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Desperate - newborn, bleeding nipples, switch to expressing / formula?

(58 Posts)
cheapredwine Wed 13-Jul-16 11:32:12

Please, can anyone help. 4 day old newborn, first timer and anxious as fuck. He's keen to feed, rooting, lip-smacking etc but my nipples just can't take it. Both are cracked and bleeding. Lots of midwives on ward checked latch and they think it's ok. Not getting huge amount of advice from community midwife now we are home. He wants to feed a lot, especially overnight, and I just can't see how we can carry on. I am spending a lot of time in tears, it's absolutely awful. It was a traumatic delivery and he also has jaundice (blood levels were checked yesterday though) but was 7lb 12 at birth. I've had about 5 hours sleep since Saturday morning which of course isn't helping. Feeling utterly overwhelmed.

We in arse end of nowhere so struggled to find nipple shields other than Boots own which are huge on me and he wasn't having any of it. He won't feed from the worse effected side now and it's agony trying so I haven't in the last 6 hours or so, he's been solely on the other side.

Husband has just been out and bought Avent manual pump in desperation. I hardly have the energy to look at the box let alone read instructions.

Seriously considering FF but don't know where to start.

Logically I know am being hormonal etc etc, that this is basically normal, but I just don't know what to do.

beckslovestimmy Wed 13-Jul-16 11:38:42

I can't advise on continuing breast feeding but if you decide to move to formula. You'll need small bottles with slow flow teats, formula (there all pretty much the same) and some form of steriliser. We use the Milton cold water system which is cheap and easy. The instructions to make up formula are on the tin/tub.

If you want to continue feeding can you get to any breastfeeding support groups? They are usually much more helpful than midwife/health visitor. Has baby been checked for tongue tie? That may be affecting latch. I'm sure some more experienced breast feeders will be along with great advice soon. Get your DH to set up the pump for you and see if you can express a bit, you can feed baby from a spoon/cup/ syringe if you don't have any bottles. You can sterilise with boiling water for now.

WhyIRayLiotta Wed 13-Jul-16 11:39:32

Aww you poor love. I had a similar experience. I used medela nipple shields and they were a godsend.

I persevered with the BFing as I was bloody minded about doing it. But I promise it does get easier.

SweepTheHalls Wed 13-Jul-16 11:45:43

Slather on Lansinoh before and after each feed. Its tough and there isn't a 'right' or wrong way to feed your child. Do you have a friend that breastfed who can support you in real life?

ExasperatedAlmostAlways Wed 13-Jul-16 11:51:02

You do WHATEVER you need to do to make you happy! Seriously. I fed my three children and now looking back I think why did I put myself through such trauma in the beginning days! If you want to ff go for it. and don't let yourself or anyone make you feel guilty.

Sephipops Wed 13-Jul-16 11:54:13

Multimam compresses were my saviour. You can get them in boots, they're quite expensive but I cut each compress in two. Just a day with them constantly on and my nipples felt loads better. Still had the issues with latching, even though midwives said it was good, but that got better with time. I ignored the guidelines of how she should latch and let her get on with it. Obviously if she only got the end I took her off and started again, but the "proper" latch never worked well for us.

ExasperatedAlmostAlways Wed 13-Jul-16 11:55:08

If you want advise and support on how to continue. Iv expressed for me eldest for 16 weeks and fed the other two so can give that too. In the first couple of weeks despite latch being perfect I scrunched my eyes up, clenched my fists and said 'fuck' repeatedly for the first minute after they lat ched on. Lasinoh was my friend. Also check out for local breastfeeding group.

Expressing I found more tiring. I'd literally have to feed the baby day and night and then I'd express straight after so my body was being demanded to supply milk the same way it would of had I been breastfeeding. It was tiring but it helped that my dad could do a bottle feed and nappy change whilst I expressed sometimes.

TallulahTheTiger Wed 13-Jul-16 11:58:27

I am the same! My baby is grabbing my nipples and then shaking it like our dog does with his toys, it's agony- had to sleep sitting up last night as baby won't sleep in the crib. You are not alone. (Sorry if this is no help just wanted to let you know it's not just you)

DiamondInTheRuff Wed 13-Jul-16 11:59:18

I was in exactly the same position as you when DS was that age. We gave him some formula, I expressed a bit, fed when I could. Successfully mixed fed for a few weeks and gradually went back to purely Bf, which we did until he was 2.8.

