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Breast feeding blues

(115 Posts)
Wills Mon 15-Sep-03 23:13:11

Hi, I wanted to start this thread because I know that I'm having a crap time feeding dd2 on the breast and I can see that there are others out there also struggling. I'm hoping that others will join me on this thread that are also having a tough time so that we can all comiserate and support each other.

Becca - Spoke to the bf counsellor. She was very sympathetic and gave me help over the phone. Basically though the bad news is that I have to try and clear the thrush!!!! Which will take a lot longer using nystatin than the other stuff, however she's happy for me to phone her regularly - case of grinning and bearing it. The nystatin is unlikely to take away the pain for another 7/10 days so here goes!!!

Recently my lhs has started to engorge however I think thats because the rhs is finally picking up. However if my breasts feel limp, dd2 still manages a good feed so I shouldn't worry about the sensation. I do know they don't have to feel like they've been filled with cement to provide a good feed.

Jimjams Tue 16-Sep-03 11:34:54

wiils - with my second baby my breasts never engorged the way they did with the first. I think they were more practiced

aloha Tue 16-Sep-03 13:00:06

I have just got my NCT newsletter with the following advice about thrush.

First you have to treat the baby and you. Nystatin on the nipple after every feed. Wipe Nystatin suspension or Dakatarin gel on the baby's tongue, between the gums and inside the cheeks.

Continue treatment for a full week after all the symptoms have gone.

Use separate towels to the rest of the family
Hot wash all clothing in contact with your breast
Wash breasts and hands and change breast pads after every feed


BTW I never felt engorged after the first few weeks unless I missed a feed or more likely two. Youre right, it has no connection with the amount of milk available to feed your baby - I thought it had and used to worry about it.

Katherine Tue 16-Sep-03 13:29:01

Wills just wanted to give you some support. I'm putting the daktarin gel on my nipples before each feed to that DDs gets it in her mouth that way. Easier than trying to put it in directly.

codswallop Tue 16-Sep-03 13:42:28

I am suprised she said the nystatin would take htat long. I have had thrush with both of mine and in one case it got into my glands...ow..but it cleared up quicker than that.

Utka Tue 16-Sep-03 13:59:05

Sorry to hear you're having problems. Not sure if this is relevant to you, but wanted to post it in case it could help any one else avoid what I went through.

I had a thrush infection following mastitis when DD1 was born (she's now 2.5), which lasted from week 3 to week 16. Nystatin (drops)worked on her, but not on me (cream) - I later concluded I'd actually developed a deep breast infection(not an abscess), which caused my breasts to feel as though they were filled with hot oil - before, during and after feeding. It was absolutely awful, and I so nearly gave up bfeeding. I didn't know any better though, and thought this was normal!

Fortunately I got some fantastic support from both the NCT and La Leche - a counseller watched me to check dd was latching on ok (my GP thought this might be gthe problem). She also gave me some US literature about deep breast pain, which suggested that the most effective treatment needed to be tablets (ie internal). My GP disagreed, as he said he couldn't see how anti thrush medication could reach the breasts via being ingested - his view was that it needed to be a surface treatment (except that my infection didn't feel 'surface' by this point).

In the end, I happened to have an appointment with a locum one weekend, when I was tearing my hair out. I asked why I couldn't be prescribed the treatment recommended in the articles. His concern, which I did understand, was that whilst studies had been done on their efficacy with women, and with infants seperately, none had been done on breastfeeding mothers. However, he checked the likely levels that my dd was likely to get via my breast milk, and decided to allow me to have the medication.

To my amazement, what I got given by the pharmacy was Diflucan (ie the one tablet cure for vaginal thrush). After 13 weeks of agony, the pain disappeared in 2 days.

I'm not saying that this works in every situation, but it certainly worked for me, and meant that I started to enjoy bfeeding for the first time in 4 months. I was able to continue for another 6 months after that, a fact of which I'm really proud.

The sad thing is that it's no wonder there are no studies on this type of treatment. My GP admitted that most women in a similar situation will give up bfeeding, and hence won't necessarily present themselves at the doctors with symptoms. To give him credit, he and the other GPs at the surgery decided to review their handling and advice given to this type of case, after my symptoms cleared up so promptly. He admitted that he'd just not encountered a case of deep breast pain before, that wasn't an abscess.

I do hope you manage to cope with the discomfort and start to enjoy feeding. Please let me know if you want details of the studies I was referred to - there are a couple of helpful websites which may help.

Bron Tue 16-Sep-03 14:07:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

codswallop Tue 16-Sep-03 14:08:07

hooray for Utka.

I have heard that those yougurt derinks actimela are good or the tablets that contain that bacteria are

Bron Tue 16-Sep-03 14:33:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

suedonim Tue 16-Sep-03 14:44:55

This info from Breastfeeding Network is really useful wrt thrush, with tips for getting the medicine all round the baby's mouth, not reinfecting him/yourself, how long treatment should continue etc. I hope everything starts to improve very soon.

suedonim Tue 16-Sep-03 14:45:53

Snap, Bron!

Bron Tue 16-Sep-03 14:46:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

morocco Tue 16-Sep-03 15:46:06

more sympathy here! it's a horrible thing but honestly the nystatin will make a big difference really quickly even if all the pain doesn't go straight away. Keep using it for a week after all symptoms have disappeared for both of you though.
Good luck

bunnyrabbit Tue 16-Sep-03 23:32:33

Am in serious pain at the moment so thought I'd jump onto this thread to ask some advice.
I'm pretty sure that part of my problem is bad possitioning (DS is nipple feeding rather than breast feeding) but just wanted to check, what are the symptoms of thrush?

