Please help - desperate - feeding day 6, seriously painful and difficult(32 Posts)
Please can someone offer some advice or encouragement. My DD is 6 days old and I'm trying to breastfeed exclusively. We are managing in that she is doing well - back up to birthweight on day 5 and no jaundice - but I am not coping with the pain. Her latch is awful and the only reason she is doing good is that I have far far too much milk - it just flows out of me without touching at times. I have had some input from mws on position and while I can get some improvement when she's literally put on for me by them it isn't perfect and it falls to shit when I have to do it myself. Last night was horrendous with us both crying hysterically and DH nearly in tears too. I'm so ashamed of myself but the pain is so grim I dread feeds. I know DH will happily run to shop for aptamil at this point but I am so upset at the thought of giving up for purely selfish reasons.
Can anyone offer some tips / encouragement if they managed to overcome this? Or if they switched to formula and it was all ok? I'm just at sea.
DD is pretty small (birth weight 6lb7oz) but v healthy (agpar 9 and thriving according to MWs). Not sure if relevant but just in case.
Thanks in advance and sorry if it takes me a while to respond if anyone replies.
congratulations on your new DC! It's not easy.
MW can help a bit, do you have access to a breastfeeding counsellor?
When I am engorged (not too often now) I found it helpful to stand over the sink and express by hand, just enough to soften me. Sad to see the liquid gold go down the drain, but DC could latch on.
Also, does your DC have a tongue tie? (Or obverse tongue tie) it can impact on feeding.
You can always express into a bottle, or bag and store the milk in the fridge or freezer.
I have several children of my acquaintance who are happy and healthy despite being exclusively bottle fed, so do not feel bad about yourself if that's what you want to do.
Is it just sore because of the latch or is it just that you are engorged (too much milk)? For me at first my boobs were like rockets and so solid it was very hard to find a comfortable position. Hand or pump expressing even less than the first 10 mL really helped to make them more malleable. Do you have a breastfeeding pillow? They can be really useful. Feeding lying down would be good to try if you've not already. It's also normal to have a favourite side - for both of you. Try and find some support from local breastfeeding cafes etc. Have you tried nipple shields? And Lanisoh to sooth your nipples between feeds? Also really helps to let the air get to them - I spent quite a lot of time with no top on for the first few weeks of BF!
It sounds like she is doing really well from this, even though you are finding it difficult. So you are doing a really great thing for your DD! The first weeks are the toughest. Try and conquer one position at a time and take all the help you can get IRL. But if you do decide to switch to formula in the end, of course she will be absolutely fine!
I have been where you are. Tears, blood, ice packs. It's awful awful awful. I only didn't reach for the formula as I found a breastfeeding consultant locally, drove there in tears. She was AWESOME. My string advice as it's hard to help without seeing you is: Get googling, call midwife/sure start/ family centre and seek out the best breastfeeding consultant you can find. They will unlock this for you. For info: I had to stop feeding for a week until my nipples healed, I expressed and gave bottles, no formula. Then I perfected technique with the bf counsellor help. Bingo! I had oversupply so I also used cabbage leaves and pumped just a bit so my body reabsorbed the extra. I seriously can't recommend seeing a pro enough. Best wishes to you! You are doing a very hard thing but it will be worth it!
It is so rough to start with. Use lots and lots of Lansinoh to keep your nipples in good condition. I find gathering up my nipples to make an easy target helps to get a good latch as well.
I was where you are a few weeks ago (DS now 5 weeks) and it was hell. Just try to find what works for you and your little one. What has worked for me:
- nipple shields. They have saved our feeding, I was on the brink of giving up numerous times before I got them. We are about the start the slightly difficult process of weaning off them now but I can honestly say I would have stopped without them. Breastfeeding gurus tend not to be fans of them and I can see the downsides of them but they have been amazing for us.
- expressing with a pump. When I just couldn't face a feed or when I was in pain I pumped instead. DS takes a bottle beautifully when needed. He now has one small bottle of formula at night from DH which gives me a little break to get ready for bed and gives me a rest when he has been cluster feeding all evening.
- seeing a breastfeeding consultant through the local NHS. She diagnosed thrush in both of us and we got the prescription that day.
- cold cabbage compress and hot flannel compress at various times, depending on which is needed!
- I set small manageable goals, one feed at a time, then one day at a time, then one week at a time and we just kept going like that.
Good luck. It is really really hard for the first few weeks but you are doing a great job!
