Fixing a Shallow Latch

Updated on November 28, 2010
A.C. asks from Atlanta, GA
6 answers

My 2-month-old daughter starts out with a good, wide, fish-mouthed latch, but then pulls back to a painful shallow latch. This began when I had surgery followed by the stomach flu and was forced to bottle feed because my supply was depleted. However, I now have my supply back, and the problem still exists. I met with a LLL leader, who agreed that the initial latch is good and told me that whenever my daughter backs off the nipple, to break the latch and start again. She also recommended that I switch to the football hold. I have been doing this EVERY FEEDING FOR THREE WEEKS, disconnecting her every 2-3 minutes. My daughter shows no indication that she is learning, and continues to shallow out minutes after latching. This is not working. She does this on both breasts, one which has a very powerful letdown and the other which has a relatively slow letdown. I also think this is affecting how efficiently she eats. How can I get my daughter to stick with her initial latch???

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answers from Dothan on

best answer I got from a lactation nurse was to first put a drop of breastmilk on my finger and let the child learn with my finger in their mouth not to bit down so hard. Suprisingly it worked but ya have to do it at every feeding till it stops completely. The bone in your finger they cannot obviously bit through. Also rub their bottom lip and tounge before the latch, as soon as they open wide put your nipple in their mouth. Worked for me, good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

I saw many responses stating your insurance may pay for or you should see a lactation consultant. I HIGHLY recommend the lactation support group at Community Hospital North. It is run 2 days a week by lactation consultants and they are fantastic and FREE. Here is the website to get the info.... It is great as you will weigh your child every week to see progress as well as hear other women's questions and be able to speak one on one with the lactation consultants. I hope you find this helpful and good luck. My son and I had major issues to start including we were tube/formula feeding during our sessions to get him to try for many weeks. We are now at 54 weeks of breastfeeding and planning to go until at least March.



answers from Denver on

Might want to see an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) at this point, as it seems you are doing everything you can. There may be a physical limitation that makes a deeper latch more difficult for your child. She could also teach you the finger suck technique correctly, as you could further harm the latch if you do it incorrectly. There are also things the LC could show you about ways you could hold your breast to ease more of it in baby's mouth when you see she's starting to ease off (the "teacup" hold for example).

I've just been through this with my now 6 month old. The teacup hold was helpful, as were breast compressions... and persistance! His was due to my overactive letdown - he'd slip to the shallow latch to help control the flow. Different from your baby it sounds like. I have just found the IBCLC so worth the money the two times I've used her. I had already tried everything and was at my wit's end! And then here is this person who could look at me and my baby and see things I couldn't see and offer solutions I didn't know existed. Ultimately, the cost of the IBCLC is so much cheaper and easier than formula!

Good luck!



answers from Toledo on

Great question. Sounds like you need a lactation consultant. If you have a referral, some inurances cover. Good luck with everything!



answers from Columbus on

If you just can't get it to work on your own with all the different positions, etc. I would recommend a silicone nipple shield. I had problems with my first baby latching and my lactation consultant recommended the shields. Immediately, the pain was gone. Of course, once the baby is used to the shield it would be difficult to stop using it. I used them with both my babies and would highly recommend them.



answers from South Bend on

First off, I just want to say that good for you for keeping with it and seeking help!

It took my daughter and I a good 3 months to both really get comfortable with breastfeeding. I was convinced I had an infection (I didn't) because she would not get a deep latch and it hurt like the dickens.

I finally stumbled across something on the internet that suggested leaning back a bit (reclining) which went against all the "prop yourself with pillows and sit up straight" stuff that I read and heard everywhere else. I tried it and that (probably combined with baby just getting bigger) finally worked! I had a powerful letdown and my daughter would do the same - start out okay but then be like "what the?" and back off. It seemed that reclining a bit seemed to help. If that doesn't work (or the other great suggestions on here), continue with the professionals to find out exactly what the problem may be.

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