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Not sure I can carry on with breastfeeding

(102 Posts)
PollyIndia Thu 25-Oct-12 08:18:05

It is getting more not less painful to the point that I cry each time we feed. I have had a multitude of advice on the latch but never seems to help. My nipples are cracked and bleeding and getting worse. I do not want to give up, but I am at my wits end. He is only 2 weeks old. I had mastitis last 2 days which didn't help. I a pumping the right today and will give him the milk in a bottle to give the nipple a break.

Could nipple shields be worth a try? This is worse than labour!!

mawbroon Thu 25-Oct-12 12:23:31

People who talk about "small" or "mild" tongue tie are usually referring to a posterior tie. Saying that it's not needing cut when it is clearly affecting the feeding shows a lack of understanding about posterior ties.

If you get no joy from the next person you ask about it, I would consider contacting Milk Matters who EauRougue linked to. They can advise you of knowledgeable tt people in your area. Be warned that many HCPs don't have much specialist knowledge.

DS1 had undiagnosed tongue tie until he was 6yo and had multiple problems which I now know are related to the tt. If I knew then what I know now, I would have done my utmost to get the tongue tie issues resolved when he was a baby.

There is also a tongue tie support group on Facebook.

peeriebear Thu 25-Oct-12 12:25:01

We had the same problem as you- my nips looked like a dog chewed them, I was crying with pain and DS was feeding literally all day with no satisfaction. He had the whole bingo card for tongue tie symptoms but there was hardly any tie to cut. The consultant snipped it anyway at my request (they suggested leaving it) and now things are SO MUCH better.
It took a few days for DS to re learn a good latch and stretch his tongue out but now he's feeding properly, my nipples aren't bloody and gnawed and he sleeps! Good luck!

PollyIndia Thu 25-Oct-12 12:38:41

I just made e mistake of talking to my dad about tongue tie and he said why do something that could cause raf distress and that 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it '. Wow. I wonder how he would feel to have nipples that feel like they are bleeding glass 12 times a day!
Everything I read here makes me think I need t explore tis more so I will. Thank you all

parachutesarefab Thu 25-Oct-12 12:59:33

You've had loads of good advice, so just wanted to add a bit of support. I found it very painful, found the latching on very tricky, and remember being very upset about something that I thought would just happen naturally.

I think the pain stopped at 4-6 weeks, which was longer than most friends suffered for. DD1 BF until she was just over 1. Had no pain feeding DD2 and DD3 - both also BF until they were just over 1.

I wish I'd asked for more help; it sounds as if you're already doing that.
I went to a breastfeeding support group. Meeting others mothers, a lot of whom were struggling, or had struggled, was a life-saver. Hearing that other people felt it was "like having razor blades stuck into your nipple" made me feel more normal. 10 years later, I count some of them among my best friends.
I concentrated on one feed at a time. As in "we're going to manage this one, then think about what to do". If I'd even considered the rest of the day's feeds I wouldn't have been able to cope with the pain.
DD1 would wave her arms around a lot while I was trying to get her latched on - MW showed me how to swaddle her, which helped.
I would only feed from one nipple each feed, giving each side a 'break'. Sometimes 2 (or even 3) consecutive feeds from one side when the other was being very very painful. MW very reassuring - said that if I had twins they'd effectively have one side each, and my body would adjust.
I tried nipple shields, breast shells, Kamillosan, eating lots of seeds (I think they contain a vitamin good for your skin), keeping my top off, anything really.
One friend was about to stop BF, because of pain. Started gradually with one bottle of formula at bedtime. 8 months later she was still BF, with just one bottle at bedtime.

Good Luck. Hopefully you'll reach the point where BF is completely painless, and just a lovely experience. If not, and you end up on bottles, you'll know you gave it your best shot. (And there are advantages to bottles!).

beancurd Thu 25-Oct-12 13:20:28


Seriouslysleepdeprived Thu 25-Oct-12 14:17:53

Kellymom info on how much milk to give smile

McBaby Thu 25-Oct-12 14:40:48

Just to let you know had the same problems and was starting to cry through every feed! DD had her TT cut two weeks ago with very little distress to her! More for me. Two weeks on with the help of a great lactation consultant I have had a few pain free feeds on the left and still working on the right side!

peeriebear Fri 26-Oct-12 12:19:14

Oh yes I must add that though having the TT cut looks traumatic (I had DH hold him while they snipped, I cried and my milk let down) DS only cried for about five seconds! Yes it bled but I fed him straight away and he went to sleep without a murmur.

