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It's all about the latch
by: Heather ;-)

Dear friend,

What a big hungry boy!!! He sounds like a barracuda feeder!

As the mother of a Barracuda nurser, I can commiserate. They are so anxious to start eating, that they latch on wrong, and then oversuck (hence the choking...). It's exhausting for both of you (not to mention painful and frustrating).

Here are my initial thoughts. I wanted to write a response the moment I read your post, so I may post again if other things pop into my head, or if you respond back. If you've already tried these suggestions, post back and we'll start over.

Timing is everything. If his mouth isn't wide enough to get the entire nipple in, you're going to hurt. Also, depending on the size of your areola, the advice to "get the entire areola into his mouth" is not really useful. Instead, try to make sure his mouth is open as far as possible.

1. Use pillows, a "My Brest Friend" pillow (a personal favorite), a bobby, or a Nuzzler to hold his body up close to your chest. Use one hand to hold his head. (At the beginning, don't be ashamed to make latching a 2-adult event.

2. Use one hand to guide his head, use the other to gently pull his chin down as far as it can go. Because he's such a fast eater, you'll have to be even faster getting him on the breast. Holding the chin down as wide as possible will help as well.

The bruising and pinching suggests what you suspected: that his mouth is not getting enough of your nipple, and he's left gnawing on the tip.

Call your local hospital and see if the lactation consultant will see you face to face (and if it's free or they charge.) You can also look up your local chapter of Le Leche League and see if someone would stop by your house or meet you to help with your latch. Having someone physically there watching and helping you get him latched on is invaluable when you're having troubles.

As for the choking, all women produce different amounts of breast milk on each side. It sounds like your left side is your "overproducer". Try expressing a little milk from that side before he begins to feed, either manually by pinching gently with your fingers, or with a pump (to freeze for later).

You AND your baby have to learn to work together to breastfeed, and that takes some time. Even though he's a big baby in weight, his mouth is still pretty small! Hang in there, what you're dealing with now is normal and can be overcome. I went through this, and managed to breastfeed both my girls. It just takes some adjusting and hands-on practice.

much care,

additional suggestions
by: Danielle

I am empathizing with your pain and frustration! The good thing is help is out there. I want to echo Heather's suggestions, especially what she said about finding a lactation consultant.

I had lots of trouble nursing my firstborn. I found a wonderful (fantastic!) lactation consultant by attending a local La Leche league meeting. All the other women where talking about this consultant. I went to see her the next day and that meeting changed everything for me.

One of the things she explained related to the latch. She said that we must be careful not to hold our baby directly behind his head since that keeps him from tipping back to latch on. Picture what you do when drinking from a glass. Think about supporting his head closer to his neck and you will give him more freedom to latch on correctly. The "tiny mouth" syndrome comes from this lack of freedom. If you have a breast feeding pillow this will help you balance everything!

I hope this helps! Do whatever it takes to get some extra support for yourself in this endeavor.

God bless!

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