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BFing- struggling with sore, cracked nipples

(169 Posts)
hmyh23 Thu 15-Feb-18 22:35:23

Not really an AIBU but I'm desperate for some advice.

Day 8 of BFing here and really suffering with sore, dry, scabby nipples. I am following all the advice I've been given- using Lansinoh, dabbing with breastmilk, air drying where possible but they don't seem to be healing up and are constantly stinging and tingling. The initial let down when the baby latches is very painful and then the rest of the feed is better but still uncomfortable which means I dread every feed. The hospital midwives and community midwives have checked the latch and agree it's good, the baby is maintaining weight and is thriving so no problem with the amount she is getting. They seem to think the damage is from the first couple of days when the latch wasn't good but I dont know how to heal it when there's only 3hrs between each feed. I don't know whether to stop and express for a few days to see if this will help but I'm worried about getting her back on the breast afterwards. I don't want to throw the towel in now after trying so hard to get to this stage but I don't think I can just keep feeding through the pain and I am also recovering from a tear so quite uncomfortable In general. In all honesty I'm wishing I had just bottle fed from the outset as I feel this is adding an extra level of stress on top of recovery from labour and getting used to everything. NCT advice is that the latch mustn't be right or it wouldn't hurt any more and I should try and get an appointment at the local midwife unit for more help.

Any advice welcome from people who have been through similar, they are sticking to breast pads/bra/tops which is taking the top off the scabs and making it all worse.

LouHotel Thu 15-Feb-18 22:38:33

You are nearly over the hardest part. I had really cracked nipples and as they took about two weeks to heal completely.

I would go along to a latch on group or breastfeeding support to get your latch checked by a peer supporter. There more likely to be able to sit with you for longer.

It sounds like baby is feeding well, sore nipples really suck and no one warns you about it. Pain when feeding shouldnt last longer than 20 seconds.

LouHotel Thu 15-Feb-18 22:40:37

Just to add its not recommended but i introduce a bottle after a week to give my breasts a break more in the day.

Your right it can lead to nipple confusion but if its the choice between giving up completely or trying a bit of express then the latter is better.

coconutpie Thu 15-Feb-18 22:40:44

You need to get a breastfeeding expert to check the latch for you. something is not right if your nipples are like that. The midwives you've been to clearly don't have much breastfeeding knowledge which isn't unusual. Can you attend a La Leche League meeting or contact a lactation consultant? You need to get to the root cause of the problem which could be poor latch or tongue tie etc. All easily fixed with proper support. Congratulations on your little new bundle of joy.

hmyh23 Thu 15-Feb-18 22:41:11

So did yours eventually just heal up while you continued feeding? I feel like my baby is aggravating them more with every feed and the insistence from NCT/some midwives that it shouldn't hurt at all is making things worse. I've had to give her formula tonight because I've been upset for hours and just couldn't face it. I did manage to express enough for the next fees at least.

coconutpie Thu 15-Feb-18 22:42:26

Lou - introducing a bottle to give your breasts a break is not necessary at all. Nipples being that damaged for a few weeks is not normal and needs to be checked by a breastfeeding expert.

Introducing a bottle can put an unwanted end to breastfeeding and is not necessary at all.

hmyh23 Thu 15-Feb-18 22:43:28

There isn't a LLL set up locally unfortunately but I'll see if any of the sure start groups are running in the morning and maybe they can help. The midwife is back in the morning but I feel like she might just fob me off.

coconutpie Thu 15-Feb-18 22:43:51

Is there a particular reason that are you expressing? It's not recommended when your baby is that young. That might be making the problem worse for you. I'd get myself an appointment with a lactation consultant in the morning.

MrsPatrickDempsey Thu 15-Feb-18 22:44:34

I know that shields can affect milk stimulation and transfer but I have seen situations where they have made the difference between carrying on feeding or not. Might be worth a try. And second the advice to get latch checked and to ensure there is no tongue tie. Sounds like you are doing a great job. Don’t forget to look after yourself.

LokiBear Thu 15-Feb-18 22:45:48

My midwife told me nipple confusion is a myth and to introduce a bottle before 3 weeks if I wanted to express. I did, dd2 had a bottle of ebm every day from 10 days until we transitioned to ff at 5 months. Express and give yourself a break. Or ff and give yourself a break. You are doing an amazing job and there is so much more to being a mum than the way you feed. I had lactation failure with dd1 and she is perfect. I ebf dd2 until 5 months and she is perfect. You really can't make the wrong choice so make the one that is right for you. flowers

hmyh23 Thu 15-Feb-18 22:45:53

coconutpie- I've expressed once today because I can't cope with the pain and I've been in tears for hours.

acquiescence Thu 15-Feb-18 22:46:56

I am 3 weeks into breastfeeding my second baby. I was the same with both children up until around the 12-14 Days in: cracked, scabbed, bleeding nipples and a lot of pain. I recommend keeping the lanisoh on all the time and not letting it dry out. Around 14 Days my nipples healed and it is fine now. Good luck. If your latch is ok it will just pass, it’s your nipples getting used to it.

LouHotel Thu 15-Feb-18 22:47:59

@coconutpie i have said its not recommended but my personal bfing experience is if i didnt give myself that chance for my breast to heal after correcting the latch i wouldnt still be feeding DD at 20 months.

nutbrownhare15 Thu 15-Feb-18 22:49:27

I had similar. Phone the national bf helpline in the morning. Join the breastfeeding support uk facebook group now, lots of expert and non judgemental advice. Find your nearest bf support group and go asap. All of these sources of support helped me in the early days. It does get easier I promise.

