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Breastfeeding - I think I've ruined it already

(25 Posts)
urgentadviceneeded Sat 04-Dec-10 11:46:18

My DD is 15 days old (first baby) and so far has been exclusively BF. The first week went really well but the second week has been a complete disaster - mastitis in one breast (on antibiotics) and on both sides the nipples are so painful that I can't have her anywhere near them without crying (me not her!). I know the latch is right and have had it checked.

For the last 4 days I've been expressing and feeding EBM from a bottle. This has proved really stressful though - we are constantly panicking she will wake up and need more than we have prepared and I am spending all day expressing (which I don't mind at all but is reducing the time I can spend with her).

DH is supportive of whatever I choose to do but now feels that we need to move to FF, partly influenced by how upset I am all the time about feeding. I didn't plan to do that and would prefer to stick with BF but I am starting to panic that she is not getting enough food.

I am starting to feel that by feeding from a bottle for the last 4 days (I've tried putting her back on the breast and she will still take it but I can't bear it on the cracked nipples) I've already ruined the chance of long term BF and might as well admit defeat now.

Is it too late? Is there anything else I can try to stop the pain (I've done the creams etc)? Are nipple shields worth trying? And finally, is it possible to feed on EBM all the time or have I just found a short term solution?

Sorry for all the questions - am feeling a bit panicky

MoonUnitAlpha Sat 04-Dec-10 11:50:15

Have you spoken to a breastfeeding counsellor at all? Maybe you could try the La Leche League or NCT helplines.

Is it possible that the anti-biotics for the mastitus could have caused thrush, and this is what's making your nipples so sore? Sounds like you need to see someone face to face. I'm sure you haven't ruined anything though!

QueenOfFlamingEverything Sat 04-Dec-10 11:50:21


Has she been properly checked for tongue-tie? This can go unnoticed and can cause nipple pain and ineffective milk transfer - which can then lead to mastitis.

Is she weeing/pooing regularly, and has she been weighed again yet?

You haven't ruined anything, you are doing really well under very tough circumstances. I'd say you should get some RL specialist help - can you get to a BF clinic, or ask to see a specialist midwife or BFC?

QueenOfFlamingEverything Sat 04-Dec-10 11:51:02

Oh and antibitoics can cause thrush which can lead to extreme nipple pain.

Zimm Sat 04-Dec-10 11:53:25

I really hope someone qualified is along to advise you a bit but just to reassure you, you have not ruined BF. MY DD wouldn't even feed from me for the first 10 days or so - I had to express al her feeds and top up with formula. We only dropped formula feeds about week 3 - she is now 17 weeks and EBF. Some people find nipple shields a lifesaver - worth a try I would say. I cried at most breastfeeds until at least week 4 - now it's easy and I love it. I do know you need to feed through mastitis - and that the baby is a faster cure then a pump. You can take paracetamol to help with the pain and hot baths (on your front) are a lifesaver. You are doing a fantastic job and if you can just get through these first few weeks you will be so glad you did.

urgentadviceneeded Sat 04-Dec-10 11:55:06

The snow has scuppered any chance of getting to a clinic but I could try the phone lines - thanks for the suggestion.

She is producing dirty nappies aplenty but slightly lost weight at the start of the second week (not so as the HV was worried), but I was still BF properly then so I don't know the impact of the EBF yet, and won't until I can leave the house to get her weighed.

thell Sat 04-Dec-10 11:55:57

If you can speak to someone from La Leche League, you can get help at home - the leader of our local group was happy to make home visits to those needing help.
It's definitely worth contacting a specialist.

And well done for keeping it going!

urgentadviceneeded Sat 04-Dec-10 11:58:01

Thanks for sharing your experience Zimm - good to know that it is now not painful, can't imagine what that's like!

QueenOfFlamingEverything Sat 04-Dec-10 12:09:55

Oh of course forgot about snow - we are in one of the few not-very-snowy places!

Google for images of tongue tie and see what you think, if you get a chance. It is always worth ruling out, it can cause real problems but is so easy to treat.

Albrecht Sat 04-Dec-10 12:19:08

Some people do express all feeds for months, so it can be done. However is time consuming as you are finding. And some babies do switch between bottle and breast no problem, so don't feel you have necessarily ruined it. Sounds like you are trying really hard to make it work!

I also had a lot of pain and couldn't believe it would ever NOT be agony, nevermind easy. DS is now nearly 5 months and it is, yes you guessed it, easy peasy. But I can still remember how I dreaded each feed. What helped was getting experts to watch me feed and then I had big improvements around wk 5, after following their advice. That probably seems ages away to you now (especially if you aren't getting a lot of sleep) but in the long run, it was so worth it for us.

My dh was also worried about seeing me in such a state but it really helped to know it was my decision in the end.

