Breast refusal - tongue tie & low supply

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Breast refusal - tongue tie & low supply

Postby AB1JCW » Sun Jun 28, 2009 9:09 pm

My 8 week old has a "slight" tongue tie which wasn't causing any feeding problems until about week 5 (I saw 2 lactation consultants during that time - I had an over supply until about week 6 so there didn't appear to be any feeding problems with the tongue tie at that point).

He has a paediatrician's appointment on Tuesday (in 2 days time) and I want to get the tongue tie clipped then, if the paediatrician agrees, as it is causing major problems with feeding. Between week 5 and 2 days ago there were occasional problems with the feeding, but never for more than 2-3 feeds in a row and then everything would be good again.

He has refused to suck from my breast at every feed for the last 36 hours. He sometimes will at least attached, but more often than not there is also breast refusal. I had been giving him EBM after 10-15 mins of attempting to breastfeed at each feed but now the lack of stimulation from him and/or stress has decreased my supply (and/or I can't get letdown) and I can barely express 40 ml every 3 hours for him. I have tried a nipple shield which helps him suck somewhat but he still won't stay on the breast for more than 1-2 minutes with this.

My nipples don't stick out very far and it seems he has problems sucking in the nipple/breast into his mouth (I have only every felt him sucking half a dozen times in 8 weeks - that's times, not feeds) - my nipple is no longer stretched after/during feeds, I don't think it reaches far enough into his mouth for him to feel it there. I have tried BLA but he just can't get himself attached and he just cries and thrashes around in frustration. In addition the last couple of times we had a "successful" feed (36 hours ago) I noticed my breast was more or less sloshing around in his mouth. I have tried all the tips for breast refusal, apart from feeding in the bath, which I'll try at the next feed and everything for increasing supply (but as he won't feed and I can't pump, increasing the frequency doesn't seem to be an option), apart from medication.

Any tips or hints to get me through the next 2 days until I can see the paediatrician - either getting him to attach AND suck, or for more successful expressing? Otherwise I may have to give him formula (which will break my heart to do so) - will my milk dry up if I can't feed him or express for a whole 2 days?

I am really stressed out and extremely upset about all of this, which is no doubt not helping matters. The only poitive thing is I have no nipple damage or soreness at all.

Thanks in advance for any tips and help you can give - I am at my wits end.
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Postby aelfgiua » Sun Jun 28, 2009 9:34 pm


It sounds like you are having a really hard time. I don't have any advice apart from calling a counsellor on 1800 686 2 686, they will be able to ask you specific questions and get you the answers you need and also provide some reassurance. They are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week and are always happy to help out.

Please let us know how it goes, best wishes.
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Postby KC » Sun Jun 28, 2009 9:39 pm

Welcome to the forum. I'm sorry things are so tough right now. The forum is a wonderful place for support and you sound like you could do with some of that right now!

To help you get a plan in place to get through the next couple of days--and beyond--I would recommend calling a counsellor (link at top right of page). They will give you lots of suggestions to help you to feed your baby the way you want to and to protect your supply. (And don't worry if you're feeling stressed and emotional--they've coped with plenty of my tears!).

You're doing a great job with expressing--I know it's a *another* thing to fit into an already busy time. What type of pump are you using? Can you get access to an electric pump, preferably one that supports double pumping? This will help save you time, but also might help to boost your supply, as double-pumping increases prolactin (the milk-making hormone).

Sleep is also great for supply. Are you managing to get any of that? ;) If there is someone you can call in for a couple of days to allow you to concentrate on feeding, resting, and expressing, make that call now.

I have had experience BFing a baby with tongue-tie. It was considered slight by paediatricians, but certainly interferred with successful BF (as measured by both baby- and mother-factors). If I had another tongue-tied bub, I would not hesitate to have the frenulum snipped sooner rather than later to maximise the chances of successful feeding. Even after snipping, it can take a baby some time to learn to use their *new* tongue. That's just my opinion, however; all the best as you weigh your situation and your HP's advice.
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Re: Breast refusal - tongue tie & low supply

Postby MrsNicho » Fri Jul 03, 2015 2:52 pm

I am experiencing almost the same thing as you with the breast refusal etc. Only my symptoms started around 7 weeks and have continued becoming progressively worse id say. Ive had to start expressing as well. If you are still around on the forum. Can you please tell me if the tongue tie surgery fixed your problems?
Thank you
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Re: Breast refusal - tongue tie & low supply

Postby AB1JCW » Sat Jul 04, 2015 7:47 am

It helped a bit. The next day the sucking was much much stronger I.e. he seemed he wasn't struggling as much to get the milk out. But I still found bf really difficult and, if I didn't express, I'd end up with low supply and he'd lose interest as it was all too difficult for him. But lots of folk (general public) have told us he still looks like he has a tongue tie so perhaps he had both the type that could be snipped and the type that can't and the paediatrician jsut snipped what he could. I'm glad we had it done anyway as there has been no downside. I managed to bf him until 15 months ( half way through my second pregnancy) and he had expressed milk until 3 years old.
I had absolutely no problems at all bf ds2 - he was also born with a tongue tie and we had that snipped in the first few days after he was born. From experiences with ds2 I know ds1 just didn't have a strong enough suck to bf properly, for whatever reason. Even post the ds1 tongue tie snip I would still have to support his head against my breast so he could stay latched on - I never ever had to break the seal with my little finger at the end of a feed, or if we needed to stop, just remove my hand and he would fall off the breast. I had completely forgotten about breaking the seal at the end of the feed when ds2 came along and ended up with some painful nipple damage- that was how different the level of sucking was. Obviously with ds1 I didn't know what to expect as had never bf before - from the outside it looked like he was latched fine and he was getting milk, no-one realised he just couldn't suck strongly enough.
So in summary I'd ay snipping the tongue tie helped but as there were other issues with sucking it didn't solve the problem for us.
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Re: Breast refusal - tongue tie & low supply

Postby Mummy woo! » Sat Jul 04, 2015 9:53 am

MrsNicho wrote:Hello,
I am experiencing almost the same thing as you with the breast refusal etc. Only my symptoms started around 7 weeks and have continued becoming progressively worse id say. Ive had to start expressing as well. If you are still around on the forum. Can you please tell me if the tongue tie surgery fixed your problems?
Thank you

Hi mrs nicho

Some mums have really abundant supply in the early days that can mask any sucking issues baby is having. Then around six weeks post partum the supply settles and if baby isn't sucking well mum's body doesn't get the signal that more milk is needed. Expressing to give your baby your milk is a great way to make sure you support your supply and get milk for your baby. If you call the helpline a counsellor will be able to talk through with you what is happening and help you make a plan.
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