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How do I keep going? BF problems

(34 Posts)
BobTheCob Wed 23-Mar-16 07:43:37

Hi all

This is my first post, although I'm a long time lurker. I know there's a similar thread, but didn't want to hijack it.

My gorgeous DD was born 9 days ago. I also have a DS who is nearly 3. DS flat refused to breast feed, despite trying everything so I expressed and bottle fed him for 6 months. I didn't have anything to compare it to, so whilst it was quite hard, I just got on with it and it was more than manageable.

DD is considerably more keen on the whole thing and has been breast feeding consistently. However, I think her latch wasn't great to start with and my nipples are completely ravaged (cut, bleeding and scabbed). I saw a lactation consultant yesterday who suggested holding her sitting on my lap facing me. This has helped a bit, but DD still doesn't always get a great latch to start with and the first minute or so is (burst in to tears) agony, even if I take her off and start again. I do have pretty large boobs and flat nipples if that's relevant.

She was feeding on and off through last night and about 4.30 I just couldn't bear her on the more sore side so expressed and bottle fed her. Annoyingly she didn't take it all but the bottle was started too long ago to give it to her when she wakes up.

So, finally, I get to my questions. Sorry for the essay.
1. The thought of putting her on the more sore side today just makes me want to sob. Do I need to woman up and feed through it or could I express for a few days to give it a chance to recover? Will I do irreparable damage to her latch/supply?
2. I think I can keep feeding from the less sore side for now but don't want to exacerbate a problem there.
3. How long should it take before everything feels better? I am seriously struggling to persist with BF when I know expressing works for me. Admittedly my lifestyle is different than when I just had DS, but he is still going to childcare 3 days a week at the moment so I'd only have to occupy him on my own 2 days a week whilst pumping (DH home at weekends and very involved).

Any thoughts/ideas/arse kicks welcome. I'm well aware I could just be being pathetic, but my god it hurts. Thanks!

FellOutOfBedTwice Wed 23-Mar-16 07:52:58

I've only breastfed one baby so far- DD for almost 21 months- but my experience has been that your nipples don't get any better from giving them a break. A couple of times I've given one side a break for a few days when it's been especially ravaged and I think, if anything, they just end up hurting more because they become more sensitive. I would recommend slathering on the nipple balm that thick stuff that begins with an L that I can't remember the name of at this time of day and just persevering.

You have my sympathy- the early days are fucking painful. You're doing brilliantly though!

WellErrr Wed 23-Mar-16 07:55:05

Have you tried nipple shields? And Lansinoh?

You're doing great. Don't look further ahead than the next feed, just take it one feed at a time and do try the nipple shields flowers

Micah Wed 23-Mar-16 07:58:04

My experience is it's the latching and relatching that makes them sore.

Get settled on the sofa when your son is at nursery, and leave her there as long as you can. Lanisoh on the "unused" one, or breastmilk left to dry. Just one big feed rather than lots of little ones. My first refused to leave the nipple, ever, slept with it, stated feeding again if i moved. Nipples never even got sore.

Worth a try?

BobTheCob Wed 23-Mar-16 08:07:22

Thanks so much for the replies.

Am smothering with lansinoh at every available opportunity, but I haven't tried shields yet. Definitely could be worth a go.

She very much feeds, comes off then goes to sleep for a couple of hours during the day, so in that respect is amazing! Each feed is generally between 20 and 30 minutes. I think the repeated feeds last night (all for around that amount of time) were in place of cluster feeding in the evening which, unusually (as much as anything can be when they're 9 days old) she didn't do last night. It may also be worth mentioning that she did an epic 9 hour cluster feed on Sunday, so I am often quite engorged by the time she gets to feed, and expressing a bit off doesn't seem to help.


ChilliMum Wed 23-Mar-16 08:09:10

Your nipped should not be that sore, it isn't normal, you defiantly have a latch problem. Are your nipped elongated after feeding because if the baby is not producing a good vacuum they are going to continue being painful.
Have you had your baby checked for tongue tie my ds had tongue tie and the symptoms you describe are very similar (my nipples looked flat after feeds). A good lactation consultant can check for you or you can Google images and have a look in your babies mouth yourself.
in the mean time you can try nipple shields to give yourself a break and plenty of breastfeeding milk applied to sore nipple plus if you are home alone naked boobs and plenty of fresh air to the nipple.
Hang in there though and get as much support as you can cause once you crack it it's great.

WellErrr Wed 23-Mar-16 08:24:25

Re engorgement, this will settle. It's still very early days, I can never even wear a bra for the first week...!

