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1 week old LO and finding breast feeding agonising

(40 Posts)
Chickchickola Fri 21-Sep-12 20:55:48


I've been in tears all evening at the thought of my next feed. My LO is a week old and I just want to know that it does get easier.

I find it really hard to get her to latch, when she does I often cry out in agony and all day I've been in tears every time I've fed her. I saw my MW a few days ago and she helped me with position that wasnt too uncomfortable but I've been unable to replicate it at home.

After she has finished my boobs are AGONY for about an hour afterwards with a burning sensation over the whole breast. I don't have any white spots or can't see any red patches which could be mastitis.

My nipples are sore and when she initially latches I want to scream and the pain doesn't subside. I tried to see my doctor today but couldn't get an appointment until Tuesday. My CMW is due to come on Sunday but I don't know how I can get through two more nights.

She is only feeding 7 or 8 times in a 24 hour period which I worry isn't enough.

I just feel so miserable and exhausted.

LadyWidmerpool Fri 21-Sep-12 21:02:45

You poor thing. You need rl support. Have you tried the BF helplines? They might be able to arrange for someone to come and see you sooner than the CMW. I had similar problems but things got much easier after a while. Have you tried biological nurturing? There's lots of info online but basically you lean back and get comfy then put baby on your chest and let her have a nuzzle. There's a good chance she could latch on herself instinctively. I never had much luck at latching my baby on but when we started doing this things got much easier and the pain went. Do try the helplines, pain is horrible sad. Congratulations on your baby!

PoppyWearer Fri 21-Sep-12 21:05:35

Are your nipples inverted? That could be a reason for the pain. Try nipple shields? You can get the Medela ones in Boots and they're good. But if youdo have inverted nipples, it does really hurt (I know!) but breastfeeding is still possible.

Alternatively, does your baby have tongue tie?

Congrats BTW x

RancerDoo Fri 21-Sep-12 21:15:19

Oh you poor thing.

Feeding 7 or 8 times in 24 hours is plenty i think (and as much as my dd1 fed). If you're putting her to the beast when she cries snd letting her feed if she wants she will get enough.

I wonder if you might have thrush in your breasts. I am no expert but with my dd2 i screamed when she ltched on (after a year of pain free bf with my first child) and that was the culprit.

RancerDoo Fri 21-Sep-12 21:15:46

Beast? Oh dear. I mean breast, obvs.

whenwill Fri 21-Sep-12 22:37:47

Hi, sad
I assume you have had this problem since the start.
Tongue tie seems to have been on MN a lot recently. Can you get someone to check for it? be warned it is very often missed, as there are different 'types', so get a second (and third etc.) opinion.

I would probably try expressing in your circumstance. your LO only needs a little at each feed so hopefully shouldn't take to long, even if just for a couple of feeds so you have some recovery time. You could try expressing in the morning when you have more milk. Once problems sorted you can go back to feeding normally.

Please call someone asap and be as persistent as you need to be; this is about the well being and happiness of both of you and they mustn't put you off.

stargirl1701 Fri 21-Sep-12 22:46:56

My LO is 2 weeks old. I know what you're going through. I would highly recommend breast shields. I found the best ones to be the Medela type. I did buy and try them all!!! I am only now getting good latches - what a difference! It takes time and practise I'm afraid. Use paracetamol and ibruprofen. You will get through it!

I also bought a Medela breast pump and expressed some milk. We then used a syringe (the Nurofen one) to put some milk in her mouth before a feed as she was frantic. This def helped. She had a calmer latch.

This too shall pass.

LakeFlyPie Fri 21-Sep-12 22:49:56

Congratulations on DD chick

Sorry you're in pain with bf, I had the same issue with DS1 (and to a lesser extent with DS2), recall it was worse pain than the actual birth and I got deep burning pain and it referred through to my shoulder blades sad

Are you / an you take painkillers? I took paracetamol and ibuprofen and found they took the edge off and made me dread the bf a bit less.

I agree seeing a bf expert in RL ASAP would be really helpful to check latch etc.
My local La Leche person was great over the phone and I found an amazing NCT volunteer who told me to come to her house the same afternoon so she could check latch and show me different positions etc.

I was convinced that I had thrush with DS1 but in retrospect think I had slightly cracked nipples which I didn't get on top of soon enough with Lansinoh and it was just a case of it got better when DS's mouth got a bit bigger and he could get a better mouthful.

Really hope you get the help you need to keep going, I'm so glad I persevered, bf is a magical thing when it's going well (I'm 4 yrs on now and still bf!)

