DS is 6 weeks and the pain isn't stopping

(41 Posts)
FlatFacedArmy Thu 15-Nov-12 09:46:18

Hi

I've been hanging on grimly waiting for the pain to ease and bf to feel comfortable or at least not painful for the last while, but it just doesn't show any signs of letting up!

The first cluster feeding stage was agony but I thought once I'd got through that, the rest would be manageable. Now I'm six weeks in and although I seem to have lots of milk, I'm regularly topping up with one or two formula feeds in the evening because my boobs are too sore to feed from and I can't express fast enough to fill him (I probably could express more but I'd also like to shower/sleep/feed myself, and I don't usually know yet if he's going to sleep for a few hours or demand to be fed in one hour).

Please help! I'd like to keep going and eventually drop the formula altogether. The problems: Although there's brief pain while latching on, it's not usually uncomfortable while feeding, unless he starts messing about - changing his grip mid-feed and letting go of the breast and clamping down on my nipple. But he does tend to clamp on the nipple and twist his head away at the end of a feed, which bloody hurts. I've tried pulling his face into my breast to make him release the nipple to breathe, but I think he's still too young to understand the connection between nose and mouth and breathing!

It doesn't help that he feeds like a madman, very enthusiastically. After feeding, my nipples go white within a few minutes, and then sting. And I get sharp pains shooting through my breasts after he has fed, through the next three hours or so til he wants to feed again. If I express on one side but feed on the other, only the fed side will hurt. I've tried expressing only on days when there's been too much nipple trauma, but although I can pump almost 20 ozs, I'm just not fast enough to keep up with demand! My skin is very pale and sensitive, and I'm finding it very tough going.

I want to continue, I do love looking down at him and seeing how contented he is, but I'm so fed up of constant soreness. I'd heard that by six weeks it should have significantly changed for the better, but it hasn't and I don't want to resent the time spent on painful feeds when I could be enjoying him. I don't want to groan and dread it every time he's hungry sooner than expected, or beg DH to take him and occupy him so I can express while he cries because I can't bear to inflict him on my nipples again, though the guilt kills me and DH looks reproachfully at me.

PollyIndia Fri 16-Nov-12 08:57:28

I am in the same boat exactly and the thing you describe post feed is vasospasm. I asked my gp about raynauds though and he said you couldn't get it in your nipples, which is clearly incorrect. Anyway, he was reluctant to prescribe me anything and said I should just perservere. Not that helpful!

Also hoping it gets easier... I have heard that one reason it gets easier at 12 weeks is because their heads have grown and so have their mouths.

Incidentally, I got the TT snipped a week ago and it hasn't really helped us yet. Also done 2 sessions of cranial osteopathy. So you are not alone!

PollyIndia Fri 16-Nov-12 08:58:25

Oh, the one thing that really helps with the vasospasm is a hot water bottle. Takes the pain away, nearly!

PollyIndia Fri 16-Nov-12 10:15:26

Sorry, just realised I sound very definitive! One fingered iPad typing while feeding, sorry.
It is just that I could have written your post so think we have the same thing. Dos said it wasn't thrush, though he could be wrong Of course. There s no evidence in my baby's mouth though

FlatFacedArmy Fri 16-Nov-12 13:54:12

Thank you all!

Went to the bf cafe this morning with a lactation consultant, a MW and a Trainee MW.

They agreed it was either thrush or vasospasm. He latched on perfectly while I was there, nursed beautifully and fell asleep all milk-drunk and happy. They said positioning was great, latch fine, I demonstrated a few holds (no problem feeding rugby hold, cross body or lying down, though I usually prefer the last two). Everything perfect until a few minutes after bf, then the burning feeling and nipple blanching started.

The MW wrote out a comprehensive thrush treatment to ask the GP for (mother and baby), and I'm going to give that a shot. I've passed my six weeks target, next one is 8 weeks, so plenty of time to try it out and hope it improves....

...and if it doesn't, it's vasospasm. The only thing you can do is "keep warm", (there are some medications but they're not approved for BFing) but winter is coming and I've a draughty flat - life's too short, so I can move on knowing I've done as much as can be expected of me.

I feel so much happier having a plan! Thank you so much for all your support and suggestions; I've really appreciated all your comments. thanks

I would say it's definitely Raynaud's if there is blanching. Sorry your GP told you otherwise Polly! It's just often not caught when it comes to nursing because of the assumption that the latch is wrong, tongue tie, thrush, etc. so most health care providers aren't trained to look for it. There is a drug that is safe for b'fing but I can't remember the name of it off the top of my head. It's only taken for 2 weeks and then it clears up the problem completely.

Also meant to say, really hope the thrush treatment works for you and things start looking up for you, Army!

nickelrocketgoBooooooom Fri 16-Nov-12 16:05:41

if you've got to "keep warm", then there are a few options.