MissWitch Thu 15-Feb-18 22:50:37

I had this with my DD. Turned out to be thrush which was why it was so painful and the cracks weren’t healing. Check your babies tongue to see if there’s a white coating on it as this is indicative of thrush, though I’m not sure if you can still have it without baby having a coated tongue. I remember I had a gel that I put on which got transferred to DD when she nursed so it treated us both. Definitely try to find a breastfeeding group or some proper help though as they’ll check your baby is latching on correctly and give you some help. Breastfeeding gets so much easier once you get over the initial newborn bit. It means no faffing with bottles and formula, and it’s a wonderful experience so keep at it if you can.

Downbutnotyetout Thu 15-Feb-18 22:52:03

Go to the GP and ask for a swab to check that you haven’t got thrush or a strep infection - these can get in through the damage done in the first few days. I had thrush (no signs in baby mouth though) and an agonising strep infection and every time the baby latched it felt like someone was pulling my hair because it hurt all down one side of my body. They can still be a bugger to get rid of, but first step is identifying them.

You can also get a prescription for a certain type of gel pad which will help with healing and making sure the scabs don’t get stuck to your bra. They are a specific type of post operation healing thing, and the pharmacy had to order in but they made a massive difference.

And I don’t believe in nipple confusion, and neither did my BF advisor person. If giving some expressed bottles now means you can keep BFing for longer (assuming that is what you WANT to do) then it is worth it.

OwlinaTree Thu 15-Feb-18 22:53:53

I wore these in my bra to let air circulate to help them heal plus the lansinoh breast cups

Roobear23 Thu 15-Feb-18 22:54:38

I had a very similar experience. Coconut oil really helped especially as my baby wouldn't latch with the lanisoh as he didn't seem to like it. Also in case there is a problem with the attachment/latch you could try biological nursing if you haven't already. There will be a YouTube video about it i expect. It was painful for 6 weeks and then it got better and after that was easy. If you want to then you can do it smile

hmyh23 Thu 15-Feb-18 22:55:08

@acquiescence How did you get through it? I'm just finding it so painful and I'm constantly aware of the stinging.

PixieCutRegret Thu 15-Feb-18 22:55:35

Firstly Congratulations!

Have you tried the Flipple technique? My latch always appeared to be good but was quite shallow so my poor nipple was rubbing on the roof of DS' s mouth. This lady explains it quite well

Have you tried the lansinoh breast pass? I found these were the only ones my sore nipples wouldn't stick to!

Have you got a group nearby you can go to like a la Leche League group? I found support from other mums to be far more useful than from the midwives etc. They are also great for moral support as most have had one problem or another in the early days.

Good luck OP, the first few weeks are so tough!

Minimonkeysmum Thu 15-Feb-18 22:55:48

I had similar. My daughters latch wasn't right, although looked perfect externally, and she was putting on weight (reckon the problem was large breasts and a small mouth!) Lansinoh really helped, as did jelonet (it's a petroleum jelly infused dressing which allows the wound to heal from inside out). You just cut it up and wrap a bit around your nipple.

Would also recommend breast shells, which keep things away from your nipples between feeds, so nothing gets stuck to them.

It did get better - but did have to make a real effort to heal the cracks, as they kept reopening with every feed. Good luck!

Penguin0fMadagascar Thu 15-Feb-18 22:56:21

I would echo coconutpie's advice to see if you can access some peer support - if you are in the UK the Breastfeeding Network are very helpful. Checking whether latch and positioning are good takes more time than midwives may have available, so some specialist help may be invaluable. Plus they often have cake at drop-in sessions! Their website is here If you are experiencing pain then you could try some analgesia to take the edge off before feeding - the "breastfeeding information" section has factsheets about safely taking medications whilst breastfeeding.

Also, if you find that your tops/bras are sticking and causing pain, you could try getting hold of some Jelonet - it's a moistened dressing that might help, and I think you can buy it over the counter.

Best of luck - breastfeeding shouldn't hurt at all, so keep asking for help until it's working for you.

doleritedinosaur Thu 15-Feb-18 22:56:50

This sounds like a latch issue.

Are you sure there’s not a local breastfeeding group? NCT?
Do you have a local mum’s Facebook group you ask about local counsellors.

You’re doing really well & don’t feel guilty about the bottle, you’re doing your best.

mummabubs Thu 15-Feb-18 22:58:10

That's such a shame that you don't have a local LLL group. My little one is 15 weeks old and bf hasn't come naturally to us so I'm having to express 8 times a day and bottle feed. I went to countless NHS breastfeeding clinics complaining of pain during feeds and sore nipples and they just kept saying the latch looked good. I knew something wasn't adding up as like you I'd heard that a good latch doesn't hurt. I was at breaking point at 8 weeks and genuinely considering switching out to formula for my own sanity when I was encouraged to attend an LLL group. The LC there observed an attempted feed and instantly saw what the problem was with the latch. Unfortunately it doesn't look like DS is ever going to be effective enough for me to stop pumping but knowing that it wasn't anything I was doing wrong has been really comforting. If it's painful then something's going funky somewhere OP. As others have said maybe express one or two feeds a day to give yourself a break? I have to say the one upshot of feeding expressed milk is that my husband can take over feeds when I'm exhausted.

PixieCutRegret Thu 15-Feb-18 22:58:48

That should be breast pads!

Oh forgot to mention I also had quite a painful let down, after a few weeks I stopped feeling it completely, it was worse in one boob than the other strangely enough.

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