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4 wk old DD - can anyone help with some bf questions?

(24 Posts)
haloflo Fri 29-Apr-11 11:00:45

Mainly when will it get easier? DD is EBF and currently my nipples feel like they have been worn out. They are really dry and quite sore. I had my latch checked yesterday by a lacation consultant and was given a couple of tips but can't seem to put them into practise at home. In fact whenever i'm given tips I find I focus on them too much and DD gets upset that I am making her wait for her feed.

It doesn't help that the first 30 seconds always hurt with my let down so I can't work out if its comfortable until that has passed. It also really hard to get her off if it is wrong. How long did it take you to feel like it was easy? Its making it hard to leave the house as although I am happy to bf in public - i'd rather not expose my whole breast whilst trying to get the latch right.

Also she has been very fussy last couple of days. At the end of a feed she is twisting & pulling my nipple. This hurts! Start of the 6 week growth spurt?

I realise i've rambled a bit but would like to hear from people in the same situation and reassure me we will get there. I know others have had it harder and i'm not going to quit anytime soon but just wish it was a little easier. I always find the weekends harder - maybe because I know there is no one to ask.

Emzar Fri 29-Apr-11 12:59:49

I'm in very much the same situation, so you're certainly not alone - when I go to the breastfeeding clinics, the advice all makes sense, they get me doing it right and it all seems fine, then when I get home I start over-thinking the process, trying to remember all the things they've said, getting stressed and it starts hurting again. It is getting gradually better though, so I'm keeping faith that it will carry on improving. A week ago I was in tears at every feed, but now at least daytime feeds are generally bearable.

I also have the problem with him twisting and pulling and causing pain at the end of the feed - the clinic told me this was because he's losing the latch as he loses interest at the end, and that it was best to take him off at this point to avoid damage, offering him the other breast if he's still hungry.

LCRLCR Fri 29-Apr-11 13:04:25

Hi halo - my DD is 8 months now and we are still happily breastfeeding after an agonising start. My introduction to breastfeeding was exactly like yours and I despaired of ever feeding comfortably but after a tough 6 weeks, it eventually became pain free and I am so so glad that I persevered. So really this is just to say you are doing a fantastic job and stick at it, it will improve. Keep going to the breastfeeding clinics for a boost and at the weekends, there is always the breastfeeding phone help lines which are great. Hope that helps x

wolfhound Fri 29-Apr-11 13:08:47

I had this too. Agonisingly painful to begin with. Got a bit easier around 6 wks (tho' the 6 week growth spurt set things back a bit). Started going out a bit at around 7 wks. Then suddenly at 8 wks it was really easy and never looked back; carried on BF for a year, could feed anywhere.

Lots of Lansinoh on your nipples after every feed (expensive stuff but totally worth it). Take a couple of paracetamol if they're really hurting. You're nearly there. When she's twisting/pulling, take her off (break the latch with your little finger & ease her off). Might also be wind? DS2 got wind at the end of a feed and needed to sit up (off the breast) having his back rubbed, or he did that pulling twisting thing too.

Good luck. I know how hard it is, and how unsatisfying it can feel. But it really does get immensely better and you are probably through the hardest part now. Post to let us know how it is going.

keepmumshesnotsodumb Fri 29-Apr-11 13:09:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

oxfordcomma Fri 29-Apr-11 13:20:40

It definitely will get easier smile!

It was a gradual process for me, so I can't pinpoint exactly when it got easier. I found it really hardgoing at the beginning, but I'm still BFing DS at 8 months.

MonkeeMummy Fri 29-Apr-11 16:56:08

This is probably really obvious but use some Lasinoh before you start feeding and keep using it throughout the day if you're getting sore. If she twisting, she might have finished the feed but enjoying sucking, so give her a dummy. If she spits it out, she's probably still hungry. If not, let have her some sucky time but not on you. I know everyone frowns on dummy use but both mine were sucky babies and needed one, it never interfered with BF and both gave it up naturally (at around 6 mths). BF definitely gets easier at 6 weeks so hang in there and well done.

pettyprudence Fri 29-Apr-11 18:08:28

I could have written this post! I too dread weekends (and Mondays) as there are no bf groups to go to. I currently go to ALL of them so that I know I can have at least one easy-ish feed each day! Night times seem to be worse as we are both a bit lazy about the latch. We have the pulling and twisting too and seem to need a crow bar to unlatch my ds! We now seem to have added nipple blanching to our list of pains just as bf was starting to get easier but due to Royal wedding there was no bf group to go to for help today sad

I also found that I just couldn't put in to practise what I was shown at bf group. I understand the principles and theory of correct latching but have no idea (still) on how to make it happen. We have one position (saddle hold) that hurts the least and I will slap the next bf counsellor who tries to make us go back to craddle hold!

