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Struggling with breastfeeding - painful.

(40 Posts)
Skiptonlass Sun 01-Nov-15 09:58:04

I'm struggling with bf ing. Basically, it hurts. Apparently the latch is perfect, there's no tongue tie, he sucks and swallows well.

For the first few days my nipples were very tender - they are not, and never have been cracked or bleeding, but they hurt. Lots. The whole breast hurts, the skin is very sensitive and the internal tissue feels bruised. No sign of infection or mastitis. The letdown hurts like hell, although this has gone from the first thirty seconds to about ten.

I'm at a loss. Why does it hurt so much? I really want to keep breastfeeding, I don't want to faff around with bottles, but it's really sore and it's making me feel really down. There have been several days where I've felt just desperate to get him off me sad

Ds is four weeks old and born two weeks early by cs...he's gaining weight nicely - Nappies being filled regularly and he's chubbing up a bit (he was a skinny wee thing at birth!)

Any ideas?

SweepTheHalls Sun 01-Nov-15 10:03:15

Honestly? For the first monthish it did just hurt. Lots of Lansinoh after every feed. Counting down from 10 from each latch helped too as it almost always stopped hurting by the end of the count down. Good luck flowers

Something the midwives don't really tell you, is that it often does hurt. Sometimes for quite a few weeks, before the tender skin gets used to it. Also the baby is still very new & just sucking quite hard (at least mine did - I had bruises a couple of times) as they need to get the technique right. By 4 weeks they've probably not got there yet. I found it got a lot better around 6-7 weeks. I remember the feeling of being desperate for each feed to finish, it's horrible to hate doing something you're "supposed" to love.

Have you had an proper feeding nurse check his position while feeding? If he's not taking enough breast tissue into his mouth, he'll be pulling on the sensitive tips, which is not how it's supposed to work.

If you're determined to BF, and you've had his latch, position while feeding etc checked, it's really just a matter of gritting your teeth & carrying on, I'm afraid.

Ebisu Sun 01-Nov-15 10:11:00

You could try expressing then bottle feeding for a day to give your boobs a rest? It will get better but don't make yourself miserable by carrying on if you're in real pain, happy mummy = happy baby imo x

DatsunCogs Sun 01-Nov-15 10:23:22

I'm on day 4 with DC3 and it really does hurt, I agree! I have cold packs for the swelling and put lansinoh on after every feed.

As he's my third I am persevering as I know at some point soon I will notice it didn't hurt as much as the last time, and eventually not at all. I also have a nipple shield which I use occasional if I just can't face the pain of the latch, it helps a tiny bit.

That said, so far I've never got to the point where I loved bf! But it does become fine, with time, if you can bear it...

Good luck x

Bolshybookworm Sun 01-Nov-15 10:28:30

For me, bfeeding just hurts for the first 6 weeks. With dd1 I desperately tried to find a reason for it as it was AGONY for a while (like you I had pain in the breast and very painful letdown), but my latch was fine, no infection etc. Then at 6 weeks the pain just went. Was a massive relief (I was on the verge of giving up) and I fed for 10 months. Second time around, I knew what to expect and just gritted my teeth and got through it, pain got better at about 4 weeks and I didn't waste lots of time stressing about it. I'm still feeding dd2 at 18 mons blush

If people say to you "bfeeding should never hurt (ie your doing it wrong)", ignore them. Some of us just have sensitive nips and greedy babies!

tinkerbellvspredator Sun 01-Nov-15 10:30:47

Well mine did have posterior tongue tie and tbh only people properly trained spotted it the midwives didn't. He looked like he was latching okay too. So my first question is has it been checked thoroughly including a questionnaire and someone putting their fingers in his mouth.

Secondly I was prone to thrush and needed the full works of oral medication (NICE guideline amounts not the wishy washy amount I first got), once I had that the pain went completely.

tinkerbellvspredator Sun 01-Nov-15 10:32:53

And take paracetamol and ibuprofen which helps.

ALongTimeComing Sun 01-Nov-15 10:37:27

Tbh it does hurt. I used my labour breathing and kicked crap out of the coffee table. But I was so determined to make it work, I think that was the only thing that kept me going. I'm incredibly stubborn. Breastfeeding isn't as simple and as natural as lots of people make out, as you go through there are challenges but in my own case, it's been so worth it.

sleepyMe12 Sun 01-Nov-15 10:41:49

I'm BF my DS 3 weeks old and I also have a painful letdown.
I found that using decent breastpads helped alot with the tenderness, I've been using lansinoh ones and also mothercare do ones with aloe vera in them.

Skiptonlass Sun 01-Nov-15 10:44:43

Thanks for all your input!

Yes, he got properly checked for tongue and lip tie (our hospital won't recommend you leave until baby is checked and you're ok feeding.)

I don't think I have thrush - skin and his mouth look ok. It's not something I'm prone to (even when on antibiotics!) I will double check with doc on next visit though.

I've tried expressing - I don't get enough to feed him with some days, but I'll keep trying!

I've tried nipple shields too but they are huge. I got the smallest size they had and they're still huge - they fit diameter wise but there's a couple of cm of air at the tip - is that normal? Do people have nipples that fill a shield? (Worries she's some sort of micro nippled freak...)

It's useful to hear that sometimes it just hurts actually. I'll grit my teeth and persevere. I've tried several positions and none seem better than any other. Maybe I've just got wimpy nipples smile

Did I mention he has a pull like a black hole and has sucked the pigment out of the nipple and an inch or so of areola ? I don't mean blanching, I mean total pigment removal. They look like a bullseye now!

