BFing a huge newborn and it's all going to hell(32 Posts)
I was hoping someone might have some advice or encouragement for me as I'm reaching the end of what I can bear. My son is nearly 2 weeks old and was born weighing just under 11lbs. I've been trying my best to BF him but the last two weeks (more the last 10 days since my milk came in) have been utter hell.
His latch seems to be perfect but it is too sore to bear when he latches on and throughout the feed it is uncomfortable. I've been using nipple shields which have got me this far but I'm worried they are affecting my supply as I seem to be producing less and less, DS will spend hours feeding but will not settle without a top up from a bottle so he is obviously not full from the breast. Near the beginning I could feed and express a decent amount but the last few times I've expressed its been pitiful - less than 1oz even when my boobs seemed 'full' beforehand. We both have thrush and I have mastitis which we are being treated for but my chest feels like it is on fire constantly. I'm in tears all the time and we can't leave the house or do anything because he's stuck to me all day or I'm too sore to wear clothes, I'm going stir crazy.
I've seen a breastfeeding consultant and she was lovely and supportive but not really a fan of the nipple shields. I really can't feed without them though, my nipples are broken and bleeding and it is only with the shields that they are slowly healing.
I want to give up BF but I love feeding DS and I will feel like I've failed. Help! I'm completely losing it.
Oh you poor thing. Firstly I am assuming that you are being treated for the matitis and the thrush?
Secondly I found that with each of my dc it took about four weeks for things to settle into somewhere near comfortable when I was feeding so two weeks (although it feels like forever ) is a short space of time to get used to breastfeeding. I do think that your baby taking a top up is not an indicator that he is not feeding enough at this stage. The amount you can express can also bear no relation to the amount your baby is getting. I always struggled to express milk but my dc did feed well and put on weight ( I had two larger babies and two more regular sized).
Thirdly babies like the comfort and closeness of feeding so your baby will often be happier attached to you rather than being anywhere else.
Can you ask the consultant to re visit you?
I had this problem, with an ever-feeding large baby, bleeding nipples etc. It turned out he had tongue tie and after that it got a bit better but at about a month I suppose it settled and it was ok but until then it was hell, despite bf counsellors telling me it shouldn't hurt (fine, but it does and my nipples are a bleeding mess, to the point DS was burping up blood - really scared me that did, til I realised it was mine).
If I hadn't had breast feeding dinned into me so much that I was terrified of formula, I may have just gone to bottles as my best friend did, but it's a personal decision.
Sorry for the ramble, just wanted to let you know you're not alone xx
Secondly, breast milk is like starter, main and dessert - the best bit is at the end (hind milk) so perhaps try expressing a small amount before feeding so he gets the full feeling from the hind milk (which might take away the need for top up).
Before a feed clench your fists like the hulk and gently use the knuckles to massage from the outside of your boob working slowly to the nipple. It's more a circular rubbing than a painful pressure. This might help flow.
Have you been using nipple cream.
Tonight, bath, cuppa and feet up please. You deserve it.
NB I saw a lot of bf counsellors and one of them, just one, put my DS to my breast and it didn't hurt at all (this was when they were still a mess) - previous to this others had done it and it still hurt. So it might be worth trying different counsellors?
Bless you! And so exhausting!
The pain will pass. Few things that help - lots of fluid for you, warm baths to relax you and loosen blockages in your boobs (I occasionally fed baby in Bath!), with a heavy baby feed lying down or in the rugby position (even easier with pillow underneath) and I found garlic really helpful with thrush, aswell as dropping yeasty foods.
Hopefully one of those ideas will help. I suffered with extreme thrush, but found if I was relaxed it was the first initial tugs at latch hurt, much rather than the entire feed.
You haven't failed him if you start FF now - he's had a good start!
If BF is becoming too much to bear, don't continue.
