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Engorged breasts - when will it stop? Help me!

(23 Posts)
Spogget Sun 20-Aug-17 21:16:57

DC is 18 days old and EBF. He feeds one side per feed. He goes 3 hours between feeds. I wait until he comes off by himself, I don't stop him. I've been struggling with engorgement for about a week now and it's not getting any better. My boobs are hard, lumpy and so sore. I've been hand expressing just enough so that baby can latch on. I think he's getting too much foremilk because a lot of his poos are green and awful.
The pain is making me crazy. My let down is so forceful baby ends up choking and gulping so much air in he is super windy.

I don't want to stop breastfeeding but it's so unpleasant right now. How can I fix it?

Whywontthiswork Sun 20-Aug-17 21:43:26

That sounds really difficult. I had a very painful let down for the first few months and it is miserable. Have you tried feeding him from both breasts at each feed? He might find this easier, and you would probably find that the engorgement eases if each breast doesn't go 6 hours between uses. Ultimately, whatever you do, your body is likely to eventually adjust.

NeedMoreTea Sun 20-Aug-17 22:00:13

I feel for you, it's so hard at the beginning. It feels like someone poured concrete in my boobs overnight. Have you tried feeding in different positions? My DC3 choked every time I fed her on one particular side (I forget which it was now) and I found it very alarming. The only position I could feed her in that she didn't choke was lying down. It took a bit of practice getting her in the right spot but it solved the problem and was actually quite nice as we would both have a doze.
Once the milk routine settled down we tried cradle hold which is easier if you want to feed when you're out.

As for the excess foremilk, I've no experience personally, but I would think expressing some of it off is a good idea. Do you have any local bfeeding support groups?

Spogget Mon 21-Aug-17 15:20:16

I think not letting him finish one breast before swapping to the other made the engorgement worse. It definitely makes the green poo worse. I woke up this morning and I'd soaked through 3 muslin cloths folded together and tucked in my top and I was still full and lumpy and painful. I expressed 40ml of foremilk off each breast and it barely eased it.

I do cross cradle and rugby hold. I can't manage laying down because we have to do the exaggerated latch and I have to hold my boob the entire feed.

It feels like I will never get this right. It's been one problem after another. We've struggled with poor latch and positioning, cracked and bleeding nipples, thrush for both of us and he's not even 3 weeks old! We've been discharged from the midwife care now as he's gaining weight and the thrush is under control so I can't even see a feeding specialist anymore. I don't have the money right now to pay for one either.

Why am i so shit at this? sad

arbrighton Mon 21-Aug-17 21:10:37

you aren't shit. You are both learning, and while it's natural, easy it ain't

DS is now eight weeks and i'm still getting a bit lumpy if he goes longer between feeds, still have rapid spraying letdown/choke/spray but he's taking less air now/burping better (hopefully we can stop infacol soon!)
We only do one breast each feed too, or he's overfull and just brings it back, spectacularly

some days it all feels more settled, but not many

McCheese Tue 22-Aug-17 09:39:29

You definitely aren't shit. The very fact you are persevering makes you amazing. Breast feeding is hard!! I cannot tell you the amount of times I sat feeding my DD in tears but I couldn't seem the fill her up.

She was losing weight too in the beginning so I was referred to infant feeding team. Tongue tie was diagnosed and cut.

With your babies poos being green, I was always told that meant the baby wasn't getting enough food?

What does your HV say about green poo?

If I stopped feeding my DD when she falls asleep on boob it comes off on her own, she would be underweight. I have to wake her and wake and wake her. It's only literally when she's a floppy mess and no amount of nappy changing or feet tickling will wake her, then I know she's done.

I always assumed engorgment would sort itself out once me and DD were in a sort of harmony regarding supply and demand and it did but it took around 4 weeks.

Now I get it if she had a massive sleep neither of us wake for 6 hours!

Spogget Thu 24-Aug-17 13:31:00

He's gaining weight at a massive rate, he's already more than 1lb over his birth weight at 3 weeks old.

He really likes to comfort suck but ends up gulping down milk and overfilling his belly and projectile vomiting. I think a dummy would help but everyone says to wait.

I worry I am hurting him. He's so windy and his poos are so explosive. He seems in pain a lot.

The engorgement is so painful. It makes me feel sick and makes me hate breastfeeding but I also don't want to give up.

Gannetseatfish Thu 24-Aug-17 15:48:35

Check out the Kellymom website for info on oversupply and fast let down there are some good strategies there. I had this with DS and it did sort itself out but is crap in the meantime. Take it one feed st a time. On the green nappies, we had this for about 6 weeks, GP said it was totally normal in a bf baby and if well otherwise, putting on weight etc not to worry. Hope it gets better soon x

NeedMoreTea Fri 25-Aug-17 20:58:00

How is it going Spogget?
Nobody really tells you how hard breastfeeding is at the beginning. All those images of mums serenely feeding is bollox at the beginning. You're full of crazy hormones, you've no idea if you're doing it right, and at every feed just when you need to be calm and concentrate on getting in the right position etc you've got this small thing waving its hands around and completely screaming it's head off at you.

But you're not shit - you're doing it! You're through the really hard bit at the beginning- he's latching on and putting on weight (which he wouldn't be doing if he wasn't getting enough high calorie hindmilk). Now you just need to give it a bit more time to let your milk production settle down and get in a rhythm (it did take 6 weeks with mine, I didn't believe the midwife when she said it could take that long, I was literally sobbing to my husband "I can't do this anymore" and suddenly a day later it felt less painful).
It sounds like you're doing really well.

Spogget Tue 29-Aug-17 19:37:19

My boobs hurt so much. Even when they are not engorged (which is not very often tbh) they feel bruised and achey.

We are still feeding though. One day at a time.

