Please help. Trying to breastfeed newborn 👶 - NCT


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Please help. Trying to breastfeed newborn 👶


Please help. Trying to breastfeed newborn.🥺 Our little boy was born on Monday all well and at over 42 weeks. Had a breastfeed straight away and 15 minutes 4 hours after but since then nothing. He didn’t have a perfect latch as he opens his mouth half heartedly and likes sucking on his tongue more than sucking breast😥

He’s been checked all over and seems fine but not wanting to wake fully to breastfeed. We tried stripping him, skin to skin. Now expressing and giving in syringe or cup but even straight after feed getting him onto bread doesn’t help. He just chomps the nipple few times and falls asleep.

Any idea why he is sleeping so much or sucking his tongue. Is that tongue tie? Any suggestions welcome. We are still at hospital but no success so far 😕

Thank you so much x

46 Replies

Congratulations on your baby. If you have Facebook join UK Breast feeding support, there will be alot of ladies that can offer advice on there. Slightly different but my little boy struggled to latch to start with due to forceps trauma, I did constantly offer breast and he was syringe fed for the first couple of days then he had a bottle until day 5 when he finally learnt to latch. Get the hospital to check for tongue tie and also jaundice as this can make them sleepy x

Popbee in reply to LauraJ85

Thank you Lauj. Will join the FB group. It’s so confusing as my boy have latch on straight after birth and now just a loook of the nipple and he is fast asleep. Will battle through it.

Hi congratulations on baby 😁

I'd definitely second the breastfeeding group on Facebook there is some lovely ladies on there.

My advice (I've only got one baby who's breastfeeding so limited knowledge). If you're trying to get him to latch after giving him a syringe then he may already be full and sleepy, so lucky be hard to get him to latch, they only need a tiny amount of colostrum at this stage.

I would advise giving him breast first when he's hungry at the first sign of hunger cues and then try giving him a syringe or cup of he's really struggled to latch and you don't hear much swallowing.

Definitely ask for lots of help and look at different positions you can try to get him in the best place to latch. I had two midwives help me, one tried to get me to do a hold I really felt uncomfortable with but the other one showed me a completely different way and that worked for us and we're still going at 7 months.

Also hard as it is, try not to stress too much, milk production is all about the love hormone Oxytocin so you need to be as relaxed as possible so that when he latches your boobs are happy to let the milk flow. The more stressed you are the harder it is. I used to get husband to take baby for a walk round and give me a chance to get relaxed and ready, I'd get my breastfeeding station ready with lots of chocolate hob nobs, ribena and hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows.

Best of luck, it is so hard at first but if you can crack it, it does get so much easier. There where times I really wanted to quit and we did give a bottle of formula so I could get a break, so do whatever works to keep you both happy and healthy xxx

Popbee in reply to Seb9

Thank you Seb9.

It is so heartbreaking to not be able to feed him. He just sleeps, that’s it. I am taking all the midwife advice. They are keeping me in hospital for another extra day and hoping he will perk up with all the expressed milk and be more alert when he is hungry.

Fingers crossed x

Annalieseonline in reply to Seb9

I couldn’t have said it better.

You can also join the Facebook page

Milky Mommas (Breastfeeding/Lactation Human Milk Feeding) Support

I found that my son was exhausted especially the day of birth and a couple of days after so he wouldn’t wake up often for feeds and I was waking him up every 4 hours, he also had a shallow latch.

But after a few days he woke up more and his latch improved and the rugby hold was the best position for both of us at the beginning.

All the best on your breastfeeding journey xx

Thank you for your support.

Apologies for late reply. Got home and the fun began🙂

Unfortunately with all the will in the world the breastfeeding didn’t work out for us but I definitely learned few things for next time. Our boy pushes away with both hands even the formula bottle and after a bit of battle latches onto it like he haven’t been fed for half a day. He is a character already😆

Still don’t know why he acts like that but finally have accepted the way things are. xxx

Sorry to hear this.

Was he checked for tongue and lip ties, also did you try pumping?

I was told by midwifes he doesn’t have tongue tie. But unfortunately even with regular expressing my milk supply went down drastically to the point that’s not much there to express. Who knows maybe due to stress but then which new mums don't have it.

It will remain the mystery for me as why it didn’t work out for us. Sad but fact. Will focus on positives 🙂xx

Oh ok, it could also be that your body doesn’t respond to pumps after all they are less sufficient compared to a baby.

But at least you tried and breastfeeding is a really tough journey and you have the right attitude to focus on the positives.

