One week in and wondering whether giving up bfing is my only option. Can anyone help?(19 Posts)
Sorry, I'm not an expert but I'm sure some will be along soon. Have you tried phoning the advice lines (la leche league etc). They are meant to be v good.
Sorry to hear that you're struggling. Has she been checked for a tongue tie?
A lactation consultant would be able to help you. Mine really helped me get through my problems.
Didn't want to read and not reply as know there won't be many people around at this time. I'm no expert but just wanted to offer some sympathy. I was shocked by how tough I found breast feeding, painful, intrusive, impossible and exhausting when i already felt beaten up. In the early days my baby would just not latch on, he used to get so excited that he'd shake his head just as I thought I'd got him on and come off again. if id been told how difficult it was going to be I wouldn't have believed it!
At around two weeks i decided to quit and went to bed for the night, leaving my partner to give the baby formula. After 7 hours sleep I felt a bit more human and gave it one last try, with a nipple shield to protect my damaged nipples. That went a bit better and I stuck with it. 16 weeks in I am glad I did as it now works for us, and is a lot less hassle than making up formula.
I'm sure others will have helpful advice on what you can do to make it work - bit I just wanted to sympathize and say I understand how you feel!
If you do decide to move onto formula please don't feel guilty, the most important thing is that you feel up to taking care of your baby - I know I had reached my limit and done as much as I could before I gave up, although I did get it to work in the end! I have met lots of formula babies at playgroups in the last few weeks and thy are just as happy, healthy and adorable as any other baby. Good luck
Sorry to hear you're having such a tough time. I remember crying every time my hungry baby latched and feeling terrible. It does get better and you CAN breast feed if that's what you want, you just need a little help.
I'm sure other people will be along with better info, but I would really recommend that you go back to get some real life support. Explain that you're having trouble maintianing the good latch at home and they will help.
Have you tried some different positions? Rugby hold is a popular one with newborns and worked well for me. It also just varies the stress on your nipples.
Have a look at this on how to get a deep latch, it might help.
Nipple shields never worked for me either, although I was probably using them wrong. I think it probably is better to keep taking her off until the latch is right, I know it can be very painful in those first seconds but this is how she will learn.
Sometimes it can take a little while for you both to learn how to do it, and then it doesn't hurt at all. Good luck, you're doing an amazing job.
No expert advice here but I also really struggled in the beginning as my DD has a tiny tiny mouth, and I have MaHOOsive nipples
Eventually through Mumsnet I discovered the exaggerated latch flipple technique which worked enough to see us through until her mouth got bigger and she could open it wide enough. She was feeding every hour for about 45mins for the first 3 weeks.... day and night.
Same as LAbaby at one point I was so knackered (and hallucinating with tiredness) with the constant round the clock feeding I made DP go get some formula and bottles and left him to it. I slept 3 whole hours in a row (! - something I still don't get very often as she's still a constant feeder) and felt so much better I could then continue.
I am so glad I have as I couldn't be doing with the whole hassle of bottles on top of no sleep!
So... maybe take a break to get some sleep then you can decide rationally? One or two bottles wont hurt if it enables you continue.... and if you don't continue, well formula is just fine!
Oh I almost could have written this 2 1/2 years ago(we didn't keep formula in the flat on the basis that there are 24 shops if needed)! One bottle wont destroy your supply. How are you feeling this am?
Are you or your baby doing anything differently alone vs when supervised? If not, it could just be that the already sore nips are being irritated (and not that any new damage is happening )
My Midwife suggested cup or syringe feeding and expressing to me, rather than jumping straight to formula in a bottle. This worked for me for a couple feeds, but it was a faff and took longer to feed like that than nursing. Still, might be an option?
Don't forget the obsessive lansinoh while you heal, no matter the feeding method that works for you and your family! good luck, and enjoy your baby!
it will seem like failure when you are so exhausted and emotional but formula will not hurt!
If it helps I had DD who would not open her mouth or latch well and was getting upset at the start. I began expressing milk like sissnith42 and fed at start with a little feeding cup (given by midwife for specific purpose) and later went to my milk in bottle as best of both worlds! I figured the fact that she got my milk was more important than how she got it! I was still going strong with expressing 6 months on - and DH got to help as well which was great for sleep and my nipples survived!
Good luck to you with whatever you do. No-one ever tells you just how hard it is and whatever you end up doing will be right for you! x
As the mum of a 7 week old I know EXACTLY how you feel with the soreness and frustration at your baby not seeming to open her mouth wide enough. I was at my wits end at the 1-2 weeks mark. Something I found which really helped was getting a proper feeding pillow, I got a my brest friend one. It cost a clean fortune but I wish I'd had it from day 1, it really really helped to support her at the right height leaving both hands free (temporarily) to get her head in the right position. It also helped me to be successful with the rugby ball hold which I couldn't do before as she was so floppy - the different angle gave my poor shredded nips a bit of respite. If she hasn't latched properly slide a finger in to her mouth to break suction before taking her off and try again, with the finger in it shouldnt hurt. I was in tears with the pain and dreaded every feed but I really wanted to succeed. Thing substantially improved at 3 weeks, she was less floppy and more committed and now at 7 weeks there is no more pain. Just take every day, or indeed every feed at a time. It really does get easier but it is important to correct her if she's not latched on right or else your nips will never get better. Sometimes it felt like I was taking her off and putting her back on 20 times before it felt ok.
