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Help needed please....

(34 Posts)
vict17 Mon 03-May-04 16:53:03

Hi, advice and encouragement needed please My ds is coming up for 5 weeks now. I'm still having trouble b/f. One nipple is very sore and cracked whilst the other one is fine. After a lot of soul searching and heartache I've decided to give up and switch to bottles. I've seen a b/f counsellor, tried kamillosan and lansinoh (great in shower btw), tried different positions, left nipple to open air and rubbed in own milk - none of whoch have healed the crack so it is always painful, even when not b/f. My questions are the following: am I being thick or is it possible to b/f from one breast and use a bottle as a replacement for the other, if I exclusively bottle feed how do I get the milk to go away, how painful is it and how do I go about it. And lastly which formula/teats/bottles should I use. I'm seeing the hv on Wednesday and will ask her all this but would like to go armed with info TIA

LIZS Mon 03-May-04 17:01:27

I *think* you could feed exclusively from one breast without the need to supplement, but you might look a bit uneven !! If you want to use bottles you'd be best switching one feed to formula at a time, leaving a few days in between to reduce engorgement. Supply will adjust accordingly.

vict17 Mon 03-May-04 17:07:51

Yes, I was wondering about looking lopsided!! So dropping one feed at a time would take a couple of weeks do you think?

karen99 Mon 03-May-04 17:11:54

Hi vict17, well done for getting this far! IMO bf isn't as easy as they say in the books and it took me and ds a good 6 weeks before things started to get better and by 12 wks we could do it in the dark quite happily. I remember wks 4-5 being the hardest.

You can carry on with just the one side, it will produce enough for your baby if it is given at every feed (you may not need a bottle top up). However, to heal one of my nips, I bf off the good one and then expressed off the sore on for about 4days. Was hard work, but the expressing gave the sore one time to heal and by the end of the week ds was back on both. I couldn't use the hand pump and went for an electric one and removed the inner shield from the funnel bit so my nipple had alot of room. There is a recent-ish thread on it here - anyone hired a breast pump

If you would like to introduce bottles then you could express from both boobs and provide a top-up bottle of expressed milk (EBM) until you feel better. There are some good threads on bottles if you glance down the list (didn't really use them myself so can't comment).

If you want to stop bf all together it can take a while for the milk to go. If you're providing 5-7 feeds at the moment it will take about 3-4 days inbetween dropping feeds. IE. you will most likely get engorged and uncomfortable if you don't drop feeds atleast a few days apart. I can find you a thread on this if this is the route you want to take.

You're doing so well you may want to think about trying to heal the nipple first before thinking of jacking the whole thing in. Those first weeks are THE HARDEST and it's so easy and comfortable once you *both* get the hang of it. HTH and good luck with whatever you decide!

vict17 Mon 03-May-04 17:19:14

Thanks Karen99 - can you find my the thread on engorgement in case I need it later on. I feel really emotional about stopping but can't carry on with this pain. I tried hand expressing to no avail so far. Tried nipple shield too but nipple still cracked

karen99 Mon 03-May-04 18:44:20

I really can't recommend trying to express with an electric pump enough. The right one can be very comfortable and it will give you the relief you need to heal, plus ensuring you keep up your supply in that breast. Just incase you couldn't find the link I bought mine rather than hired in the end from here . I originally got one from 'content baby' but it was really old and stunk of smoke. This one is clean and easy and has two knob adjustments on it to get the pumping action exactly right for you.

Will look out that engorgement one for you.

karen99 Mon 03-May-04 19:00:15

This one we talked to Evanmom who wanted to drop feeding quickly so a few of us advised on how to drop over a few weeks. here

This one talks about Colette possbily having to take a break from bf and not knowing whether she has to give up or can she pick it up again after a few days break. here

This one was my recent ordeal giving up for good - here

Hope they help. It's amazing what a few days break does to heal your nipple. My advice is to try a pump and if after two days you see no improvement to perhaps drop a significant number of feeds on that boob and give it a break. If you drop too many too quickly you might feel very uncomfortable and possibly open the opportunity for masitis to develop, so do it slowly.

karen99 Mon 03-May-04 19:02:49

oh and btw (just to take up more room on this thread!) I know how emotional you must be feeling right now. I too 'almost gave up' a number of times those first few weeks and looking back I'm so glad I didn't. It was almost as hard as the labour (!) but the rewards, for me, were so worth it. Good luck and write back tomorrow

