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Please help. I think i have ruined my chances of BFing my daughter :(

(287 Posts)
rocketleaf Fri 27-May-11 04:37:55

Its a bit of a long story but basically I couldn't get my daughter to latch on after initially suckling after birth so thr MWs at the hospital had me extress colostrum to feed her with syringe. After that she was really sleepy and we couldnt get her to latch on. I had about 6 different people tell me different ways and things (for instance one said my nips are flat and use guards, another poo pooed that) but no one actually got her to suckle. In a weak moment i asked them to give her some formula by cup just so i could get some sleep as hadnt slept in about 4 days. In the end before they would discharge us they made us agree to do this complicated feed/give expressed/top up with formula routine every 3 hours, which stupidly we followed for about 3 feeds on wed night. I was really unhappy about this as i didnt want to bottle feed her let alone with formula ut they had really knocked my confidence and implied she would starve otherwise although i was still able to express colostrum.
When I saw my community MW yesterday morning she said it was bollocks and then SUre start came and they gave the same advice re positioning etc that i already l knew but doesnt seem to work with my DD and told me just to go with skin to skin and feed and combo express. All the stuff I thought I knew before going into hospital anyway.
Yesterday I decided it would be breast only, she started sucking and my milk came through so i thought we had turned a corner but then she became really rough, chomping on my nipples and really hurting and getting really distressed, coming off and on or stopping feeding. I have read loads of stuff on the internet and tried relatching and relatching again and again but still cant seem to get it right. Like she was really hungry and wanting to suck my not getting enough if any. I was still able to express some milk yesterday but we had to feed her all of that just toget her to sleep. It got to the point when she screamed everytime i took her near the breast. Last night we tried a bath together and that really helped her to calm down with me although i didnt really get her to feed agian. But it also woke her up so we had togove her all the xpressed milk and she still wouldnt sleep.

I have just got up because my breast were engorged again and my husband had brought her to bed after staying up with her to let me sleep. I have only managed to expressa 20 ml and its all ground to a halt. Breasts still engorged and nipples are wrecked. I dont know what I am gong to do when she wakes up wanting to be fed.

I never kidded myself that it would be easy but now am really worried that i have screwed up my milk supply, turned her into a ravenous beast with those few formula feeds and no idea what i am going to do when she wakes next.

I also dont think the pump i have is very good (avent) as it makes my nips bleed but maybe this is normal?

I know damn well that me being up at 4.30 stressing about this is not going to help but I can't help it. sad I really dont want to resort to formula but also am worried as she is only 5 days old that she will loose weight or be really stressed and over hungry. Sorry this is a bit incoherent too. Please help.

Cristiane Fri 27-May-11 04:48:41

You poor thing
Everything will be ok
Can you call a 24 hours breastfeeding line for reassurance?

Have you got Lansinoh for your sore nipples, it is so painful when they cracked and bleeding, poor you

If I were you i would carry in with the skin to skin. Have you tried the rugby hold position? Basically you hold her like a rugby ball, with her head in your hand and and her body along side your side and her feet toads back of chair (does that make sense?!).

I remember feeling like you and it was the worst time, it wss really tough. But you will get through it. Is the health visitor coming today?

funnylittlekaty Fri 27-May-11 04:54:12

We had same experience. I'd get your latch checked by nct person or similar. It sounds like you're having a right time of it. The breast pump shouldn't make your nipples bleed either. Eeek! If you have to give formula, give it. It's important for you all that the baby gets food. We were mixed feeding and have gone cold turkey on the formula, none here since Tuesday night, so it is possible to get your milk back. However don't take too much advice from me, I've just posted on here because of my little ones erratic feeding schedule. Hope all goes ok for you. It's very early days remember, I feel so much better and more confident going into day 16 than I did going into day 6.
Good luck and congrats on your lovely babba

lilham Fri 27-May-11 05:00:10

Your pump shouldnt make you bleed. That isn't normal. It also sounds like you have milk but your baby can't latch on and feed properly. You definitely should ring the bf hotlines of either NCT or Le Leche and talk to a bf cousellor. In my area, the NCT runs a new mums group weekly where you can see a bf counsellor to get advice and check your latch. Can you see if you have something similar locally? MWs and HVs aren't specially trained in bf as you've noticed and thats why all the conflicting advice.

rocketleaf Fri 27-May-11 05:05:46

Thanks for replying. My MW is coming tomorrow, she is fab so hoping she can help. Also i think I will ring the sure start lady at a decent hour see if i can get her to come again.