If you feel that you would be happier stopping breastfeeding, then stop. Simple as that. You haven't failed at all. I had similar troubles with a very large baby and was so happy and relieved to stop breastfeeding. My health visitor had no issue with it and was always of the opinion;happy mum equals happy baby.
I got to the two week point, using nipple shields, with my 3rd baby, i gave up. He was fine, your baby would be fine. However I have always wondered what would of happened if I had just tried for a little longer. The freedom is large compared to feeding yourself. I found myself bottle feeding tiny amounts, because he was a breastfed baby, it was exhausting getting all the bottles, 6 in the day, 6 at night, with little amounts in. I think the top up feeds become part of the problem, in terms of supply. If your baby has a bottle would he take a dummy? I just thought if you wanted to try longer, you could get him off you a bit, by using one. My son was later discovered to have a tongue tie, as mentioned by pp, may be worth checking out also, good luck, don't feel guilty whatever you decide, your doing a wonderful job either way.
Congrats! It does get easier - promise! I also had a large baby who seemed to feed non stop and was always hungry....
Some things that helped me through:
Lanisoh nipple cream;
Savoy cabbage leaves (straight out the fridge into a shoestring top to keep them in place) the coolness bought on such relief! Although you do smell!;
Feeding in a bath; trying to relax mentally before a feed and not being distracted while feeding (like on my phone!); seeing an osteopath! Find one who had experience in new borne and mums - mine worked miracles on my flow and getting my baby to feed more effectively. I wished I had gone sooner!!!
Well done on making it this far
Thank you so much for all the responses. I had hit a low point this afternoon but I currently have DS attached to me rugby ball style on my really bad side and it's not too bad at all, so I'm feeling a bit better. I'll take on board what you have all said.
I have asked a few different hcp's about tongue tie but they all seem convinced he doesn't have it, so I can only presume it is not that causing any problems.
I'm also going to pay more attention to my fluid and food intake. I had an emergency section and lost a lot of blood but I've had no real appetite since and have to force myself to eat and drink. I'll make more of an effort to do so and hopefully that will help.
It is really strange that I am even contemplating feeling like a failure - whilst pregnant I had no desire to breastfeed. The first thing I bought after 12 weeks was a perfect prep! And I would never ever dream of viewing another mum who used formula as a failure. I don't know why I would apply that to myself! Hormones are crazy things...
Thanks again - I was really moved by everyone taking the time to respond.
Sounds strange but between feeds I covered my nipples with a small piece of cling film - keeps soft tissue moist, yes it's a but sweaty but helps with the nipple tone. Might not be great until you have cleared up the thrush. Are you sure your bonny baby is correctly positioned and you have enough supportive cushions etc? Good luck.
Poor you OP. I'm sorry it's so stressful.
You've already got some brilliant advice on if you want to continue to bf.
I just wanted to add my voice to say you haven't failed if you choose to ff. Or even mixed feed. There is no wrong choice here just choose the best thing for your health.
I don't have any advice as such but I feel your pain and had the same problem as you. Giant 10lb baby, jaundice, tongue tie etc. You've done amazingly so don't feel like you're failing
Echoing the others here, it's really, really hard in the early weeks.
34 weeks with number 2 and starting to get a bit scared
Get to as many bf support groups as you can
Eat and drink enough (more!)
Expressing bears no relationship to quantity getting into baby
A bit of formula (or all formula) does not make you a bad mother.
Baby may stay on you for 'longer' not just for the milk, but because they want to be close to you.
Even the worst nipple pain will go
eyes nipples I thought would be scarred for life, they're not
If nipple shields are getting milk into your baby, they can't be all bad
This was the hardest for me... But if you can, think what the non hormonal, non post natal you would say to you now. You might ignore her, but she might also talk sense...
If mastitis is not going away, badger, badger, badger your GP. Mine tested my milk
as they thought I was making up the pain and found an infection, and eventually the right antibx sorted it out.
Congratulations on your DS.