Thank you xx

Katja123 in reply to Popbee

Just seen your message and wanted to ask how you're doing.

If it's not too late - try natural breastfeeding position: skin to skin, put the baby on your belly, head between the boobs, the baby will head naturally for the nipple, they can smell the areola. See that the nipple is at one level with baby's nose, that way they have no choice but open the mouth widely. The hungry cues of newborns are tongue out and moving, opening their mouth and diving with the head in search of a boob. If the baby cries, it might be too late and you need to calm him down first before feeding.

You can still get the baby back on the boob of you want, even now: lots of skin contact, put him on the boob every time before the bottle and the nipple stimulation might still help.

It gets better with time, they grow and latch is easier.

Anyways, good luck and enjoy the newborn stage, the time goes so fast. If the breastfeeding doesn't happen, really, enjoying your new baby is the most important, don't miss it.

Hey Popbee. Congratulations on the birth of your baby. Hope you are feeling ok?

Were you advised to express and give from a syringe / cup? As Seb said, perhaps he is too full to feed from the breast after.

When you feed from the breast, is he content after? Does he have sufficient wet and dirty nappies? If yes, then he is probably getting what he needs. Newborn tummies are the size of a marble so they only need a small amount of milk.

My daughter was really sleepy and did lose 9.8% of her birth weight, but the HV wasn't concerned as she didn't develop jaundice and was generally doing well. They checked her weight more regularly in the first week and she started to gain steadily after that.

You should be due a visit from your HV / midwife soon? I remember it being day 3 for us but it could vary from Trust to Trust . You should mention your concerns, or give her a call if you're not seeing her soon.

I have no experience of the Facebook group, but Kelly Mom and Le Leche League are good websites for all BF info, or the NHS website. There is an article on Kelly Mom about sleepy babies and what you can do to help them stay awake during feeds.

Hope this helps.


Popbee in reply to Winter_Girl

Thank you Wintet_Girl.

I am running out of ideas and absolutely shattered and emotional. I am still kept in Cambridge hospital. They are good here but there are so many staff changes that I rarely get to see the same midwife and understandably everyone has there own idea how to do things. They suggested I use syringes for colostrum which worked fine but now the milk has come in and breads are swollen and sore. I have been shown how to hand express but only works on one breast and get tiny amounts out. Then yesterday used hospital Medela electric breast pump and stayed on it for an hour and only got 20ml from both breasts. I don’t know maybe that’s normal but I’m quite sore and tender now and massaging is not going much.

Sorry been going on and on. I just one someone to help and advice not experiment. 😥xx

Winter_Girl in reply to Popbee

Oh bless you! It is so hard. I found the start of my BF journey so tough! I didn't find the nurses particularly helpful when I was in hospital overnight. My baby did not want feed sometimes and I couldn't get her to latch because she was just so sleepy but they kept telling me to got to 2am and I begged them to let me stop and try and get some sleep at which point she decided she was hungry! I wish I had trusted my instincts more but you worry about them not eating enough! Don't worry about not getting much from expressing - some women don't get a lot but it doesn't mean they don't have the milk - baby is much more efficient at extracting milk once they are on the breast. If your breasts are engorged, which they will be, try hand expressing a bit (not too much) before trying your baby on as an engorged breast is harder to latch on to. How long are you staying in hospital for? I'm sorry you're having a tough time. Do you have some emotional support from your family? Xx

Your breasts will be sore for a while until your milk settles. Xx

Popbee in reply to Winter_Girl

Thank you Winter_Girl

My baba will get weight today so hopefully they will stop pushing me to feed the higher amounts. Who knows maybe they are right in my case it just exhausting and feels like I’m underperforming.

Yes I have plenty of emotional’s called tissue! Now I laugh about it but this morning I though I might run out of it 😂

I just want to go home and see private breastfeeding midwife of something. Just had enough of mixed helpful advice.


Winter_Girl in reply to Popbee

You're not underperforming - please don't think that. As nsha said, some babies just 'click'with it, but some need a bit more help. I would definitely agree with getting some outside help if you can - I didn't and I wish I had as it would have saved a lot of tears. Let us know how you get on with the weigh in. Don't be alarmed if he has lost some weight - most babies do in the first few days xx