My advice is feed your baby however you need to keep you sane. Honestly. Whether you switch entirely to formula, mixed feed or go back to BF it does NOT matter.

flowers and cake and congratulations on your newborn.

scallopsrgreat Wed 13-Jul-16 12:02:11

Another one asking have you been checked for tongue-tie (by a specialist)? I had about 4/5 midwives and HVs telling me it wasn't tongue-tie. But it was.

I also had horrendous problems with nipple shields. My newborn started refusing the nipple and everything, it was awful.

Have you spoken to NCT or LLL or another breastfeeding support group? They were a godsend for me. Seriously the standard support for breastfeeding is diabolical. What you are going through shouldn't be happening. It needn't be this difficult and it shouldn't be this painful.

Please ask about tongue-tie. And try and get to see a specialist if you can. This org may help:

LaConnerie Wed 13-Jul-16 12:02:45

I feel your pain OP!

I had this with all three of mine for the first couple of weeks each time. I was sure/HV was sure I was doing everything right. She told me that it can't be avoided to a certain extent and that it's almost like wearing in a new pair of shoes (ouch!).

I found slapping on loads of Camilisan and taking paracetamol helped when it was bad. I also found swapping positions helped take the pressure off certain sore areas - I would do a few feeds in the rugby hold (with baby under my arm on the outside of my body, facing inwards like this

It did start to get better after the first week, and by the end of week two it had almost healed and would only sting for the first few seconds of latching on.

Of course, you don't have to persevere if you don't want to anymore. But if you do, as I did, it will get better.

scallopsrgreat Wed 13-Jul-16 12:03:50

But definitely express too.

Good luck flowers

Dairybanrion Wed 13-Jul-16 12:07:19

Express. Give nips chance to heal. All they may need is 24 hours.
Tongue tie?? V few can diagnose. I met 5 diff people before had tt diagnosed v.
It's really difficult. I remember and I still shiver. Well done getting this far

Dairybanrion Wed 13-Jul-16 12:08:16

Mam compress?
Are they still around?
Found them good.

IrisBlue15 Wed 13-Jul-16 12:13:10

Also at 4 days your hormones probably aren't helping at all. Be really kind to yourself and take painkillers!

My baby is 5 months old now but I remember the first week or two just starting every day thinking just one more feed and we'll see. It gets so much better if you want to continue, if you don't that's absolutely fine too.

Brown76 Wed 13-Jul-16 12:31:42

Congratulations on your new baby! My experience in the first few days sound similar to yours. I sent my partner out to buy formula and a pump on day 3 as I was so worried about just not being able to take it was much improved after a couple of weeks though and my head was a bit clearer.

Do give yourself and your poor nipples a bit of a break, and try either hand expressing (which can be more gentle) or the pump. You can cup feed the baby if you don't have bottles, or feed from a spoon. There are good you tube videos on this or I found getting a BF friend round to show me was really helpful.

In terms of recovery the these breast shells were amazing - I couldn't bear anything touching the nipples and you can put these in your bra so you can actually leave the house!

There are some brilliant videos on you tube to show you how to get a good latch and do different positions. I wasn't up to going to BF support for the first 10 days or so after the birth, but seeing a proper Lactation Consultant really helped me massively and when I have another baby I will be doing this from much earlier on. Wishing you all the best!

Eminado Wed 13-Jul-16 12:42:35

Spend some time topless with just lansinoh on so your nipples can heal a bit

Just to let you known day 4 was my "black cloud day" but it did get better, fed for a year!

NCT bfeeding helpline
Medela nipple shields
Hand express under warm shower if you are feeling engorged.

It's ok to stop if you want to but I promise you it does get better with time.


29redshoes Wed 13-Jul-16 12:50:52

It can be very tough at the beginning. I expressed at the start and got my DH to put the pump together for me. If you don't have a steriliser you can just put all the parts in boiling water for 5-10 minutes.