You're doing really well. I didn't have pain to deal with but DS2 was a constant feeder, always latched on, I'm not sure if it was hunger or comfort but if he wasn't on the breast he would cry. It does get easier. He was like that for about 2 months and I tried to go with it and enjoy the cuddles. He's 6 months now and is much more content between feeds. However, I was not in pain. I don't know if I would've carried on if I was. You do whatever is best for you and your baby. You are not a failure.
Congratulations on your big lovely bAby. I have had a 11 1/2 lb baby 5 months ago. The first 6 weeks hurt a lot, then suddenly it stopped hurting. This is Ds two, though and my boobs are much more efficient this time- last time I had bleeding nipples the lot..... No advice really, just hope it gets sorted for you.
Just to add - while its important and indeed very healing after a birth to eat and drink well - your milk supply or quality doesn't correlate with either the gallons of water you may feel you need to drink or the tons of superfood you think you should eat.
I come from a country with massive starvation and poverty. Poverty surrounds you at every corner. It's in the developing world. And BF is the predominant mode of feeding guess where? Not in that country's urban pockets but in the impoverished and starving villages. Massive evidence has shown milk supply and quality have remained perfectly fine. It doesn't link with your diet and drinks on a wafer thin balance like that.
So drink how much you feel you need to, eat what you wish to. Just saying that you don't need to get too caught up In he I must eat and drink well trap when your plate is full anyway!! Pun intended.
Might be true focus, but I get massively thirsty when feeding and feel quite Ill if I don't drink lots. Fluid more important than loads of food I think.... It's the women that get depleted whilst their supply remains the same
One thing to remember. If you allow him to feed as much as he likes, you will eventually make enough milk for him as your supply will adapt to demand. Newborn babies feed a lot, as long as there are plenty of wet and dirty nappies then everything is fine. Try to phase out the top ups as this will make things worse. I have found a supplement called 'more milk' quite good for increasing my supply with ds1 but this time round didn't bother, just decided to be confident that biology would know what to do. Oh and the pain will get better! After about 6 weeks it gets much easier.
Just a thought, but I lost a lot of blood with all three csection deliveries and my low iron levels definitely affected my supply.
I also found with Dd1 who was very stuck at an odd angle in my pelvis before my emcs that she could only latch and feed in the rugby ball position on one side until her neck muscles relaxed more, baby cranio-sacral osteopathy helped me avoid that with dd2 who was also born by emcs after getting stuck.
I had a similar experience... It was so frustrating being told that 'it shouldn't hurt if you're doing it right' and 'don't use nipple shields'. If it weren't for the shields, I would have had to have stopped as I was in so much agony when I fed my dd that I literally dreaded each feed. She was quite big, too, and seemingly constantly hungry. She did have a tongue tie which we had cut but this did nothing to improve the pain.
It turned out that I had thrush (even though I kept being told that it wasn't that) and the pain stopped really quickly with some daktarin cream. Unfortunately by the time I was diagnosed my DD had become too used to the nipple shields to stop using them. Hey ho, I fed her successfully (and enjoyably, and without pain) for 15 months...
So, as others have said, do stop if it's not working for you but if you feel like keeping going, maybe try the daktarin (and ignore all those unhelpful comments and anti-nipple shields dictats from the BF counsellors).
Yes, indeed I get thirsty too
and hungry but my point was that women do what they need to for themselves - so eat however much they feel hungry for and drink a such water as is needs to satiate themselves - rather than thinking misguidedly and often stressing that drinking more water than they feel thirsty for or eating things they don't really fancy to "make their milk fatty" is even a thing!
Oh god...I feel your pain. Feeding a massive baby is fucking hard. SO hard. DS1 was 10lb 6oz and my milk didn't come in until day five. It was a living hell. We switched to formula and it was the best decision I made. I'm not saying that's what you should do, but if persevering with BFing is affecting your mental and physical health then you must consider what is right for you in the long term. You've given your baby an amazing start already and you are NOT a failure.
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