Breastfeeding excruitating, formula horrid

(61 Posts)
craftycottontail Thu 13-Jun-13 23:45:35

Having a rubbish time and feel caught between two unhappy alternatives sad

Breastfeeding is really painful, noth nipples now cracked, sore and scabbing. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Midwives have siad my positioning is all good, latch looks okay and they discharged us last week as little one was back to birth weight. National Breastfeeding helpline were useless, basically just Googling for local help and giving me telephone numbers. NCT counsellor said some really useful things but none of her tips get past the fact that it really hurts!

Formula smells! And doesn't seem to satisfy my little man as he roots all over me straight after a bottle. Plus he's been sick since I've given him formula, and was never sick with breast milk. If I make the leap to formula will my baby get used to it?

I just don't know what to do - feel like it's a choice between me being in agony and unhappy, or my baby being unhappy on formula. I've not managed to get into the swing of pumping as there never seems enough time to sit pumping for hours in the day.

LAF77 Sun 16-Jun-13 10:13:31

Please get to the West Pottergate session. If you called the BFN, perhaps they could put you in touch with Jan who runs it in advance of Wednesday.

Hopefully, Norwich won't be a BF blackhole in a few months!

Good luck and take care.

philbee Sun 16-Jun-13 19:26:41

longdistance I don't get problems while feeding, but tingling, itching, soreness afterwards and sometimes the stabbing pains. We both have cream and DD has oral gel and we've been using that since Wednesday, so if it's no better by Tues when I'm going to the bf group I'll see whether the counsellor there thinks I need the tablets (is that fluconazole?)

THERhubarb Mon 17-Jun-13 08:49:36

caro as crafty has said, if people were honest about breastfeeding then perhaps more mothers wouldn't give up quite so soon feeling like failures.

Yes there can be problems with latching on, with thrush, etc. But are you told about ANY of these problems beforehand? No.

You are told, by midwives and breastfeeding counsellors that if you are doing it right, it should not hurt. This puts the emphasis onto you, the mother, which implies that if it does hurt, it's not thrush or anything else but the way you are feeding which is wrong. It makes you feel like a failure as a new mum.

I wrote an article about my experience for the NCT as I was so angry by the attitudes I had come across. I realise that most counsellors meant well but they all seemed to imply that the pain was largely my fault. Their attitude was that if the positioning and latch were fine, then there should be no pain. You wouldn't believe how many responses that article got from women who all had the same experiences and many of them, like me, had given up breastfeeing after feeling like utter failures.

If we knew the truth about breastfeeding then we wouldn't have put so much pressure on ourselves to get it right. If I knew about breast thrush and mastitis I would have got these checked out. I only found out about them by googling problems with breastfeeding.

I did get mastitis once but I did not get breast thrush thankfully.

With both of mine, the pain was there from the very start of the feed although it got more bearable towards the end and now I do feel that it was to do with the letdown of my milk. Once we had both settled into a routine, from around 6 weeks onwards, the let down became less severe and the pain would subside until, with ds, I was able to feed with ease after 3 months.

Knowing all the problems associated with breastfeeding would not have put me off trying and it may even have resulted in me feeding dd for longer instead of finally giving up after 3 months. I was angry that no-one had told me of all these issues so that I could have investigated them. I was angry that they implied the pain was all my fault and that I was not feeding my babies correctly, or that I was being soft and imagining it. The responses from my article showed me that I was not alone. There were many angry mothers out there who also experienced pain and who were also made to feel like failures.

I found many more on Mumsnet. In fact I had such an argument on here once (years ago) with a bf counsellor who didn't believe me that sometimes, it just bloody hurts, that I started a thread and she had to concede defeat when many posters came on to say the same thing, that their positioning was fine, the latch was fine, but it still JUST HURT. They too, were angry at how they had been treated.

So yes, do investigate breast thrush, do watch out for mastitis and do make sure you get cracked nipples treated (I also advocate rubbing breast milk on them, but AFTER your baby has fed so that your nipple is covered in the creamy breastmilk which makes more of a difference I think) but if you have investigated all these possible causes and are still in pain then it's just one of those things which is more common than you'd expect. I doubt it will be investigated as midwives and bf counsellors seem to have this huge problem in even admitting that painful breastfeeding exists. But it DOES subside and you CAN get through it. You need a lot of moral support and more importantly, you need to be believed.

