DS is 6 weeks and the pain isn't stopping(41 Posts)
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.
Hi sweetie, no advice I'm afraid but you're doing fantastically well to have bf so far. Just wanted to send a hug. DH looking reproachfully at you? He has no idea how hard bf is (I'm 8 weeks in & still sore) - hang in there & I hope someone with more experience will be along shortly
first of all you should get him checked for tounge-tie! a simple op to release the tounge can improve BF massively!
Also the pain you have in between/before feeds can be due to let down reflex, and you are sensitive to it.
some people can feel pain in their armpits as well as breast as the milk comes - some never feel a thing....
also you may have a thrush in your breast, which needs treatment.
or it could be mastitis.
you can try using the Avent nipple shields or painkillers, but they are only temporary solutions.
You could see a breast feeding expert or call the BF helplines.
Also you could try cranial ostheopathy (he's old enough) to check he's soft palate - my DD had both tounge-tie and and an unusually highly arched soft palate so even though she was near-constant feeding she was loosing weight
is DH happy to support your decision either way despite his worrying about you or do you argue about it? he needs to understand that adding to the existing stress is useless!
if he's annoying you please ask him to leave while you are feeding baby, both baby and you need a calm environment and less distractions!
it feels like you want to give up, but I think there is a good chance you can improve this situation!
I hereby forbid you to have any more guilt , you are doing absolutely everything you can! keep going and get that tongue looked at!
YOu've probably got another few weeks or so before the pain eases - it was about 3 months for me first time around from memory . On the bright side, you don't really notice it getting better, you just suddenly remember that it used to hurt and now it doesn't.
You are doing fabulously, fantastically well to have persevered for six weeks - lots of people would have given up by now.
I seem to remember sliding a finger in his mouth to release his suck if he started pulling away or mucking about. Also sticking a muslin over his eyes so he couldn't get distracted by things!!
x post - yes do get him checked for a physical problem!
* flak* you should not have pain after the first few weeks, but a lot of women sadly do for months, because they don't realize that baby has tongue - tie and can't latch on properly!
yes, you may have an initial pressure sensitivity as they latch on , but after the first few sucks it should go!
it is abnormal to be in pain for 6 weeks or 3 months, but incorrect latch is so common, people think it's just the way it is!
DS2 didn't have tongue- tie and it was a dream to feed him, I had no pain after 10 days!
Well, that's the thing: there was definitely a change after 10 days. It went from "agonising" to merely "painful". I do have days where I will bf the whole way through, it will start off comfortably enough but by the following afternoon I'm just too sore and need a break. So I worry that maybe I just have a lower pain threshold (common redhead problem!) or more sensitive breasts than other people. And that is without setbacks like last week when he bit/twisted me quite hard and my nipple was the wrong shape and colour for days! I don't have pain during the feed but afterward it is very sensitive/sore.
I don't think it's mastitis from what I've been reading, it could be thrush but I don't have any other symptoms apart from the pain while "refilling"...
And DH is very supportive, to be fair he's the reason I've got this far. I have looked up while feeding to catch him gazing at us with a soppy look on his face, he really loves to see us nursing peacefully all madonna-and-child like. There are times i know I've only stayed with it not to disappoint him! But when DS cries, it's not easy for him to listen to it either... Comfort-boob solves most ills, even if DS has just had a large bottle of expressed milk and DH wants me to whip it out there and then. Which I usually do, but it doesn't give my breasts the chance to recover that I hoped for. The reproachful look comes if I really cant stand it and i beg him to take DS and fob him off for a while til I can express some more milk... (I tried to introduce a soother but DS doesn't like it much and I'm secretly relieved, and only produce it as a last resort.)
I'm going to the bf cafe on Friday. I've been before when he was two weeks old but was told my problems were due to his jaundice and it would get better as the jaundice went. It hasn't. I'll get him checked for a tongue tie by the LC there and at the GP on Monday again if no luck. And if not I'll ask the GP about a cranial osteopath.
To be honest I don't really know if I do want to give up, or do want to stick at it. I found the first week so hard and so painful and I still resent it for spoiling what should have been a special time with my first baby. But now I've made it this far, it seems a stupid time to quit - it's far less difficult than it was in the beginning, but it's just not comfortable, easy or pain-free! And I've got lots of milk and a fast flow, so i don't want to waste those gifts when I hate the smell of formula and how gassy it makes him... "But I hate doing it and it hurts" isn't a convincing enough reason to give up bf altogether, even to myself! I sound selfish!
