Dd3 due in 6 weeks. I tried to breastfeed dd1 and dd2 very unsuccessfully. With dd1 lasted 4 days (I know, it's nothing ), dd2 even worse, just a couple of days.
I found it extremely painful, I consider myself to have a reasonable high pain threshold but breastfeeding just took it out of me. I would spend every feed biting a pillow to try and cope with the pain, would be in tears etc.
Midwifes at hospital all said latch was ok and supported me but the pain was unbearable. Neither baby ever seemed satisfied and would fuss quite a lot.
Although I was disappointed to not continue breastfeeding, I was more relived that I wouldn't have to feel the pain anymore and so was ok about giving formula.
So what was I doing wrong? I really would like to try and breastfeed successfully this time and not turn to formula after a few days but I'm not feeling very confident.
Is it really meant to be so painful? Can some women just not breastfeed? Are my breasts over sensitive? .
Midwives try, but they are overworked and often don't know much. If I were you, I would try to find your local La Leche League group and get in touch with them. As their focus is on bfing, they may know more about how to help you. Tell them what you have said here and they can work with that.
If you can, go to a couple of bfing cafes so you can see how other women do it.
To answer your other questions, it isn't supposed to be always painful, no, though it can be. DD's bfing can be painful when she is teething, but mostly it isn't. And did anyone ever suggest tongue-tie to you? That seems to be common when bfing is painful.
I'm not a professional, just another mum so anything I say is a reflection of both my own experience and what I wish I had done. I'm sure tiktok who is a professional will be along. Listen to her, she speaks sense.
I found this too and was also told my latch was good. It was evidently not good as it was making me bleed and making my nipples into a weird swollen diamond shape! I rang the NCT breastfeeding support line in the middle of the night and they rang me back. La leche league also have a support line. They suggested ling back, letting baby find its own latch and position which was much better not putting boob to baby, but the other way around. Sitting upright in a chair trying to support my baby's weight in my arms wasnt working for me either, my back hurt and I wasnt comfortable. Different positions can help, as can putting baby to breast and letting them do it by themselves crucially, before they actually cry for a feed (i.e. whilst they are still asleep) and this worked too. Please ring one of these breastfeeding helplines. They may even have someone in your area who can visit you to help. They are a lot more experienced than midwives - midwives do a great job of midwifery but they are not necessarily breastfeeding experts. I had some great midwives, but it was the NCT support line that helped me most with feeding without pain. I managed to get through the first weeks and our LO didnt stop BF-ing completely till she was 23 months old. Im so glad I called them - Id been in floods of tears and feeling like an awful failure and without them I think I'd have given up.
I was told that mipples are geerally senstiev at first and that you do get used to it but I;m not sure thats teh case -i think it was the fact that a tiny mouth on a massive nipple just can get any breat into it. My breasts shrank quite quickly (I went up 5 cup sizes from my usual size, and 3 sizes bigger than in the last days of pregnancy, literally minutes after the birth) so after the first weeks it was already getting better simply due to the size of baby's mouth getting bigger whilst I was getting smaller. I think the latch improved with practice and also with being relaxed - letting baby get latched on whilst still sleepy, rather than waiting till she cried then rushing my breast to her mouth to stop her cries.
Thank you all for the advice. I will certainly contact a breastfeeding helpline. My mw has already said there is much better support in our local area compared to when I had my last dc five years ago.
I was considering taking bottles with me to hospital and not even attempting to breastfeed because five years after my last birth the memory of the pain still stays with me and I didn't think I could go through that again but as I have progressed in my pregnancy my feelings have changed and I genuinely do want to try and breastfeed this dc successfully. Thank you again for your advice.
In my experience it hurts for about 2 weeks, not for everyone, but for me and quite a few friends. I imagine the nipples toughen up a bit. I wanted to give up during this time but didn't want to be first! After that it was fine and not painful and straight forward. I agree with gourd that lying back and letting baby find nipple seems to help, this is called biological nurturing - there are lots of videos online. Also, as a bf peer supporter I'm not supposed to recommend anything extra, but nipple shields got me through some of the most painful feeds. Please find a group, they are really really helpful if you want to give it a go again.