nsha in reply to Popbee

It’s really hard and sometimes different advice from different midwives seems conflicting but really it’s that different things work for different babies. If your baby is getting easily frantic when hungry then that’s why they sometimes give a small amount of breast milk first, just to settle enough do baby goes on more calmly. But yes you don’t need a lot. Also 20 mls seems ok if you’ve just started pumping, often the bottles are big and it makes it seem a tiny amount but think how much more that is than the syringes you were just using. One of my fave positions to try and encourage good latch and consistent feeding (if not already tried) is a slight variation on under arm: imagine two people sitting on a backless bench next to each other but facing opposite ways with shoulders together. You and your baby would be like that so instead of underarm with baby more reclined, it’s sat up facing your breast so nose is in line (play with pillows to get the right height). Then just support your baby’s neck when feeding so chin stays REALLY nice and close but nose free. During the feed, massage your breast towards the nipple by rolling the palm of your hand, not moving it across skin (because it causes friction and risks pulling nipple out of baby’s mouth). This will deliver extra bits of milk into baby’s mouth and can remind to continue feeding if you have a bubba who thinks all the hard work is done just by latching!

If any of that doesn’t make sense it probably will to a midwife. Sorry if you’ve already tried but worth a try if not. A lot of babies just “click” with it with perseverance and get the first feed perfect and then need some persistent reminding, but it’ll come, and remember, your baby is still getting all that goodness from you either way which right now is the most important thing. Take a deep breath and take things one step at a time ❤️

nsha in reply to nsha

Sorry to say it 🙀 it’s just I’m heavily pregnant myself and keep referring to my own baby as such and it’s become a habit!

Popbee in reply to nsha

Thank you nsha

It’s a proper crash course with breastfeeding and looking after newborn. Nothing prepares for it and slightest letdown is proper emotional.

Thank you for your advice. We will keep trying until find what works for both of us xx

Katja123 in reply to Popbee

Oh and sometimes feeding when lying on the bed, your baby lying next to you, is the most comfortable, especially in the night when you just want to sleep or when the back is sore.

Taking a warm shower and having a warm drink before a feed or a pumping session helps to get the milk out easier. Also when pumping or feeding I found that cupping the boob and gently squeezing it helped to get more milk out. I kept using this technique until my daughter grew up a bit and got stronger and could eat properly.

Popbee in reply to Katja123

Thank you Katja

Very good tips! There is always more to learn. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for us. My boy would just lick a nipple and fall asleep. The midwifes at hospital tried all sorts for 5 days and not much luck. Never been told before that breastfeeding is not straight forward and there ate lot of tricks that need to be learned, known and mastered to succeed not to mention to have milk supply. My boy is nearly 12 weeks now and having formula. I’m definitely more geared up with knowledge for next time 🙂

Thank you x

HollyT7 in reply to Popbee

I had the same issue with my little one and I was gutted, had no end of midwives try and tell me how after I was home, but he still wouldn't open his mouth wide enough or suck my nipple up. Then a magical midwife suggested nipple. sheilds and they worked a treat, maybe get some in for next time and see if they help you! xx

Popbee in reply to HollyT7

Thank you Holly

Will definitely keep that in mind xx


I had a very similar experience with my LB, who was slightly tongue tied, thought we almost had it sorted so discharged from hospital, then he didn't seem to be latching too great, to the point we were having to express and bottle feed as we felt he wasnt getting enough on the few times he was latching, although often appeared to be 'playing' with his tongue when he did. My midwife suggested nipple shields and they helped us so much, he found it so much easier to latch, used them for about 4 days every feed, and slowly weaned off them, removing it to burp him then popped him back without the shield, took us about 2 weeks in total.

I used the medela ones as they came with a handy container that i could use to sterilise them in, worked wonders for us.

Hope this helps xx

Popbee in reply to Sez46

Thank you Sez46

It is very steep learning curve and I feel like I should of known things yesterday otherwise I fail to feed him breastmilk. Will definitely try nipple shields once we get discharged. xxx

Sez46 in reply to Popbee

It really is, its not as easy as i first thought, but it does get easier in time. Wishing you and your family all the best xx

My little girl was the same for the first couple of days. Turned out she had swallowed a reasonable amount of fluid as she came out which made her feel full. Took a couple of days to sort itself out but then she was much more awake. I think being born can be really tiring for them.

Thank you Claire

I feel exhausted myself I can only imagine baby’s experience from being all snug, warm and fed to being squeezed out to this bright world where you also need to learn to get yourself fed! I’m hoping in few days he will be more alert and can enjoy our mealtimes xxx


I had this with my daughter - she just kept falling asleep every time I tried to feed her. We tried all sorts of tricks to try to get her to stay awake! She may have been tired from a slightly traumatic birth, or she's always had a really strong sucking instinct (loves her dummies even now!), so I'm not sure if maybe she initially found the sucking action of feeding really calming and comforting and kept falling asleep?? I like you stayed in hospital for a few days as she wasn't gaining weight despite regular long attempts at feeding. They even did some extra tests to check there wasn't a medical reason that she was sleepy, but she was fine (this was in France, they tend to go overkill on their tests!)