Best of luck OP.

craftycottontail Tue 18-Jun-13 08:51:19

Thanks Rhubarb, great post and I'm so glad to know I'm not alone. After pushing through another few days of cluster feeding (which was okay to start with but soon turned into hell again) I've decided to switch to formula. We're using HIPP organic and DS is lapping it up. He doesn't get spots on his face or vomit afterwards like he did with Cow and Gate. He seems very content.

After initial feelings of guilt I feel SO much better in myself, more energetic and feeling able to just enjoy my little boy without any more feelings of resentment towards him or dreading the next feed. For all of us formula is the right choice. I'm sure it's debateable what good he was getting from my milk anyway when I felt so run down, a sobbing mess and unable to prepare proper meals myself while DH at work because I was pinned to nursing chair for such long stretches.

THERhubarb Tue 18-Jun-13 08:57:22

Good for you crafty! We have to make tough decisions as mothers sometimes and we don't need the guilt trip to make it worse. You did what was right for you and I agree with you. Some people would argue that the baby's health is more important than yours; that is crap. Your health is vital if you are to bond and care for your baby.

I'm very pleased that you have found a solution smile

Layl77 Tue 18-Jun-13 09:05:46

Sounds like baby might have a tongue tie? I'd speak to a lactation consultant ask midwife to check babes mouth.

SlinkyB Tue 18-Jun-13 09:58:36

Just scan read the thread OP and just wanted to say how happy I am for you that you've found a way that works for you and your baby! smile

I could have written your exact posts when DS was that age; he's now a healthy, happy 2.5yr old.

The respite that the bottles of formula gave my nipples was such a relief, and I actually enjoyed being able to mix-feed for a couple of weeks too (bf first/last thing, formula all other times, my milk supply was still ok and my poor nipples had healed).

Please don't feel guilty; other people will do a grand job of that for you sometimes!! wink

philbee Tue 18-Jun-13 13:00:10

Glad to hear things are better, crafty. Your health (mental and physical) is the most important thing so you can keep on looking after your baby. Hope things continue to improve. smile

LAF77 Tue 18-Jun-13 20:38:10

crafty I would suggest that you go to see Jan at West Pottergate tomorrow if you can. Your DC may have a tongue tie that has been missed by the MWs as most do not have specialist knowledge to know what they are looking for. If you choose not to bf anymore, it would be in your DCs long term interests to have it dealt with now.

BF can be painful at first as your body is getting used to the letdown of milk and your nipples can get sore. However, bleeding suggests that there is something is wrong beyond the normal adjustment process.

Be gentle with yourself. I also remember trying to do everything, cook, clean, when my DS was just as tiny. I was so frustrated that I couldn't just do it all and have everything ready for DH when he came home.

PM me if you want to chat and some moral support in Norwich. I'm in NR1.

LAF77 Tue 18-Jun-13 21:21:10

I also just saw this pop up crafty about BF support at Chapelfield in case this works for you.

http://www.norwich999.com/news/index.php?storyid=27312&s=2

mrsnoodle55 Sun 23-Jun-13 10:51:37

crafty -I know this thread is a few days old and you might not see this, but if you do I wanted to say I think you've done absolutely the right thing. I have 2 kids-8 yrs ago I went to hell and back trying to breast feed. I am convinced it lead to (undiagnosed) PND, then ultimately divorce and life as a single mum. This time round (DD is now 16mths) I was determined not to go down the same path.

However! Once again I found it so hard, yet just couldn't admit defeat. The cycle began again. Tongue tie snips, endless appointments with bf counsellors, I drove 100 miles to see a lactation consultant, medications, pumps, supplementary devices...and still a fussy baby, not gaining weight, and a stressed out and exhausted me.

The turning point for me was at about 2 months-at 3am i was trying to tape a supplementary feeding tube to my knackered nipples whilst baby screamed her head off, starving. 8 yr old son woke up through the racket and banged his head on bunk bead, baby then ripped tube off in her panic. I saw the light. I ripped the rest of the stuff off and threw it at the window, went downstairs and made a bottle.

I admit-I was upset for a few days. But we rediscovered a life, and I enjoyed her. I look back now, and i don't recognise myself. Both bottlefed 8yr old son and bottlefed 16th month old daughter are fine. Neither had allergies/tummy upsets/son is a stick insect!

Enjoy your baby xx

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