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Feeling down about painful BF - can anyone offer encouragement?

(14 Posts)
Beans1977 Tue 23-Oct-12 09:41:11

Hi everyone. I'm feeling down about BF today and in need of a bit of encouragement... I've been EBF my DC#1 who is 5 weeks old. She's doing really well, enjoying feeding, putting on weight, lots of wet and poopy nappies, and sleeps well and is alert and engaged when awake.

But I am really struggling... I started with a bad latch which wasn't picked up until both my nipples had split. While this was corrected a few weeks ago by a BF counsellor, it still hurts when I begin to feed her due to the existing damage and the fact both nipples were split. No new damage is being done and the BF counsellor is optimistic it will get easier for me. Nipple shields aren't appropriate for the kind of damage I have and expressing is just as painful due to the nature of the damage as the pump pulls on the split bit. Some feeds are ok and the pain subsides after 5-10 seconds, but some are a struggle getting the right latch and taking her on and off again can be quite agonising. I don't want to give up on BF, but I feel a bit of a failure for letting it get to me like this as a few seconds pain isn't much to bear for my little girl... but it is on my mind a lot.

I guess I'm just hoping to hear stories of people who've persevered in similar situations and the pain became less and their nipples recovered/toughened up, and they've gone on to find BF works well for them...?

Startailoforangeandgold Tue 23-Oct-12 09:55:04

Yes, your nipples do heal and you will forget how much it hurts.
You won't believe me today or tomorrow.
You won't believe me when I say you can feed a baby with razor sharp new teeth and not feel a thing.
Suddenly, one day you'll realise that BFing is easy and painless.
That's how nature has us remember it, that's why we go on to have more DCs or wax lyrical to other Mothers.

It's not how it is in the early days.

Sossiges Tue 23-Oct-12 09:57:17

Hi Beans, not exactly the same situation - only had sore nipples for a couple of weeks due to poor latch in first days, whacked some Lansinoh on them and they got better (I did cry at every feed for a few days though). Nipples do heal and toughen up. I feel for you though, I'm pregnant and bf and it's very painful sometimes, I got bitten the other night and it was excruciating, so that's probably more like the pain you're having! Counting to ten helps as most of the pain's gone by then, or digging nails into palms is a (painful) distraction. Bf still works fine, though. You're very brave, its normal that any pain gets you down.

Beans1977 Tue 23-Oct-12 10:09:10

Thanks ladies, I appreciate the encouragement. Have been ok last few days but feel a bit weedy and low today. Am going to try and 'man up' a bit and keep telling myself it will get better... Thanks for the support xx

chocoluvva Tue 23-Oct-12 10:16:00

You're doing really well Beans - plenty of mums give up for this very reason.
It will get completely better - I speak from experience - it' really gets to you when things go on for far longer than you think they will.
I PROMISE it'll get better soon.
Exhale while your baby is beginning a feed. And if anyone dares to tell you they've BF with no difficulty or discomfort please feel free to beat them about the head with a large box of breast pads until they admit to forgetting/lying/ being exceptionally lucky!

McBaby Tue 23-Oct-12 11:16:38

I have been persevering for ten weeks but still agony. Kept being told latch was fine at numerous breast feeding drop ins and doctor kept treating me for thrush.

Eventually diagnosed with tongue tie which had caused the damage and two weeks after TT cut pain is gradually lessening as she learns to suck and I move away from breast feeding latch I had adapted to naturally to ensure she got milk and I was a less sore as possible!

I would suggest getting a much help as you can and getting checked for TT just in case.

