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youch! Is this the letdown reflex...?

(21 Posts)
vmcd28 Thu 25-Nov-10 19:08:56

Hi all,
I'm new to this topic, having just had ds2 six days ago

Anyways, I had a c section last Friday, and ds took a couple of days to show any real interest in bfeeding. I had lots of support at hosp with feeding him, and it's going not too badly now.
My milk properly came in yest, and my boobs inflated and went lumpy.
Now, I often have problems with the latch, and the midwife said he has a slight tongue tie, which possibly explains this.
My nipples are not sore but definitely a bit tender.
My main problem is when he first latches on. My toes curl and I yelp in pain - is this the let down reflex? Anything I can do to minimize this pain?

Also, what should it feel like when baby is feeding with a perfect latch?

HeadFairy Thu 25-Nov-10 19:11:52

Doesn't sound like let down, mine feels like someone gently pulling my nipple (oddly enough I usually feel it in the opposite nipple to the feeding one)

What you're describing sounds like the toe curling pain I felt for the first couple of weeks at the start of every feed. It does go eventually, your nipples toughen up alot. The tongue tie won't help, dd had TT and it was corrected at 6 days and when they correct TT they get you to feed immediately and I noticed straight away the pain on latching on had reduced significantly.

It does get better I promise. If you're still feeling it after a couple of weeks try and seek out your hospital's lactation consultant to recheck your latch/the TT.

HeadFairy Thu 25-Nov-10 19:12:07

ooh, and congratulations

HelenLG Thu 25-Nov-10 19:21:05

I would second HeadFairy, my let down feels like a strong tingling in the opposite nipple.

I do remember the toe curling pain when I first started breastfeeding, but found that after a minute or so it would let up and feel ok.

When DS latches on now, the first few sucks can be quite strong and then I get let down which is a little uncomfortable but normally within a minute or so all discomfort is gone and I don't feel anything really. When he gts to the comfort sucking stage, I find it quite irritating, almost tickly, and tend to take him off, if he doesn't come off on his own after a few minutes.

ILikeToMoveItMoveIt Thu 25-Nov-10 19:24:26

With ds1&2 I had a painful letdown for the first few weeks.

To get through it I used to count to 5 and I knew that after that it would be gone.

Then one day it just went, I have no idea where or why.

Oh, and many congrats on ds2 smile

MoonUnitAlpha Thu 25-Nov-10 19:25:45

Are you getting the TT snipped?

I found the latch a bit toe curling for the first couploe of weeks. I found it was worse as he latched on and then subsided during the feed.

My let down is still quite uncomfortable, only lasts for 30 seconds though. It feels like sharp pins and needles in my breasts, stronger in the side I'm not feeding from.

thisisyesterday Thu 25-Nov-10 19:30:28

no, i wouldn't say it was letdown because that doesn't happen immediately on latching on (in my experience anyway!)
it can be very painful. but it's also very likely that the tongue tie is making it painful

are you due to have it snipped?

ItIsILeclerc Thu 25-Nov-10 19:49:13

My letdown used to feel like someone had my nipple in a vice/^very^ strong tingling (ouch!) - I only eventually worked out what the hell it was because it would happen when I leaked between feeds (which I did a lot) as well as when I started nursing. Sounds more like the hideous hot wire in the nipple to me too, but the good news is that it should subside in a matter of weeks. I am clearly much less ladylike than ILikeToMoveItMoveIt blush as I would say "FUCK, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck" rather than counting, but it would be over by the time I got to the end of my small burst of profanity.

Dylthan Thu 25-Nov-10 19:58:47

No this isn't letdown. I got this toe curling pain during the first few weeks with both my dc.

They have to suck the nipple to the back of their mouths at the start of the feed and I imagine this is what the pain is ( I could be wrong ) it gets better not long into the feed. This pain does go away compleatly after a few weeks I imagine this is because the nipples get more used to it. It took less time for my nipples to get used to it with dd then It did with my first born ds. I think this is because my nipples were already toughned up thus time.

