Breastfeeding Issue - High Palate

Updated on June 04, 2013
S.B. asks from Encino, CA
9 answers

Hi Moms -

My two-week-old has had problems breastfeeding from birth and had to be readmitted to the hospital last week for a few days due to weight loss and dehydration. A combination of factors seem to be at play - my small nipples and her relatively high palate make it hard to get a good latch and, when latched, hard to actually extract any millk. Has anyone dealt with breastfeeding a baby with a high palate and, if so, what techniques worked for you? How long did it take to "master" breastfeeding? Did the baby "grow into" his or her palate (I've heard that happens) and, if so, how old? Right now, I'm pumpling and feeding her the pumped milk (plus formula, if necessary). I'm not sure how long I can keep that schedule going, though. I've met wtih several lactation consultants - two as an inpatient at the hospital, and two at the hospital's breastfeeding clinic - and although latch has become easier, getting the baby the milk has not. I can't master the SNS because of the latch problems. Any words of experience are welcome!

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So What Happened?

Thanks, everyone - to forestall any additional responses regarding giving her formula to prevent her from getting dehydrated again, please do not be concerned. Obviously, I will be supplementing with formula if I can't pump enough for her needs. If, however, there is an effective way to maintain breastfeeding, I'd like to pursue it.

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answers from Jacksonville on

My first son had an issue where the lactation consultant said he didn't suck hard enough to make my nipple touch the roof of his mouth, so I think it may be the same type issue you are having. She had me use a nipple shield.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from New York on

Personally, if my baby was admitted to the hospital for dehydration and weight loss, I would give him formula. Breast feeding is great if it works for you, but if it does not and your baby is hungry, is it worth it. I would rather have a content, full formula fed baby, than one I had to worry about every feeding. Is she getting enough, is she gaining weight. Stress is not good for her either, it this is just my opinion.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I never felt that the lactation consultants through my hospital were very helpful. I scheduled someone outside of the hospital who was a total breastfeeding advocate and she helped me out immensely. I might try La Leche League or some other lactation consultant organization.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I also used a nipple shield as 2 of my boys had a hard time taking the nipple in far enough. I used it for 3 weeks and 5 weeks and it seemed to help a lot. I too thought the lactation consultants in the hospital were not useful/helpful at all, but we have a GREAT breastfeeding boutique/lactation service that was a life saver for me. I think they do consultation via skype as well. It's called milkalicious. They kept telling me the more you nurse, the easier it is. I also supplemented with formula when I needed to but was able to nurse for over a year with all their help. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I too found that the hospital LCs weren't much help when I had problems, sad to say. I found a great LC (who was also a pediatrician) by contacting the local Le Leche League and asking for a recommendation. The women at LLL know who is good in your area, so please call them.

Here is the link to the site to search for your local group:

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Billings on

I have smallish nipples, and I had to use a nipple shield with my first two babies. Maybe you can try that? It was a silicon piece that fit over the nipple and made it easier for the baby to latch on.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Work with the Le Lache league. They are magnificent! THere should be a group in your area.

All I have to offer is my son and I got it with in a few weeks.
My daughter not, so much. But I was able to pump and feed both for 1 year.

My schedule was, that I pumped at every feeding time. then 6 am, 10 am, 2 pm, 6 pm & 10 pm. Those were the times that I pumped when I went back to work. (5 months old). I was lucky to have enough breast milk, the lactation consultants and LLL will work with you indefinetly.

Good luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

My son had the same problem latching on.We decided to use Formula.We are gonna try to breast feed when my daughter is born but were not sure.If she is dehydrated,then use formula.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

It's important to do what is best for the baby. I know you really want to breastfeed, but if she cannot latch, you need to use a regular nipple. My son has a submucous cleft palate. It took forever for him to nurse (no latching problems) and he would be SO tired from nursing that he just didn't get enough. We had to supplement with formula. (I couldn't pump - it was just miserable trying to pump with hardly anything coming out...)

My doctors and I did not know he had a cleft at the time. I just knew that he needed a nipple with large holes in it so that he didn't have to work so hard. After we found out about his cleft, it all made sense. He has a compromised structure and it just wasn't strong enough.

In your child's instant, her structure is the problem. You have to work with HER structure even if it's hard. Don't put her through hospitalizations and dehydration because you want to nurse. Either exclusively pump, or go to formula. What is most important is what is in HER best interests.

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