Etak15 Sun 01-Nov-15 10:48:21

I have found that it hurt for a good few wks with all 4 of mine just really as they latched on though made me wince for first few seconds, what kind of bra are you wearing? I found that nursing bras were crap for me felt like there was no support at all and that made breasts hurt, quickly went back to wearing underwired tshirt bras and just lifted them up to feed.
I have always heard that if it hurts your not doing it right but I don't think that's true at all, to have someone sucking on your nipples 24/7 like a vacuum is going to hurt till your nipples get used to it!
It does get better though - honestly - after a while it's easy - and painless!

Skiptonlass Sun 01-Nov-15 10:52:19

ive got a few different soft bras but round the house I'm wearing a vest with nursing panel/support (bras are pretty Uncomfy right now!)

He nurses for ages which I think doesn't help.

DatsunCogs Sun 01-Nov-15 10:57:15

About the nipple shields, yes to the gap at the end! I have the smallest size mam ones. Not a great long term solution but good for those feeds where you can't face the pain, psychologically if nothing else!

MaisieDotes Sun 01-Nov-15 10:59:57

It does hurt for the first few weeks IME. DS had tongue tie which we got sorted really quickly (7 days) and it still really hurt after that.

My personal theory is that it can hurt until the baby's mouth grows a tiny bit.

Also, with DD everyone told me she had a fabulous latch but about 4 or 5 weeks in I realised I could actually latch her even more, if that makes sense (what I mean is I could actually stuff even more boob in) and then the pain went totally. But again that could be because her mouth had grown a little and it was possible to do that.

gamerchick Sun 01-Nov-15 11:05:24

Are you sure you don't have thrush? Nipples look pale pink and soggy and feel like a naked flame is being held to the end of them during nursing and sharp spoken random pain deep inside feeling?

The letdown thing does pass and one day you will observe it doesn't hurt as much and eventually it won't hurt at all.

gamerchick Sun 01-Nov-15 11:05:42

*spikey

GozerTheGozerian Sun 01-Nov-15 11:19:36

Yes to gap at end of shields - as the baby sucks it draws the nipple up and you need space for it to move - when I used them I'd notice occasionally when DS pulled off that he'd drawn them all the way to the end but they do go back to normal!

And yes for me bf just hurt for a few weeks. I also used to count and gradually the time got less and less. He's 12m now and still bf and it hasn't hurt at all for months - apart from the odd bite but the less said about that now the better!

Didiusfalco Sun 01-Nov-15 11:22:10

I found it took 6-8 weeks to stop hurting both times. It's something that no one seems to tell you - for loads of women it just does hurt for a while! I wish hcp would stop peddling the idea that if it hurts you're doing it wrong - I just don't think that is true.

tinkerbellvspredator Sun 01-Nov-15 11:34:25

You're describing vasospasm with he blanching. I had that and it is usually caused by a poor latch or thrush but it could be that your baby just sucks very hard and it's early days in terms of optimum latching I guess. there is a possibility that you could have reynauds of the nipple (usually associated with already having poor circulation but could be just caused by hormones and breastfeeding). You'll be able to find info online and there is a medication in the NICE guidelines too if all else fails.

From memory keeping the nipples warm all the time , hot flannels before feeding, cover them up and keep them warm is the quickest way to get relief. Other things like B vitamins and cutting out caffeine but you'll find it all online.

Skiptonlass Sun 01-Nov-15 11:37:39

gamerchick I will definitely get them checked at next appointment. It does feel like spikes being driven in from nipples to chest wall, but the skin itself looks healthy and normal. I guess you can't always tell though - I'll make sure they have a look at them.

To describe the pain - it's like I've been kicked in the boob. Hard, then on top of that the let down pain and pain when he sucks. It's like he's pulling on tiny painful threads that go all the way in. sad

I clearly need to toughen up!

Skiptonlass Sun 01-Nov-15 11:43:42

Ahhh... Raynauds affects nipples? Now that makes sense. Lots of that in the family! I've never been diagnosed (never bothered to get checked) but I've often wondered if I have a touch of it (crap circulation, colour changes and pain when cold, chilblains, extremeties that defy the laws of thermodynamics etc.)

They do blanch and then go through blue and purple back to pink. Doh.

How interesting... I would never have even thought about that. Hot showers do make it better. Will go read up, cheers tinker bell!

Mumsnet is fecking brilliant! smile

SansaClegane Sun 01-Nov-15 12:10:06

You've gotten lots of good advice already!

It always hurt for me, probably the first 6-8weeks, and then gradually ebbed off. I also always had cracked and bleeding nipples despite good latch and no tongue-tie; I've been told by various health professionals it's because I'm ginger and very fair skinned... Apparently the more pigment you have, the more resilient your nips are?!
Lansinoh was my best friend; and determination as I knew (at least with no2 and 3) that once I got through the first weeks of pain, I'd get to the nice and easy stage.
Also, the lengthy feeds are normal - don't think you're not doing it right or haven't got enough milk just because he feeds frequently and for a long time!
As you are 4 weeks in, you should see a light at the end of the tunnel soon smile Stay positive!

Bolshybookworm Sun 01-Nov-15 12:20:00

I'm the same Sansa- I have pale, sensitive skin. My health visitor said similar (she is one of those rare, absolutely amazing HVs).

I wondered about raynauds with dd1 as my pain was much greater when I was cold (took to wearing a massive fleece at all times) and my nipples blanched. I also had the shooting, deep breast pains. I have no family history though, or problems with circulation/chilblains, so discounted it. Interesting though.

Skiptonlass Sun 01-Nov-15 12:53:40

That's interesting. I am auburn with very, very pale skin.

I did have pigment come in when I was pregnant but it's gone now. It's like he sucked it all out...

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