If you feel that you can't carry on, give yourself a break and give a bottle, then try again next feed. For what it's worth my baby still doesnt appear to latch like it looks in the books, she still doesn't open her mouth all that wide, but I figure if it doesn't feel painful and she is gaining weight (and boy is she gaining weight, one week she put on 13oz!!!) it must be alright. Good luck and if you aren't using lansinoh cream get some ASAP it will really help.
Best thing to do now, maybe, is to get further help from one person you have liked and found supportive.
That's real life help....mumsnet is great, but in the midst of a real crisis, you need personal support and just one voice, IMO. Lots of different voices can turn into a blur, and it becomes very difficult to sort out the good suggestions from the not-so-good, from the ones you have already tried, from the ones that are irrelevant.
It's early days; there are options; things can be fixed.
Ps it might help to get your partner or a friend to help with latching - with an extra hand you can gently pull down her lower jaw with a finger to get her to open wider, when she gets the message that that gives her milk more easily she'll begin doing it on her own. There really is no dignity in the early stages of motherhood I am no longer embarrassed about people seeing parts of me that were previously only reserved for my DH!! (and even then only if he asked nicely lol)
Nice to hear you have help coming your way. My girl is 6 weeks and the first week was very tough indeed.
Other things aside persisting on perfecting latch techinique were
- Getting my boobs out in the air! I had my boobs out all the time even in hospital.
- Lansinoh cream. I smothered that everytime she fed and whenever else. Slap that on and let them dry.
Resting is so important though. Don't feel bad if your partner gives her a bottle of expressed or formula milk just so you can get a few hours rest. Your problems won't seem so bad when you wake up
Good to hear things are going better, cokefloat BTW, you can call bfc at the weekend
momsy - not really good to miss a feed in the way you suggest....resting isn't really an issue with bf (though it's helpful for the mother, for sure) and missing a feed at 6-7 days can be a short cut to engorgement, difficulties latching and even worse sore nipples
I don't want to undermine how you're feeling, but imtbinklots of Mums have been there. At 6 days old, I was so exhausted, I hand expressed a 2nd bottle, gave it to my DH, along with the baby and told him to take her away from me. At that point I really didn't care about anything except not being in pain and not being so tired. I didn't care if I never BF again.
When my DH brought the baby back up several hours later and told me how he'd been so very careful to rub the teat on her lip and get her to latch on, like with BF as opposed to just 'shoving the teat in her mouth' it made me feel so emotional, but also that and the extra sleep made me feel I could do it, I wanted to do it.
I did find my most painful side was my left and I got a better latch that side with lots of pillows and the rugby hold. I took the full dose of paracetamol for 4 whole weeks, during which time things gradually got better and after those 4 weeks things got rapidly better. (I'd had mastitis twice by then too)
I know it might not seem like it now, but you can do this if that's what you want and things will very quickly get better and you will look back on this time now and it'll seem so long ago!
Just wanted to say that I had exactly the same experience of being able to get an OK latch when being observed by a lactation consultant, and then getting home and not being able to do it alone. My theory is that when someone is watching you, you take extra care with your technique, and they make you unlatch and start again if things aren't right. On your own though, the desire to just get feeding is so strong that you just want to get the baby on there, so you perhaps don't notice what you're doing so much, and it's such a temptation to 'make do' when you get something even approaching a bearable latch. The trouble with that though, is that you're still damaging your nipples so they don't heal.
In the early days I found it useful while I was trying to latch him on to repeat out loud the advice I'd got from the consultant - 'head back, gape, chin in first', that kind of thing, as if I was telling someone else, so that I was really noticing what I was doing.
Also, if you haven't already, I would recommend getting your partner or a friend to sit in with you while the councillor is there. My consultant talked to us about the angle of the baby's head in relation to the breast, which was a lot of what I was getting wrong. I couldn't see what she meant, not being able to view myself from the front, but my partner could, and he then helped me get it right in those long dark hours of the night!
Very quickly as am in same position as you and no time to do anything apart from feed! What has saved my life are two products: a nipple balm called bio-fem and some amazing breast compresses made by same people which come either in a bio-fem box or (they are in process of rebranding) Multi-Mam. Boxes are white with mauve writing and I got mine in a big branch of boots.
They saved my life with dd a couple of years back and again now with newborn ds. I keep the compresses inside breast pads - they have kind of cooling gel in them and aren't impressive to look at but the results for my cracked nipples are miraculous. Not cheap at about £8.50 for 12 but so so worth it. I chAnge each side about once in 24 hrs and they have soothed everything within a day. The balm is more of a maintenance product once the compresses have got me thru a crisis. Lansinoh did square root of eff all to help me once the cracks in nips were there!!!
Good luck. And remember you aren't alone! I gave the odd bottle of formula and the relief of having a break soon got me over the (misplaced) guilt I felt. Am now back to just breast.
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