My DD will be two weeks old on Wednesday. I was hoping by now we would have perfected the latch, but I'm not seeing any improvement. Hopefully you moms can help me out.
Here's what happens: She hasn't eaten in a couple hours and wakes up showing signs of hunger, like turning her head and opening her mouth. I offer her the breast and she opens wide right away and so I quickly bring her close so that she gets the whole areola in her mouth. I'm happy with the latch, doesn't hurt... well DD takes about four sucks and then opens her mouth and pulls her head back. We repeat this process maybe three or four times until the milk really starts coming. At that point, she starts to eat "lazily" for a few seconds, putting her mouth on just the nipple but not acutally trying to suck, just kind of lapping up some milk with her tongue. After a couple seconds of that, she is ready to try latching again, and we repeat that first "latch, suck a few times, pull away" process another five or six times until she finally decides she is happy with the latch. And when she does that after the milk has started flowing, I feel bad because every time she pulls her head away, her clothes and skin and/or my clothes and skin start getting all wet because the milk is still running out. Sometimes the milk starts flowing before I even bring her to the breast in the first place, so then we end up with twice as big a mess. I always stick a burp cloth in the bottom of my nursing bra to catch some of that runoff while she tries to find her perfect latch, and I sometimes end up with half the burp cloth completely saturated.
A few other things that might be important: First of all, I am small-chested, so even when I'm not engorged, it's not like I have a lot of squish. However, that doesn't seem to be a hinderance for us. DD gets the nipple out just fine. Also, she is quite loud when she eats. I don't remember being able to hear other nursing babies. She makes a very heavy breathing sound as she eats. I also try to hold her mostly upright so she doesn't get gas, but I can still hear some gurgling in her asaphogus and stomach as she eats, and she sometimes seems to burp a little as she's eating. Yet I know her latch is tight because sometimes she falls asleep and stays latched when she's done sucking, and it's very difficult to break the suction. I try to burp her right after she eats and usually have no luck, so I lie her down. After a while of lying down -- sometimes a couple minutes, sometimes an hour -- she inevitably gets hiccups and has a couple strong burps along with them. She has only actually burped up milk a few times, though, and that was always when she had been lying in her bassinet for a while. She also seems to have great difficulty getting her poops out -- little fists and a red face with a few cries of pain -- but maybe that's normal, I don't know. Another thing is that I only feed from one breast each time because I'm sure not going to try to go through that whole latching process more than necessary.
I was thinking maybe part of this is due to forceful/overactive let-down, but my milk has been in for a week now, and she also did this latching stuff before my milk came in. I'm not sure how to tell if I have overactive let-down, though. I guess I would say that when she gets the milk going and then pulls away, maybe two drops fall per second. Is that a lot? Her feedings usually only last ten or fifteen minutes, but she seems to be gaining weight properly... I will find out more from her pediatrician in two days, but she was good at all her other weight checks.
Any insight would be very much appreciated... it's kind of depressing to have to take her to a private place every time I want to feed her so that I can watch her latch and re-latch, because I can't just throw her under a blanket since I have to see what she's doing.