Chickchickola Fri 21-Sep-12 23:00:09

Thanks for the encouragement. I have an NCT councillor hopefully coming to see me tomorrow. When I was at the MW a few days ago she was able to get me in a position which was comfy and my LO latched in right away but I just can't do it at home by myself. She did say what a good baby she was for feeding and I know she isn't tounge tied as when I was in hospital or at the MW she feeds really well.

In the last 24 hours we've managed only 6 feeds but they have been 40 - 50 mins each - with tears and toe curling from me. I know she isn't latching properly for them but she seems to be getting something.

I really want this to work and have no idea where to start with formula. It's really important to me to BF but I don't know how I can bear this pain much longer - I feel sick just thinking about the next feed sad

ProudNeathGirl Fri 21-Sep-12 23:12:15

I went through exactly the same thing. I dreaded DD waking up and cried whenever she did. I found there was an awful lot of expectation that I would carry in through the pain, and felt an awful lot if pressure to carry on.
At about 3 weeks my DH took the matter into his own hands and went out and bought bottles, steriliser and formula without telling me.
I was so relieved that someone had made this decision for me I cried (again!).
DD and I never looked back and she's now a healthy 17 year old.
BTW when she was 6 weeks I ended up in hospital - had an abscess in breast that had to be drained under GA.

stargirl1701 Fri 21-Sep-12 23:15:32

Chin up chick. I got through it by thinking just one more night. When day came I felt better (granted till the next night). I still have moments when I feel like giving up - this morning for example. It will get better. Just get through tonight then send DH to get breast shields and a pump tomorrow. It will get better. You can do this. It is fucking hard. Use Lansinoh after every feed. Leave your breasts open to the air as much as possible. Just till morning. Just till morning. Put something on TV to distract yourself. Take your painkillers. Hell, have a glass of wine (just a small one grin). You can get through tonight.

NotQuiteCockney Sat 22-Sep-12 07:57:58

There are lots of videos online about improving latch - how were you holding your baby, when it was comfortable?

Sometimes, just shifting the baby, slightly in the direction of her feet (like a mm or two) can make a big difference.

whenwill Sat 22-Sep-12 20:15:17

of course it could be latch. its the first thing to check but just for info i fed dd for 7 months without pain before i found out tongue tied. had other probs though

MsSampson Sat 22-Sep-12 20:58:47

My DD is now 9 weeks old, and my DP had to remind me the other day how hard feeding was for me at the beginning. I had genuinely forgotten (along with labour and aftermath...) how bad it was. But I can now remember toe curling pain, and crying, and not knowing if I could carry on. I would particularly dread going to bed as the night feeds seemed the worst. Anyway, it was all down to latch for her. I went to a few local BF support groups, and it was one particular MW who I found really helpful, and it was just the way she showed me seemed to click, and I could do it by myself (like you, I had also had another MW who had made it work, but then couldn't replicate the good latch myself). I went to three groups in 4 days I think, when DD was 5 days old, and my nipples were a mess. I had to rest one completely for 24 hours, and like stargirl says I had the nipple open to the air as much as possible during that time (I pumped off that one for the time). Anyway, it can and will get better, honestly, and hopefully in a few weeks time you won't remember either.
I remember also worrying she wasn't feeding enough, so if she latched on in any way at all I would put up with it thinking it was better than nothing. She fed about the same number of times as you mention, and is now a 13lb porker, so I wouldn't worry about that. However - don't worry is about the most useless thing to say to a new mum I know!
Anyway, good luck, and hope it all gets better for you very quickly...

AbigailAdams Sat 22-Sep-12 21:08:14

I had 4 midwives tell me DS2 didn't have tongue-tie. He did. He was snipped at 2 weeks, 48 hrs later had my first pain free feed. Bliss.

It was the National Breastfeeding helpline who persuaded me to see a tongue-tie specialist but they also gave me other great advice (I had tried nipple shields and DS2 had completely stopped latching on). Nipple shields didn't help btw.

But the pain all over your breast could be something different. Seriously, ring a couple of helplines. They are lovely.

Good luck and congratulations on your DD. 99% of bf problems can be sorted so try not to lose heart. I know how painful it can be.