I can't get the milk to let down to express at all and i know its because of my state of mind. I will try more skin to skin again and perhaps the bath again in the morning. I am going to try and sleep now although its going to be hard with these torpedos. Ok so i just need to keep telling myself this is temporary and that it will all be ok.

Yes i have lansolin, will put some on now. I dont think a phone line would help. I need to someone to physically show me what i am doing wrong. I've tried rugby ball, lying down and cradle. The problem is she doesnt seem to like lying on her side at all and its really hard to get her to stop turning her head to one side.

Shes so beautiful though and it breaks my heart as i was so confident with her to begin with and now i am definitely not!! everything i do just seems to make things worse.

rocketleaf Fri 27-May-11 05:08:13

We had NCT classes and the BFing counselor was a but useless to be honest. I think she is the only one in our area so doesn't fill me with confidence. Sure start left some numbers I will try them in the morning.

One of my BFs has been trying to coach me over the phone, internet and she really helped last night but I seem to have got myself in a pickle again. Its a shame she doesn't live nearer.

lilham Fri 27-May-11 05:26:11

Have they shown you videos of biological nurturing in you NCT classes? Thats how I got my DD latched on initially. The reason to ring the hotlines is that they can put you in contact with bf counsellors local to you and they can see you in person.

But you are right that both you and baby need to be calm and relaxed to bf. Have some sleep and hopefully your MW and the sure start centre can help.

MigGril Fri 27-May-11 07:16:28

The hot line peolpe are trianed to help over the phone and can come out if needed so it is worth giving them a ring
National Breastfeeding Helpline
0300 100 0212

NCT Breastfeeding Helpline
0300 330 0771

La Leche League Helpline
0845 120 2918

Association of Breastfeeding Mothers
08444 122 949

Agree about googling biological nurturing there are some vidoes on the web.

Expressing with a pump can be a pain and I've recently learn it need's to fit you well to be able to express. If it hurts then it's not right. Try hand expressing instead there are instruction on how to do this in the leaflt on the BfN website.

OompaLumpa Fri 27-May-11 07:29:54

You could try warm flannels on your breasts to help with engorgement and encourage milk flow. Also consider cranial osteopath for baby if you think she might have a crink in her neck. Good luck x

Medee Fri 27-May-11 07:36:32

Oh rocket, so tough but first please stop beating yourself up. As you say, your state of mind is not helping.

20ml sounds an ok start to expressing, I was lucky to get 40ml+ in the early days (it pours out now), remember how tiny her tummy is.

Skin to skin is the no. 1 best thing to try. Just hold her, don't put her to try breast. She might go rooting immediately or just want cuddled for a while but it will calm you both down, stimulate your supply and then her interest.

Medee Fri 27-May-11 07:39:33

Also, shields might help get things going, but you,ll need to wean off them again as not for long term use.

SockMunkee Fri 27-May-11 07:41:33

You sound like you really are having a rough time sad I b/f my son,long time ago...he is 15 now! Anyway some things I can remember are
Kamilisan..maybe spelt wrong. Fab nipple cream, really helped me.
For whatever reason I was unable to express milk, after the 1st couple of weeks or so I didnt leak milk either. I b/f until he was 9 months.
Skin to skin helps, a warm flannel really does help. Also the more stressed you get the harder it will be.
Its not that everything you try makes it worse,its just you havent found what works for the two of you yet x

Ginfox Fri 27-May-11 08:14:10

Big hugs Rocket. My pal struggled to BF because her baby had a tongue-tie. It's really common, but in her case was missed, and baby couldn't suckle properly. Get MW to check if she hasn't already.

Hope you get sorted today.

EMS23 Fri 27-May-11 08:27:53

rocketleaf - I just wanted to extend my support. Your post could have been written by me 6 months ago. The increasing sense of panic and the feeling that you are making things worse with everything you try and all you want is for it all to be alright.
I didn't receive good support from my DH or the midwives and was so overwhelmed with it all that I couldn't even get my act together to phone a helpline or go to a group. I so dearly wish I had been able to do those things now as I really believe I could've cracked it with the right support at the right time.

I ended up formula feeding my daughter from day 6 onwards and the weeks that followed were dominated by my guilt and sadness over my "failures". Please get the help and support you need now, however you have to do it.
Good luck and lots of love and support to you.

