ve been sent home with formula samples out your ears, and maybe you used a few those first few nights (b/c nobody told you that they just happen to discharge you before things really get moving in the BFing department, and that 3rd night is when all babies decide they want to stay up allllllllll night long although they slept like angels the first few nights).

OR maybe you got “lucky” and your baby is sleeping a LOT – and as a result not nursing quite as much. And to get by, or to satisfy your paranoia, or to let dad feed the baby, you’ve given a few bottles of milk (pumped or artificial). And now – youre stuck. Baby never seems satisfied. Baby is constantly hungry. Laundry is piling up and you don’t know what to do? The 3 day sabbatical is for you.


First things first. Pull out the calendar. The one you used BEFORE the baby came along that organized your life that you can barely keep up with now that it takes an hour to get out of the house from the 2 diaper changes and 3 outfit changes (1 for you and 2 for baby). WIPE EVERYTHING OFF FOR THE NEXT 3 DAYS! Soccer practice – gone. Lunch date – cancel it. Drs appt – only if its serious lol. Moms coming over – give her a list of to-dos. Church – God will understand, I promise. Call DH & tell him youre ordering pizza for the next 3 nights, unless hed like to reheat leftovers, bring home Chinese food, or make grilled cheese (unless you were the lucky one that got the DH that could cook, and then I’m jealous).

Find a good book – maybe the BFing book that’s been gathering dust the last 10 months. Have DH bring home all the trash magazines so you can catch up on all the celebrity goodness. Whatever floats your boat. Grab a comforter, a pillow, the remote, some snacks and a lot of water and find a comfy place in front of a TV. That’s your home for the next 3 days. Give up your anxiety now, the laundry will not walk off, it will be there in 3 days and your DH could use another job anyways!

Now – strip down from the waist up. Yes, you’re probably leaking more than the rickety faucet in the downstairs bathroom. That’s ok. Now, strip baby down to just a diaper. Which reminds me – grab a handful of diapers, wipes, and the bathroom trash can to put next to the couch. Turn up the heat if you must, but really – your body heat will do the job.

Your job for the next 3 days is to feed the baby. That’s all. No laundry. No cooking. No cleaning. You can take a shower if you’re one of the lucky ones that has a baby that will sleep when DH comes home. But, really – its not necessary. Baby likes the way you smell 

Nurse nurse nurse. The reason this works so well is:
1 – you’ve finally succumbed to motherhood. Priorities priorities priorities. This is your ONLY job. Until you get this down pat, nothing will fall into place. When you have this down pat, everything else will run smoother, including your brain 
2 – skin to skin contact. The skin to skin contact, even if baby barely nurses at all the first day, will do more for the baby than just about any other single thing you can do.
3 – Being naked will give you an unobstructed view of what is going on down there. Is baby’s latch good (for the answer, pull out that dusty BFing book). Tongue should be slightly visible, both lips puckered out like a fish’s, and you should hear gulping, not clicking.
4 – Interest in the breast – this is why the leaking happens. Baby knows the smell of milk- baby will get interested in the breast, will root around, and will start to get the hang of things
5 – because you have nothing else to do except nurse – baby will nurse probably ALLLLLLLLLLLL day and your supply will increase naturally as a result.

Now – those diapers. Count em. From the time you get up till the end of the evening – count diapers. If baby is under a week old, you should get at least 1 diaper per day of life (3 days old = 3 dirty diapers). For babies over 1 week old, look for 5 – 6 wet/poopy diapers a day. Because you don’t have anything else to do but nurse, change diapers, and keep up with which celeb is in rehab again, you can change frequently and don’t have to worry if that diaper had one pee pee or two. Having trouble determining whether its wet (b/c they don’t dump a gallon of pee when theyre that little)? Well, you could leave them naked but assuming you don’t want to call an upholstery cleaner at the end of the 3 days, place a piece of toilet paper in the diaper when you change the baby. By the next diaper change if the TP is obviously wet, then you know baby peed. The super absorbent diapers can be hard to tell but this makes it easier.

