Establishing Milk Supply/Baby Latching

Updated on September 28, 2016
K.B. asks from Saint Louis, MO
15 answers

So i just had my adorable baby boy on Saturday (FINALLY!). I'm really wanting to breastfeed. We did okay at the hospital although he struggled with latching. Apparently my nipples are to flat and I had to use a shield to get him to latch correctly. When we got home yesterday he started crying everytime i would even start to position him to feed. It would get worse when we went to try latching cause he would literally wail and push me away from him. When he would finally attach we were good for about 10 mins, but it would take lik 20 mins of wailing to get him to even do that. Now I feel like he's not settled when he's sleeping cause he's making little wimper noises and I wonder if he's even getting enough if anything to eat. Someone please just tell me what to do!!

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So What Happened?

thanks everyone for your supportive statements! I was very tired when writing this question this morning. It had been a long night! lol He did a little better today. My concern about the amount stems a lot from the fact that I had a 9lb 13 oz baby and my milk supply when starting to pump is just making enough i think for such a big boy. I have to feed him constantly it seems like. I've been trying to do pumping between feedings as well because I know the shield can sometimes limit things. I was told that I can supplement if needed since he is so big, but to help build my milk supply I need to have enough stimulation so I'm trying to make sure I have something going. Today was also a little easier I think cause my mom got in town so all I had to do was nap and feed the baby. She has been a god send cleaning and cooking and doing everything else. (Needless to say I also tore really badly with a baby that size that was "sunny side up"

We shall see what tonight holds, but I'm definitely going to keep trying for as long as possible. I just need to relax and sleep I think lol

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answers from Seattle on

I also had flat nipples and had a hard time getting my babies to latch on/stay on - was very frustrating all around - if they weren't in the right position, they would get fussy because they couldn't breathe well. The one hold that sort of worked was the football hold - helped with the breathing, I think. However, feeding was never relaxing for me - always ended up in some awkward position. I never quite knew if they fed enough. I started pumping milk in between attempting to feed just for my peace of mind, and it worked so well for me I continued to do it & eventually discontinued feeding at the breast once my supply was established - it was fast, efficient, and I ended up with enough milk to store with leftovers to donate to a milk bank. My goal was a year for each of my three kids and I ended up doing it for about 18 months for each, so I was happy! I used the Medela pump in style (double pump) and got special Medela bras and hands-free attachments so that I could pump anywhere (e.g., driving in my car, walking around a store!). Perhaps you can rent a pump from the hospital to use in between feedings to see if it works for you - worth a shot if you're not opposed to pumping! Good luck!

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answers from Dallas on

Good job, mama! You (and he) can do it! Breastfeeding is the hardest thing at first - and no one tells you that. You think, "Oh, its natural!" but it is really hard. I was in tears constantly my first few days home from the hospital because I couldnt get the latch right and was so worried that my son would starve.

Getting them to latch is hard, and the first few days, especially, he and you are just learning. It took my babies about a week to get good at it - and I think they were fast learners. :)

Try a football hold - that is easier for little babies. Also - ditto grandma Ts response about the milk on the nipple. I think it also helps to gently brush their noses accross - it makes them want to open their mouth.

If it doesnt get better in a couple of days, contact your local la leche league. You can go to a meeting, and they can give suggestions and moral support. If you are still feeling frustrated, you can get a number for a lactation consultant from them. Around here, a lactation consultant will come to your house for @$100. It sounds expensive, but its much cheaper than a year of formula.

Good luck, you can do it, and he can do it. You are doing a good thing for your little boy. Don't give up - it will be worth it later.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Modesto on

Little whimper noises are okay, they do that, it means nothing.
Just be patient. Keep trying to get him comfortable with your breast. Express a little and gently wipe it across his mouth. Think like this "If I were living in a 3rd world country and this was the only way to feed my child I would get him to feed". Just remember, this is new to him too. He's never had to suck on anything before. Their little mouths and tongues have to get used to the new intrusion whether its moms boob or a rubber nipple.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Honey, I was there. I was so upset and felt like I was starving my kid. Remember that you are BOTH learning. If you use a shield and don't have an overactive letdown, too (which was part of my problem...DD would choke) then be aware that you don't want to use it too long or it might decrease your supply.