Thank you so much for replies - so lovely to feel the support even online! DH ended up calling MW again this morning and she just called to observe a feed. She said the latch is actually pretty good and that my nipples are obviously really sensitive...I feel a bit ridiculous but she was really lovely and said she didn't doubt how sore it was. Apparently as supply is good and DD is gaining weight already I'm not to worry about following any rules - so we can do nipple shields, and leave up to four hours between feeds without worrying.
She also said I could take cocodamol only once a day for the really bad time (so 11pm through 2am) - I think this would help hugely but am a bit wary - has anyone used it while bf'ing? For context I can't take NSAIDs so no ibuprofen or aspirin or anything to supplement paracetamol.
Thanks again so much for kind replies. to all those who are going through the same or have battled through previously!
My baby is 6 weeks old now, and the first couple of weeks were painful for me. I applied lansinoh religiously to soften the scabs. Nipples were sore, let down was sore and I had a horrible twinge in my back everytime she fed.
I used nipple Shields for 24 hours around the 2 week mark and it helped a lot! Things just improved immensely from then on.
DD pinches her mouth when feeding and doesn't flip her lips out. She has a small petite mouth. Not sure if that has anything to do with it.
Looking back to the first grim couple of weeks I feel like it was totally worth it. It's so easy feeding her now even though I'm not convinced latch is right still!
Everything can be overcome when it comes to breastfeeding!
As far as I know codeine is fine, I certainly took it whilst pregnant and the doctor seemed to think it was pretty safe. I had an EMCS and some complications so my first few weeks of DS's life involved a huge cocktail of drugs in my system... not ideal for feeding baby but sometimes these things are just necessary!
A sip of wine?
I couldn't work nipple shields but many people swear by them.
Lansinoh helps me.
When I was badly engorged with DS I had to feed from only one breast per nursing session til it settled down. It was rally painful to feed when I was engorged. Also he had green poop. I went back to offering both not long after.
My DD had an upper lip tie and posterior tongue tie. The mw checked after delivery as I couldn't latch her and said she DIDNT have a tongue tie. I went to THREE breastfeeding cafes and they either said her mouth was fine or didn't know what a lip tie was. It was grade 3 lip tie and latch improved as soon as that and tongue fixed.
Another possibility is Raynauds. That can cause really bad pain.
Hang in there, it will get so much better.
You have to be careful with codeine and newborns.
Glad your MW was so supportive! Sorry if this is really stupid advice, but also make sure when she has finished eating and us ready that you unlatch her properly by putting your finger in her mouth to break the seal. A friend of mine didn't realise this and was pulling the baby off while she was still latched. Baby didn't mind but friend's nipples definitely did!!
Yes. Booze helps! I had a large g and t with the seven o'clock feeds...
Absolutely what badg3r said - DS tended to do this and it caused lots of pain. He mostly pulled his head back when falling asleep, hurt like crazy until I clicked what was happening with help from BF counsellor.
Is your midwife certain you don't have thrush? It is toe-curlingly painful.
If you tend towards oversupply, it's possible that your DD is pulling away a bit at first letdown, and you might need to correct her latch afterwards. Take her off using your little finger to break her mouth's seal, than get her to latch on again, if you can.
Also good for oversupply is feed while reclining, gravity will be on your DD's side if she's struggling with the first gush of milk.
DS' latch improved as he grew, TBH. I think my
ginormous nipple wasn't really a good fit at first.... But then DD fed like she'd read all the books, so who knows.
Finally, don't shy away from pain relief if you don't need to. There is a wonderful Pharmacist at the Breastfeeding Drugline (Google should find it - on phone so can't link) who will give balanced evidence-based advice via email. Wendy was wonderful when I needed advice.
Sorry, just checked - it's called the Drugs in Breastmilk Helpline, run by the Breastfeeding Network. You can phone or email.
A final thought - the worst week I had with DS coincided with a growth spurt, I hadn't really clocked that he was feeding more but I was exhausted, then learned he'd gained over a pound in a week. It all settled down a bit after that. No idea if that's relevant, but poor latch plus longer feeding wasn't a great combination. It passed, though.
Lots of good advice already so just to say well done and keep going. I think everyone has a night when you're all in tears, but it does get better, I promise ...
It's great that the midwife came out to see you but I'm not sure she's been as supportive as she could have been, sorry.
Just saying you've got "sensitive nipples" and suggesting shields isn't really getting to the root of why feeding is so excruciating for you. Did she help with positioning? Or suggest different positions to try - rugby hold? Laidback breastfeeding?
Did she suggest ways of getting a deeper latch? Have a look into the exaggerated latch AKA the flipple.
