When Lamb was passed to me for his first skin to skin feed I assumed he had latched ok. I mean, he was sucking, it wasn’t excruciating and it felt ok. The midwife (or possibly just a nurse, I’m not really sure) who was in the room with me assumed everything was ok and I don’t remember her thoroughly checking he had properly latched.
To be honest, it was so long ago the whole time I was in hospital is a bit of a blur (I think the drugs had something to do with this 😉 ) so I can’t remember how we realised he couldn’t latch, I think t was just a case of him not being able to suck and wriggling around etc.
I had numerous midwives sit with me and show me different feeding positions, one even said she had never been defeated by a baby who couldn’t latch… until Lamb. He defeated her. He defeated me. He just couldn’t latch. Before you ask (like others have in the past) no he wasn’t tongue-tied. Obviously they checked everything to figure out why he couldn’t latch. It turns out I have what the midwives called ‘inverted nipples’ which basically means they were too small for him to latch on to.
I was kind of giving up hope by this point, I mean, I can’t make my nipple bigger can I?! Well, you kind of can. There are a couple of products available to help you with this issue and I tried them all.
In this post I’m going to share my tips on how I got around a baby that could’t latch and still managed to breastfeed and give him my milk. If you want to read my breastfeeding journey with Lamb in more detail then you can read my breastfeeding challenges post I wrote 2 years ago.
Products To Buy When Your Baby Won’t Latch
First up is nipple shields. These were my saviour. They were the only thing that would get lamb to latch and feed naturally. My midwife said it’s not a long term solution, but I personally feel that’s up to the mother. If you’re happy to use them with every feed because it’s easier for you then go for it. I’ll definitely be putting some in my hospital bag because I’m determined to feed this baby naturally for the first feed, with or without shields. I want him to get all of the good stuff, even if breastfeeding doesn’t work out for us further down the line. This time I’ll be trying the Medela Nipple Shields but with Lamb I used Boots own and they were fab.
Next is the Lansinoh Latch Assist. I stumbled across this a few weeks after Lamb was born and when I was still trying to get him to latch. The idea is you use the latch assist to suck and stretch your nipple gently drawing it out to help your baby latch. I only used it a couple of times and personally didn’t find it help that much, but I certainly recommend you get one and try if you are struggling with latching. What’s the harm?
If you really want your baby to get your milk and have kinda given up on them latching, or maybe you just need a break, then I definitely recommend getting a breast pump. I ended up expressing for 4 1/2 months so Lamb could have my milk so an electric breast pump became my best friend. This time I will be using the Medela Swing Maxi Double Electric Breastpump as pumping exclusively is time consuming! I of course don’t know how feeding will go this time, but I certainly intend on expressing and freezing milk. I also found expressing a little before trying to feed definitely improved his latch, although for us it didn’t work completely. Another tip would be to pump before feeding naturally so your nipple is a little bigger and this may help baby latch better.
If, like me, you decided to store some of the milk you’re expressing then you’ll need some breastmilk storage bags. I actually found some amazing ones in Home Bargains that were literally £1 a box and they worked brilliantly. I had so much stored up I couldn’t afford to keep buying the branded ones, even though they are fab. If you have a Medela breast pump then these Medela Pump & Save Breastmilk Bags will be ideal for you, or even this Medela Breast Milk Storage System. If you just want bags then I recommend these Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Milk Storage Bags which are really good value.
Even if you’re not feeding naturally you’ll still need to look after your nipples as they can get sore and cracked. I used Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Cream and it was amazing. So make sure you grab yourself something like this if you’re intending on breastfeeding. You also need some Nursing Pads in case of any leaks (I had to use hundreds last time!) I’ll be trying the Medela nursing pads, but I also recommend Sainsbury’s own, or Asda’s own.
Remember, there’s plenty of people who can support you in your feeding journey, whether that’s breastfeeding, formula feeding or combi feeding. Talk to your midwife, health visitor or GP if you need any support and remember, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to feeding. Whatever works of you and your baby is all you need to worry about.
Fed is best.
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