Let down happens for me like this:
first dd will suck quite hard and fast for a few seconds then I will feel a presure start to build and build in my breasts, then there will be a tingling sensation as the milk starts to come out fast. This is when dd's sucking will change to slow long sucks ( or spluttering and spitting out of milk depending on how much milk is coming out )

The other point is that the letdown reflex can happen without your baby feeding (where as the pain your describing won't ) all of a sudden I can just be walking along the street and i'll start to feel the pressure building and just hope that I remembered to put breast pads in or I'll be in for a very wet top. smile

HeadFairy Thu 25-Nov-10 21:11:16

another way of getting a letdown reflex (and then you'll know for sure what it feels like) is to either go and see someone who's pregnant or watch someone giving birth - twice I've had totally random let downs, once when I saw my pg friend for the first time since her bump became visible - within seconds I was leaking all over the place, and the other time was watching that programme One Born Every minute on Channel 4. The water birth one made me leak like a broken pipe Strong let down sensation both times!

fireblademum Thu 25-Nov-10 21:39:42

mine hurt like hell for a week or two also, but it goes eventually. led down feels like pins and needles in the opposite nipple. glad others had this, i thought i was odd cos i didnt get it in the one baby was feeding from. i express quite a bit, and pics of baby, or best of all the short video clip someone took of her crying before her feed taken at 4 days old tend to stimulate let down.

DancingThroughLife Thu 25-Nov-10 21:46:05

I don't feel the letdown while I'm feeding - only when I leak in between feeds hmm

But I got the toe curling, lip biting, swear inducing pain that everyone else here seems to have had too! If only I'd known that at the time.

I went for Leclerc's method when I was on my own, but had to go for Iliketo's counting to 5 in company grin

Don't worry, one day it won't happen and you'll be so relieved! Congratulations btw grin

Stase Thu 25-Nov-10 21:50:00

I miss the let down reflex... One fo those painful/nice sensations. Is that a bit weird? Breastfeeding is so lovely sad

whatagradeA Thu 25-Nov-10 21:50:34

What you describe rings a bell from DS (baby number 2 - didn't get it with DD) I hate to tell you but it lasted about 4 months. Not agonising but agree with the fuck count to 5 thing!

goplayout Thu 25-Nov-10 22:55:13

vmcd28 I had cs with my DCs. They all took a few weeks to "get going" with bf. They were each bf for 9 months - 1yr, and it most definitely gets easier!

For me it took about 6 weeks with each DC to feel comfortable and pain free when bf. Sorry, that probably seems like an eternity to you at the moment, but I also know other mums who had no trouble at all after a few daysenvy

It was well worth persevering.

I had forgotten about the toe curling pain until I read your description. I used to describe it to DH as like having "a red hot skewer inserted into my nipple" and can also recomend the fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck counting to 5 distraction technique. This pain went after a few weeks - nipples toughened up probably! My let down felt more like a tingle...

vmcd28 Fri 26-Nov-10 09:30:08

Wow, I knew I could rely on you guys (as always) to come up with some great advice. Thank you

Bizarrely, I have felt the letdown reflex many many times since yesterday evening! I assume that's cos my milk only properly came in the night before. I also realised last night that when he latches on, it's much more painful if my nipple is hard and wrinkly (sorry if tmi), rather than soft. So now I have to work out how to stop him latching on till it's soft, or how to make it soft before letting him near me!

And then hopefully the toe-curling pain will start to calm down when my nipples get tougher!! I just didn't want to think about giving up yet, esp after the amount of time we've invested in all this so far.

Thanks again, ladies. Very much.

CamperFan Fri 26-Nov-10 12:40:00

congrats vmcd! A DS2 like me smile

My DS2 is almost 5 weeks. The toe curling latch on lasted for about 4 weeks. He also had a tongue tie which was snipped at almost 3 weeks and unfortunately it didn't make any difference to latch on pain or pain through out. I think it has just been a combination of working on the latch and my nipples getting used to it.

It's all been really hard, but I think things are getting better now! Good luck!

MumNWLondon Sat 27-Nov-10 22:56:38

Hi - I also had a very painful sensation when DS2 (and DD and DS1 previously) first latched on but it did gradually get shorter/less painful.

By 6 weeks (roughly) just last a second or two and just a tiny bit uncomfortable - and completely gone by 3 months.

CamperFan Sun 28-Nov-10 09:45:46

btw, I think a heat pad would make them soft?

HermyaAndThePomBears Mon 29-Nov-10 07:30:32

I had this as well for the first couple of weeks. It was horrid, my latch and everything possible was checked but in the end it was nothing but time and perseverence that sorted it out. It did take about four weeks to stop being tender, but now it's stopped I'm so glad I persevered.

I hope things get better for you!

vmcd28 Tue 30-Nov-10 20:37:55

Ok, just to update...I now know what the letdown reflex feels like - I now feel it very regularly then leak everywhere...
The thing is, mine isn't just a bit tingly or like light pins and needles - mine is pretty painful!! So I now think this is part of the problem - painful letdown combined with ds being fairly frantic when he's latching on.

If I stop feeding him to wind him then put him back on the same side, it's completely painless (even if I hold him in a different position), which I assume it wouldn't be if it was simply a latching-on problem...?

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