Three days in and failed already

(23 Posts)

DS is 3 days old. BFd no problem within an hour of delivery, but after that found it very painful. I asked the midwife for help, she checked the latch and said it was fine, so I persevered. By the evening of day 1 the pain was so bad I went back to the midwives at my local MLU (not where I gave birth due to a problem, so different midwives). They said he wasn't latched properly and spent loads of time with me, and things seemed to improve. Feeding was still a problem but after the initial strong sucks I could just about bare it and it did seem to be getting better. Then yesterday (afternoon of day 2) DS had a mammoth cluster feed - on and off for a good three hours. After that things just went down hill - DS seemed less and less satisfied after each feed until in the early hours of this morning when I really struggled to latch him on at all, and when I finally managed it he pulled off after a couple of sucks. I think he could feel me tense when he latched. He just cried and cried like his heart would break and in desperation I gave him some formula. He wolfed it down and slept properly for the first time since we got home from the hospital. Up until now he's only slept when either me or DH has hold of him, meaning only one of us could sleep at a time. We actually managed to put him in his cot this morning.

I feel like a complete failure. I so desperately wanted to BF him but the pain is so bad it takes my breath away just to move at the moment. I feel so guilty I can't provide for him. Is there any way at all I'll be able to get him back on the breast after my nipples heal, or will my supply have gone by then? My milk came in over night which hasn't helped matters as I'm very swollen.

In hindsight I probably should have called the midwives last night but in the early hours of the morning, screaming newborn and sleep deprived I wasn't thinking straight and panicked. We have an appointment this afternoon but I'm really worried about what I'll be told.

lyndie Fri 25-Jan-13 09:14:49

You haven't failed! You've given some formula, given your nipples a break and then you can start again. I'm sure expert advice will be along soon but keep going! Breast feeding can be tough especially in the early days, have you got lansinoh? Air dry nipples and if you're full you may need to hand express some milk off. Are midwives coming in today?

ellangirl Fri 25-Jan-13 09:51:13

Get him checked for tongue tie ASAP. He is only 3 days old- sleeping on you only is totally normal. Your milk won't be in yet properly so good latch and frequent feeding is a must for getting supply established. Ask for referral to lactation consultant/ some kind of breastfeeding specialist as soon as possible too. Both times regular midwives have failed to advise me adequately on latch problems, but a specialist spotted ways to improve thing immediately.
You are doing your absolute best! Be proud of yourself

tiktok Fri 25-Jan-13 10:06:01

sad sad Cupcakes....it is early days, your milk will not go, there is no reason you cannot breastfeed as happily and for as long as you and little DS want to.

I second the suggestion here: if you can, see someone before this afternoon (why are you going to see them.....why can't you have a home visit where they come to you???? I know some areas have cut back on home visits...maybe this is why).

At the very least, speak to someone on the phone. There are many breastfeeding lines in the UK (see mumsnet's bf pages for the list). Call any (or al!) of them and someone will listen and help you formulate a plan.

Yes, your baby needs to be checked for tongue tie. But given that the pain subsided when you had help with attaching him, I'd wonder if that was the case.

If it is too painful to feed direct in the meantime, you can hand express your colostrum/milk and get it into your baby by cup, bottle, spoon.

It is fine for him to be skin to skin and close to you and to sleep on you. Has he been getting upset when you put him down? Could his crying and upset have made it more difficult to latch him? Would responding to feeding cues super-quick help with this? The pulling off after a couple of sucks suggests this to me....but do talk about it with someone and see someone knowledgable asap.

Thanks everybody. DS was checked for tongue-tie when we went up to the unit the night before last, then double checked yesterday when the midwife came out.

tiktok they came to us yesterday and asked if we felt up to going to them today - she said they'd like to weigh him and I just assumed they needed me to go to them for that. They said we could cancel and just have another home visit if we'd prefer. I know they have had their finding cut massively so maybe you're right.

I'll have a go at expressing, bit nervous as I'm so sore. Will look up lactation consultants too.

He had been screaming as soon as we tried to put him down, but seemed OK so long as we had hold so at first we had quite a few feeds where all he'd done was a bit of lip smacking. Later on he was screaming as it was taking me so long to work up the nerve to latch him though, so that won't have helped.