PollyIndia Fri 26-Oct-12 20:00:11

Thank you everyone. I have seen 2 experts who both say that his tongue tie is really mild and have advised me to try cranial osteopathy first. Also reynauds phenomenon has been suggested... So I am going to try a few other things first before deciding what to do about this TT. I also have some new latch positions to try. And I hired a hospital grade pump to give my nipples a chance to heal over the weekend. I do like a plan.... Even if it might not change anything and we do end up cutting the tie. Your stories have totally reassured me if we do too, so thank you smile

kayjayel Fri 26-Oct-12 20:26:50

Hi PollyIndia,

I posted about a year ago with similar issues - I was crying and swearing with every feed, each one got worse, but I was desperate to bf him (he's my 3rd, managed the other two despite similar issues with DC1).
DS2 was very windy (unlike others), clicky when feeding, terrible latch, poor tongue protrusion (I know this isn't definitely TT), and all the horrid nipple issues (lipstick shaped, cracked, bleeding etc). The feeding consultant looked horrified at them after 5 days. TT was mentioned as a possibility, but no-one seemed certain, and I looked into it here a lot. Tried nipple sheilds and just couldn't get the hang of them, plus DS couldn't get milk out of them and would get frustrated.

We did this (and it worked): I stopped feeding and pumped every 2 hrs (one gap of 3 hrs, others all 2 hrs). DS had one formula feed to start me off, then the rest was expressed milk. It was a pain, feeding with bottle, pumping, washing bottles etc, but it let me heal. I used lansinoh and moist would healing, and they were better in a few days. Pumping was much less painful. I was told you need to keep the frequency high (not the volume so much) to ensure you have enough milk (8-12 times in 24 hrs). Not fun to set the alarm to pump in the night every few hours!

When I restarted feeding (4 days break) I was quite terrified, but watched a lot of the video clips of positioning (can't remember the links, but they were from mumsnet threads - possibly milkmatters and kellymom, plus another american one), and really tried to encourage a better latch, using different positions to vary the stress on me.

I found that as he got bigger the pain reduced, as his mouth grew it was able to do a slightly better latch.

I wasn't sure whether to snip or not, and looked into it and decided if he was able to feed without actual pain to me, or problems for him (colic, distress, frustration, weight gain, wet nappies etc.) then I wouldn't bother, and monitor for problems with solids or speech later.

It was tricky and uncomfortable when I restarted, but each feed reduced in discomfort fairly quickly, and I never got cracked/bleeding nipples again, I think this was due to a better latch. By 4 - 6 weeks it was fairly easy, and pain free. Oh, and I realised my just carrying on with feeding when it hurt had led to worse cracks, so I was prepared to stop and express if I got hurt again.

I don't love bfing, but never have, but he has thrived on it, and at 1 yr he is still going strong (unfortunately mostly at night), and it has been what I wanted - convenient, cheap, a balm for all ills and not required the hassle of remembering formula/ cleaning bottles. He is thriving developmentally, is very very active, took well to solids, no problems with lumps, and seems to be making appropriate sounds for his age.

I really hope you get to heal over the weekend, and that when you restart things are easier - the videos and all the advice helps you through feeding. I completely agree with you about being worse than labour, and nipples bleeding glass is exactly it! Really, really good luck.

PollyIndia Sat 27-Oct-12 20:26:37

Thanks kayjayel. Good to hear you made it work. I have this hospital grade breast pump now so will pump tomorrow to give my nipples a break. Also, I have been helped with the latch by the breastfeeding counsellor I saw yesterday and it goes against all the received wisdom but seems to work for us ish... So I am feeling much more positive.

We have also been advised to try cranio sacral osteopathy so am giving it a go Monday. Has anyone done this?

Chickchickola Sat 27-Oct-12 21:16:00


I had awful problems getting BF established. After leaving hospital I had numerous midwives, peer supporters and bf councillors watch me feed and advise on latch but nothing felt like it was helping.

I had what my GP called severe nipple trauma and one looked like it was almost going to fall off there was such a deep crack. I developed an infection and needed antibiotics and then had thrush. I cried through numerous feeds.

I used a nipple shield to help and lanolin plus daktarin cream. I never thought it would get better but now at 6 weeks everything feels fine. She can be a bit fussy latching on and bobbing on and off but I'm pain free so hang in there, they will heal and it will get easier, around week 2 and 3 was the worst for me.

mawbroon Sat 27-Oct-12 21:17:11

Who are the experts who have said that his tongue is mild? What are they basing it on? If they are basing it on the appearance of the tongue only, then I am afraid they are not experts!!

It's not about how the tongue looks, it's about how the tongue functions.

I would be inclined to think that a "mild" tongue tie does not make you cry in pain at every feed.

