Baby won't flange lower lip when latching - anyone else experience this? — The Bump

Baby won't flange lower lip when latching - anyone else experience this?

When my 2-week old baby latches on my nipple, it looks at first glance like she's latched on well.  Her upper lip is flanged out with the "fish lips" look.  But if I look at the lower lip - it is NOT flanged out, and is instead not out far enough.  It looks like she's munching too close to my nipple, with the bottom lip.  This has resulted in pain throughout the feeding, and extremely sore nipples (with white and red spots on the ends of my nipple... ow!!).  And when I pull her off the nipple, it is creased.

 This happens on both breasts.  I've seen a lactation counselor and talked with nurses, and they recommend removing her from the latch and re-latching over and over again until she's on correctly with both lips flanged out.  But I can't ever get her to latch correctly!

 I try to keep her nose even with my nipple, then get her mouth open wide and stuff the nipple into her mouth, chin first as best I can.  I also try to sandwich my nipple as much as possible.

 But even if she gets a big mouthful, she'll still slip that bottom lip up!

I'm really frustrated b/c I want to keep breastfeeding, but this is so darn painful.

Has anyone been in the same boat?  Any advice or tips?  Were you able to get your baby to finally latch correctly?   

Re: Baby won't flange lower lip when latching - anyone else experience this?

  • Yes.  I had this same issue.  The LC I saw really doesn't like the idea of latching and unlatching over and over because she thinks that it can cause more trauma - to both the nipple and baby because they get frustrated with it.  She suggested sliding my finger into the mouth and flipping his lower lip out (it does take some practice!).  She also showed me a way to pinch the side of my boob/areola and slide it further into his mouth to help achieve a deeper latch without unlatching him.  

    I keep trying to find a video of this, but haven't yet, so I may need to make one because I have to say that this is probably the absolute best thing I learned to help!  Basically, you pinch the skin next to the corner of their mouth and kinda pull it toward their mouth to slide more of the nipple areola into the mouth without fully unlatching...

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    I was going to suggest manually flipping out the lower lip as well.  Both of my kids have had this problem in the beginning, and it corrected itself by the end of the first month each time.
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  • Thanks to both of you!  It makes me feel better to know that some other people have experienced this and were able to correct it.  

    I'm going to try both ideas over the next few weeks, and I'm hoping they will help her learn the right way of latching.  Just wish I could make my nipples insta-heal, because man are they tender.

    DizzyBlond - if you do happen to make a vid, pls share!  If I have a tough time with this pinch method, it would be nice to see it in action so I can mimic the exact same movements. 

  • DD wouldn't flange her lips well either.  The nipple shield worked great for us.  I
  • When your LO is on and while she is sucking gently push on the indented area between her lower lip and her chin. That will natually help her open her jaw more to take more nipple in. Then when her mouth is wider try to gently get her lower lip out more. This helped me a lot. Also, you could try different nursing positions and see if that helps at all.

    On a side note those red and white spots are actualy sore and heal from the inside out. Those tend to happen when you begin nursing and will heal on they're own if they're kept moist. If they dry out they don't heal as well or as quickly. Use lanolin cream to help them heal.

    Nursing takes a lot of practice but you'll both get it!

  • DS was like this - it was easy to manually flange his upper lip, but his bottom lip was a problem.  In all honesty, there wasn't much I could do - I didn't have any luck with any of the tricks.  I just stuck it out, and it git better as DS learned how to suck better and as his mouth grew and fit better.  I think it took about 5 or 6 weeks before he had a proper latch, and it hurt, but I figured it was worth it for him. I used lots of lanolin and ice packs!!
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