MindfulBear Wed 23-Mar-16 09:18:45

Get the lactation consultant (preferably ibclc qualified) back and get her to help you with the latch.

You are doing great so just take it 1 feed at a time.

I also suffered very badly but eventually went onto nurse DS for over 3 years!!!!

He did have a tongue tie tho. Eventually snipped at 4 weeks.

Tbh I found pumping just as sore as nursing and if you don't nurse you will need to pump.

However. The best support is 1:1 support. So get an ibclc round asap. Or get down to a la leche league meeting. I found MWs and Drs and the NHS useless in this situation. They are just not trained to the level of support you need.

Good luck - & enjoy your new baby!!

AlleyCatandRastaMouse Wed 23-Mar-16 09:25:17

I would say to the lactation consultant that someone suggested it might be a posterior tongue tie and innocently ask her if she has ever diagnosed one before. Of course you might not have one but I would need to know the person diagnosing TT actually had experience doing so. The reason I say this is because tongue tie diagnosis is notoriously hit and miss. My 3 children had them and I gave up on my first 2 since they were never spotted by experts and eventually an excellent lactation consultant diagnosed DS.

I second nipple shields, they got me through the first 6 weeks with completely frayed nipples. The nipple shields need to be a good fit do speak to your LC about them.

TheWordOfBagheera Wed 23-Mar-16 09:34:47

I was in agony breastfeeding my first two (cracked and scabby bleeding nipples, me sobbing with every feed, baby brining up blood after feeds). I decided to just push through and not try shields/expressing as the latch was good, it was just that the damage had already been done. It was maybe 2 weeks in total before they settled down, but once they started to heal it did happen very quickly and breastfeeding was suddenly an ok thing to be doing!

I found letting nipples thoroughly air dry after a feed, then putting Lansinoh on, then putting bra/clothes back on helped a lot. Never forget the Lansinoh or you're back to square one again!

Nottalotta Thu 24-Mar-16 17:14:13

My nipple were ridiculously sore every time ds latched (which was Often!!) for the first couple of weeks but painless and easy after that.

daisymouse Sun 27-Mar-16 09:38:32

You poor thing, i totally understand, bf was EXCRUTIATING for me for the first 8 weeks or so. It took that long for my daughter's mouth to grow for a better latch. It DOES get better - she's six months now and I hardly feel a thing. It is important that you let your nipples heal. I never did because like you i was worried about mucking up her knack for it, but if your dd is an enthusiastic bfeeder and has learnt how to do it, she won't forget. I wish i had been a bit easier on myself. Great that you've seen a LC. Try nipple shields for a few days, loads of Lansinoh and your own milk applied to nipples, fresh air etc. Take pain relief. If nipple is cracked, be very careful to keep it clean and dry, it is a wound and if it gets infected you could get mastitis from it like i did. Good luck, hang in there. X

redcaryellowcar Sun 27-Mar-16 09:50:14

You don't need to 'woman up' I think giving birth, regardless of how, is woman-ing up enough! Breastfeeding can be really hard, and fe very lonely, but there are loads of people (usually mums who were once in a similar situation to you) who are desperate to help. I totally agree with trying to find a lactation consultant, or try in the interim try breastfeeding helpline, la leche or NCT helplines, I'm pretty certain you don't need to be a member to access any of them, and they would be delighted to help.
Nipple shields def worth a try, keep going with lasinoh, and on positive note, it's very early days and she may be going through the 10 day growth spurt, so the feeding may calm down in a few days time?

Munchie007 Sun 27-Mar-16 09:51:16

I know it hurts! You really need shields and lansinoh to heal. I found a good 24hrs with shields was enough with cream. If not carry on but you need to heal. I can only feed my baby with him on a pillow rugby style so his nose is clear of breast and make absolutely sure your getting the bottom of your breast onto his chin and a good top amount into his mouth... makes every difference... bf should never hurt if done correctly so don't think the pain will never end. Tongue tie is very possible. If you express too much milk you could get a over supply! It's very hard when it's not working out but you will crack it. All the best and don't cry xxx

Mishaps Sun 27-Mar-16 10:04:15

I think it is important to say that not everyone has this trouble, and not with every baby. I would hate for people reading this to be put o BF altogether.

I also think it is important to be kind to yourself and not feel bad if you have to do some expressing. A mix of BF and expressing is perfectly OK and if you can express without too much discomfort then you could perhaps make one or two feeds a day via expressing and the others at the breast. Of course this all depends on whether baby will co-operate with that, but it does give your nipples a bit of a rest.