My ds is also 4 weeks and when I think back to the beginning I can see that bf has gotten easier so I live in hope that it will continue and maybe even one day not hurt at all smile

haloflo Fri 29-Apr-11 20:32:49

Thank you for your replies. It really nice to have some company and encouragement. You are all really nice to say well done. I don't feel I'm doing well - just doing what I can. I have read that it often gets better at 6 weeks but I think I felt by 4 weeks in I would have it nearly cracked am feeling like it's never going to improve. I must have fed DD 100s of times but get it wrong still.

I have lansinoh & currently use it once/twice a day. I think I will step up the use of that & also take some paracetamol for the difficult first feed of the day (it's always harder when I'm full)

Emzar Glad it is getting easier and that I am not alone with the twisting/pulling. I will defiantly take her off at that point. How old is your DS?

keepmum I will check out the videos - thank you. I didn't know you could adjust the latch once on.

pettyprudence You are right - it is easier than the start. That is really good way of looking at things. I hope things improve for you soon. Let me know how your weekend goes.

Today wasn't great as I was trying to feed at a friend's. I wish I'd stayed at home but craved my friends company. I don't think she got enough milk as my nipples were hardly extended after feeding and she fed for an hour when we got home. She is now very fussy - DP is trying to soothe her so I can get to bed but it looks like she wants another feed.

KnockedUpMell Sat 30-Apr-11 01:09:29

I'm coming up to 7w now and found the first few weeks really really tough. At 3-4 weeks I was seriously considering giving up. I only stuck at it as everyone said to wait till 6w and things would get better, and because my pregnancy weight was dropping off really quickly with bf! Things are definitely not easy now, but they are easier. My nips are less sore (I no longer wince if they've come into contact with my clothes), and I've managed to feed in public successfully a few times (still not as satisfying as feeding at home though). My baby did the tugging and pulling thing too around that time and it was awful. For us it was wind (either top or bottom) that was the cause of it. I went through various of nipple cream, (lansinoh makes my nips feel uncomfortably warm) and finally found Vaseline felt most comfortable. Also I wore a bra and breast pad all the time, and found having constant pressure on the nipples made them less sensitive in between feeds. I think as baby gets older you learn to interpret their signals better (mine gives hunger cues for nappy changes, wind and tiredness as well as hunger) and that makes feeding more efficient. Hang in there! Bf isn't easy for a lot of women, and if you have sensitive nipples, it can be painful even if your latch is right. MN is great for support and helped me get through the first few weeks.

keepmumshesnotsodumb Sat 30-Apr-11 07:13:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MigGril Sat 30-Apr-11 07:35:50

haloflo - you've had lots of positive encouragement already, which is great.

Your doing great and I just wanted to give you a tip, when your breat are really full first thing (I take that means she's having a resnable streach of sleep at some point over night) you can try hand expressing just a little to soffen the breat and help baby latch on more easily. You just want to express enough to make the breat a little softer.
Some good information hear on how to do it.
www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/expressing-and-storing-breastmilk.html

Plus some usefull links on breast feeding hear.
www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/getting-started.html

Remeber breastfeeding is a learned skill it will take some practice but before you know it you'll be doind it without think about it.

Good luck

haloflo Sat 30-Apr-11 08:58:55

miggril She goes 2-3 hours between feeds at night but compared to the sometimes hourly feeds during the day I am fuller! Thank you for the links, I will check them out.

knockedupmel Glad to hear you are feeling better at 7w - that isn't that far away so after 6w that will be my next target. (envy about the pg weight!)

keepmum Best of luck with the birth of DC2, hope you aren't waiting too long.

ThisIsYourSong Sat 30-Apr-11 09:30:43

Its hard isn't it, my DS is four weeks too. My lactation consultant gave me a handout, plus she wrote all over it which helped and highlighted the bits I was having trouble with (probably not that useful for you as its all about the cross cradle hold but its this one: www.drjacknewman.com/pdfs/When%20latching-2008.pdf).

Then when latching him on, I could quickly have a look at the main bits which meant I wasn't keeping him waiting too long. It took about a week of slowly getting better although we're not quite there yet, we are getting there.

I also find it hard feeding when out and don't look forward to it!

Hope things improve soon, I never realised how painful it could be even though I had heard others say!

sanam2010 Sat 30-Apr-11 13:02:27

For me, the first painfree day of nursing came exactly after 6 weeks and 2 days. I had an overactive letdown and plugged ducts which made the letdown extremely painful (i was sure dd was biting me and had a horrible latch but it wasn't really her fault. I also found newborns can use a shallow latch and biting as a strategy to deal with overactive letdown and oversupply.

If you have oal, try reverse pressure softening before nursing (check on kellymom website), basically it slows down the letdown and makes latchinf on wasier for the baby. Also really recommens the dr jack newman website on top of kellymum and the la leche league forum. If you use these resources it shouldn't take you long to enjoy painfree nursing, your babies mouth will grow as well and make it much easier to latch on effectively.

Good luck.

OzmuminStockholm Sat 30-Apr-11 23:02:52

DS is now 7 weeks, and for us it's slowly getting better. We've had cracks, mastitis and now oversupply and oal. Sigh. Ignore people who say "it shouldn't hurt" or " it doesn't hurt if you get the latch right". Sometimes it just hurts like hell! IMHO.