I would suggest that you contact milk matters who offer a virtual service to help identify ties and to put you in touch with local knowledgable help.

Tongue tie is about so much more than breastfeeding. ds1's went undiagnosed until he was 6yo and we are now working on correcting all the problems that he has had because of it and it is a long and expensive road to have to travel. If I had known what I know about it now when he was a baby, I would have had it dealt with in a heartbeat.

EauRouge Sun 28-Oct-12 06:24:35

I knew a mother whose baby was looked at several times (once by someone experienced) and his TT was still missed- it can happen, even with an expert!- but this mum knew something was up and was so determined to get it fixed. She went private, the TT was spotted and clipped, and things got better right away.

You can find a list of private consultants here.

It's worth getting another look if things are still not right or if you're not happy with the information you've been given.

PollyIndia Sun 28-Oct-12 14:19:13

Mawbroon they said as he has a lot of movement in his tongue, we might be able to work on the latch and fix our issues. I also think I have this reynaud's syndrome thing as I have a lot of pain after I feed (and had excruciating nipples while pregnant when I ran or was cold, especially when I got back from India) so it is not just the cracked nipples. One of the experts, as I called her, said my nipples are pointing in a different direction and gave me a totally different latch than anybody else and it has really helped. So I am happy to work on this and try the osteopathy before going for the snip... Does that not seem sensible??

PollyIndia Sun 28-Oct-12 14:19:48

So they looked at the tongue function I mean...

mawbroon Sun 28-Oct-12 21:15:59

But, if the tongue does not have the complete range of movement, the best that can be achieved by changing latch technique etc will be tongue movements which are compromised, even if feeding appears to go well.

Imagine you have an injury. Sure, you might be able to walk, but you may have to limp as you walk. Compromising.

Cranial osteopathy may help, but, if the tensions in the jaw/neck/head are being caused by the tie then no amount of osteopathy will be able to release the tensions fully while the tie is still in place.

There are many consequences to untreated tongue tie some of them here

As we are finding with ds1, it is much harder to undo the consequences of untreated ties than it would have been to prevent them in the first place. If only I knew then what I know now! He is 7 and I have just put him to bed in his orthodontic headgear which he needs to adjust the bone structure in his jaw and face. Just the latest in the long list of problems he has had because of his ties. Our dentist is also an osteopath and is working on his whole body. He has a curvature in his neck, caused by tensions from the tie. This affects the bottom of the spine and his hips are out of line too.

Extremely interesting work here from Dr Palmer about the important structural "benefits" of breastfeeding. DS1 missed out on these "benefits" because of his tongue and lip ties.

Also, there is a really informative tongue tie support group on Facebook which you might find interesting.

PollyIndia Sun 28-Oct-12 21:34:10

I am not saying I won't have it cut if it needs cutting, but I do want to make sure that it does need cutting first.

The osteopath I was advised to see works with a tongue tie specialist so know exactly what to look for.

I also have this reynauds thing which is causing a lot of breastfeeding pain I have realised

kd73 Sun 28-Oct-12 21:54:50

PollyIndia, do you cover your breasts immediately after feeding with a warm flannel? it may help smile

PollyIndia Mon 29-Oct-12 04:45:27

Yes I have to kd. It is too painful otherwise!

MrsHoarder Mon 29-Oct-12 05:17:15

Who are the experts? I'm inclined to distrust anyone who recommends cranial osteopathy, especially in small babies. Getting a tongue tie snipped send like a much less scary proposition to me.

side from that, every bf is a bonus and the most important bf was the first few days of colostrum. As long as you do feed the baby something appropriate its not the end of the world if you can't continue.

You are halfway through the worst of the pain!

Hyperballad Mon 29-Oct-12 05:34:32

Hii! Another one here who understands the pain! It got worse and worse until I was crying and deep breathing before each latch on! But it all of a sudden stopped hurting literally over night. I'm hoping this happens for you.

Sorry if this is repeat advice but don't let your nipples dry out. Keep lathering the nipple cream on. Also if the baby gets enough milk from one boob each feed then stick to just one boob each feed. It'll give the other side a complete rest for 4 hours!

BoffinMum Mon 29-Oct-12 22:46:05

Mawbroon, that sounds awfully unscientific and expensive to me, if you don't mind me saying.If your DS was I'm such bad shape surely the GP should have him scanned?

BoffinMum Mon 29-Oct-12 22:47:56

BTW I have a massive tongue tie diagnosed at 41 (!) and my poor mother managed 4 weeks of bf before giving in (when I was a baby, obv). I think she deserves a medal.

mawbroon Mon 29-Oct-12 22:48:58

GPs know damn all about tongue tie. I found this out the hard way.

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