Latching on nipple like a bottle

This topic contains 4 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Shreelata Rao 2 years, 8 months ago.

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     Shreelata Rao 

    My baby 6 weeks old was started on formula by paediatrician due to weight issues. Now he latches on the breast in same manner. He doesn’t open his mouth wide. I can see his lips pursed. No matter how hard I try, he opens for a sec or so. It pains when he latches.


    Hello Shreelata,

    You are doing a great job of hanging in there and asking for help.
    Try these techniques:
    -Sit in a laid back position
    -Put baby on you so you are belly to belly
    -Make a letter ‘C’ shape with your hand and hold the outside of your nipple for the thumb is resting at the top of the breast, and your fingers are underneath your breast.
    -Squeeze the breast, pull your fingers back toward your breast bone, and then slide them forward toward the nipple. (this process is called hand expression)
    -Once you have done this, rub your nipple from baby’s nose to chin, and then roll your breast into his mouth to encourage him to latch properly.
    -You may need to do the nose-to-chin-and-roll it in process a few times, but he will open his mouth and get a good latch on the breast.
    -You can use your pinky finger to help open up his lip into a more open (fish mouth) position, and even unlatching him when he starts to purse his lips.
    -This will take a little retraining since he has been used to a shallow and tight latch.
    -You may also want to consider the baby’s pediatrician looking at his mouth anatomy. To look for any tongue or lip ties that may be causing him some trouble latching properly.
    -Also meeting with an IBCLC for an in-person evaluation will be helpful
    Hang in there Momma! Here are free downloads and videos to check out

     Sonya Myles 

    I would recommend you change the way you bottle feed him, which will remind him to open his mouth again. Remember, just like someone feeding you, forcing your mouth open will simply result in a tightly closed mouth. This is something your baby needs to do by himself.

    When you bottle feed him, you touch the bottle nipple to his lips and wait for him to open his mouth. If he doesn’t open his mouth wide, simply don’t give him the bottle. It is very easy to be tempted to force the bottle into his mouth because the teat is harder and you can. But again, imagine if someone was given the task to feed you, and was forcing food into your mouth, would you be happy or maybe not so much?

    Once he opens his mouth, insert the bottle so he is latched on to the areola of the bottle nipple. I would recommend a wide based nipple for this. Please see for more details on preferred bottle nipples. If for some reason he is shallow on the bottle nipple, I would suggest a gentle twist will help deepen his latch on the bottle.

    Once re remembers that right way to feed, he will happily give you a wider latch on the breast.

    Please go through the articles and look for my article on Positioning and Latching a baby on breast, for some really basic but important principles to keep in mind when helping your little one to latch. I discuss the use of the C hold in this article, and it is important to know that the C hold only works in very specific positions.

    Also, I am doubtful that there would be a tongue tie issue, as he was latching great until he got used to the bottle, and now he has a shallow latch. Simply sounds like a bad habit that should be easy to fix, as long as you and anyone else who is bottle feeding him has patience and waits….. waits….. waits…. for that big open mouth. No big open mouth, no bottle. Babies are smart, they figure it out pretty quickly, it’s adults who tend to not be patient enough 😉

    Best of luck with your little one!




    I agree that an in person visit with an IBCLC would be very beneficial. Have you tried pumping to make up the difference?
    It is good to screen for tongue tie as it could be reason for low weight gain.
    Keep up the good work!

     Shreelata Rao 

    Thank you for replying so fast.
    I failed to mention that my baby had posterior tongue tie and I got it corrected when he was 2 weeks old. But nothing was mentioned about upper lip tie. Though I have noticed his upper lip needs to be flanged out when breastfeeding. Do I need to consult dr again? So he doesn’t know proper latching,as he is mostly bottle fed and initially I had less milk supply,even now I get 2oz every 2-3 hr of pumping. any attempt to teach him has resulted in him becoming cranky, fussy for the rest of the day. IBCLC I saw told me that I have to go with the pain till my milk supply increases, and then we can start weaning him off bottle and formula. But it’s very frustrating and I fear breastfeeding.

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