IF you don’t have enough wet diapers, you can supplement an ounce or two (base your judgement off of how many diapers you got).

Check these links for more info:

This usually works. You can do fenugreek and mothers milk tea if you need, just add that to the pile in your nest on the couch. Fenugreek is usually around 3 – 4 pills, 3 – 4 times a day for a total of 9 – 12 pills (you should smell like maple syrup within a day or two). You should be taking in a lot of fluids as well. But rest assured, if youre getting enough wet/poopy diapers, your baby is getting enough milk. 

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User - posted on 03/26/2013




Don't feel bad if you have to give up. I was overly stressed with my first son. 3 boys later and they still won't latch on. I have large breasts and I just pumped and supplemented with formula for all of my babies. My son is 6 and is healthy bright and in the TAG program, my 1 year old is bright, active and my newborn is growing and doing great lol. I try for about 15 minutes before I give him a far he still hasn't and I just pump. Engorgement was horrible and I am glad after a week, It has gone down significantly. I was engorged to my armpits it was that bad. I too have had the tears and frustration because I always saw myself breastfeeding and when everyone puts so much pressure on you to do it, you feel like a bad mother if you don't! Plus my breast are so huge I get comments like "if you don't breastfeed that's a waste" don't stress yourself out. Make sure you are happy and healthy and your baby will be fine if you pump and supplement with formula. Take it from this mother of 3 boys that would not latch, you and your baby will be fine. Just do the best you can.

Nikki - posted on 03/03/2009




i had the same experience, as far as frustration from baby. it is normal untill your milk really comes in. give it at least 2 weeks, it took 6 weeks for my full term baby to get experienced and comfortable latching on. as long as he/she is gaining weight properly. i also used a nipple shield after the first week 1/2. also i tried pulling his lower lip down while he latches, and hem adjusting his upper lip up. sounds like a lot, but he is now 2 months old and a pro! it is so worth it for your baby especially preterm:)

Ryann - posted on 03/03/2009




i have a 7 week old daughter and we went through the same. an unexpected c followed by jaundice that made her so sleepy she could barely wake to eat, and alot of frustration at the breast. i know you don't have the energy to pump but that really is the key, so you have milk when baby is ready for it. quit giving baby the bottle and finger feed her with a syringe with a tube (this helps them practice sucking, which you can get from the hospital or an LC (not an orthodontic syringe). if you have to do the bottle, do a preemie nipple bc baby has to work hard to eat still. at 3 1/2 weeks i finally got my daughter on with a nipple shield but getting there was the hardest thing i've ever done. it was worth it! 

[deleted account]

Hi!  I agree..don't give up.   The more he nurses...the more your milk will come in.  Try to relax...lay down..stroke him..lay down to feed.  Look at the Jack Newman website and good luck.  It truly is MUCH easier to breastfeed in the long run and much better for you and bubs.  I know it can be hard at first but it gets really easy after a few weeks!!  Just do your best!!   :)

Jessie - posted on 03/02/2009




Don't give up! Hang in there a little while longer if you can. Check out Dr. Jack Newman's website He is the Canadian breastfeeding guru and one of the best in the world, I absolutely adore him and consult his material all the time. The site has some great videos and you can even contact him directly. He also has a book - The Ultimate Book of Breastfeeding Answers (I am pretty sure that is the U.S. title) Also try and contact some better help, maybe through public health. I found that in the first few weeks of nursing my daughter that the football hold worked well. I don't know much about lactation aids but maybe less is more and you could try cup or finger feeding. You are doing a great thing for your baby, good luck!!

Snow - posted on 03/02/2009




i know that they say if you have like skin to skin contact with your baby it helps them form a bond with you maybe if you tried that he would associate being close to you ith something plesant. ...i dont know if it will help but good luck and i hope things work out for you!

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