Spogget Wed 06-Sep-17 20:26:26

Still breastfeeding! He's 5 weeks old now.

I started taking half a tsp of sage every day and the engorgement pretty much stopped. Boobs were still incredibly full and heavy but not agonisingly rock hard and lumpy. It was amazing. I haven't taken any sage for 2 days and they have been painfully engorged this morning and again this evening. My let down is bonkers again and baby is back to being windy and puking a lot. Coincidence? Seems like the sage worked. Baby has been feeding the same.

I don't know if I should take some more sage or try and wait it out since we are so close to the 6 week milestones and maybe it will start fixing itself

Spam88 Sat 09-Sep-17 15:21:15

You're doing amazingly OP, super mum!

Can you not access any feeding support through your HV?

Spogget Sat 09-Sep-17 16:09:59

Thanks, spam. I don't feel like it.

Haven't seen or heard from my hv at all. Bit disappointing really. I wish I could see the midwives again, they were amazing.

Spam88 Sat 09-Sep-17 18:58:44

Really? That doesn't seem right, I think ours came out on day 10. We had a bit of an overlap with the midwife care because they wouldn't discharge us until we were happy with breastfeeding. I wonder if it's worth calling your GP surgery to ask about the HV?

Spogget Thu 14-Sep-17 23:56:30

We have made it to 6 weeks! Hooray!

I had a clogged duct which turned in to mastitis. Just starting to feel normal today.

The hv also came today. If I want breastfeeding support I have to go to the next town and hope she shows up at the baby group. Hmm.
So I'm going to try and find out about other groups closer to me.

I find breastfeeding very lonely. It's so hard being stuck in the house on the sofa for hours and hours each day. I need a big cushion still for support and we still do the exaggerated latch so it's a bit of a faff and I don't feel confident feeding in public. I've done it but it was awkward.
All I want to do is go out for lunch and not have to rush home to feed.
It's been hard going from being out and about everyday to being home all the time. Sometimes I still want to switch to formula for the freedom it seems to offer.

I'm not ready to give up yet though. We've made it through so many issues and survived so let's keep going and see what happens next.

Popskipiekin Fri 15-Sep-17 00:11:49

Just found this thread. You have done astonishingly well. I'm so sorry you find breastfeeding lonely flowers I rather loved being cocooned but it was in the winter months and there was bollocks all else to do aside from sit inside on my bum in front of the telly.
If and only if you do continue, you will find your confidence improve, and as your baby gets bigger you won't need a cushion as much, so feeding out and about will become less hassle, but you are still in the extremely early days. Please don't feel like you must push yourself to go out and breastfeed in public though I can understand how stir crazy you must be getting. There are places which might be easier for you to get your feeding in public L plates as it were... eg baby cinema screenings? Mainly mums, dimmer lights (but should be enough to feed by), nobody cares what you do.

Promise I don't work for them and maybe it won't be your thing/there will be no group near you, but I found the NCT early days course a godsend. Just a place you can be with your new baby, with other women in the same situation, lots of time to just talk about all the issues you're facing.
Good luck with days & weeks ahead. Not a competition though sometimes it damn well feels like it angrysad
(Mixed feeding is a perfectly viable option and may give you the freedom you crave?)

Spogget Sat 23-Sep-17 14:37:45

Thanks Popski. smile

7 weeks now and still breastfeeding! Oh my god, I can't believe how much easier it has been this week! I've only been engorged in the mornings and it's not as extreme as it has been. I've fed him in woodlands, in a cafe and on the beach. We only need one cushion but I've managed it without a couple of times. I have to cross my legs in a weird way so that he's still supported by my legs because he's too heavy for one arm but it worked!

I've found a group that meets every other week only a 10 minute walk from me so I will be going to that.

I've recieved a lot of support on another thread I have going for another issue and today I just feel happy.

Thanks for all the encouragement to keep going!

user1490955528 Mon 25-Sep-17 21:38:56

i had this problem for a long time - maybe it was around week 7 when things started to calm down... i would "block feed" feeding from one side per waking - not even per feed. it may help. I would use a hand pump to express some milk off in the night to help LO latch on without too much fussing / choking / gulping i was super tired...and LO would drop off easier without having to fight with my boob to get some milk! It is awful when you choke your LO and they are coughing etc when you're thinking bf is supposed to be good for bonding but your choking them! it will get better, your supply will even out eventually! keep going .... !

try massage in the shower to make sure your ducts are kept clear!

Jen380 Thu 28-Sep-17 11:29:21

If your baby is still windy and sick I would hand express off some Milk before you put baby on to feed. You obviously have a lot of milk and when babies first latch on it is like opening a can of coke and they get an instant burst which makes them windy. The wind is probably causing the sickness. So just hand express until the let down

Spogget Tue 24-Oct-17 20:33:12

We have been breastfeeding for almost 12 weeks now! I never thought we'd make it this far but it is amazing now. It's crazy how much better and easier it has become in such a short amount of time. I used to think it would never get better and people who told me it would were bonkers. grin

I'm quite proud to have made it this far and so glad I didn't give up.

Now I just want to get more confident and comfortable feeding in public!

ShowOfHands Tue 24-Oct-17 20:40:09

Bloody well done. I had such a similar path with my first with engorgement, mastitis, blockages, exaggerated latch etc. It calmed a bit at 7 weeks and again at 3 months. After that it was much easier and we fed till 3 years. Feeding my second was the easiest thing in the world with no issues at all.

You're doing brilliantly.

CaptainsCat Tue 24-Oct-17 20:52:24

Ah well done OP, you're doing an amazing job - only gets easier from here too smile

Gannetseatfish Wed 25-Oct-17 09:29:55

Gosh well done you!! I’m so glad things are getting better and thanks for updating us you are brilliant x

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