JeniN Mon 03-May-04 19:12:01

Hey, Vict17 all sounds helpful advice - I decided to feed only from one side when I kept getting sore on the other actual fact soon went back to using both and never looked back. I found the first few months really hard work, but then i kept going for ages and it was easy peasy. Can't recommend the NCT breastfeeding counsellors enough...can you give them a ring? WHATEVER you end up doing, exclusive feeding, mixed feeding or bottle you've done great bfeeding for these early weeks, but if you can cope with keeping on for a while longer and trying the different advice, then all good. Take care x

frogs Mon 03-May-04 20:20:52

Hi vict! I had really sore nipples, although much earlier than you, at about 5 days. I did exactly what Jenn suggested, and fed on just one side for all the feeds for a day or two while the sore one healed. I had to feed more often, but the baby didn't starve or anything!

Of course then nipple 2 got sore, so I had to feed off the other breast for a day or so after that. I found once the nipples had healed up after the soreness, it didn't come back.

Alternatively you probably could just replace the b/feeds from one side with formula to rest the sore nipple if you didn't want a feedfest on the nonsore side, but personally I didn't really want to introduce formula. I would have thought you could go back to bfeeding after using the formula, if that's what you wanted to do. I was always amazed how adaptable the milk supply was to different feeding patterns.


vict17 Mon 03-May-04 20:45:25

Thanks for all the excellent advice. I think I will try and rest the sore nipple and try the avent pump again perhaps or hand expressing. Frogs - when you just fed from one side did the other breast get really painful in a day or two? That's what I'm worrying about too. I really would love to carry on b/f-ing if I can just get this nipple fixed. Is the wound likely to reopen as soon as ds latches on again though. he b/f counsellor I saw said he must be latched on incorrently but he does exactly the same on the other side and that's fine, nose to nipple, tum to mum etc and other positions still hurt like hell....

hercules Mon 03-May-04 20:50:39

I battled with trying to get dd to feed from the left side and gave up this side during the day for a couple of months now.DD is now nearly 7 months and has always fed better and prefered the right side. We managed fine although I did persevere at the early stage to feed equally. I still feed her at night on the left if she wants to although shes stopped feeding at night the last few days so I expect that soon my left will stop producing. Doesnt matter though because the right has always made up for it.
I exclusively bf her to 6 months and 75% was on one boob.

frogs Mon 03-May-04 21:35:06

Yeah, if you just feed from one side, the other boob will get engorged. Makes my toes curl just thinking about it. But you can hand-express to relieve the worst of it -- I seem to remember spending a lot of time lying in the bath, sort of massaging down the breast to get the milk flowing. Also hot flannels and cabbage leaves.

I never really got on with pumps, but I'm sure that would work as well, though it might put a bit more stress on the nipple. Probably be more efficient at extracting milk, though, and keep up your supply. Thinking about it, you could of course feed the expressed milk via a bottle, also giving your nipples a rest.

I found the wound didn't reopen once it had healed -- after one intial bout of agony it was fine. The thing that really helps is to keep varying the bfeeding position, so that it isn't the exact same spot being hammered between the baby's tongue and palate each time. I fed lying down a lot (baby on its side facing you) and even did the football hold in desparation. If you type 'breastfeeding positions' into Google, you can find lots of info and photos.

vict17 Tue 04-May-04 06:36:30

I ended up phoning hv last night as couldn't wait til tomorrow. Have decided to do mixed feeding for a couple of weeks until milk supply has gone. Decided not to go down the expressing route as tried it at the weekend and it was just as painful. Tried the different positions too Frogs to no avail unfortunately. Which feed should I substitute first? Is there some kind of timetable I can follow for reducing breast feeds - I feed 2 hourly in the day and 3 hourly at night mostly. I don't mean GF style timetable

gloworm Tue 04-May-04 09:17:43

vict-I also fed on one side only for about last 2 months of breast feeding, was feeding in bed a lot and so was always more convenient to use lest breast (I had a section and found feeding in bed easier, also less distractions for a nosy baby!).
I had no problems...except looked a bit wierd, one big boob and one small boob

I started formula feed as last feed before bedtime. formula takes longer to digest and so some babies will sleep longer, mine did.

