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I am having breastfeeding struggles with a premature baby, can you help?

My baby was born prematurely (35 weeks) and he had sucking problem. He was feed by a nasogastric tube for a few days, then in the hospital they started him with a bottle, and then breastfeeding. I heard breastfeeding was painful the first few days, but I have been struggling with pain for over three months.

I now have cracked and sore nipples (it is more like a burning sensation). I live in a country where breastfeeding problems are solved with bottle and the existing aid is quite small and very basic. They said I need to achieve a deep latch, but my baby doesn't open his mouth very wide and sometimes I feel he sucks like he is grabbing my nipples with his gums, can this happen? How can I fix this and make him open wide?

Kolene Moore | Other Provider

Kolene Moore

It does sound like your baby does not have a correct latch but he is old enough that I am not sure you will be able to change this. It could be as simple as a tight frenulum under his tongue, but it can be as difficult as a disorganized suck.

I am not sure if the pain is from the latch or you may have yeast on your nipples that is causing the burning sensation and cracked nipples. I would encourage you to have your doctor look at the nipples to see if there is thrush.

If babies have learned to nurse incorrectly, at his age, it may be difficult to change his nursing pattern. You are welcome to call us at (402) 815-1528 if you have further questions or concerns.

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