It also does very much depend on the baby - some are better at it than others. Of my three BFing the first was totally impossible - she had a poor suck and needed to be almost continuously feeding with the consequent damaged nipples. I moved on to bottle feeds and she was fine. The other two guzzled efficiently and were BF till they were about 13 months.

So, please do not think it is something you are doing wrong - babies all differ in how well they latch on and suck and sometimes there is nothing to be done - they are as they are.

Congratulations on the new arrival!

2016ismyyear Sun 27-Mar-16 10:12:11

Also look into Jelonet.

MentalMum1 Mon 28-Mar-16 21:01:00

Nipple shields! They totally saved me and we seem to be slowly managing to come off them and her latch is improving so worth a go. But as many differ types as you can and try them all. I like the Medela ones. We have our baby a bottle from two weeks and it didn't affect her latch as I was afraid it would. It's still uncomfortable but her latch is improving slightly I think. She also had posterior tongue tie and we had that treated early on (although it didn't make a huge difference initially and you have to do this uncomfy massage thing to baby's tongue for a few weeks afterwards, but the difference in her tongue now is noticeable). Good luck, I feel your pain so hope it gets better super quickly!xxx

MentalMum1 Mon 28-Mar-16 21:02:18

Oh and I used novogel dressings to help my nipples heal, might be worth asking your LC? And shop around for different LCs and look for reviews etc. I think I read about mine on here!! smile

CatsCantFlyFast Mon 28-Mar-16 21:07:53

I think even if the lc has helped to correct your latch that;
It will continue to hurt until your nipples heal and
It takes practise for both of you to get the latch right consistently time after time

In the short term you need to do everything you can to heal your nipples. Topless if possible with lansinoh or breastmilk between feeds, or put half an empty Loo roll down your bra over your nipple to keep clothes away from your nipples if you can't be topless
Shields may help with the pain but can cause latch and supply problems so use with caution and perhaps under the further advice of a lc
Hang in there - this bit is so tough x

HelenF35 Mon 28-Mar-16 21:25:22

I found the first 6 weeks or so really hard. Cracked nipples, pain and constant feeding. I broke down in tears on numerous occasions but I promise it does get better. I made it to 7 months ebf and would have done much longer if my son hadn't got teeth at 5 months and spent 2 months biting me!

SansaClegane Mon 28-Mar-16 21:33:48

Lansinoh is good, keep using it, but not before feeds as it might make the nipple too slippery for your baby. Agree to going to a breastfeeding clinic or seeing a lactation consultant, or maybe just have your health visitor check the latch - they really need to get a face full of boob!
Lastly, I feel your pain, I have big boobs and flat nipples as well (one of them is actually inverted) and apart from DS1 completely destroying my nipples, I also found it very very painful with DC2 and DC3 for the first few weeks - the process of drawing out the nipples takes a few weeks IME. And the first 1-2 minutes of every feed were toe-curlingly painful in those first weeks. I guess all I can say is that it does get better. I think even if you do everything right and the latch is good, for some women/breast shapes it is painful initially and takes some getting used to.

KeepCalm74 Mon 28-Mar-16 22:05:04

Another one here recommending nipple shields! I would never have got through those early days without them but they were fab and ds bf for 10 months. You are doing brilliantly whichever way you choose to feed smile

Givemecoffeeplease Mon 28-Mar-16 22:09:49

Another vote for nipple shields, and Amazon deliver the medela brand if you can't get to the shops. It gets easier, honest, you are 9 days in and doing so so well. Have lots of brewcakechocolate

DancingSeagulls Mon 28-Mar-16 22:25:51

I had similar problems - and recommend cabbage leaves in your bra as well as lansinoh to help with healing - sounds silly but it really worked for me. I also started mix feeding so breast for 10 mins on each side and then topping up with formula each feed. After a few weeks I realised I was still making up formula but DD was satisfied with breast. I also second (3rd, 4th, 5th...) getting latch checked again - reading around the subject since I've found out about tongue tie and wonder if that was part of our problem. Or maybe she just needed a bit longer to work out how to latch properly?
Hope you heal quickly and things improve soon

StepfauxWife Mon 28-Mar-16 22:32:01

I have a 5 day old DD and have the same problem as you! My left nipple in particular is super sore and DD has an insanely strong suck. Like others here, my LC has suggested expressing in order to give that breast a break and using nipple shields in order for the breast to heal.

No other advice but wanted to empathise!

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