help me carry on bf, im about to give in

(40 Posts)
joanna0211marie Mon 17-Jun-13 14:56:29

I have been exclusively breastfeeding since birth, she is only 12 days old but I already have horrendously cracked and sore nipples and mastitis in both breasts, everytime she latches on it feels like someone is pulling a knife down my nipple, im contemplating bottle feeding but I just cant bring myself to do it because breast milk is whats best for my baby it's just im in excruciating pain where im pulling my hair out to deflect some of the pain elsewhere. Please help, im crying my eyes out as im writing

tiktok Mon 17-Jun-13 15:02:22

sad sad

There are many ways this can be fixed....what sort of help have you had so far?

You need someone who knows what to look for to observe a whole feed.

Impossible to say what might be happening - but it is highly likely your baby is compressing your nipple against the roof of her mouth. This could be because she has a tongue tie, or because she is not opening wide enough, or because the nipple is going in too 'centrally', or because she is clamping down for some reason....all or any of this can change.

If whoever looks at it says, 'it looks fine, just persevere' then you know for sure they are not sufficiently knowledgeable. And you need someone else.

NoTeaForMe Mon 17-Jun-13 15:05:09

I've been in your shoes-it's horrendous, so sorry to hear you're having a tough time. Do you have lots of nipple cream? Lansinoh or similar? Have you tried nipple shields? They were the only thing that got me through last time. I weaned myself off them eventually but I would have stopped much sooner had it not been for them.

You have to do what's best for you as well as baby, thats the only way breastfeeding is the best thing for baby. Do you want to carry on breastfeeding? Have you thought about mixed feeding? Have you been to a breast feeding clinic to have the latch checked?

Someone will be along soon with good advice! Don't worry.

Celia1978 Mon 17-Jun-13 15:08:17

Have you been to the doctor about the mastitis? If not, get an emergency appointment and get some antibiotics. The website kellymom.com has good advice on plugged ducts and mastitis and lots of ideas for things to try at home, like massage etc.

Are you using Lanisoh on your nipples? It can help. Also has anyone looked at your baby's latch? If it's not quite right it could be causing the pain. Does your area have breastfeeding support? Where I live you can get home visits from volunteers who will give advice.

Good luck - it can be very tough in the early days but it does get easier!

tiktok Mon 17-Jun-13 15:43:39

Forgot to add - you are still under midwife care, and you can call the midwife for help....and yes, you absolutely need treatment for the mastitis.

joanna0211marie Mon 17-Jun-13 15:45:52

Midwife checks every time she's round, the latch is ok, it's just I was only in hospital for the night when I gave birth and I had to keep buzzing for the nurse to help me latch her on, but I still hadn't got the hang of it when they discharged me in the morning so that's when all the damage happened, they have massive cracks all around the base and I use lansinoh after every feed, been using nipple guards when it gets to much but it still makes me cry when I use those, we have a bf clinic but it's only open on a Monday, 10-12, only found out this afternoon about that, in the meantime the only way I've found I can feed her without tge shields is lying on my side on the bed with my lo lying next to me on her side, that way I can kick my leg in the air! But the midwife told me not to use nipple shields as they interfere with my milk supply, so im trying to alternate, one feed on one feed off, but I just don't entirely trust that she's getting enough milk off them

Curleyhazel Mon 17-Jun-13 15:46:24

1. Call your midwife and ask them to visit you to check out the Mastitis and possibly prescribe suitable antibiotics for it. Ask her to help you with positioning the baby and check the latch.

2. Send DP to the nearest pharmacy to buy you several sheets of Jelonet. The stuff is brilliant and I absolutely couldn't bf without it. It's sheets of dressing (10x10cm), you cut it into smaller pieces put it on your nipples after every feed ( for the first few weeks) breast pad on and let your nipples heal.