I wear a big cardy and a long-sleeved teeshirt for easy access for feeding.
many MNers have extra vests that they go one up, one down to keep the belly covered.
there are ways where you can feed making only the boob exposed grin

at all other times, you can keep warm by wearing layers, rather than thick clothes - it works better because the "holes" in the weave/knit overlap, so it is more insulating.
so wear winter tights under trousers, wear two pairs of socks (and yes, wear socks with the tights) and slippers, and vest-for-downwards, vest for upwards, long sleeved teeshirt (or blouse if you prefer to open it because it makes less bulk under the armpit), cardy, two cardies if you want to. fingerless gloves are useful.
if your flat is draughty, then make a huddle round where you normally sit - blankets and cushions around your settee, so that you don't get draughts around you.
plug any draughts in doors and windows by either rolling up old towels, or make draught excluders by stuffing old tights with newspaper and putting them over the gap.
(windowsills etc)

keep curtains closed in rooms you're not using. (unless it's a really sunny day)
keep as many doors closed as you can.

when you've used the cooker, leave the door open as it's cooling down.

there are loads of people on here who suffer from Raynauds, so shout for advice smile

nickelrocketgoBooooooom Fri 16-Nov-12 16:07:28

it might help having a hot water bottle, but don't put it directly next to your skin, because it can feel a lot worse when it's gone!

also, drink hot drinks throughout the day - might be worth having a thermos flask full of hot water, or hot cordial so you can sip frequently.

rogersmellyonthetelly Sat 17-Nov-12 08:37:53

Sounds like raynauds to me. There is a treatment which is ok with bf, I've seen a few women who have used it successfully. I get it in my fingers (but not in my nipples thankfully) and it is excruciating!

redwallday Sat 17-Nov-12 08:56:12

I had pain feeding my daughter until 4 months. It did get gradually better in that time but it was still sore right up to 4 months. My daughter didn't have a tongue tie. I think a lot of the soreness was down to the fact that I have very very sensitive nipples and cant stand for them to be messed with! The thing that got me through it was a) sheer bloody determination b) talking to other mums and getting support wherever I possibly could! I joined LLL meetings, went to Breastfeeding groups, called out Breastfeeding counsellors. Non of them managed to 'fix' my feeding problems but they gave me the confidence to keep going. If anything tho the LLL lady was the most helpful and showed me how to compress the breast so DD could get a bigger mouthful. This def helped! Good luck OP, it can be done. We fed successfully until 14 months.

FlatFacedArmy Mon 19-Nov-12 00:15:56

I'm not having any luck... sad Due to see the GP tomorrow morning and was at a wedding away this weekend, where I have been EBF (less hassle than sterilising everything in a venue you're not sure about!) but may not have packed enough breast pads to change them after EVERY feed, and tried to eke them out a bit. Big mistake...

... Got home tonight and noticed on the last leg of the journey that my left breast felt sore in a different way - sort of lumpy and uncomfortable as well as the usual burning - and idly wondered if it might be a blocked milk duct or something...

Unpeeled my bra for the last feed of the night just now and saw the telltale red rash on the upper quadrant. Mastitis. On top of everything else. sad

Not really asking for help, just needed to whinge to someone. Feel like crying and looking for hugs but it's not something you can just announce and look for sympathy for in RL, is it?

HelloBear Mon 19-Nov-12 09:58:17

flat my sympathies, your experience sounds very similar to mine (currently on second lot of antibiotics for mastitis). You need to see Dr NOW for mastitis, do NOT wait. Oh and Crying is also a symptom I found!

Loads of advice above so won't add to it (it gets all a bit confusing otherwise). But the one thing I was wondering reading your posts do you have a fast let down? I do and this can make baby fussy on breast, clamp down, twist etc. It is AGONY! If you do look at Kellymom for suggestions.

I had the same problems as you with my first and I hate to say it the pain lasted for about 9 weeks, this is despite a good latch. But it did get better and became a distant memory until I had my DS

Good luck

nickelrocketgoBooooooom Tue 20-Nov-12 14:27:53

it might be worth getting some washable breastpads - they absorb a bit more and are more breathable.

i got some bamboo ones from littlelambs

sad sorry you've got mastitis now.

you need to keep feeding on that side - feeding will be bloody sore, but there's nothing more efficient at clearing blockages than a baby feeding!

nickelrocketgoBooooooom Tue 20-Nov-12 14:28:29

and yes, get to the doctor for anti Bs very very very quickly.

FlatFacedArmy Wed 21-Nov-12 21:37:36

UPDATE

Went to the GP on Monday... Mastitis now cleared thankfully (was early stages but came from the inside rather than an external infection so turned out to be blockage rather than anything i did with breastpads!) and it went away by itself after some massaging and expressing, quite quickly.

I had/have vasospasm. The GP prescribed a drug called nifedipine and the difference is amazing! The first day there was such a dramatic improvement I half wondered if I was imagining my original symptoms, until the drug wore off and they returned. The sensitivity is almost completely gone, and the sense of freedom is wonderful. It has given me such confidence about breastfeeding, I have no anxieties about whipping out a boob whenever baby needs it and we are both so much happier for it.

There are downsides, like the vicious headache that is a known side effect, and that the once-a-day slow release capsule doesn't last exactly 24 hours, so the last feed is painful again! The headache makes me grumpy and tired but overall I'm so much happier on it.

So Polly and bringonthetrumpets you were right, and nickelrocket your specific advice and experience was very helpful, particularly your list of suggestions - much more inspiring than the generic "keep warm" advice. HelloBear yes I do have a fast let down which makes DS clamp down, it takes a few tries to latch him sometime because its too much for him and he lets go (and gets sprayed in the face!) it didn't help when combined with very sensitive breasts from the vasospasm!

Thank you ALL once again for your support, I genuinely am very grateful to you for your comments. Feel the love!

Very un-MNetty xoxoxoxox to you all!
thanks

nickelrocketgoBooooooom Thu 22-Nov-12 13:09:29

i'm glad you've seen a sensible doctor and got sensible advice (and medication!)
I hope it all goes much more smoothly now smile

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