Or give formula if you'd prefer, plenty of people give the odd bottle of formula and then get back to exclusive breastfeeding (I did this too), it's not the end of the world. You can get bottles/cartons of pre made formula so you don't need to worry about mixing the powder with right temperature water etc. I think you can even get single use bottles of formula so you don't need to sterilise anything.

If you do decide to give some expressed/formula, make sure your DH does it so you can get some rest!

Twerking9to5 Wed 13-Jul-16 12:56:52

flowersi can literally feel your pain. It is such a hard and overwhelming time. I managed three days BF with both of mine but swapped to formula. The guilt ruined me to begin with but now I wonder why I put all the judgement on myself. I really hope you can get some decent RL support if you want to continue BF. If not, remember that your own mental health is paramount and that FF is nothing to be ashamed about x

29redshoes Thu 14-Jul-16 10:09:34

How are things today OP? Hope you're ok, the early days are tough but it does get better!

user1462971973 Thu 14-Jul-16 12:38:45

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InFrance2014 Thu 14-Jul-16 12:38:50

Same position 9 weeks ago, bleeding cracked nipples, agony feeding, we got through and are doing fine now. It was WAAY better just within first 2 weeks as baby's mouth grew and both our techniques improved.

Tips that helped me:
- wait for them to open REALLY wide. you might need to stimulate them a bit by stroking nipple down from nose to lips, or stroke your boob across face.
- try and get as much areola in as possible particularly under the nipple. It;s them sucking just on the nipple that is so painful and damaging
- try feeding with yourself angled back a bit, so the baby is coming down onto the boob, not sideways onto it, helps attaching
- google 'exaggerated latch' and 'flipple' to get best latching techniques, videos on youtube
- lying down feeding can also help depending on what size boobs you have too
- put lansinoh on each time after a feed and leave your boobs exposed for them to heal up.

You can buy a range of nipple shields online I believe, but I second others advice to just keep trying to improve position and latch, you're both learning.
It might be tongue tie but it might not. See if you can get a visit from someone qualified, phone the La Leche number (run by experienced mothers) and ask them to advise.
Phone 0845 120 2918

Good luck, it's very tough, but you're doing great for your baby. Don't go too long between emptying boobs, even if you have to do it manually, it will affect your supply. First 10 days are most important for growing the tissue needed to make lots of milk in future.

cheapredwine Thu 14-Jul-16 14:08:32

Oh thank you so much everyone, so grateful. flowers and cake to those in similar boats, it's just overwhelming isn't it?

My milk came in yesterday evening (day 4) and although we have had to start from scratch with the latch because my boobs are so big now, the wonderful and very experienced old school community midwife who visited this morning took us under her wing and I think he finally has a properly full tummy. I could have kissed her when she sorted it in literally a few minutes. Nipples are very cracked and bloody, but we fed both sides virtually painfree! Though of course now worrying shitting bricks in case it was some divine intervention only while she was here... He'd lost quite a bit of weight on his check, so of course feeling horribly guilty about that, but for the first time since Saturday both he and I slept last night - a lofty 4.5 hours!! And that's really helped too.

I am taking it one feed at a time and trying not to catastrophise. Thank you all so much for the tips and advice. Working on the hand expressing, need to look up how to collect / store the milk. Have some breast milk freezer bags somewhere.

Using a Microwave steriliser is ok right? Also have a cold water steriliser too...

Sephipops Thu 14-Jul-16 14:31:01

I'm glad it's getting better. Don't worry if you have relapses as well - the tired I was the worse it felt.
Milk storage bag and in the freezer. Can stay there for 6 months. A steriliser is a steriliser. I have an electric steam for home and some microwave bags for when I visit people.

Sweetpotatoaddict Thu 14-Jul-16 14:51:17

Glad your milk has come in, and it's all going a bit better. I has a very similar story with my ds. Don't worry about the weight loss now your milk is in you should start to see a gain. My ds lost 13% of his body weight but as soon as my milk came in his weight started increasing, dd lost 10% and my milk was in by day 3. You've not done a thing wrong, babies are full of meconium when they are born I'm sure most of weight loss is poo!!!
Congratulations on your new arrival, sounds like you are doing amazingly, brew and cake

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