GEM33 Sat 22-Sep-12 21:18:07

hey chick, I just want you to know, the way you have described the pain, is EXACTLY what I went through. I had to get my partner to hold my shoulders down as dd latched on and I had to put a wooden spoon in my mouth to bite on. I found that taking paracetemol helped with the pain enormously.
you say you have checked for tongue tie. I would persevere with the latch. I too got shown a position for feeding and found it was nigh on impossible to do again without that professional by my side. Keep asking for help from mid wife/go see lactation consultant. Also, it is great to meet up with other bfing mums.
Have you checked symptoms for thrush on your nipples/deep ductal thrush can give toe curling pain -you can get treatment from the docs but you can also help things along with home remedies too.
Nipple shields can be helpful to. I ised to put one on just to get latched on and then the pain would subside a bit to take it off and carry on feeding.
Well done you for carrying on. lots of sympathy here xxx

YorkshireRose12 Sat 22-Sep-12 22:28:44

So sorry you're going through this OP. A few pointers from me and also a HTH - I have been through the agonizing pain, the crying out when your LO latches on, the sobbing throughout feeds, dreading the next feed and the general misery of it all. If you seek and get the right help though it can improve - I am coming through the other side and whilst there were so many times I wanted to give up, like you I was determined to BF and am now so glad I persevered.
1 - Latch. You know doubt know by now exactly how your LO should
be latching on, but putting this into practice can be a different matter!
You need a trained BFing specialist to observe the feed from start to
end. Have you seen the NCT counsellor and did they help? If so,
then great. If not, keep trying - your hospital may have infant feeding
advisors/co-ordinators, or if you can find a local BFing cafe they will
usually have a BFing counsellor present. These people are experts -
IME much more so than MWs/HVs (who generally do a fantastic job
but you need a BFing specialist) - and they can see exactly where the
latch might be going wrong which, with the best will in the world, you won't notice as you focus on simply getting your DD latched on somehow.

I also struggled with latch because I couldn't manoeuvre my DS very well. Dr Jack Newman's leaflet called 'When Latching' really helped with this - you should be able to find it on Google.

2. Pain - Use Lansinoh to soothe your nipples after feeds. If you have any cracks, try and stuff the Lansinoh down into the crack to soothe and keep the whole thing moist. If you have an open wound on the surface of your nipple you can also apply a little Lansinoh directly onto it before feeding to protect it during the feed. Just make sure you wipe any on your areola off before feeding as it could cause your LO's latch to slip during the feed which you don't want. I'm also using the Multi Mam nipple compresses which are soothing and helping with the healing.

Use painkillers - I too am taking Paracetamol and ibuprofen until my nipple heals fully. It takes the edge off the pain and gives me much
more confidence to feed which really helps.

3. Pain after feeding - A deep burning pain that continues AFTER feeding has finished could well be a symptom of thrush. See your GP
ASAP about this. There is a good BfN leaflet on nipple/breast thrush - Google it - read and take to your GP with you as I've heard some can not know much about nipple/breast thrush. If you're struggling to get a GP appt urgently, ring and tell them you're BFing a tiny baby and that the issue you need to see the Dr about is jeopardising you continuing
BFing. IME that puts a rocket up them.

4. Tongue tie - You say your DD has been checked and you don't
think she has it because she can feed pain free sometimes. If the pain feeding is continuing please get her checked again. I was told my DS's TT would have no impact on feeding - a second opinion revealed it was impacting quite seriously and is the reason I still have a very slowly healing badly damaged nipple, so HCPs can get it wrong. Even with his TT I found I could - very occasionally - feed with a lot less pain than usual. Interestingly, this tended to be when other people eg MW or HV were there, I don't know whether them being there sort of distracted me a bit so the pain didn't feel as bad IYSWIM. Check out my thread 'Tongue tie advice please' from a couple of weeks ago -
some really good advice on there and links to symptoms of poss TT which you may find helpful.

I hope this and all the other advice on here helps. So many of us have been where you are now so can fully sympathize with you, but it does get better even if it takes a little time. Come back and let us know how you're doing - there will always be a friendly ear or two here for you, and good luck!

Chickchickola Sun 23-Sep-12 08:38:21

Thanks for all the advice and support.

Didn't get to see the breast feeding councillor (she just went through things on the phone) but I called the hospital and they arranged another MW to come out yesterday.

She said I had very severe nipple trauma and my latch position was pretty poor. She helped me with a new position and once she is latched it isn't painful (first few sucks are toe curling but it eases). She also said it looks like I had thrush so arranged for me to see somebody at the hospital who agreed and prescribed me a cream.

How quickly does thrush clear up? My breasts feel like they are on fire all the time!

I'm still not confident with position, I really want to do this though!

YorkshireRose12 Sun 23-Sep-12 15:06:15

Hi chick, glad you got to see someone and they have been able to give you some help.

