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What am I doing wrong??

(29 Posts)
FeastofBeans Mon 10-Oct-11 19:30:32

My DD is only 12 days old but we are really struggling. No matter what I do I can't seem to get her to open her mouth enough so she just sucks on the nipple, which is agonising for me. If I try to reattach her it makes no difference other than making her cross and angry. We both end up in tears and the whole feeding process is a nightmare, I dread every feed with the pain and upset.

I had some help in hospital and it seemed to go ok, didn't hurt, and she was fine (after a rocky start waiting for milk to come in) All my
MW visits the BFing was fine so I didn't ask for any help but now I think I don't get any more MW visits so it's too late to get help.

Now it seems either my nipples are worn out or my DD has got lazy, or I'm doing it all wrong sad There's no blood/scabbing/cracking but my nipple ends look a bit 'raw' and hurt constantly. Everything I've read says that if I'm doing it right it shouldn't hurt at all.

My DD is small with a small mouth, should I just bear it for now? Are we in bad habits? I'm using lanisoh but it doesn't help. I'm also using the TT cooling pads. One MW said nipple shields were a good idea, one said they weren't. I've ordered some but I'm so confused.

Can anyone help me with how I make this whole experience better for both of us? We'd both be so grateful.

FeastofBeans Mon 10-Oct-11 19:38:54

Oh should also add that she was a c section baby and I was on lots of painkillers at first but now I'm not taking any (hate taking drugs) - would taking paracetamol help with the pain? I really have no idea if they would help with this sort of specific pain :S

FeastofBeans Mon 10-Oct-11 19:41:43

Oh and also my DD is well fed, doing loads of wet and dirty nappies, has loads of milk round her mouth when she comes off. It's just really my own pain that is the issue I think.

duvetdayplease Mon 10-Oct-11 19:44:29

Hi, I would advise calling either the NCT bf-ing line or the la leche league.

It is really hard to say why it is hurting or what might be happening here without seeing the baby's position.

Most latch/positioning problems can be solved quite easily with some proper help - there are probably bf-ing supporters near you.

Hope it gets sorted, it is so tricky sometimes but with proper help it can just click in x

ByThePowerOfGreyskull Mon 10-Oct-11 19:46:00

It isn't too late at all to get help. I am sorry that you are having such a difficult time with your precious little bundle.

Please please call your mw and ask her to return and if she has details for a local breastfeeding counsellor, and if you can't get hold of her call the maternity unit directly. (at least you know there is someone there 24/7!!)

This can get better, i have no idea what area of the country you are in but if you were prepared to do a shout out for your area you may find one of the ladies on here has some breastfeeding groups / mentors / support that they can recommend.

SO as to your actual issue, have you tried changing the position that you feed her in? With both my boys the oly non painful way to latch properly in the first couple of weeks was the clutchbag/rugby ball type hold
the other thing was to tweak my nip a bit to make it sticky outy so that when they did open wide enough I could get it in there quickly before the mouth closed.

This is not technical or advice from a trained professional so not sure if any of the above actually helped but you have certainly done the right thing by opening up about needing a bit more support.

Huge congratulations on the birth of your little one and good luck smile

rubyslippers Mon 10-Oct-11 19:46:43

You need to get a feed observed

The rugby ball hold can be good for babies who are small and faced with a big boob to latch on to

Your nipples shouldn't be red raw - some lansinoh and good positioning will help but you need some real life help ASAP

Is your MW due to visit you?

duvetdayplease Mon 10-Oct-11 19:48:01

la Leche League helpline - Call 0845 120 2918

NCT helpline (not sure this is the bf-ing one but assume it will put you thru) 0300 330 0700


TrinaLuciusMalfoy Mon 10-Oct-11 19:48:50

Ok, I'm no expect (disclaimer first!) but here's my two pence worth.

You should be able to call on labour ward for help for the first 28 days (or at least that's the case with my local hospital) - at the very least call them and if they're not able to help they'll know who can.

No, it shouldn't hurt - at least past the first few days of the skin on your nipples adjusting to it! When she feeds does she blow out her cheeks or suck them in? If they're sucked in she's definitely not taking enough into her mouth, but getting her to take more in will be what the MW can help with (because she can see exactly what's going on but I can't grin)

I've never used nipple shields and can't say I've heard particularly good things about them - but I know how it feels to need to try anything!

I'm sorry you're having a rough time. I went slightly crazy around the 12 day mark with both mine as both decided they'd go funny on the feed front. I hope you feel able to persevere >>unmumsnetty hugs<<

thisisyesterday Mon 10-Oct-11 19:49:00

whereabouts are you OP?
i think it would be a really good idea to find a local breastfeeding group and have someone watch you feed to see if you can tweak the positioning/latch a bit

crikeybadger Mon 10-Oct-11 19:51:29

Hi, sorry you're having trouble FeastofBeans.

You might find this document useful. There are some pages about attachment and one called the exagerrated latch which might help.

Really though it would be be better to get someone to watch you feed and really see what is going on there. It might just need a tiny adjustment and the latch would be much more comfortable.

Have you got a breastfeeding support group close to you that you could visit? Your HV should know of one.

Nipple shields can be controversial but some women find that they enable them to breastfeed for longer, or they only need them until their baby's mouth has got a bit bigger and can cope without them. They can have drawbacks though, so you'll need to be aware of those too.

But no, you shouldn't just bear it, just as you wouldn't put up with a stone in your shoe making your feet sore. You can sort this out -you just need to seek some help. smile

FeastofBeans Mon 10-Oct-11 19:53:56

Hi all, thanks for your responses. My local bf group is fortunately just up the road and I intend to go but it's not til Friday and I'm not sure I can do it til then!