Forgot to say the most important bit: thank you all for your posts. It's really reassuring and encouraging.
Hi FlatFacedArmy, sorry to hear things are so tough. One quick thing to consider which was the key for me - are you using lots of Lansinoh? Everyone kept telling me to slather this on after every feed as I was finding it so painful, so I did. At about 8 weeks it occurred to me to try stopping it - and after a couple of days my nipples healed up and the pain stopped. I am sensitive to lanolin, so should have thought, but the makers of Lansinoh claim it is totally hypoallergenic so I thought it would be OK.
OP, many congratulations on the birth of your son. Some helpful suggestions above but really.....I would suggest that you get some local, skilled hands-on help, because normal breastfeeding should not be painful in the way you describe, whether your skin is pale and sensitive or
tough as an elephant's hide not. We can suggest why this might be so - as others have above - but none of us can say very much about what the underlying issue(s) is/are without meeting you and your baby.
Are there any groups near you run by La Leche, NCT or BfN counsellors who can help you? If you're not sure where to start, please feel free to pm me.
You might also find the following information useful:
Breastfeeding Network info on thrush
sorry if I sounded rude about DH, I seriously don't know what "reproachfully" means, I'm not English and had to look it up in the dictionary! sorry!
I'd say after you got everything checked you might get some results and less pain so hang on for now.
if there's really nothing "wrong" at all, but it still hurts so much, you have absolutely every right to stop!
enough with the guilt woman, or I have to track you down and tell you off personally!
if I was a baby, I'd rather be bottle fed by my happy mummy, then breastfed by an emotional and stressed out mum who is in pain all the time or is worried about it!
you are not selfish, you are doing the very best you can and no -one ever should judge or criticize you about your bf choices! if they do they are nasty and should not listen to them!
take some photos or a video of your breastfeeding, and if you decide to stop, then stop!
your baby will have lots of cuddles and kisses and 2 loving parents doing wonderful things with him/her, breast feeding is only one of them, so please, please don't think you are selfish if you want to stop!
I had an ELSC with DS4 and I decided to only breastfeed him as long as there was some in the house 24/7 (DH, then my mum) as we had 3 other kids under 5.5 years old, school runs, nursery runs the lot.
I couldn't even drive for weeks and we were in the middle of a loft conversion so for my sanity and every ones health & happiness I stopped BF after 10 weeks.
I had to mix with formula from day 5 as he was jaundiced, but the next few months were just awful in general, I had mastitis twice, my kids and my mum got a sick bug, and chickenpox, then mum & hubby got a virus, plus DS4 was baptized at 9 weeks so that had to be organized, I had a lot of pain in my left arm and had weekly treatments (both osteopath and deep tissue massage) these are just the things I remember.....
I would have loved to BF him longer, but I had to stop and I don't regret my decision for a minute.
Get you little one checked for tongue tie by a certified la rayon consultant or ENT doctor it can easily be missed by untrained people ie midwives, HV and GPs.
Also you mention you have lots of milk you may have a strong let down this could be causing the struggling and clamping to try and stem your flow. This is similar to what I am going through now the Tongue Tie is resolved.
if your DH doesn't want to take the baby from you to give your nipples a break, i suggest getting crocodile clips, putting them on his nipples then twisting them.
then getting a pair of pliers, clamping his nipples and pulling.
then getting the hoover and attaching it to his nipples and turning it on.
then he might get the idea of what you're just coming out of the end of.
DD causes the most pain on me when she's "slipping" - if i'm not holding her closely enough and she pulls because she's hanging off. try to get something under you to hold him closer.
also - getting him off at the end, put your little finger in the corner of his mouth and pull it open to release the grip.
Definately make a GP app. Get tongue tie ruled out. Ur hv and/or midwife can help with new positions (rugby ball etc). I found rugby ball worked before holding across me. Very counter initiative so do try.
U could also see if ur local children's centre do breast feeding cafes. It will b on ur local council website. These are staffed by a midwife/counsellor and mums so good places to ask real life questions.