LadyGoneGaga Fri 27-May-11 08:30:34

Big Hugs. First of all expressing. I found it impossible to get a let down unless I was looking at the baby, looking at a photo of the baby or smelling something he had been wearing. If your breast pump is hurting then probably better to hand express for the time being. Bit like milking a cow but is more gentle on sore nips. But I would try to minimise the expressing for the time being if you can sort the other stuff out. Agree you need to get someone to look at your latch. Midwife should be a good first stop but if still not clicking try the support lines. Can you see any areola when she is on? You need her to gape really wide before she goes on. Try tickling her bottom lips with nipple and when she lunges sort of shove in as much as poss. If not all in, stop and try again. This bit is frustrating but is the key as this is what is making your nipples sore/bleed. If she won't turn her head one way it is likely she strained it during the birth, a cranial osteopath would help here. But feed from the other side and use rugby ball position the other way so she doesn't need to turn her neck. Also make sure she is well supported with a cushion etc and in line with you - so nose to nipple, tummy to mummy so you minimise the amount of turning she has to do with her head. And when you try and latch her DON'T hold the back of her head - she will just pull back. Sort of support her shoulders and let her head loll back a little - this will allow here to really gape. Sorry for the lack of formatting - my return key has stopped working for some reason. But hopefully collecgtion of random thoughts might help somewhere. Finally, don't give up. It's really tough to begin with, especially getting no sleep but if you get the latch issues sorted you will hopefully find it gets a lot easier.

BlooferLady Fri 27-May-11 08:33:54

Dear Rocket, you won't remember me (I used to hang around with you under another guise!) but I wanted to send some love. I have no experience personally, but know from friends that though there can be terrible wearying difficulties with BF to start, these can be overcome. In a few weeks I imagine you'll both have got accustomed to it, and be happily feeding. Good luck, old thing.

macaroonmum Fri 27-May-11 08:35:40

Oh Rocket that sounds so tough. It's a steep learning curve and so stressful, but remember, as someone said, she has a teeny tummy and doesn't need vast quantities right now. Try skin to skin as frequently as you can.
As others have said, don't worry too much about how much you are expressing, think of it more as a way to relieve engorgement and keep supply up, rather than actually needing to extract for the baby, if you see what I mean. I was never able to express much with mine when she was a baby.
Definitely get in contact with la leche league or something similar and see if you can get someone to come to you.
in the meantime, here are some videos about BFing problem-solving which are fabulous!

Hope you get all the support you need today. xx

RantyMcRantpants Fri 27-May-11 08:46:21

Definatly get them to check for tongue tie as well. Biological Nurturing is a fantastic method of getting things started as well.

PerfectDromedary Fri 27-May-11 09:11:45

Rocket-love, I could have written your post 12 weeks ago and I am now sitting typing one-handed while the baby feeds.

Firstly, I know it all seems so momentous and that every tiny decision is going to be the end of bf'ing. This is emphatically not true. Take it one feed at a time. When I was at my lowest and weeping to TNB that I would never be able to leave the house again because I had to feed the baby in three different ways each feed and I was exhausted, the phone rang. And I spoke to a friend whose daughter had been tongue-tied, who had mixed fed expressed milk and formula for 3 months and who had got her daughter back on to the breast once the tongue tie had loosened enough for her to latch.

The decision to supplement was the right one at that moment: don't beat yourself up. If you're going to need to keep topping up, go and buy some very expensive Medela Calma teats: am pretty sure they saved my bf'ing ratio ship by teaching the lazy little monkey how to latch.

You definitely shouldn't be bleeding from expressing! Would second the hand expressing advice - and all the other fab advice you've had up-thread.

Try and remember how brilliantly you've done just nuturing your baby for the last nine months and bringing her safely into the world. Feeding problems don't get fixed overnight, any more than growing the baby inside you took 24 hours. But they do get fixed. 4 out of 7 of my NCT group had feeding problems: 3 so badly that the babies were fed by tube. And all of us have found ways to re-establish bf'ing with a lot of support!

Cosmosis Fri 27-May-11 09:20:46

definitely try the helplines, please don't dismiss them, they are trained to be able to help on the phone.

I think it sounds quite like you and your dd are both getting a bit too stressed by it all now, and you need to do more things like the bath, and skin to skin (don't get out of bed for the day if you can) and let her try to latch on when she's calm and relaxed and not stressed.

this website is full of help, so have a look there for videos and help as well.

your breastpump should absolutely NOT be hurting you - I have a spare tommee tippee electrical one I am happy to send you if you want, pm me your address and I can post it today for you for delivery tomorrow if you like.

