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Miserable bf last time (gave up) and inverted nipples - any hope this time round?!

(16 Posts)
IzzyWizzyletsgetbusy Tue 27-Sep-11 10:39:58

Hello, I'm not really sure where to start with this so will just bang everything down and hopefully someone wiser than me will have some advice.

I'm 31 weeks with dc3 and panicking mulling over the feeding question. I bf dc1 for about 10 days blush, tbh (and please don't judge me, I'm just being as honest as I can to try and get useful feedback) I hated it. And I have no idea why - I know all the reasons why bf is better for babies and have never felt uncomfortable with others bf-ing, but just really really disliked doing it myself. It was really really painful (mw said latch was OK though) and ds wanted to feed constantly, screaming for 12+ hours all night, every night. I tried to keep up with feeding him on demand, but after 10 days of him and me crying all night, and I had got to the point where I didn't even want to pick him up in the day because he just wanted to feed straight away and I couldn't face the thought of doing it again, I decided to give up. We switched to ff and never looked back, I found it much easier to bond with him and started to really enjoy his babyhood.

I had tried expressing with an electric pump during that first 10 days just to try and get a break, but got absolutely nothing out. I know this isn't indicative of supply, and I know things would probably have settled down after a few more weeks, but couldn't help feeling he was screaming all the time because he was constantly hungry and I just wasn't able to provide enough sad As the title says, I do have inverted nipples and have no idea whether this would have affected how well ds was able to feed.

When dc2 came along (dd) I got really stressed in pg thinking about it, I couldn't bear the thought of trying again and so didn't - she was ff from birth with no problems.

So 3rd time round and the memory has faded slightly (ds is 8 now) - although it's all flooding back writing this - and I think I'm going to give bf another try.

I suppose there are two aspects to this - first, obviously, having hated bf so much first time round, what are the chances I will feel differently this time around?

Secondly, given that my nipples are severely inverted (both) I have no idea how feasible bf actually is. I have tried reading the articles on kellymom and other internet sites but haven't managed to get much reassurance. Most articles/books talk about it not really mattering because nipples will be "drawn out" by pg or feeding or pumping or other gadgetry, which seems to say to me that this needs to happen for baby to feed properly. Is that right? Mine have never ever been drawn out, not through 3 pgs, nor during the (brief!) time I bf'd ds, nor by an electric pump. During my first pg I tried the Avent Nipplette and that didn't work either. They are just not going to come out - what does this mean for my chances of establising bf successfully?

Would appreciate any advice...thanks...

IzzyWizzyletsgetbusy Tue 27-Sep-11 10:40:44

Sorry - that turned into a long and rambling stream of consciousness!! blush Thanks to anyone that made it to the end!

IzzyWizzyletsgetbusy Tue 27-Sep-11 15:31:49

Shameless bump smile - anyone ?!

IzzyWizzyletsgetbusy Wed 28-Sep-11 15:44:29

Ok...last attempt at bumping then I give up!

Gemjar Wed 28-Sep-11 15:57:08

While I can't advise specifically on the inverted nipples thing, I do think that it is always worth giving it another go. I BFed DS1 for 4 weeks and gave up one morning after no sleep with a blocked duct and bloody nipples in floods of tears trying to feed DS. In hindsight I know that I could have persevered if I had asked for the right help and things would have gotten better, but there it is. DS is happy and healthy and I am ultimately happy that I made the decision that was best for both of us at that time.

With DS2 BFing has been so easy! no pain, a couple of blocked ducts down the line due to sleeping on boobs funily, but without the other pain and a little more perspective they are much easier to deal with. nearly 10 months on I treasure the small amount of Breast milk that I still get to give him.

Every baby and every pg/birth/aftermath is different and although you had a really hard time of it before, that does not indicate what it will be like this time around, you are older, wiser and more prepared for what is coming this time. It is always worth trying to BF, even if you only do it for a short time the benefits are massive.

Good luck

MrsBloomingTroll Wed 28-Sep-11 20:45:24

FWIW, I have one inverted nipple and one not.

I bf DC1 for 14 months and am currently bf'ing DC2.

My "normal" nipple is pain-free, but the inverted one is quite painful when DC2 latches, I won't lie to you about that. So much so that I don't tend to feed from it very often. It has been drawn out by feeding (and has stayed that way) but for pain-free feeding I'd need nipple shields. I have a sharp intake of breath every time I feed from that side. Luckily the other breast has a plentiful supply of milk so I mostly feed from there.

I heard of a friend-of-a-friend who and both nipples inverted and found it too painful and gave up.

If I had the pain on both sides, I don't know if I would have been able to bf, to be honest.

Don't be too hard on yourself. Why not plan to give it a go for a week and then decide?

Whyriskit Wed 28-Sep-11 20:50:39

I think breastfeeding is really tough initially and especially if you have inverted nipples. I did, but after 13 months of feeding DS2, they're not anymore! I bf DS1 for 6 weeks and it was really hard, we just didn't gel together and it was very painful.
With DS2, I made sure that I read up on breastfeeding as much as I could so I knew what was normal. Tbh, I can't really advise you - DS2 spent from 10 days - 17 days in PICU after a heart op, so we maybe didn't have the typical newborn experience, as I was pumping and he was being fed by NG tube. All I can say is that each experience is different, and you may find that it's ok! Good luck.