Good luck and well done for continuing this far. When u say dh is reproachful do u mean he wZnts u to continue? Or stop? Not clear. He may just b unsure how to help. My dh felt a bit left out for about 3mths til we all settled in.
Try Kellymom website and NCT helplines. Both good.
Thanks all, very much!
Sorry, was not clear re DH- I mean he looks at me reproachfully when he wants me to make the baby stop crying! We both know breast + baby = calmer baby nine times out of ten, it just gets to the point where he brings me the crying baby and I give him a look that says "but I'm sooooooore!" And he gives me a look that says "but he's sooooo hungry NOW!"
Lansinoh - used loads in first 2-3 weeks, use it very rarely now, breastmilk is better and more readily available
cos I can never find the damn tube when I want it anyway
Kellymom - agree, brilliant resource
NCT helpline - no idea how good it is as the "trained volunteer in her own home" never answers the bloody phone. Have tried it many many times
Slipping - agree, painful. Boppy pillow goes a long way to helping with this, probably my best bf investment, but I am guilty of MNing on my phone during long feeds and maybe not paying too much attention to positioning.... One to watch out for!
Hands on help is probably my best bet, but wanted to ask on here for more information/ideas/tips. Forewarned is forearmed and all that!
Amazingmumof6, you have not been rude at all and you have been incredibly helpful.
In fact, to you all, I do feel much more confident about getting to the bottom of this now and sorting it out!
Sounds like thrush to me or poor latch from TT. A combo of the two caused the pain after feed for me.
Hope you get it sorted tomorrow, sounds like your dpi g brilliantly
I would second (third, fourth) the tongue-tie. The fact that he's slipping down and needing to readjust frequently is telling that he is not able to get a good grip on the areola and nipple with his tongue. There are 4 different types of tongue ties so it may take a couple of different GPs or lactation consultants to see a short frenulum that doesn't necessarily fit in exactly with the "heart-shaped" tongue. Check to see if he can stick his tongue out all the way. Also when he cries, can his tongue reach the roof of his mouth? Does the frenulum under his tongue look thick or really short?
Do consider thrush, the symptoms are so vague that its difficult to diagnose. It can be associated with nipple trauma due to tongue tie, poor latch, (clamping down!) etc. I found I was having a different pain to the initial latch on pain of the early days, worse at the start of feeds and between feeds. Seriously sensitive nipples to the point I couldn't bear to be outside on a slightly breezy day even with layers on or put a towel round me. Settled with 2 wks treatment for me & dd, regularly changing breast pads, being v careful with sterilising equipment (my friend found Milton better than steam when her dd had recurrent thrush). Obv get any underlying cause sorted too.
He may be too young but I found taking her off silently and putting down safely with no eye contact for a few moments really helped when she started biting. Only needed to do it a few times.
Hope things get better for you, they did for me so there is hope! [Grin]
I agree with the thrush! Currently both being treated for it but it is improving! Lots pain between feeds on top intense pain during feeding from compression! It's starting to ease up now after four days joint treatment.
Thanks - that might be it, I do also have super-sensitive nipples. I have only just got to the point where taking a shower doesn't hurt, as long as the water doesn't hit them directly! Can't wrap a towel around them, I yelp if I accidentally brush my arm against them while feeding... and even thinking about cold hurts!
GP gave me some canestan 3 days in, I might dig it out again and give it a try. Can't hurt anyway!
Do you try different positions? When I'm getting a bit sore I go and lie down in bed and feed that way so my nipples are getting a change. And I used to have to hold ds close to discourage nipple-pulling (never found a cure think he gee out of out at 4 months)
Have you ever heard of Raynaud's Syndrome before? I've had a few patients who had this condition affect their nipples and made them so sensitive that they could not breastfeed at all. There is medication that can help. Maybe bring that to your GP or midwife?
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!
Oh, the one thing that really helps with the vasospasm is a hot water bottle. Takes the pain away, nearly!
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
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.
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!
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
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
I'm not having any luck... 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.
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?
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
it might be worth getting some washable breastpads - they absorb a bit more and are more breathable.
i got some bamboo ones from littlelambs
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!
and yes, get to the doctor for anti Bs very very very quickly.
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!
i'm glad you've seen a sensible doctor and got sensible advice (and medication!)
I hope it all goes much more smoothly now
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