Forgot to say that NCT helpline also reminded me that you dont need to breasts to breastfeed i.e. if one nipple is extremely sore, dont use it for feeding, use the less sore side only, and just express a bit from the sore side to ease discomfort and keep ilk production up, until the sore one has healed completely, then switch over and again, let the other side heal completely if this one is now sore (again just express a bit from sore side to ease any discomfort but dont use the sorest one to actually feed with). This also really helped.
I wonder if it could've been something like tongue tie? Heritadory and difficult to spot by many professionals. Worth ruling out with new baby - if there's a hint of it, don't be fobbed off and get referred for a snip if it is that.
(as a random test, how far can you/DH/DDs stick your tongues out? If not far then could be tongue tie) Other options are that your latch wasn't fine or baby wasn't positioned well. You need a BF counsellor to look, many MEs aren't experienced enough.
I'm another who found MW and HV not terribly useful on breastfeeding. The breastfeeding consultant who did our NCT course offered support after DS was born and, as I've said all over Mumsnet, she's the reason I'm still BFing DS. She also ran the NHS breastfeeding group at a (semi) local children's centre - do try to go to a group run by someone with expertise in breastfeeding, the one very local to me was run by a very lovely HV who was a good all-rounder but not good at some of the trickier problems.
I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to breastfeed my little one (my mother had tried and failed with 5 of us, and my sister had to mix feed her lo) so I did a lot of reading (books and on here) before he was born, the thing that I learnt most was that the vast majority of problems have solutions and there is expert help available (here, bf helplines, LLL and local bf groups) but that not all midwives/hv/doctors etc are experts (though some are good!).
Is the place where you plan to give birth/recieve postnatal care from 'baby friendly'? Status of UK Maternity units Maternity units with full accreditation may have proceedures that are more supportive of breast feeding and have certainly cared enough to seek accreditation.
Decisions about whether to continue BFing are probably not best made in the middle of the night when you are at your lowest point of learning to feed. If you learn to hand express, you can express a little, give the baby the milk and try again at the next feed.
I found the time when my milk came in (day 3/4) the hardest (still learning to hold a baby and then my breasts got huge and uncomfortable, it was so difficult to get him on) and sought a lot of help (dashing back into the maternity unit at 3am to get help to latch him on, fed him there then took him back home and managed to latch him myself at the next feed). Its hard at that point because your emotions are all over the place. If you can get one to one help then that's ideal. If not then just try and remain calm, take a break and then try again in ten minutes.
If at some point you do decide to give formula, you can still breastfeed at the next feed. Giving formula can affect your supply (as the baby isn't telling your breasts it needs you to produce more milk by removing the milk that's there) so if you can avoid it, that's better for your supply, but don't feel that because you gave one feed that it means its all over. Its not all or nothing.
My sister successfully mixfed until she wanted to stop breastfeeding at 7 months. My baby will be 25 weeks tomorrow and is still exclusively breastfed. If we can do it, I bet you can too. You just need support.
Thank you all so much for your advice and support. I think with dc2 I had given up on breastfeeding before she was even born. I was in hospital for two days and discharged on Christmas Eve, I can remember dh and I driving home and dd2 screaming her heart out and so I rang my mum who was looking after dd1 and asked to get the steriliser on, I just wanted to be able to satisfy dd with a feed and felt I couldn't do that.
My mum breastfed me until I was 2.5 yrs, she loved it and I really want to be able to feel like that. I'm determined this time to give it longer than a few days. I know where I can get support now and will certainly use it if I feel I need to.
spiritedwolf Thanks for that link. I have just checked and the hospital I plan on giving birth at, which is the same as first two dc, was awarded full accreditation in December 2012.