Not sure I can carry on with breastfeeding

(102 Posts)
PollyIndia Thu 25-Oct-12 08:18:05

It is getting more not less painful to the point that I cry each time we feed. I have had a multitude of advice on the latch but never seems to help. My nipples are cracked and bleeding and getting worse. I do not want to give up, but I am at my wits end. He is only 2 weeks old. I had mastitis last 2 days which didn't help. I a pumping the right today and will give him the milk in a bottle to give the nipple a break.

Could nipple shields be worth a try? This is worse than labour!!

Fluffyfish Thu 25-Oct-12 08:21:25

Despite what many people will tell you, and I will get flamed here no doubt, you can take a little break for a day or two and it won't all dry up instantly. Get to doc and sort out nipples. Get some formula for baby. Get someone else to feed baby for a feed and go to bed. When you've had some sleep have a think about what you want to do. Most important is for you and baby to be calm and pain free. Much love x

PollyIndia Thu 25-Oct-12 08:39:56

Thank you. I really want to be able to do it... Just bought gel pads and medela shields and will go to breastfeeding cafe tomorrow. I don't understand why it is getting more rather than less painful though sad It does make you miserable not being able to do it though

needsadviceplease Thu 25-Oct-12 08:42:56

Good luck, whatever you choose. It is so hard (and at 6m I am really glad I persevered - but I think now with hindsight that I'd also have forgiven myself if I'd switched to ff). Have you ruled out tt?

needsadviceplease Thu 25-Oct-12 08:44:54

Oh, and the single thing I would most like to say to postpartum me is: it's not a test or a competition. It's not a personal failing, and while bf is natural and instinctual it's also a new skill to learn and each mother-baby dyad has a different starting point.

EauRouge Thu 25-Oct-12 09:00:08

Stopping for a couple of days when you've had mastitis is not a good idea! It can make things a whole lot worse. It's really important to get the ducts unblocked by keeping the milk flowing, whether you decide you want to carry on BF or not.

Hopefully the breastfeeding cafe will be able to help you out. From what you've said it may be worth asking about tongue tie. There may not be anyone who is qualified to check so if you are told he doesn't have one you can ask for a second opinion from someone else. Sometimes they are hard to spot.

PollyIndia Thu 25-Oct-12 09:17:07

He has been diagnosed with a small tongue tie but the lactation consultant said she doesn't think it is bad enough to need cutting. I haven't stopped by the way! I am just expressing as well to help ease the pressure on my nipples.

I have now seen 5 different people and nobody has been able to help me get a better latch yet it is getting more painful so clearly that is the problem.

Needsadviceplease thanks. And I know you are right. But I really want to do this!!

bearcub1 Thu 25-Oct-12 09:20:27

Nipple shields meant that I could carry on breast-feeding my DS. I used them from when he was about 1 week old right up to when he self weaned at 13 months. I would recommend them, and I would use them again if it meant that I could continue breast feeding.

I just wanted to give a message of support. It's bloody awful isn't it?! But....it does get easier, soooo much easier, and quickly.

If you want to carry on then keep talking to people, it helped me to write a note (on iPhone) in middle of night when it was really bad so I could talk through it with someone the next day, at a bf cafe, on phone to la leche or on here. Suddenly the pain will ease. Until then take one feed at a time and use tons of lansinoh.

You can do it, if you want to keep going, one feed at a time smile

Also rugby hold helped me with latch. Have you tried different holds?

phantomhairpuller Thu 25-Oct-12 09:24:54

The pain is something else entirely isn't it?! I found expressing for a couple of days was just enough to give my nipples a break. Didn't have a problem after that wink
Not everyone agrees with nipple shields and expressing that early on, but bugger them! It worked for me and I fully intend to do it again if necessary when DC2 comes along in April.
Good luck OP x

EauRouge Thu 25-Oct-12 09:35:01

If your nipples are shredded and you're getting mastitis then surely the TT is affecting feeding confused Can you get anyone else to have a look?

Nipple shields can sometimes help but occasionally they can cause problems so I would work with a BF counsellor or IBCLC if you are going to use them. It's not about 'disagreeing' with nipple shields but making sure you have all the information before you make a decision.

PollyIndia Thu 25-Oct-12 09:35:11

I am feeling more positive just reading your messages so thank you very much. I don't blame anyone for switching to formula as this is bloody hard, but I do just want to give it absolutely my best shot.

I think the only way I will be able to persevere is to experiment with expressing and shields so fingers crossed. This cafe tomorrow is run by a really good German woman and she helped last week so am hopeful about that too...

She will be a good second opinion on the tongue tie too. It is a partial posterior one apparently...

PollyIndia Thu 25-Oct-12 09:37:07

An TT = tongue tie. Yes eau rouge that is what I thought. I will ask this lady tomorrow and see what she says. If it does need snipping, better sooner rather than later I guess.

PollyIndia Thu 25-Oct-12 09:37:22

An should be ah!

EauRouge Thu 25-Oct-12 09:42:55

This is a good post about tongue tie, might be worth a quick look if you get time before tomorrow. Good luck smile

So sorry you are having such a bad time sad, I had similar and it was awful. Like you I didn't want to give up either and persevered and persevered..

Dd1 fed on both sides so my midwife advised expressing and to give a top up with ebm so that one nipple could rest at each feed, giving it time to heal. Lots of airdrying too, and breastmilk on nipples.