I would try another hold, try nursing in a quiet place, and try skin to skin contact. Sometimes it helped just to lay DD on my chest and when she was calm try to nurse. I woke up every 2 hours to at least try.

You can try to call your LC, or a La Leache League leader. You can also look up info on

Remember, these first weeks you will feel like a zombie, from lack of sleep, from doing all this new work, from'll be okay. Remember that this time will pass. Give yourself AT LEAST six weeks to get the hang of it. I think around 3 I felt much better and by 6 I felt like we were doing really well. Don't let people dissuade you if you really want to nurse your child.

To determine his input, check his output. I called the LC and she reassured me that if DD was going through diapers regularly, she was fine.

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answers from Boston on

Definitely get a lactation consultant (your OB or midwife should be able to recommend one). Alternatively you could look for a breastfeeding /new mom's group in your area, preferably one that is run by La Leche League (look on their website for places/dates/times). They know ALL the tricks. You can interact with other mom's who can share their tips as well. If you're having trouble though I definitely wouldn't hesitate to call a lactation consultant to come to your home and help you out. It's important to get a good latch early on so that you can establish a good supply. It's all about stimulation. Have youtried stimulating your nipples first to let a few drops of milk come out, and then positioning him to latch? He will smell the milk and go for it. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is an amazing resource book for bf'ing, but you probably don't have much time to read these days.Good luck!

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answers from Detroit on

Keep offering... :-) Babys make noises... thats what they do. Wimpers, moans, groans, sudden wails...
I know that as a first time mom you may be unsure of yourself... But do not doubt yourself! If you feel that you need some support call your local laleche league and talk to them! Call the lactation consultant at the hospital! It does take babys a bit of getting used to things too...

He never had to nurse before. He will let you know when he's hungry by waking up and fussing. BUT I would make sure that during the day you are making sure that he is nursing (Latched on and not sleeping) for at least 15 - 20 min every 2 hours... Drink lots of water!

Yes, your full time job right now is to cuddle that munchkin and get your energy back. SO SIT DOWN, put your feet up, have water, crackers or some other snacky thing with in reach, let him take his time. Baby will pick up on your stresses, so when you are trying to get him to latch, if you have to take a break for a minute and breathe...

You say he is "pushing himself away"... Are you keeping him swaddled while you try to latch him? Also try different positions... a football hold may be more comfortable for him...
Keep trying! It will get easier and faster...

Congrats and good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

You can increase your supply by eating healthy diet, drinking a lactation tea called Healthy nursing tea and nursing maximum time.


answers from Chicago on

Can you make your nipples perk up before trying to nurse him -- like pinch them or something? My mother in law had inverted nipples and was still able to nurse her 5th child for a year -- it wasn't until her fifth that someone told her she should do something to fix the issue -- and hers weren't just flat -- they were inverted. A shield might seem like a quick fix BUT it will not allow him to get as much milk and eventually your supply will probably drop. I would contact a lactation consultant who can come out to your house or you go to their office, they watch you nurse, weigh the baby before and after the session to assuage your fears that he is not getting enough milk and can help you with the latch. If your nipples are flatter only because you are engorged (not all the time) then express some milk to make them more pliable/easier for him to latch onto.

I had a lot of problems with my first kid who never could latch right and I pumped exclusively for 4 mos till I dried up with the pump. For my second I nursed for a full year and rented a hospital grade pump for while I was at work (I work 10-11 hour days with my commute). All the things that I learned from the lactation consultant with #1, I put into full use with #2 and it was so much better.

Oh and little whimper noises while infants sleep is pretty normal and has nothing to do with hunger -- they just make all these "noises" while sleeping. I slept in the same room with #2 during my 3 mo maternity leave and fed him upon waking (but before he started crying) so he didn't wake his 17 mo old sister :)



answers from Kansas City on

Just to back up Diana F. - my 3rd of 4 never latched well - I had very little struggles with my 3 others. Many will tell you "your milk will dry up if you exclusively pump" - it's UNTRUE. If for some reason breast to mouth nursing doesn't work for you and your son, pump as often as you can. I pumped 8-10 times a day (as often as they should be feeding) until my milk established and then backed down to 6-7. I trained my body to make enough milk plus tons for storage. I quit pumping at 6 months, gave my daughter breast milk till 18 months and still donated all my leftovers to my niece. Keep trying to get him to latch, some just take a few weeks to really get the hang of it. But if for some reason he can't, that doesn't mean you can't give him breast milk. Good luck and congratulations!!