3. Remember that it's still early days and it will get better! Baby and you need to learn to breastfeed, it can take a while. Some pain is normal in the first few weeks as baby feeds very often and nipples have to 'toughen up' a bit (I know sounds disconcerting but true)

4. Treat yourself to whatever needed, chocolate, nice magazines, let someone cook your favourite food just enjoy little pick me ups throughout the day to lift your mood, you deserve it.

5. Take it one day at a time. Say to yourself I will breastfeed today and see how it goes tomorrow.

6. Check out the Kellymum webpage for lots of really good advice.

I've been there and know how horrid it can be. It took me about 3-4 weeks with DC1 to feel comfortable feeding her. I went through the lot, cracked, bloody nipples, Mastitis etc. but it did get better and I Bf her for a year. Good luck!!!

joanna0211marie Mon 17-Jun-13 15:46:50

I have antibiotics for the mastitis, I went two days ago.

Curleyhazel Mon 17-Jun-13 15:53:15

A 'V' pillow might help especially with night feeds when your are tired and perhaps not as strong toehold baby in a good position, you can get a simple 'no frills but does the job' one online at John Lewis.

Curleyhazel Mon 17-Jun-13 15:53:37

To hold baby

BaldricksTurnip Mon 17-Jun-13 15:56:45

I have breastfed all three of mine and can honestly say that even with a correct latch, no tongue tie etc, it can be incredibly sore for the first couple of weeks until your nipples toughen up a bit. It feels very sharp when the baby first latches but then gradually eases through the feed. I know it sounds mad but if you get a Savoy cabbage, put it in the fridge and then pull off a leaf and score it with a knife and put it down your bra against your breast it will bring down the inflammation and help with the mastitis. Also, do you have a breast pump? You can express after a feed to make sure that your breasts are sufficiently empty and your milk isn't backing up. Also, brushing down the breast towards the nipple when feeding can help to unplug any blockages. Hang in there it will get better and well done you for getting this far- breastfeeding is not for the faint hearted!

dozily Mon 17-Jun-13 15:59:46

Don't despair - things will probably start improving very soon! I have bf 3 dc and found the first 1-2 weeks excruciating each time. Follow all the good advice here and hopefully things will get better.

How's your lo's weight so far?

curryeater Mon 17-Jun-13 16:01:46

you can phone the NCT bf helpline 0300 330 0771

This could be the very worst you feel - when your nipples start healing because you have corrected whatever the problem is, they heal incredibly quickly.

good luck x

joanna0211marie Mon 17-Jun-13 16:03:20

She lost 6.3% in the first 3 days, and then put it back on in the following 2 days, her birth weight was 8lb 3 and a half ounces, she was weighed 2 days ago and was 8lb 7, so she's goin the right way.

joanna0211marie Mon 17-Jun-13 16:07:21

I've tried feeding in every position possible and nothing seems to ease it, im really depressed with it.

BaldricksTurnip Mon 17-Jun-13 16:07:27

Her weight gain sounds very encouraging OP so you're definitely doing something right grin

SonShines Mon 17-Jun-13 16:07:53

Oh gosh, poor you, you're having a tough start! Bless you for caring so much about your wee one and suffering through to give her the best - what a fab Mum you are smile.

Second the advice above, you need to see someone that can assist you with the latch, it can take an age to get it perfected and it's a lot easier if you have someone on hand that knows what to look for.

Take it one feed at a time, don't think forward to the next one, the next night, or day. One at a time. Rest. Chocolate. Don't get out of your dressing gown. Don't worry too much about the nipple shields interfering, just do what you can to get past this bit. A bottle of formula is far more damaging to a breastfeeding relationship that a nipple shield smile.

Also, have you try to hand express a little before you latch baby on? If you can get the let down going before she latches it might be a bit more bearable?