He's wolfed down another bottle and for the first time since he was born is actually awake without crying, which is quite nice.

tiktok Fri 25-Jan-13 10:49:28

Cupcakes, any midwife visiting you will have scales to weigh your baby - they should be digital, not spring balance, for accuracy.

Hand expressing is not hard - you can google for video clips. Or a midwife should show you.

Your baby may well cry/scream if you try to put him down - this is normal newborn behaviour, to alert you to the fact that he feels safe in your arms smile 3-4 days ago he was inside you, and he will take a while to feel ok away from you. Try not to let him get to the screaming stage - keeping him close lets you respond quickly. A good time to try him on the breast is now when he is awake and not crying....does not matter that he has had a bottle and will not be gagging for the milk smile

FlouncingMintyy Fri 25-Jan-13 10:55:49

Cupcakes - please please please don't make the mistake of thinking that your baby crying when you put him down is because of something wrong with feeding. Most newborns want to be held all the time. This is why dads get paternity leave and your mum or mil or best friend comes to visit when there is a newborn in the house. It is also why so many moses baskets are given away unused when the baby reaches 3 months! wink.

It is definitely too early to give up on breastfeeding if you don't want to. Your milk has only just come in! Please ask for help, I am sure it is out there somewhere for you.

You've not failed. I'd have him checked with a specialist for tongue tie - both my dc's ties were missed by many 'professionals'. Cluster feeding is normal - he's bringing your milk in. It's not a case of not being satisfied - honest!

Formula sits in their tummy like a Christmas meal sits in ours - very heavy - and you always want a kip after a big Christmas dinner, right? ;) so don't take him sleeping after the formula as you not satisfying him either. It's more he's stuffed full and can't help but sleep!

Express a little off before trying to feed him so it's easier for him to latch, and maybe try feeding in bed, or in the bath, somewhere you're very comfortable and relaxed. Watch for the first cues - hands to the mouth, poking his tongue out, etc, before he gets to the feed me NOW stage.

Tiktok has excellent advice.

I would also like to add that your DS isn't 'wolfing' down a bottle of formula because he's hungry and/or you're not able to give him enough. Babies, particularly newborns with an unstoppable sucking reflex, are a captive audience when it comes to a bottle and they will drain a bottle quickly just because bottles empty quickly when faced with a suck like that. It's not a sign of starvation, honest! smile He will also seem more settled after the formula because it gives a feeling of fullness which BM doesn't. Again, it's not a sign that you've been leaving him to go hungry by BFing.

I was exactly where you are when my DS was a few days old - nipples were absolutely shredded and bleeding. My midwives gave me a hospital pump and I cup fed for a week or so while my nipples healed, plus got support from an excellent NHS BFing counsellor. What I was advised, and what makes sense to me, is that bottles aren't a great idea at this early stage as they're much easier for a baby to get loads of food very quickly which may put them off the breast as it's harder work. If your baby has weight gain issues you may need to get food into them more quickly so this isn't necessarily going to be appropriate for you, but I do urge you to discuss expressing and cup (rather than bottle) feeding with your midwives as this saved BFing for us. It was bloody, bloody hard work for a while but SO WORTH IT in the longer term. We got to six months EBF and are still going strong at eight months.

Good luck thanks

Spiritedwolf Fri 25-Jan-13 12:26:19

Everything you have said is familiar (though instead of going for formula when I was desperate, we went back into the MLU for help latching, no matter the time of day or night). The funny thing was, after the first couple of times, they didn't have to latch him for me, they just watched me, and I was more confident there because I knew the help was there and he'd calmed down after the break from trying in the car.

Its okay not to find it easy. If you still want to bfeed and keep trying then it will get easier. I know your hormones are all over the place, I cried everytime he cried in the early days and anytime I struggled with bfeeding because it meant so much to me. The midwifes have seen it all before. If you aren't getting enough support from them, then call a breastfeeding specialist or helpline.

Keep trying to get milk out, either by latching baby on, or by hand expressing. I know its difficult when the milk comes in and your breasts are so sensitive, but it really does get better. smile

fraktion Fri 25-Jan-13 12:59:03

Day 3 was when I broke out the nipple shields for 24 hours. They really helped.

comeonbishbosh Fri 25-Jan-13 14:58:57

Hi Cupcakes. Just a little hello of solidarity from another mother of a 3 day old! And another owner of 2 very sore nipples.