SpannerPants Wed 28-Sep-11 21:06:44

mine are flat rather than inverted, and DS has a high palate and was reluctant to latch but we eventually managed it using shields. He's 11 weeks old tomorrow, we're still using them but he's thriving and things got much easier after the initial 6-8 weeks. I've tried weaning him off them but have been unsuccessful, and even with the small amount of faff with the shields, I enjoy feeding him too much to stop at the moment.

I think it's worth arming yourself with as much information as possible beforehand, keeping an open mind and seeing how it goes. Even if you just managed to hand express some colostrum and give your baby that they will really benefit. Good luck!

IzzyWizzyletsgetbusy Wed 28-Sep-11 21:10:44

Hi - thanks for taking the time to reply smile

It's good to hear that you can have two completely different experiences. However I think mrsbloomingtroll you're right, I need to try it for a week (fx it will go ok!) but not beat myself up too much if it doesn't. sad re your friend-of-a-friend though. I wonder if the inverted nipples did contribute to the pain last time? It's frustrating because I mentioned it to the mw in my first pg and she just dismissed it, saying it wouldn't make any difference. On reflection I think it would have been better to have been more prepared for things to be difficult/painful, I don't know.

I have got some nipple shields which I'll try if I think I'll have to give up otherwise, and a pump as back up in case direct bf is too hard (although last time pump yielded absolutely zero results!). Not really sure what else I can do.

IzzyWizzyletsgetbusy Wed 28-Sep-11 21:12:35

X-posts spanner - good to hear shields can help!

theboobmeister Wed 28-Sep-11 22:18:55

Sounds like that MW really fobbed you off - she decided that your latch was 'ok' without listening to the important information you were trying to give her (pain, unhappy baby ... er it's not ok actually!!)

Nipple pain is usually an indication of an ineffective latch - this can, and does, happen to anybody regardless of whether their nipples are inverted or not. If your DS wasn't latched on well, he probably wouldn't have been getting much milk out - would explain why he was hungry!

I'm sure you'll have read that inverted nipples aren't a physical barrier to breastfeeding (it's the areola that counts, not the nipple), but even so latching can take a while to get the hang of, especially if your MW is useless you don't have someone skilled helping you.

How would you feel about talking to a breastfeeding counsellor? She could give you some good practical tips, if you feel that would help, or just be there to talk it all through. And it would seem like a good idea to have someone lined up to help with latching after the birth, just in case ...

theboobmeister Wed 28-Sep-11 22:22:39

Oh BTW, also forgot to mention. Shields can help, but they are difficult to use correctly and can cause more problems than they fix - so it's recommended that you only use with help from a BF counsellor or lactation consultant.

Sorry, that sounds a bit doom and gloom. Really the most important thing with breastfeeding is to get some good, skilled support in RL - hope you can find some, OP ...

MULLYPEEP Wed 28-Sep-11 22:35:08

Well, I have flat nipples (and fibrous apparently?!) and I tried like a b*stard to breastfeed DD- it was vvvvvvvv difficult. Nipple shields were the only thing that worked and eventually weaned her off them around 8 weeks and fed her for 5.5 months. I went to every bf expert this side of the Gobi desert- they were not much help I have to say. DD2, I used those crappy nipplette things, they did not work. What helped was the medela electric double pump which was magic. Would recommend this to try and pull your nips out. I dont know if it is possible to try it before you have the baby or if this is damaging in some way. Hope you get there!!!

IzzyWizzyletsgetbusy Thu 29-Sep-11 07:09:48

Thanks for further replies...I agree my mw was rubbish, I did try to tell her I was struggling (she should really have picked this up anyway as I was still crying when she appeared most mornings!) but the most support she could muster was "I've breastfed seven; you'll be fine". Which, unsurprisingly, didn't help.

I have no objection at all to speaking to a bfc in RL; what's the best way to do so? Should I just ring the national number for LLL or NCT or something? Is it best to make contact (or would they mind me ringing) before the birth or should I wait until afterwards?

Finally (without wanting to be patronising) well done to all of you - especially any of you who've overcome initial difficulties to bf successfully - I am in awe smile

theboobmeister Thu 29-Sep-11 08:59:45

It's fine to make contact before the birth! BFCs are happy to hear from you any time, and this gives you a chance - while the situation is still calm - to find someone you like and trust. 

You could call LLL or NCT lines, or indeed both - if you explain your situation I'm sure they'll happily put you in touch with a local BFC. You might be able to meet up antenatally, for example if she runs a BF support group near you. It might also be helpful to check out what the local BF support groups are like, as they vary a lot - maybe you could ask around for recommendations? If no joy finding a local BFC, a (paid) lactation consultant is another option - here is the list of qualified IBLCs: 

And well done to you too Izzy - I'll bet it isn't easy even thinking about giving BF another try. Whatever happens, there will be lots of support for you here smile

Dancingjojo Thu 29-Sep-11 16:20:26

spannerpants, can i ask you how you manage using sheilds when out and about? i have to use mine all the time or give expressed milk via bottle. i'm only a week in and happy to feed via sheild at home but not sure how to do it in public!

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