In the end I expressed milk and we fed her that from a bottle for 2-3weeks to start with, which worked so much better, and took the pressure off worrying about how much she was eating. After maybe 3-4weeks at home, when she was less tired and sleepy, there was less pressure, and everything was more relaxed, I tried again breastfeeding and she got it fine! Breastfed her for just under a year after that.

So my message is, try not to worry too much - if syringes and bottles is what works best for your son to get some food for now, because he's just feeling a bit sleepy, then that's fine. It does NOT mean you won't be able to breastfeed, he might just need a bit more rest before he gets it. If you're keen to breastfeed, you can keep expressing to keep your milk supply going, feed him that, and then give breastfeeding another go when he's a bit stronger.

On the expressing front, I can't remember exactly, but I don't think I got a huge amount at first, but omg my boobs were massive and sore and felt like they were going to explode! Express enough to take the pressure off, and that will help. Also cabbage leaves from the fridge, put inside your bra - sooooo amazing for sore boobs. I found the Medela electric pump worked really well for me, and never really got on with hand-expressing, but whatever works for you.

Hope this helps! You're not failing at anything - this is a joint process with you and your baby, and clearly he just hasn't really got it yet, and that's fine. One day soon you'll be very happy to have a baby that likes sleeping a lot!! :-)

Popbee in reply to cefsak

Thank you cefsak

The same for my boy they think he had got an infection and policy here is to give antibiotics even before the test results are in in 2 days time. Whether he has infection or not is still not known but he has perked up s bit after 2 doses so we wait and see.

I just feel the pressure that I must be able to feed my baby. And of course no one here said that I have to be able feed from the breast in order to go home but my discharge have been delayed by 2 days and that’s before the suspicion of infection came up.

Feeling under pressure at this fragile mental and physical time is not very helpful.

Thank you for your advice. I feel so much better now. We will work on our own plan once we get home.


cefk in reply to Popbee

My daughter was the same - she had a fever when she was born (as well as amniotic fluid in her lungs, and the cord round her neck!), so they gave her antibiotics for a couple of days in case it was an infection. They don't think it was as her temperature was back to normal the next morning, and her test results came back clear (a few days later). But maybe that's why they were a bit sleepy for a while.

I know exactly what you mean about the pressure. I was adamant before I gave birth that I was going to give breastfeeding a try but I was NOT going to let anyone make me feel bad if it didn't work out, and I was not going to let myself get ill or stressed about it. But it's so hard so keep your logical perspective on it when you're trying to get it to work and everyone's giving you different advice, and encouraging you to keep persevering with it (I even suggested trying my husband giving her a bottle of expressed milk a couple of days earlier, in case that was a bit more stimulating and a bit less comforting for her, and was told "we're not there yet" as though giving her a bottle (of my own milk!) was an absolute last resort and giving up on breastfeeding). I know it's their job these days to encourage you to breastfeed and support and help you if you want to do it, but it makes it very hard to take a step back and look at it rationally. The most important thing is that your baby is getting enough milk, it really doesn't matter how that happens. Eventually a very kind nurse asked if we'd considered giving her a bottle (this was after a week in hospital) and we agonised over it for a bit before suddenly something clicked and I realised how far I'd strayed from my original philosophy on it all! It's so easy with the sleep deprivation and stress of trying to feed to get trapped into thinking this is the only way to feed your baby, and it's not!

I also wonder how many people "give up" and never go back to it because they've been persuaded that giving a bottle in the first few days will be the end of their breastfeeding, whereas actually my experience shows that you can do both, and you might just need to give it some time. Do what works now, keep up the expressing (if you want to), and keep giving breastfeeding a go occasionally (I always offered it first so she was hungry, and then gave her a bottle if it didn't work) - you may well find he just gets it when he's a bit less sleepy! It took us a little while to get fully into it, but as I say, I then breastfed for a year, so it was successful in the end! And it really was easy and very convenient eventually!

Good luck, and try not to get down about it - there are enough things to worry about with a newborn, this doesn't have to be one of them!

I really feel for you. I'm sorry I can't give any more helpful information as a lot of what I would say has already been covered by other lovely people on here. I just wanted to say that I absolutely sympathise (I had terrible difficulty breastfeeding my firstborn) and I wish you the best of luck sorting this out. Please don't feel like a failure or be harsh on yourself. In the end if you can't breastfeed, you use formula. A well fed baby means a happy baby and a happy relaxed mama x x

Popbee in reply to Wondering20

Thank you Wondering20 ❤️

I feel much better today as after I have given my honest feedback and got extra help and advice from more senior staff. So grateful. Feeling more positive today even though slept just 2.5 hours.