My thrush cleared up within about a week, I'm afraid I don't know if this is normal or shorter or longer than normal. I do know it can be a persistent little b*gger though so make sure you take the full course of medication even if your symptoms seem to clear up. Have you got the Daktarin cream? My doc said it was fine to use after every feed - not just the 3 times a day it said on the label, so maybe this helped to clear it up quickly too. Is your DD also being treated? It is really important that she is, even if she's not showing any symptoms it may still be in her mouth and even if you get it cleared up on you she could then immediately pass it back to you so you need to kill it off in her as well. If she isn't, go to your GP this week and tell them you're being treated and you should be able to also get a prescription for her - it's a gel you put into her mouth or a liquid you squirt in before feeding. Also make sure you change your breast pads regularly - after every feed - and wash your bras, underwear, towels and DD's clothes on really hot washes. If anything else goes into her mouth eg bottle teats if you're expressing or dummies these need to be sterilized after every use. Basically the idea is to kill off all possible sources of the

Re the latch, this may take time and practise. Get as much help as
you can with trained people watching your feeds for feedback, it's all about experimenting with different techniques until you find the one that works for you. Sadly there probably won't be an overnight miracle, but you will find with perseverance and hard work that the feeds gradually get less painful until you're having more 'good' feeds than 'bad' ones. Use the Lansinoh and painkillers while you need to, they really do make a difference and make it more bearable. I'm 6 weeks in and while latching on on the side that's still badly damaged and only healing slowly still hurts, the rest of the feed is generally pretty comfortable and I have no pain at all on the other side. I never thought I'd be saying that 2 weeks ago, so I'm living proof that it WILL get better!

stinkpit Sun 23-Sep-12 15:06:19

I vividly remember the first few weeks of BFing my LO - you have all my sympathies. However, things to get much, much better and before you know it the pain and worry will be long past......just take as much advice as you can get ....I found Mumsnet, kellymom and La Lache League had the best all round advice, keep persevering if you can, I promise it does get better smile

Seriouslysleepdeprived Sun 23-Sep-12 18:50:45

My thrush took about a week or so to go too. Air your nips as much as possible, don't use breast pads as they are a breeding ground for thrush. Boil wash anything milky (bra, muslins, etc), I dried my nipples with kitchen roll when I got out the shower to prevent cross contamination.

Le leche have some good info here it was horrible & I hated treating DS but it was so much better once it cleared smilesmile

AbigailAdams Sun 23-Sep-12 22:00:42

I have had thrush for bloody months but I am shit at applying the cream and oral gel so really do as the others say. However the pain started to go within 24hrs of applying the cream/gel. Make sure they give you something for you LO too. You need to treat both of you.

Really glad you are getting somewhere OP with the latch/bfing.

Chickchickola Mon 24-Sep-12 10:02:33

I'm so close to giving it all up today. I want to be enjoying my gorgeous new daughter but instead I'm just tearful and anxious about the next feed all the time.

I seem to have an okay session followed by an agonising one and I can only manage with a mountain of pillows.

Also how will I ever do this in a public place? I just feel that the decision to try and EBF for the first 6 months is going to leave me housebound.

I'd have no idea where to start with expressing (how to store, how much to feed, how to even do it). I certainly couldn't manage a "discreet" breast feed in public - the need for the pillow mountain and the tears when she first latches would draw the same amount of attention as just stripping off and parading around Starbucks topless.

Feel very miserable about things.

stargirl1701 Mon 24-Sep-12 13:34:01

Hey chick. I'm here with you. Not feeling great about bf today myself. After ending up in hospital for a week (LO only 2 weeks old) we had to mix feed so I'm feeling sad about that. I worry that my milk us going to dry up now.

You need a decent pump to express. I sent my DH for a Medela swing - Boots £129. We tried cup feeding but found a syringe more helpful. The milk is stored in the back of the fridge in Tupperware pots. It keeps for 3 days.

Bf is the hardest thing I ever tried. I am up and down emotionally with it. I'm with you. I haven't even contemplated bf in public yet. Just surviving right now.

MatriarchalDreams Mon 24-Sep-12 14:03:08

I felt exactly the same as you in the first couple of weeks, my baby was so sleepy and it took ages to wake her up and latch her on and it really bloody hurt, the let-down was agonising, I had a big chunk out of one of my nipples and was still struggling with the latch. I too needed a mountain of pillows and couldn't imagine feeding anywhere but at home or in front of anyone but my husband. However, I fed DD in public for the first time when she was 3.5 weeks and haven't looked back, she's now 10.5 weeks and I feed her anywhere and everywhere, hardly have to think about the latch and it is painless. You WILL get there, it WILL get easier, these first few weeks are so, so hard but it's so worth it, keep persevering. Try to get someone else out to help you with your latch again, that's the thing I regret most, not getting enough help, I'm sure if I'd got more help it would have got better sooner, although I think the painful let down often happens for a good few weeks but that's just at the start of the feed. Hope things start going better for you soon.

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