That said, I found it was good advice that once he's latched on, try moving DC around very slightly- a couple of mm right, left, up down. That helped me. That and when I'm really full, hand expressing first to release some of the pressure before letting him on. and loads of Lansinoh.

Hang in there... We can do this!

annawintour Sun 01-May-11 00:54:04

I really feel for you regarding the cracked nipples.

I got some bad cracks which took up to 8 weeks to heal. I don't think I got the hang of it all until nearer to 3 months (even though it stopped hurting after the cracks healed)but that is because I had bad cracks which dried out and mastitis and had a bit of a rotten labour.

What I found got me through the painful feeds was the fizzy paracetomal - sometimes I only took it half strength, but I took a glass of it at the beginning of the most difficult feed, once or 2 x a day and it got
me through. Cracked nipples are very painful and you want to try avoid them drying out. Good advice on here.

I also found it really helpful to try anticipate when my baby wanted to feed, so putting my baby on the breast a little bit earlier, or at the first signs of a feed. As I found that by doing that my baby opened his mouth wider.

As to feeding in public, I choose a lovely spot to feed in public the first time so I always had a lovely memory about it - and felt very comfortable. In this lovely weather you could try bf near a lovely park for example.

If you are uncomfortable about showing your breasts try one of those apron like contraptions where you can look down at your baby. It will be important for you to do this as then you will have more chance of getting your baby to latch on ok.

It does get better. grin

msbossy Sun 01-May-11 08:29:42

Hi haloflo - seems a long four weeks since the 'why aren't they here yet?' thread!

I've had some of the same issues so perhaps can help a bit but really just want to offer a smile and read the other help offered here!

I found it too painful to apply lansinoh but found Bio-Fem in boots. It does the same job but is a very soft moisturiser. Might be worth a try.

Good luck! .

wolfhound Mon 02-May-11 08:04:23

i don't think you're 'getting it wrong' - i really believe that it is just harder/more painful at the beginning for some women (quite a lot, if the ones i know are a sample) and the constant mantra that 'it doesn't hurt if you're doing it right' isn't very helpful. Don't know if this applies to you, but someone told me that the more pale skinned you are the more likely it is to be painful at the start (i am more or less translucent so applied to me!) It really does get better though and you are really close to the breakthrough point. I would slather on the Lansinoh all the time, i did it after every feed (and shower/bath). You are doing a great job for your baby, even if it doesn't feel like it yet, it will do!

haloflo Mon 02-May-11 09:42:24

mssbossy - It does seem a long time ago we were waiting on the LO's arrivals! Hope things improve for you soon.

thisisyoursong Same to you.

Some more good advice - thank you. It's so good to hear from people who made it work (especially given the problems some of you had - much worse than me). I've found expressing a little first does help - gets my nipples into shape more if nothing else. I do feel that it does just hurt sometimes because my nipples are already sore.

annawintour I will look into an apron - I need the time to concentrate on getting the latch like you say - that is not compatible with discreet breastfeeding!

I will read into over active letdown because I think that definatly applies to me - DD chokes on the milk sometimes which makes me feel awful.

DD is 5 weeks tomorrow so not long until she is 6 weeks old. 8 days til that milestone.

Had a bad day and night yesterday but hopefully today will be better. The second feed went well and DD is now fast asleep. Oh wait - I spoke too soon.

sanam2010 Mon 02-May-11 11:27:16

this kellymom link on forceful letdown was really helpful for me
www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/fast-letdown.html
I did leaning back while nursing (milk going uphill to slow it down), hand expressing a bit before nursing and I also did block feeding (all described in the link and those really made a big difference
before that I often took paracetamol 10min before nursing when things were really bad but that didn't really help.

good luck!! you are nearly there!! and you know, as weird as it sounds, to me all those difficulties really helped me create a very strong bond with the baby, because when things are tough you really invest a lot of time in reading your baby and you get to know DD so well after a while.

haloflo Thu 09-Jun-11 10:40:03

Hi all. I just wanted to update anyone who was interested. We are still EBF 10 weeks in and I feel that we have pretty much got there. I've felt better for the last couple of weeks but I think its been a very gradual process - there wasn't one day I felt it clicked or anything.

The main thing is that my let down no longer hurts. I can't even feel it! I can't believe this as it was so so painful.

Also DD now seems much more able to cope with it too, she only chokes every now and again.

She is gaining brillantly (up nearly 6lb from birth weight) following the 91st centile curve.

Thank you everyone. I hope anyone who was still struggling when I wrote this thread is feeling better about things.

Graciescotland Thu 09-Jun-11 10:43:48

I think it seemed to get easier at around 7 weeks, then the 11 weeks growth spurt hit, DS put on 11 ounces in a week! Super easy after that (nearly 10 mo now).

crikeybadger Thu 09-Jun-11 12:46:47

Well done haloflo- so great to hear that you have persevered.

You really should feel very proud of what you've done. smile

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