Lots of good advice above so hope you are feeling a little more optimistic. It is just very exhausting and emotional rollercoster in the first few weeks. I hope the midwife visit went OK and the 3 day weigh.

I found breast feeding hard with DC1, but it got easier eventually and I kept BF for about a year very happily. A few small things that helped me last time - may or may not help you.

+ if you need to express have a hot shower or bath beforehand.
+ hot flannels on boobs if and when you get engorged or if boobs get so hard it's difficult for the baby to latch on.
+ do what it takes to relax while breastfeeding. At first I felt I needed to concentrate so hard that my body was all tense. A MW advised me to just plonk myself on the telly and watch crappy progammes, good advice. This can also be a middle of the night approach - with DC1 the winter olympics were on in Seattle through the night... not normally a sports enthusiast but it did the trick.
+ eat loads. I have a packet of biscuits and a glass of water in every room so if I end up feeding there (or have the baby slumped on me) then I don't feel so trapped.
+ When it's painful when they latch on (and it is for the first few weeks I think. even with a good latch, my nipples just aren't used to this kind of work!) then use your breathing techniques from labour to manage the pain. At the moment I count to 10 slowly while I absolutely wince. It is excruciating, but your nipples will gradually toughen up. Apply the lansinoh and let the air in from time to time.
+ train your DP never to ask you a question in that first 10 seconds!
+ use good quality breast pads. I.e. lansioh or tomee tippee. I was absolutely miserable with own brand ones... it's one thing I didn't compromise on cost-wise.
+ you will get conflicting information. Used to drive me mad. But if something doesn't seem to help then move on.
+ wearing a sling with baby in around the house can help with the 'either feeding or crying' scenario. Took me a while to do this last time, I think I was so relieved not to be huge and pregnant. but can really give your nerves a rest as well as help you be a little more mobile.
+ try not to worry whether it's a bonding experience with your DS at the moment. I struggled with this last time round because it is 'sold' as this. To be honest, in the beginning (and I mean a good month or two), I didn't enjoy BF and felt a failed mum for this. But I grew into it and it certainly became very special. For many mums it is a very emotional and positive way of caring for their newborn. But emotions are complicated things and it will not be that way for everyone. For me, it was more of an act of will and I was too lazy to start thinking of making up bottles of formula. I think it will be different this time round with DC2, a combination of circumstances and also I'm not in the same 'culture-shock' zone.

Sorry, ended up writing loads there! Seriously, leave anything that isn't helpful. I think I'm just a bit excited to 'meet' someone whose DC is my DC's twin!

MsPickle Fri 25-Jan-13 18:22:59

Great advice up thread and I second the sentiment that you're absolutely not a failure! The let down pain plus after birth uterus pain plus sore nipples is bloody horrible but it does pass. First time around when my milk came in I was really engorged, hot and sore. I had some gel pads that went in the freezer but what really helped was savoy cAbbage leaves, chilled/lightly frozen stuff round my boobs. Amazing relief but do change them regularly as I gave off so much heat they'd cook and smell!

Also, wrt tongue tie, do get a lactation consultant or specialist midwife to check, both my dc had posterior tongue ties that were only seen by these people and the snips helped them both.

Good luck with the journey, whatever happens remember that you're doing the very best you can by your new baby. As was said on a thread yesterday, just make their world a good place.

stargirl1701 Fri 25-Jan-13 18:50:23

You have NOT failed!!!! You have had a break. That's all. You'll will be able to do this. Please phone the LLL helpline tonight for help. In the morning, try to find some RL help - a local bf cafe, an NCT peer supporter. In the meantime, send your DH for nipple shields till you get help. I would also recommend hydrogel pads (stored in the freezer) to soothe your nipples.

I have relactated with my LO (19 weeks) after taking an 8 week break. She has been able to latch after 8 weeks of bottle feeding so please don't worry.

Call for help - LLL helpline
0845 120 2918.

All the best and lots of unmumsnetty hugs.