I also don't think her advice that's it's fine to leave four hours between feeds is good. I wouldn't do this until baby is back up to birthweight and even then only very occasionally.
Congratulations! Breastfeeding is hard work. Tonnes of time and patience required. The first 6 weeks are the hardest.It will get better! On dc3, breastfeeding right now I fact!
Lanisoh is a life saver. Worth every penny. I second expressing when engorged. Nice warm bath gets the flow going.
There's breastfeeding helplines if midwife can't help. You need support because this is tough.
Warning for 2-3 week mark, they will have a growth spurt and will feed constantly! You will feel you're not making enough milk and may be given terrible advice like mixed feeding as baby clearly needs more.You will make enough milk and the growth spurt is there to get your milk supply up. Mixed feeding will disrupt this.
Good luck. It will get better! X
How are you feeling now?
My nipples hurt so much with DD, and in fact didn't stop hurting 100% until week 6. I'd set myself a goal of getting to 6 weeks and I did it and went on to bf until DD was 22 months and I was pg again.
A few things:
If you just can't face it, try expressing a bit. It hurts a bit as your nipple is pulled into the pump, but only at first and then it stops, not like tiny newborns! Then you or DH can do a feed by bottle and give your nipples a few hours respite. If you can, try to let DH do it and you go to sleep.
My DD was 6lbs 5 and lost a lot of weight to start with - on day 5 she was 5lbs 9. I do think her tiny little mouth made it more painful and that part of the improvement was down to her growing a bit. DS was 7lbs 3 and also, by that time my nipples were used to it!
I cracked it when I tried feeding lying back. My usual MW (who was lovely!) taught me to sit bolt upright with DD on a stack of pillows at breast-height. She kept slipping and I kept hunching. Then another MW came out at the weekend and she taught me a different way - to lean back comfortably in a corner of the sofa and bring DD up to my nipple, so she was lying diagonally on my tummy with her head supported on my arm, and my arm supported by the arm of the sofa. It was much comfier and that helped me relax, and the cosy cuddling I think calmed DD too. So that really helped!
And try a proper breastfeeding supporter if you're still struggling. As I said, my first MW was lovely but she hadn't breastfed herself (was unable to have kids, sadly) and I think which position suits a woman is really individual. Plus it never hurts to get a second opinion on tongue-ties.
I second the pillows! I have 3 large pillows behind to support my back, one on my lap and the the actual feeding pillow on top. This is super comfy and allows DS to latch on properly without me hunched over etc
Bring baby to nipple, wait for a very large mouth (sometimes a cry helps!) then pop them on by holding their head firmly, then when on, rest your arm under their head.
My DS has a small tongue tie, and even though we are mastering the feeding, I still get a bad latch at times and it kills! So, finger in mouth, pop them off and then try again.
We are feeding every 1-3 hours at the moment, would not go 4 hours without, that would make my breasts too engorged and painful.
One day at a time x
Well done with persevering. It's tough but so worth it.
It does get easier. If you're confident the latch is good then that is the crucial thing. As the baby grows and their head (and therefore mouth) gets bigger this really helps if you have a small baby (mine were 7lb and 6lb)
I had really sore nipples (bleeding) with both DS (one had a great latch and one who needed help to latch on) and after a while (maybe 2/3 weeks) it did improve until it was totally painless. I think the nipples learn to toughen up!
If the BF doesn't work out at least you know you tried really hard and you mustn't feel guilty.
Just a wee update - we managed last night a lot better, no tears from me and minimum from DD. The shields take a lot of the pain away so managed with just paracetamol again. DD has to suck a lot harder and deeper to get milk but she is well able! So we fed at (ish) 11, 1. 3.30 - 4.30(!!), and about to go again. I'm sure she's getting enough even though feeds are totally irregular. (chick DD was back to birthweight by day 5 so that's why MW said longer gap is fine. )
Spoke to a dr friend and while risk from codeine is 'minuscule' it's a risk of respiratory depression in DD so not happy with that.
I think my nipples may be so sore due to raynauds as I have this affecting fingers and toes and am prone to chilblains? Been told there is no treatment though. Anyway that's only a possibility. Fairly sure it's not thrush - DD's mouth fine and MW hasn't suggested. How would I know? My actual boobs aren't (that) sore - it's really a nipple problem.
Thanks so so much for replies again.
Sounds like she's getting plenty, if it helps my nipples were very painful for around two weeks, if you think about it they are getting a bit of a battering which they have probably never had before so it will take a little time for them to adjust!
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