Porcelain Sat 04-Dec-10 12:25:51

The advice I had on nipple shields was that they are a last resort that can save your bf relationship if you cannot go on without them, it sounds to me like you might be in that place, so it's worth considering, I would speak to a bf counsellor though, LLL are very good, and I spoke to an NCT counsellor when it got hard with me, made a huge difference.

plum11 Sat 04-Dec-10 12:36:00

hi - sorry you are in such pain but i will echo agin what others have siad that it really does get so much easier. definitely get your gp to check for nipple thrush. i had it for weeks (as i just assumed it was normal breastfeeding pain that i had to put up with - idiot!) and it was agony! if you have burning pain after feeds that is probably thrush. 2 weeks of medication and feeding is now a pleasure.

keep going as long as you can - you will enjoy feeds so much once the pain has gone.

good luck and well done.

sunshine22 Sat 04-Dec-10 12:54:59

I agree with all people have said. Nipple shield and most importantly, a BF counsellor. You are doing a fantastic job.

I called a BF helpline when I was having problems. I have been BF exclusively for 7mo now!!

I will find that number for you.

sunshine22 Sat 04-Dec-10 13:26:15

0300 100 0212 - national breastfeeding helpline.

NCT have a helpline too.

Try breastfeeding groups with BF councellors at local childrens centres and breastfeeding cafes near to where u live, they also have BF councellors.


AmyFarrahFowler Sat 04-Dec-10 13:50:49

Just a quickie about the cracked nipples, have you tried Jelonet dressing to cover them? It lets them heal without pulling the scab off every time you take your bra/top off. I think you can get it in Boots, it was my saviour for cracked nipples.

TruthSweet Sat 04-Dec-10 17:11:15

Just some reassurance that bottle feeding for 4 days does not necessarily mean the end of bfing for you and your DD. DD1 was bottle fed for the first 8 weeks (most of it was formula too) and she went on to bf be EBF until 6m/o and then bf she was 3.6y/o (not saying you have to bf that long BTW grin).

Hope you get some RL help soon and you get back to bfing pain-free quickly.

InvaderZim Sat 04-Dec-10 18:31:39

I wish the information on this was out there! DD didn't latch properly for 2 weeks, and it was another week or two until she was off a bottle completely.

They don't lose the reflexes which allow breastfeeding to get established until two or three months have passed!

Reality Sat 04-Dec-10 18:35:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

orangeone Sat 04-Dec-10 19:16:12

Hi, didn't want to read and run but just wanted to add that your story was me 23 weeks ago before my DD was diagnosed with tounge tie. I remember DH and I arguing as he said "just give her formula" as I sobbed at every feed through the pain. The other posters have given some great advice - nothing more to add other than to say it REALLY WILL get better (and soon), so if BF is what you want to do, hang in there. My DD is now 24 weeks and EBF (mixture of breast and expressed), which is sooo easy now that I am feeling sad about starting to think about weaning! I NEVER thought I would get to 6 weeks let alone 6 months.... I know just how you are feeling - a mass of hormones, tears and frustration, I hope you get some real life support soon, it saved me. And your LO has plenty of time to get back on the breast - just keep offering when you can, expressing when you can't and take paracetemol for the pain! Good luck!

urgentadviceneeded Sun 05-Dec-10 18:22:11

Thanks for all of the great advice. I've been expressing loads and she seems well fed. Off to feeding clinic tomorrow to talk to them but feeling a lot less weepy - thanks again.

LadyViper Sun 05-Dec-10 18:35:30

Have you tried nipple shields?

lansinoh is great, don't let your nipples dry out, cver them with lansinoh and waer breastpads to stop it rubbing off.

GraceK Sun 05-Dec-10 19:13:55

Just want to say that nipple shields are not the end of BF & you shouldn't feel bad about using them (even temporarily) since breast milk, however delivered is better for your child than formula. They need sterilising but it's still a lot less hassle than all the equipment needed for ff. Some hv's are very anti them as they may reduce milk supply in the long run, though I can't find any research using the new, thinner silicone shields (as opposed to the old rubber ones).

I have very inverted nipples & fed DD1 using Medela silicone shields (available at Babies R Us obscurely) for 22 months. DD2 is now 8 mths & starts each feed using then she will now sometimes feed without them once she's sucked the nipple out & her initial hunger has been saited. Here's the stuff on Kellymom about them.

I had mastitus when DD1 was 18mths & feeding through it was agony but it worked.

Good luck

KN1979 Sun 05-Dec-10 19:22:20

I expressed for about 5 days for the same reason and now only BF at 11 weeks, so don't panic! Also, although you should of course follow all the advice about seeing BF specialist, checking for tongue tie etc., for me it just gradually got better. When the soreness reduced I would do one or two BF's a day until one day it was more effort than it was worth to express. I'll admit there were times when I felt that it was one step forward, two steps back but just stay calm, BF as often as you can manage, and don't put any pressure on yourself about how long it takes to get completely off expressing. Lots & lots of luck.

Mistymoo Sun 05-Dec-10 19:25:44

I also had good advice from midwife to help unblock ducts and that is to use a rounded end comb and comb the blocked duct. You feel really stupid but it does help. Hope you get some relief soon.

KN1979 Sun 05-Dec-10 19:26:50

Sorry, I mean I ONLY expressed for 5 days. I think it was about 6 weeks that I was doing some and some. Now only BF and, as other posters have said, it was all worth it.

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