And, many congratulations on the LO!

ellangirl Fri 25-Jan-13 19:04:35

Stargirl that's amazing- well done you!

carovioletfizz Fri 25-Jan-13 20:49:21

Hi there, please don't beat yourself up, you're doing great and BFing can be really hard.
I found it as painful as you did in the first few days, my midwife showed me the rugby ball hold - try watching a video on youtube

www.youtube.com/watch?v=xb7FauyMQSg

- it was that slight change in position that made a world of difference, it was still sore for a week or so but not excruciating and toe curling the way it had been before. Be kind to yourself, you are doing really well, BFing is a skill and you and your baby are both learning. xx

Tallgiraffe Fri 25-Jan-13 23:12:40

You have not failed. Don't ever think that! Even if your baby never has another drop of breast milk, you are NOT a failure. Being a mother is about so so much more.

Good luck with all your paths ahead and enjoy the snuggles! Congratulations too!

1. You have NOT failed!!!

I can totally sympathise. I cried everytime I fed my baby for the first week! The pain was UNBEARABLE!!! I felt like my nipples were going to fall off.
I said the whole time this is actually worse than giving birth (that's how I felt!)

Anyway - I'm sure you've already heard it.....but it does get better!!!
By the end of week 1 the pain had gone a lot, by the end of week 2 it was gone completely. At the time it really doesn't feel like it! I cried to the midwives "I think you're just sayyyyyin it!!!!!"
But honestly it will go. I used lots of lansinoh but to be honest I didn't find it as amazing as it's meant to be?

I called my local sure start centre, they sent a BF supporter to my house (this was day 4) She was sooo lovely. She helped me try out different positions, watched us feeding, gave advice, she was so lovely and just that "real" support really helped.

Good luck, hope you heal soon! X

Thank you so much everybody. Saw the midwife yesterday and she was really lovely - my milk came in quite dramatically on the drive over and by the time we got there my pads, bra, and T-Shirt were soaked through so she hooked me on to their breast pump which meant we had a good stash of milk for last night. I managed to latch DS on this morning by giving him the bottle first for those really strong sucks, then switching to the breast. Still sore but like you guys have said not as bad. I had quite big boobs and struggle to see what I'm doing, plus I think I got a bit panicky which obviously didn't help. DS has only lost a couple of oz so obviously doing OK.

The senior midwife came to see me too and went through the positions again with me, definitely finding rugby ball easiest as carovioletfizz says. I'm using lansinoh too which seems to be helping.

comeonbishbosh congrats to you too, how lovely to meet a "twin" smile

Thanks again everybody, it's so hard in the middle of the night and with no RL support (mum not around etc). You're all so lovely.

Pleasenomorepeppa Sat 26-Jan-13 18:01:36

DD2is 4 days old too & feeding is painful & continuous! We've given her formula too & I got my first sleep since she's been born & my nipples got a rest! Bliss!!
My friend's DH is an Osteopath & he came over today to give her a treatment. She's been sleepy so hopefully he's worked so magic!
My milk is in & I think this is made her more content too.
Never feel a failure for feeding your baby. I made that mistake with DD1 & I've got only stressful & sad memories of her early babyhood. Good luck smile.

PignutSalamander Sat 26-Jan-13 19:11:37

Please don't call yourself a failure, establishing breast feeding does not mean you are either a failure or a success.
For some it is really easy, for most it s bloody difficult for the first eight weeks then great, for some it is impossible.

You've already been given some fantastic advice. With regards to advice generally try it, if it doesn't work move on, just because it worked for x doesn't mean it will work for you.

Me and dd would not still be feeding without the breast feeding support group, I cannot emphasise strongly enough what a lifeline it has been (also do not have close family)

This first bit it so tough but it really does get better.

Wrt to formula. If you are going to supplement do it at the same te each day so that your boobs are expecting it.

Something I really found helped while we waited for tt to be clipped and were supplement with formula as the poor thing physically could not suck out all she needed. Was massaging my breast while she fed to do some of the work for her. Don't know if it would help you but worth trying.

Congratulations on the birth of your dc, please remember breast feeding is not a test that you succeed or fail and your worth as a parent does not hinge on it!

comeonbishbosh Sat 26-Jan-13 22:37:07

Cupcakes So glad things are going better and the midwives were helpful. Well done. End of day 4 now... The tiredness is creeping up on me and must say the birth already feels in the distant past. Hope you have a 'reasonable' night!

CaseyShraeger Sat 26-Jan-13 22:43:05

Oh, well done! The middle of the night is really tough. You deserve a big pat on the back.

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