Asmywhimsytakesme Tue 23-Oct-12 11:18:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Asmywhimsytakesme Tue 23-Oct-12 11:18:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ElphabaTheGreen Tue 23-Oct-12 11:59:50

I had eight weeks of pain until it finally got easier. Honestly, you will get through it, it will get better, and you will be pretty darn proud of yourself for doing such an amazing thing for your child. It is also SO MUCH EASIER in the long run than p*ssing about with bottles and formula that the early investment of pain becomes totally worth it.

biscuit brew These are your best friends while BFing. smile

ICompletelyKnowAboutGuineaPigs Tue 23-Oct-12 12:12:55

When I had DS he immediately BF like a dream and I didn't have a spot of bother or pain (apart from usual early days discomfort until your nipples 'toughen'). I expected the same with DD 3 years later and it was a nightmare!! I was in pain for weeks due to a poor latch - it did START to ease when we got that sorted, but like you I had one nipple that was split and remained painful for what seemed like ages.

I started setting myself mini targets like 'I'll see if I can get to 2 months...', then it was 6 months, then 'I'll stop at 9 months' then I said I'd wait until a year. By this time of course it wasn't painful but I had an idea about when it was the 'right' time to finish. In the end I found BFing so lovely and also helpful (DD was really ill and ended up in hospital just after her first birthday and although she wouldn't eat/drink BFing stopped her getting dehydrated) that I decided to continue until she was ready to stop. She decided just after her second birthday that she was ready to stop - sad day for me! She has currently 'changed her mind' now I'm pregnant with DC3 and keeps asking for 'milkies' grin

It will get better and you're doing a fabulous job. I can't recommend BFing support groups enough - not just for professional advice but for experience sharing with other mums. This was such a lifeline for me. Good luck.

Beans1977 Tue 23-Oct-12 12:53:29

Oh ladies thank you so much for replying - these messages really encourage me. I am going back to the bf counsellor and her support group on Thursday and I will ask her again about TT. She didn't think DD had it but I would like her to check properly. Thanks for the advice about getting through it one feed/week at a time - that sounds really sensible, and I definitely like the idea of a treat for each week I manage! Will suggest that to DH ;-)
I do appreciate the support - have gone from feeling like a useless failure this morning, so someone thinking I can do this, I just need to be strong and persevere, so thanks for the hand holding while I was wobbling xx

YorkshireRose12 Tue 23-Oct-12 14:04:18

Hi Beans, have a HTH from me too. I could have written your post when my DS was 5 weeks old (he's nearly 11 weeks now). I too had cracked, bleeding nipples which in my case were caused by a tongue tie so definitely get your DD checked.

If tongue tie isn't an issue however, you should start seeing improvements now that your latch has been corrected. A few things that I would recommend... I used a breast shield on the worst damaged nipple. It stopped my bra and breast pads rubbing against the damaged nipple (which by this point was like a large open sore rather than 'just' a crack) and really gave it a chance to heal. This was like a wonder cure for me as the nipple just hadn't been healing at all before. Whilst the pain didn't immediately go away it did become so much more bearable and 4 weeks after I first started using the shield there is only a tiny speck of damage left and it's hardly painful at all.

I have also used Lansinoh to soothe the nipples and promote moist wound healing. Just remember that whilst it's safe for baby to ingest, you need to wipe it off your areola before feeding as otherwise it could cause your DD's latch to slip.

Finally, remember you can also use both Paracetamol and ibuprofen when BFing. These can take the edge off the pain and make feeding more bearable while you wait for the damage to heal. I used them for a few weeks, at times I thought I'd never be able to fees without them but I haven't had to take any for a couple of weeks now.

Hopefully these tips will help, and hopefully this and other posts will help you to see that there's light at the end of the tunnel. It won't happen overnight but gradually it WILL get better.

Congrats for getting this far by the way, I know how much effort and how many tears that must have taken!

Asmywhimsytakesme Tue 23-Oct-12 14:39:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NorthernBabe Wed 24-Oct-12 21:19:38

Hi Beans,

Just wanted to say it gets easier. I had very painful bf for a while and Lanisol was my saviour - its quite pricey about £8 a tube but will protect you & will help you heal and then all will be fine and you wont need it. I bf for a year in the end with no pain once all was healed x

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