PollyPoo Fri 27-May-11 09:22:45

Oh sprocket I feel your pain. I'm so sorry you are having such a tough time. The pump should not be making you bleed, ouch! If you can leave your nips out as much as poss and keep slapping on the lansinoh.

Definitely try hot flannels on your breasts for a few mins before feeding, helps with the let down. You could also try a little hand expressing before trying to get her latched on, it might make it a bit easier for her. Agree you need someone with you taking you through it step by step. And definitely lots of skin to skin - just stay in bed with her and a stack of dvds and someone to wait on you.

Most of all, don't beat yourself up. You haven't fucked up your chances of BFing. You aren't doing anything wrong. BF is just very difficult to start off - it is a whole new skill for you both to learn. If you are worried about milk supply I found fenugreek tablets really helped. For the first two weeks I took double the recommended dose, and then dropped down and my milk increased massively within about 4 or 5 days. HTH. <big hugs lovely lady>

Good luck with MW today, I really hope you can get some decent help.

CurlyCasper Fri 27-May-11 09:26:44

rocket it all sounds very familiar to me too. We had a nightmare with feeding at first, and ended up back in hospital, where some lovely MWs got us into a three-hourly routine where I would put her on the breast for as along as possible, then cup feed top-up with expressed milk. Once home, I frequently hand expressed into a large bowl while semi-immersed in a hot bath. I was also very thankful for the Medela Swing pump - happy to send it to you if you want to try an alternative. My girl was older than yours when we finally got it sorted and fed well for as along as I was able to (that's a separate story). It will work out, you haven't ruined any chances. Please just see what support you can get in today before MW comes tomorrow. Are there any drop-in groups near you? Try the NCT helpline, they might have a counsellor nearby.

rocketleaf Fri 27-May-11 09:48:09

Thank you all. My MW checked for Tongue tie yesterday and she is fine. lady interesting what you say about not holding the back of hhe head as that's contrary to the advise I've had. I do think her neck might be the problem and might see if my lovely chiro will see her today.

I have been sat here with her sleeping between my boobs and have been hand expressing for hours. Left on seems ok. I even had some proper squirting ridiculous how excitedbi wad about that!! Right is mote of s problem but hoping it will catch up. doing the hot compresses has helped Si will just pesevere gentle. I actually don't mind hxbd expressing. Think it was to soon fir the hand pump.

The main issue is getting it into her which I have resorted to syringing into her as she is too sleepy for anything else. Also I am really worried about lack of poo and wee but have just heard some digesting noises so hoping for better. I think the problem is that she's getting no hind milk as not actually feeding fyom breast at all.

Breast start lady has phoned and is gonna come this avo. And MW is coming this morning.

Ems23 don't beat yourself up you did your best as i am doing mine. And you have a healthy baby as a result. I am so sorry you didn't get the support you needed esp from DH. Mine needed a kick up the bumnot because he's unwilling but he is not coping with the lack of sleep hmm but is all over it now, I think he finds it just as distressing. we have rigged the baby monitor so he can tidy up and potter but be on call for my needs and hanging with us the rest of the time so I known I am lucky.

Bloopers of course I remember you!! Hope this isn't putting you off? ;-) Lovely to see you and thanks for the kind thought

Grumpla Fri 27-May-11 09:59:38

When you are pumping, do make sure that your nipple is right in the middle of the cylinder, so that it's not rubbing on the plastic at all. Keep checking periodically as sometimes as you pump a bit more boob gets sucked in to the pump on one side, and your nipple ends up at an angle. If you just have it on a teeny bit wonky your nipple will rub and that will make it even more sore.

I expressed for months due to what I now think was an undiagnosed Tongue tie - so it is possible! You have NOT ruined your chance of breastfeeding, your milk is coming through and it will get easier.

Other than that do try and get some more support, perhaps a mate / family member could show you, might help you feel more relaxed than dealing with a busy midwife.

Grumpla Fri 27-May-11 10:01:42

I also mix-fed for a couple of weeks when my baby was jaundiced by the way, once I got the hang of the pump we stopped with the formula just fine.

Ah the squirting! I remember how proud I was of that, after worrying and worrying that I was not ever going to have enough milk!

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