I did not get on with the shields but they're worth a try.

Really gope it gets better soon, and I totally relate to not wanting to give up. Even when the midwife suggested I stopped I still couldn't take the decision [stubborn emoticon]

You have my sympathy, and as other say, nobody is going to beat you up if you stop. If you want to continue, I second everyone elses advice. Tucking them under your arm can help, or lying on the bed next to them. Keep slathering them in cream, I used to use camillosan, and just persevere. I had mastitis several times, the first was the most horrendous, and each time it was less.
Bf is a bit like breaking in a new pair of shoes. You'll get rubs and sore bits and blisters, but eventually everything hardens up and its comfy. Expressing can help, but IME, the more you actually feed, the sooner it will get better.

BoffinMum Thu 25-Oct-12 10:03:50

I've bf four children, and I know some hard core bf people would disagree with this, but from bitter experience, I would be inclined to pump away, feed him the breast milk in a bottle, and stop bf personally for a couple of days. Put some nipple cream on to promote moist healing. Air them most of the time. Relax and have a small alcoholic beverage and a bar of chocolate, and stop fretting.

It can be uncomfortable for the first 6 weeks as your nipples toughen up to do the job. See yourself as being in training at this stage. Just because you are hitting the wall now, does not mean you will have to stop. You just have to get clever and pace yourself, like a bf Olympian.

When you start again, one trick is to lie right back on a load of pillows like an exotic goddess, and let the baby clamber about on you rooting for the nipple, and getting himself into a good position, while you chill and eat grapes and the like. (There's a technical term for this I have forgotten).

I also wonder about tongue tie, btw.

HearMyRoar Thu 25-Oct-12 10:05:33

I also found bf really agonising at the start. It is wretched! However I am still going at 7 months and now seriously considering going full term till dd self weans. I don't think I would have believed back then how much better it would get for me.

I second those who say express a bit. For the first month I expressed everyday and then dp did a bottle feed for the 3am wake up as this was the one that always had me in floods of tears. It really made all the difference.

Also remember its not the end o the world if you do stop so instead of think 'I have to do this for the next year', just tell yourself you'll get through the next day or week and then you will review. Then try the next month and review. Smaller timescales and allowing yourself times to stop and decide if things are getting better or not make it just seem more manageable and give you a get out clause that doesn't leave you feeling you haven't met some distant target.

Lastly, really just stop doing anything else apart from feeding and looking after your DC. Get some DVDs and lots of cake and just take it as easy as possible. You are doing super!

Seriouslysleepdeprived Thu 25-Oct-12 10:16:11

Congrats on your baby!! i remember your posts from pregnancy.

Sorry to hear you are having a hard time. Nothing can prepare you for how hard BFing is. I had a total nightmare with pretty much every problem going. i would absolutely get the tongue tie looked at again. i'd be v surprised if it wasn't the root of your problems. This thread may help you

I had DS done privately at 6 weeks in the end, as nobody would refer me. Despite pretty much living in the BFing cafes i still got bad advice. Things are much better now & i'm still feeding at 6 months.

The symptom list they give you at Kings College is:

Nipple pain
Nipple trauma
Poor latch quality
Prolonged jaundice
Noisy feeding (clicking etc)
Head rocking
Poor weigh gain
Frustration
THrush
Mastitis
Colic

I had a full house apart from the gaining weight. In the interim, i found the ruby hold really useful. the deep latch technique and the flipple were life savers, as was biological nurturing when i got too stressed with the constant latching on.

Hang in there, it does get better. You shouldn't have to work this hard to successfully BF but there isn't much good support out there. Le leche have been brill too, far better than the cafes.

Epic but HTH!

PollyIndia Thu 25-Oct-12 11:08:45

Thanks all. I just read that TT thread and it does sound like that could be the issue. This lady at the cafe tomorrow is meant to be hot on it so will see what she says. Seriouslysleepdeprived I have all those symptoms except colic.

I am already feeling better as I expressed 1.5 ounces this am from the right, which is the worst affected, he guzzled it down and then fed for 25 mins from the left so I feel like maybe this will work to give my nipples a break to heal then if t is tongue tie, we can get it sorted. It really does sound like it might be though. It is annoying as I had the lactation person who cuts out last night and she said she would prefer me to work on my latch before doing the cut... Having said that, I don't want to distress him unnecessarily so the probably is the right approach.

Thanks for all your words of support thanks

PollyIndia Thu 25-Oct-12 11:09:34

How much should you be expressing out of interest if you are going to supplement your breastfed milk with expressed? Thanks

mummysmellsofsick Thu 25-Oct-12 12:02:49

Just wanted to offer sympathy I had 4 weeks of extreme pain too. If you can get through it, it's really worth all the pain. It becomes easy eventually. And yes much worse than labour.

Whatever you do don't take a break you'll be at very high risk of further mastitis. If need be you could express and bottle feed full time for a couple of days and get a break that way?

madeuplovesong Thu 25-Oct-12 12:16:14

I would go with resolving tongue tie! Our baby had what they called a mild tongue tie. Had it looked at by a private lactation consultant at 5 days who said cutting it may or may not work but worth a try anyway. It worked and he fed successfully from the next day and we haven't had any trouble since. So I would highly recommend that.

Re amount of breast milk for a feed I think its 3-4oz but there is good info on kellymom about that sorry can't link from here.

Good luck!

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