Ask to see a lactation consultant (if there is one) I’m a peer support. It could be tongue tie but without seeing it’s hard to tell. Does baby stick his tongue out? What does his palette look like? If it is really high then it may be a tie. My daughter appeared to later perfectly as soon as she was born but in reality she was just face planting my boob; it can be really hard to tell sometimes.

As had been mentioned before try a syringe rather than a bottle then he’s fed, his stomach will be the size of a marble for now so he also won’t require too much at the moment.

Look for a peer support or laleche group in your local area for when you’re out of hospital.

Good luck, breastfeeding is not always as easy as it looks. You’re amongst many who have found it hard to start with. Preserver and hopefully you’ll get there

Popbee in reply to Kata89

Thank you Kata89

I finally got to speak to more senior breastfeeding consultant. Will do some practice today. Hopefully in few weeks I will be wondering what exactly I was stressing about..


Kata89 in reply to Popbee

Fingers crossed for you!

We really struggled with the first few weeks and unfortunately my daughter developed ‘bad habits’, shallow latch mainly. We managed to go 17 months until she weaned herself. Keep persevering you’re doing amazingly and it’s the best thing you and your baby given the current situation

Popbee in reply to Kata89

Thank you Kata89

We working on it. It’s definitely not a straight forward as I imagined. People say it’s easier to stick a baby on the boob than mix formula but that’s not the case at the beginning.


Kata89 in reply to Popbee

Once you’ve got the hang of it it is far easier than formula feeding. I’ve done both. The formula feeding was such a faff and I was so grateful once my daughters tie was cut etc. Night time was especially easier!

It isn’t always easy to start off with. Lots of people will say it is but just as many will have found it hard. Keep going!!

Popbee in reply to Kata89

Thank you Kata89

We are doing combination feeding. I express as he is still not interested in breastfeeding just pushing away and if I do manage to latch we don’t get more than fed sucks. Had a first home visit yesterday and all she said that in 20 years she haven’t seen such an energetic boy and after 5 minutes try he was crying hysterically and that’s that.😞 He either sleeps on the breast or cries. Will keep trying but the midwife said the longer it goes on the less chance I have to ever Brest feed as he will get used to bottle feeding. Hope that’s not the case but I’ll have to accept it. I wish I knew few things beforehand but we learn as we go. xxx

Kata89 in reply to Popbee

Try different positions there is one where you lean back on a chair, prop yourself up on some cushions or in a recliner chair and put baby on you as if they are sitting up. It’s a really good one to support breastfeeding. I’ll find an image and try and pm you.

Popbee in reply to Kata89

Thank you Kata89

It is a good position, we have tried it. Unfortunately now it has been over 2.5 weeks and he got used to bottle. Can’t watch him cry when I try to breastfeed. Plus I don’t think I had enough milk for him.

As heartbreaking as it was I had to call it a day. Never thought this would happen. I thought if I need help I get private breastfeeding consultant as soon as I get back from hospital but I git back a week later and there were so many factors against us already.

At least he got couple weeks milk alongside formula. Trying to stay positive about it all otherwise I just cry just by thinking about it 😞xx

Kata89 in reply to Popbee

It’s an excellent start that you’ve given him!! Congratulations on what you’ve achieved!! Wishing you all the best for everything :)

Popbee in reply to Kata89

Thank you so much for your support ❤️


I really wanted to breastfeed my son. I don't think I was producing milk or that watery fluid until until a week after giving birth. The midwives gave conflicting advice, some of them said he wasnt breastfeeding properly and needed to bottle feed, others said he was. I know this is controversial but I just don't think I was producing anything. I ended up giving my baby bottle feeds because the midwives said it was best. The thing is my son got used of bottle feeds and now thats all he wants. He wasn't interested in breastfeeding and would scream until he got the bottle. I don't think all women produce milk straight away, not for me anyway thats one of the reasons why they had wet nurses in the Victorian era.

Popbee in reply to Hidden

Sounds like my story as well. At the beginning thinking it was due to low milk supply that little wasn’t even trying much and then got used to bottle.

It feels like there is only short window to get things right to be able to breastfeed like latch, correct hold, enough supply, etc but if there isn’t enough milk or anything else is not right than there isn’t much time to try or wait. 😞xx

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