Would expressing help to just give my nipples a break or is this a bad idea?

BuongiornoPrincipessa Mon 10-Oct-11 20:04:47

Have you tried biological nurturing? Where you lie semi reclined with the baby on your chest (skin to skin). She should try to find the nipple and latch on herself. I found this was more comfortable than trying to 'wait for the gape and get her on' approach. I was never quick enough for the gape and so she would end up on my nipple

weevilswobble Mon 10-Oct-11 20:18:29

I have inverted nipples and could not have breast fed without nipple shields. They are an utter God send in some situations. Breast feeding isnt easy for everyone and getting going is really tough for some, including me. I was utterly determined to bf and managed in the end with help from an amazingly kind BF counsellor who came up the 4 flights of stairs to our flat.
If nipple shields help when you are sore its worth a try for sure.
Try taking your breast between first two fingers and forming a fold for the baby to latch onto, i really think you need to get the nipple further into babys mouth. I think sucking on the end is causing the soreness.

crappyhappybabby Mon 10-Oct-11 20:20:57

Hi, sorry you are having trouble. My Dd is six weeks and I had the same prob. Her mouth is tiny and i could never get her to latch properly. I discovered that I was holding her incorrectly - the back of her head - when I should be holding her across the top of the shoulders, allowing her head to tilt back and the mouth to open naturally. This may not help you but I thought it was worth mentioning it smile

I also have to keep reminding myself of the following rule "bring baby to the breast, not breast to baby". I'm quite big boobed and tended to 'pull' boobs out to babe a bit, which resulted in v v v sore nips!

Hope you get it sorted. grin

weevilswobble Mon 10-Oct-11 20:21:10

The nipple has to be far enough in the mouth for the baby to be able to squeeze the part behind the nipple between its tongue and the top of its mouth, so that it is squeezing rather than sucking.

thisisyesterday Mon 10-Oct-11 20:22:27

if you have contact details for your local group I would give them a ring and see if someone would be willing to do a home visit.
it may depend who it is run by though

weevilswobble Mon 10-Oct-11 20:22:41

Imagine little milk sacks that have to be squirted. Iyswim

weevilswobble Mon 10-Oct-11 20:24:31

Think of a squirty bottle, its much easier to squirt it out than try to suck it out. Does that make sense?

AppleyEverAfter Mon 10-Oct-11 20:37:56

Have you tried different positions like the rugby ball or lying on your side, or even lying on your back? My DD is 3 weeks and I was reluctant to try different positions at first but the MW recommended this to reduce engorgement as she said the ducts can drain better and baby will get a better feed. So this may help your pain problem too. I had a chat with an adviser from Little Angels BF support too, I don't know if they have this service in your area but I'm sure there's some kind of charity near you who can offer support, so give them a ring for a home visit ASAP! The advisor told me that babies can feed in any position (even upside down!) as long as the ears, shoulders and hips are in a straight line and you are both comfortable.

AppleyEverAfter Mon 10-Oct-11 20:41:16

Should add: I also had a c-section and am still weaning myself off the painkillers after three weeks, I'm now just taking one a day (can't remember the name offhand). The painkillers prescribed by your doctor won't have an adverse effect on your baby.

leelo Mon 10-Oct-11 20:56:13

my dd was a c-section and i couldn't feed her for 3 days then started bf. she was 4lb 9oz. very little mouth. i tried lying down on my side. belly to belly and wait for her to nuzzle nipple. if latch is sore stop. then change your position and try something else. after a while you will be fine. pain happens and the options are keep going or pump your milk. you've only been doing this for 12 days give yourself a break. its not a pass/ fail situation. you should check if there is a mw call out option thats what they are there for from your gp or hospital as it never hurts to be told yeah you are fine or try this. remember you are amazing and so is your baby. you are a good mum.

sc2987 Mon 10-Oct-11 21:37:12

Has she been checked for tongue-tie? My daughter put on weight but it was still very painful for me. They are often missed (especially posterior ones) by midwives/HVs/paeds.

FreckledLeopard Mon 10-Oct-11 22:00:54

My friend had similar issues after C-section. She took her DS to a cranial osteopath who worked wonders. Apparently her DS had been in an awkward position during labour before emergency section and this impacted his ability to latch properly. I think there were major improvements after first couple of sessions, so maybe this could be an option in addition to more BF support?

FeastofBeans Tue 11-Oct-11 23:10:21

Hi all, I just wanted to say thanks for all your really supportive messages last night, I was totally at the end of my tether and feeling like I couldn't carry on. We used expressed milk last night with a feed first thing and then I managed to get a 'remedial lesson' with the MW, who was SO helpful.

She showed me the rugby ball hold which a couple of you mentioned and it was an utterly utterly different ballgame (excuse the pun), hardly any pain at all. It's very hard to believe that a different position could make such a difference really! We have had a couple of feeds since then with pretty much total success. I do have to kind of slam her face into me when she opens her mouth enough, which is what the MW did too, but my DD doesn't seem to mind it that much. I think I was being a bit too gentle.

Anyway thanks again, you don't know how much I appreciated every single one of your posts last night when I was in floods of tears and nearly giving up!

FeastofBeans Tue 11-Oct-11 23:13:00

Oh also to add in response to sc2987 she did have a 100% tongue-tie which didn't get sorted until day 7 which bizarrely is the time when everything seemed to start going wrong! I think this is coincidence though smile

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