vict17 Tue 04-May-04 10:42:59

Okay another bottle feeding question! If you make up say 8 bottles and put them in the fridge to use in a 24 hour period can you take a bottle out of the fridge for an hour before feeding to get it up to room temperature? Also my hv advised starting ds on a bottle every other feed, which is what we're going to start today (scary!), shall I keep feeding on the cracked side, and for how long shall I keep going every other feed? Can't the doctor just give me something to make the milk go away!!!! I feel much happier already now that I know we've decided to bottle feed although I know there are lots more problems to come....

mummytojames Tue 04-May-04 10:51:08

the doctor used to be able to give you tablets to dry up your milk notsure about now though you would have to cheack on that
instead of takking it out a hour before make up a jug of kettle boiling hot warter and stand it in there for about ten minuites it will bring it up to room temp quicker and giving it less time for bacteria to grow not sure what else to advise because if at home i make mine up fresh when making a cuppa put extra water in the kettle then when it comes to feeding time the water should have cooled or i put it in a jug of ice water to cool and makes the bottle up there and then mothercare does handy travel dispensers so i make up the three dispenser and just add the formula when needed with no worry about having to mesure it

tiktok Tue 04-May-04 10:56:06

Vict - babies can have milk straight from the fridge...try it and see if your baby is ok with it

Doctors no longer (in the UK, anyway) give anything to make the milk go away - nature does this reaosonably well, anyway, and the other reason is the medication (bromocriptine) has been associated with serious (and I mean, serious) side effects, so although it is sometimes used in an emergency (if someone has a stillbirth or neonatal death and is distraught at the very fact of having milk and can't bear it) it's no longer used just to speed up normal milk disappearence.

Feeding one sided is possible and many women do this - gradually letting the supply on the 'bad' side dwindle. The body is more than capable of producing enough milk for one baby from one breast - that's the equivalent of feeding twins

However, if you do decide to go for bottles, you will probably find it takes one to two weeks at your stage to switch totally....and good luck, whatever you do

vict17 Tue 04-May-04 12:28:51

Thanks Tiktok. I'm in a complete quandary now. Phoned hv earlier this morning and she said to give bottles at alternate feeds and to see gp in case I've got an infection in right nipple. Just got back from gp who said I do have an infection, prescribed an anitbiotic cream (which I forgot to ask if I can b/f with) and said just to stop dead now, take painkillers like nurofen and it should take a few days to go. I'm tempted to just stop now, we're going out in a mo to get formula, but am scared about the pain, and how ds will react. Why do they give different advice

frogs Tue 04-May-04 12:39:38

5{le give different advice because in most cases there is no one answer that works for everybody. It can be confusing, but presumably better than assuming everyone is the same...

If you get painful engorgement, expressing by hand, esp. in the bath or shower will help to relieve the pressure without stimulating the breasts to make lots of extra milk.

Hope it goes well.

vict17 Tue 04-May-04 12:46:41

Thanks frogs - gp advised against expressing but I guess a little shoulkd be okay?

frogs Tue 04-May-04 12:52:40

Yes, in the bath or shower just massage breast and let the milk run out, rather than applying systematic pressure behind the nipple as you would if you were expressing the milk to feed to the baby. This should relieve the discomfort (a bit) but not stimulate lots of extra production.

Sorry you're having a rough time...

tiktok Tue 04-May-04 13:53:31

Stopping dead is an option - you do risk mastitis, though. I don't know the stats for it, sorry, but it is a real possibility. It is very likely to be uncomfortable, if not painful.

He says no expressing because that stimulates more milk.

But expressing a little does relieve the discomfort.

There is no right and wrong way for this, and no one should be dogmatic, but most women will find gradually stopping is more comfortable and they are certainly less likely to develop mastitis.

The doc and the HV should get together

vict17 Tue 04-May-04 20:21:53

Well we've bit the bullet and ds has had 2 bottle feeds - happily sleeping now so fingers crossed. Tiktok - I asked the gp if I was lilely to get mastitis and he said you only get that with an infection? But he could be wrong again Am taking paracetemol and ibrufen (sp?) Feel so relieved to have made a decision but how hard was it to give ds his last feed. And am on my own for rest of week as dh back at work. Sure to be posting lots of questions I'm afraid

tiktok Tue 04-May-04 23:25:24

Mastitis happens when milk stays in the breast for a long time. This can lead to inflammation in the breast - the milk leaks out into the surrounding breast tissue and produces an inflamed response....and there may or may not be an infection as well. Your GP does not understand it, I don't think - but while there is a lot we don't fully understand about mastitis, he sounds as if he actively misunderstands. Check mastitis on the web.

Hope things go ok.

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