answers from Kansas City on

Call your local La Leche League Leader! They are voulenteers and want to help, whether it is with information or support. I"ve known many women who have transitioned from a shield to nursing without one and many women with flat or inverted nipples who nurse just fine. I personally had an 11 pound baby and there was no need for supplimentation. You are so lucky to have soneone there to help you, focus on that baby and listen to yourself, you'll do well!




answers from Madison on

I strongly admires your way of thinking to breastfeed,as its most important for you as well as your baby,I 'll give you some ides about establishing milk supply,Try to drink plenty of liquids (milk is best) as much as you can.I remember every time I sit with my daughters to feed them ,I used to keep a glass of any liquid with me.Include in your luches ,warm soups works well too.Sometimes milk supply looks like to be on lower side but try to improve it with lots of healthy liquids,I did it with my 4 kids & never switch to fromula for this reason.



answers from Kansas City on

Not sure what was already mentioned, but depending on where you live Le Leche League (not as crazy as you think...well a couple of them are ;) are available in KCK and KCMO. I went to two different meetings and at 4 yro (she is weened ;) we are still friends with many of the moms that we attended with. He may be fussing because he is already hungry. PLEASE what ever you do DON'T SUPPLEMENT! It will ruin your supply. There are teas at Phoenix herb company on Main Street near the plaza, the tea is pleasant to drink and REALLY WORKS. The ladies at LLL can help you with great ideas. He may have a number of things that can correct this. He may be gassy- I took acidophilus tablets that can be purchased at whole foods (or other healthy stores). They also help with Thrush (which I had with no symptoms and was not Dr diagnosed). He may be overly hungry, that happens too. It takes a little time to get the subtle hints. Try and feed him before he lets you know. I know woman who nursed almost 24/7 at first. I would try the acidophilus, it isn't expensive and if it works great, if it doesn't it won't hurt anything.



answers from Milwaukee on

Aw poor Mama! good for you for keeping it up. Babies really can sense our stress, and breastfeeding is stressful in the beginning whether it's because of latch problems, soreness, cracked nipples, etc. But it is so worth it. I had a lot of problems nursing my first and my mother told me to just give it 3 weeks. That really is the magic number. It took 2 1/2 weeks and I was using nipple shields too, but we finally got in the groove. I did have to supplement and pump a ton those first two weeks, but we ended up breastfeeding for 25 months!

Your son might not like the back of his head touched, so try different positions. Also try massaging your nipples a little before putting on the shields and then express a little milk around them so he can smell it and the shield gets some on it. You can do it!



answers from Washington DC on

i have also struggled to nurse each of my 3 little men (i have inverted nipples). yours sounds exactly like my 2nd. he would scream for a while and then eventually latch on and eat but it was quite stressful. he did this for a couple weeks and then we were fine and we nursed til he turned 2. a couple things that have helped me are 1) i used a hand pump before i would nurse just to get the nipple to stick out. that seemed to work better than anything else i tried. eventually you won't need it anymore. 2) try to get him to open his mouth wide and when he does try to put your nipple towards the roof of his mouth-it seems to help him get more in his mouth. 3) relax- i know it is so hard, but don't worry about the house or the laundry or any thing else. watch your fav shows, find some good books, sleep when baby sleeps and nurse:) it truly does get easier and i hope you have a good support system to encourage you as you continue to do what's best for your little man. and just so you know despite the struggles i was able to exclusively nurse each of my guys until they turned 2 and i am so thankful i stuck with it:) good luck to you!



answers from Minneapolis on


There are a few "tricks" that I learned when I was breastfeeding my kids. One is easy to do; the other one, not so much. Both help a lot.

1. Rub your nipple on your little guy's upper lip. It will cause him to open his mouth wide. Then quickly slip it in and/or pull him to you. It will make it easier for him to eat if his mouth is wide open.
2. Relax. When you are tense, your little man can sense it, and it makes him more tense. When you are at your wit's end, so is he. This is HARD to do, but it does help to think, "Okay, just relax. It will get better." Think about releasing all your muscles so you can just be in the moment. Again, this is hard. But it makes a difference.

Good luck!

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