Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day 41: Losing our latch?

Tomorrow, Popcorn will be 6 weeks old and I'll be done with the "official" postpartum period.  I actually have my postpartum appointment with my midwife later today.

Today, I want to talk about latch. Popcorn had a really great latch as a newborn but lately, she's gotten a bit lazy with it.  Lots of clicking and popping which results in lots of air in her tummy. It isn't affecting the amount of milk she's consuming. She was about 7 pounds 2 ounces at birth, and she was 9 pounds 10 ounces at 5 weeks old. That's half a pound a week she's gaining. My nipples aren't sore or cracked either, so her bad latch isn't causing us problems YET but it's not a good thing.

What is latch?

What is bad latch?

Why does it matter?
Bad latch can cause major probs for mama and bambino.  For mama, it can lead to sore, cracked nipples that are more prone to infection. For baby, it can interfere with the amount of milk baby consumes.

Popcorn's latch issues started after my bout with mastitis.  I think my letdown is to blame. Whenever I looked at her, she cried, she smiled, she drooled, she farted, or I thought about her, my milk would rush down in a big achy blast and my areaola would get all swollen with milk. She couldn't get her mouth far enough on.  Then, if she sucked or licked my nipple, my milk would immediately let down. She didn't have to even really nurse.  Most of the time, she just swallowed and didn't put forth any effort.  Now that my letdown has evened out a bit, she has to suckle and my little piggy is a bit lazy.

I was at the hospital where I delivered Side Salad and Squirrel earlier this week. A friend of mine delivered a sweet little boy by emergency c-section on Mother's Day.  She was suffering from preeclampsia and her placenta started detaching.   Her little guy was 5 pounds 13 ounces and born on May 13-5/13!  Cool, huh?  Both he and Popcorn were born on holidays, too (Good Friday and Mother's Day). While there, I asked the LC about it. She gave me a little advice but couldn't help me officially because it was "against the law."
I've never seen that law, but whatever. I know it's a financial thing.
She asked if I was making sure P's lips were rolled out (exerted) and they are. That's usually the issue with latch.  She suggested I have Popcorn suck on my finger while I press my finger on the roof of her mouth to kind of train her tongue. {Eeep! She just cooed at me <3 } From my observation, P doesn't stick her tongue out enough.  I've tried it a couple of times and it seems to be helping a bit.  I'm going to keep working on it.  I spoke to my midwife about it and she said that it will probably correct itself as she gets older/bigger and as my letdown lessens.

Here are some additional resources about proper latch.

More Resources
KellyMom's list of resources
Dr. Sears' page on Proper Positioning and Latch

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