Breastfeeding Latch On
I have a 5 day old little girl who can't seem to latch on, and when she does she lets go, starts to cry and won't do it again. So I end up pumping and feeding her with a bottle. I've been told it's something you have to learn... Any help?
Find answers and comments below.
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Baby Help Line Response:
Is it possible for you to meet a lactation expert where you live, for example at the hospital? Many babies do have troubles latching on, but in most cases an expert can help you by watching what your baby does and help you decide for example whether you may need a nipple shield or if you could position your baby in some other way to help her latch on. If mom has flat nipples, for example, the baby may need some extra help.
Also, if your breasts are engorged, they may be so full that it is hard for a little baby to suckle. (In such case, express some milk with your hands and then smear a little bit of milk on your nipple and offer the (now softer) breast again to your daughter.)
Don't give up!
Your little girl is obviously also frustrated, since she starts crying. Call the hospital or even your baby's health care provider immediately and don't settle until you have an appointment within the next couple of days (preferably today!) with someone who can help you! The longer you pump and use the bottle, the harder it will be to get your girl to breastfeed. (But it's very good that you do that rather than just switch to formula. Now you'll the the supply up and you have a great chance to get the breastfeeding to work over the week or so to come.)
A tip: By hand-pumping until the let-down reflex has started
, before you try to get your baby to latch on, your girl will immediately get some milk when she latches on, which may be a way to reduce her frustration and impatience.
You should know that especially the first time, it can take several weeks for the mom and baby to learn how to get the breastfeeding to work. This can be a very tough time, with sore nipples, sense of failure, worrying that the baby will not get the nutrition she needs etc. Support from an expert is a really good way to shorten this tough time and to not have the mom simply give up.
Since your girl is only five days old, it is not strange at all that the two of you have not gotten this to work yet, but you WILL, with a little help. While waiting for your appointment, you can also check out these breastfeeding latch on video clips, to see if they might help you a bit.
I really wish you good luck and congratulations to your daughter!
Let me know how you're doing!