Lastly - you should be so proud of yourself. You will look back on this time, and feel so chuffed to have overcome it. Because you will overcome it smile

joanna0211marie Mon 17-Jun-13 16:10:03

Thankyou sonshines, that's made me cry some more because it was so nice x

BaldricksTurnip Mon 17-Jun-13 16:10:30

Another thing I did was express a bit of milk and rub it into the sore bits on my nipples, it contains a natural antibiotic so will help with healing.

keely79 Mon 17-Jun-13 16:17:56

Oh hon - I promise it will get better. I breastfed both mine for a year. Developed horrible mastitis with the first (to the extent I couldn't hold DD, as was shaking so much) and then nasty cracked nipples with DS. To the point where I had to take a big deep breath before putting him on and clutch something very, very hard.

Please remember that both you and your baby are new at this and learning, and give yourself a break.

If your baby seems established in the breastfeeding, perhaps you could express for one feed a day to give you a little longer between feeds. It's still as good for the baby if it is breastmilk from a bottle. My children would happily alternate between the two.

Also, make sure that when you are taking baby off your breast, you break the latch properly (inserting little finger to "pop" the seal) as otherwise they can still be suckered on without actually still sucking...

I would second the use of your own breast milk to try and heal. Also - as much time as possible with your bra off/no top on to let air get to the affected zone.

Xiaoxiong Mon 17-Jun-13 16:25:13

I just wanted to say that you are doing so well and that weight gain is brilliant!! DS lost 10% and took 10 full days to get back to birthweight IIRC. Your LO is definitely getting enough out of you, big congratulatory (((hugs))) for you doing the best for her through such a tough start.

I slathered my nips religiously with Lansinoh cream every single time DS came off the breast - I was a sticky lanolin monster and there were sticky stains on all my tops - but it seemed to glue the cracks back together somewhat until I got the latch sorted.

As regards the latch, eventually I had to squash my boobs to make a sort of boob hamburger for DS otherwise he didn't get enough nipple into his teeny little mouth and just sipped on the end and it was agony - I was cracking and bleeding.

It wasn't until a different MW said I should squash the entire nipple up so it looks like DS was taking a big bite of a sideways Big Mac when latching on, it began to hurt less and less. That seems really weird when I write it down but there are some diagrams here: www.lalecheleague.org/llleaderweb/lv/lvfebmar04p3.html

I really hope you can get someone to help you with the latch - my first MW said the latch where DS was just "sipping" on the nipple was just fine but it was agony, it was another MW that said DS's mouth needed to be wide open like a big gawping goldfish when on the boob and she was right, the previous MW was totally wrong.

Curleyhazel Mon 17-Jun-13 16:27:14

As Baldricks says even with the correct latch it can hurt for a few weeks. You have done really well so far it will soon get better. Get the Jelonet!!!

MarinaIvy Mon 17-Jun-13 16:30:52

I had almost exactly the same thing. I remember feeling really rotton about myself for it still being difficult days/weeks in - "haven't I sorted it yet?!?!?".

YY to the cream, the nipple shields if you want to, the pampering, whatever gets you through. Listen to BaldricksTurnip (great name, by the way) post of 15:56.

Also consider expressing into a bottle and then feeding from that for a bit, just to give the nipples a break. It'll keep your milk levels up and you'll "live to fight another day".

My DP and I also came up with a strategy: as I was about to get DC on the breast, DP would give my shoulder a quick neck massage. A much more pleasant way to distract me than what you're doing! And I think it helped me relax in general.

I am so glad we stuck with it. Not only did we get past the pain, it became one of the nicest feelings I've had. I can still remember the lovely tickly fluttery feeling, and the peace that DC and I shared.

Shame about the BF support group - any chance to get out to the next town's one if it's earlier?

projectbabyweight Mon 17-Jun-13 16:32:02

Please get checked again and again for tongue tie, I must've nagged about 10 midwives/health visitors before ds1's was noticed, then the consultant said it was quite severe! Immediately after it was fixed there was no more pain and the blisters healed up. Best of luck smile

MarinaIvy Tue 18-Jun-13 13:16:15

How are you getting on today, OP? Better, hopefully?

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