Obviously my nipples hurt as the are cracked from being gummed to death, but my breasts hurt as well so wanted to check if this is normal. They feel sore, like they did through my first trimester....


suedonim Wed 17-Sep-03 09:44:43

Bunnyrabbit, if you click on one of the links below, it will take you to some info on thrush, including a list of symptoms. Hth.

motherinferior Wed 17-Sep-03 13:36:10

Personally, I've just had a blocked duct - many thanks to all the people who've posted about how to deal with these, as I think I've dispatched it. BR, it *could* be this. I'm so sorry you're having problems, both of you.

pupuce Wed 17-Sep-03 13:41:17

BR - I don't like the sound of what you are "reporting"... if it isn't thrush it could be a blocked duct or mastitis !
Do you not have access to a BF counsellor or a clinic ?
Definitely bad positioning MUST be improved... a good counsellor will fix that "easily".
Also when is the pain (during feed, after feed and for how long?) and what is it like?

Wills Wed 17-Sep-03 15:24:50


Thanks for all your input its really helped. BunnyRabbit, the pain with thrush is constant even when they're not on the breast. It feels like a serious burning pain throughout the breasts. HTH

Ukta - thanks for that it does help. My GP is not refusing to put me on fluxosan (SP) but wants to try the nystatin first. I couldn't really argue with that and besides at the moment don't have the energy to argue with anyone.

Bron - hmm feeling like crap and taking away my chocolate donuts much just "push me over the edge". Seriously though - thanks for the link and I'll try to cut down the yeasty food.

MelanieJ Wed 17-Sep-03 21:32:39

After six weeks of agony, two things made a huge difference in my breastfeeding. Finding a great NCT counsellor to help with latching on correctly, and second getting the duct thrush treated. Am a medical specialist myself, and am horrified how GPs pretend it doesn't exist. Keep doctor shopping until you find a helpful one is my advice. Oral antifungals are very safe, especially considering that babies get much higher doses when prescribed it directly. It saddens me that it can cause so many to stop breastfeeding. Am still breastfeeding my thriving son at 6 months.

mears Thu 18-Sep-03 09:45:13

Wills - GPs have hardly any knowledge at all regarding breastfeeding. By the sounds of things you would benefit from Diflucan. Print off the evidence from the links so your GP can read it. If all else fails just buy it - I would.

myersthecat Thu 18-Sep-03 14:29:32

Just thought I'd share in this link. Today I have made a concious decision to start bottle feeding rather than breast. Sasha is nearly 4 weeks now. No major problems with breast feeding bar the fact that it's uncomfortable, and I've started to dread her asking for food. I found that when I fed her expressed milk I enjoyed watching her feed. I've never really enjoyed breast feeding, but was doing it because I felt it was the best thing to do for her. If I continue to breast feed her, I think I will become resentful of her use of my body.

Just thought I'd share it with you. As an adult I think I am entitled to make a choice, and normally we wouldn't tolerate things that make us miserable if they are so simple to fix.

Wills Thu 18-Sep-03 15:41:13

Mears - blimey - really? OK then - I'm off out NOW!!!! Let me just put together my pack horse needed for both dds and we'll get straight out to the chemist !

Myersthecat. Could I tentatively say that your post sounds as though you feel that you have to justify your decision. Don't! Happy mums are far better than unhappy ones, regardless of whether or not they're breast feeding. I am officiallly the world's best dead horse flogger! With dd1 I breast fed for 14 weeks but 12 of them were pure agony. Why? Because I couldn't get the position right and there weren't any bf counsellors around in my area. At 12 weeks I sort of gave up but on one breast only. The next two weeks were pain free and lovely, however the return to work spelled disaster and that was the end of my bfing. However those two weeks of painfree bfing were enough to make me passionately want to achieve it this time so once again I'm flogging a dead horse . You sound far more sensible than me. Good luck Myersthecat!

bunnyrabbit Fri 19-Sep-03 00:10:59

Thanks for the support and advice guys.

Having met my health visitor for the first time today and being told the the pain I'm in is definitely not normal, am pretty sure it's thrush, although there's no outward signs on DS or myself. The pain is fairly constant, sharp stabbing whilst feeding and then dull ache and soreness in between. Having to sleep on my back and practice my breathing exercices.

Phoned the emergency doctor this evening as after realising what the problem is I wanted to get something done tonight, but he wouldn't perscribe anything and told me to call my DR in the am and take Ibuprofen!! Well at least knowing what the problem is and that it can be treated gives me the strength to carry on. Nearly expressed earlier, but at 11 days old I don't want DS to get use to a bottle just yet, not till I've got my positioning sorted out. Am now in contact with an NCT BF councillor so there is hope..

Sorry about the long post.


Wills Fri 19-Sep-03 10:23:06

wow - BR if you call that a long post I'd hate to hear what you'd call some of mine. Don't let your GP fob you off and unlike me don't come away with just creams. I had to do a week and half on just creams before my doctor would understand that it was probably more than surface so now I'm going through another 10 days of hell! Your description of having lie on your back is perfect - yep lying on your breasts makes the pain a lot worse - and to think I though Thrush was just an itch!!!! .

I too rang the emergency services but although we're in a lot pain we're just not important enough - bet we would be if men had to breast feed and got thrush - or am I getting really cynical?

Good luck.

KMS Fri 19-Sep-03 21:04:09

BR- you describe similar pain to I had and mine was sorted with just positioning. I did express after one feed to clear the fullness and that really helped the constant ache. I was worried about thrush but after contacting a bf councilor she said it wasn't thrush. I don't think it would have cleared up if it had been.

I hope you get pain free feeding soon!

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