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Close to giving up!(81 Posts)
Gave birth to dd 4 days ago. Second dc but couldn't breastfeed first time round and was hoping this time would be better. It's not!
Had a planned c section, but did some skin to skin in recovery and dd latched on. It was uncomfortable for me but my ds never managed to latch so no idea what it was meant to feel like. Dd cotinued skin to skin in ward, latching often then falling asleep. Over 24 hours it got more and more painful for me until nipples were cracked and bleeding and I was in tears at the thought of it. Google suggests shallow latch is the problem but saw multiple midwives and breastfeeding peer support worker who all said latch ok and gave same suggestions. Tried nipple shield but my nipple tore the minute dd latched on to it and the whole thing was full of blood!
Decided to rest my nipples for a bit and hand express colostrum and give formula top ups as dd very hungry and slightly jaundiced.
Saw lactation consultant today who didn't seem to approve of this and had little sympathy for my pain. Said I needed to put dd to breast or pump every two hours. Today my milk also came in and my breasts are engorged and painful. LC watched dd feed and said she isn't even feeding just 'nibbling', so all that pain and she hasn't even been getting any milk! I've tried pump to reduce engorgment but can only get a tiny bit of milk from one breast and nothing from the other. Even hand expressing which worked before isn't working. Scared my boob is going to explode! Or more seriously that I'll get mastitis. And my dd is still living off formula...
LC has diagnosed a tongue tie but said it isn't restricting movement of tongue so isn't causing the problem and nothing can be done anyway until dd is 1 week
Argh. Sorry this is long but what should I do? Nipples are too sore to latch dd, hand expressing and pump aren't working, my breasts are so painful and I just can't see how this is ever going to work!
Hi there, I know it's easier said than done but don't worry about the breast engorgement, they won't stay like that for long. Your body just needs to adjust so it knows how much milk to produce for baby. I suggest to try to keep feeding when you can using nipple shields and nipple cream. Just express what you can to make your boobs more comfortable. It's very difficult in the early days but once breastfeeding is established about 6 weeks in it does get easier I promise. Try your best that's all you can do.
This sounds sore and no wonder you are considering throwing in the towel. Mother of two breastfed kids here - a few tips you can take or leave
Get a cabbage...cool it in the fridge and put it on your boobs - smells a bit funky but my god it’s amazing for cooling your boobs
Slap on the nipple cream...like before and after the feed - your nips make look like they will never heal but it does get better
Massage your boobs before every feed - don’t be scared to express out a bit before as they will be huge just now so starting off the let down process will make feeding easier
Don’t ever think it will always be like this - bf can take a few weeks or even months to nail - there shall come a day that you both just click and have a a-ha moment!
You will get through this - sounds like you are feeling determined - good luck to you - I’m sure others will have good advice too - well done for asking for advice
If no milk is coming out but you are very full, get in a nice warm bath with either boobs under the water or nice warm flannels on your boobs, this sometimes helps to release some milk with no effort from you. And can't believe dd wasn't latching yet you was told she was, that is why you are so sore now. My ds is also tongue tied but hasn't affected him at all from breast feeding, you should have been given better support while in hospital
All the advice above is spot on but I'd add:
Colostrum nipple cream. Massively helps the pain, hugely quick healing, and they can still feed when it's on so you can apply all day if you need to. You can buy it on Amazon.
Something called 'reverse pressure softening'. Google it. When my milk came in I was so full my DD couldn't latch properly - this saved me from stopping altogether. It's basically using your fingertips to softly press the milk back away from around your nipple so they can attach. Cannot recommend it enough.
But YY to everything above too.
And I promise, if you can make it another week it will become radically easier. for you - I know it's hard.
So sorry it's so tough right now. Good advice above. Some tips from my experience:
You can put damp flannels in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to warm them, then apply to breasts too.
Lansinoh cream after every feed.
Multi mam compresses between feeds to heal your nipples.
Get the tongue tie checked again if possible.
How are you currently trying to latch DD on?
Breastfeeding Helpline that may be useful: 03451202918
Kellymom and la leche league also have good websites.
hopefully one more week and the pain of engorgement will be all gone.
Sorry if it sounded too blunt, typing fast before baby wakes up! You have my sympathy, it's so very painful, especially when dealing with csection.
Some great advice here, I second the nipple shields, medela if you can get them, the boots ones are awful, lanisonoh after every feed, those two things kept me breastfeeding. Good luck op
I just remembered! My lactation consultant told me that massaging your breasts is vital, she got me to half fill a latex glovewith warm water and just roll it around the entire area for a few mi it's a before each feed, the relief was unreal, and also as a pp said, cabbage leaves are your new best friend
See a different lactation consultant.
Try laid back nursing or the breast crawl - can really make a difference with latch if you do it a few times, don't forget you are both learning a new skill and it can take time. Also try the exaggerated latch technique.
Use a clean little finger to break an uncomfortable latch and try again - don't suffer pain - if you start before hunger signals from urgent you will have time to get it right before you both start getting frantic. Sleepy latches can be the easiest
Thanks for help everyone. I do appreciate it.
Not sure I'm capable of a bath right now with c section still so recent though the idea sounds very appealing! I just worry there's something wrong with my let down or milk ducts... I've never leaked breast milk or colostrum during or after either pregnancy. Never felt a 'let down'. I expressed for a month with ds but a whole days work would never produce more than 40ml from both breasts (though they were big and full feeling!). Hand expressing now takes ages to get the first tiny drop and half an hour more to get even 1ml. My milk just never seems to want to come out!
I'm scared to try the nipple shields again after the last time. They are the medela ones. It was like my nipple exploded! The whole thing was red with blood with cracks everywhere. Two days later and the nipple is basically just a scab. I'm wondering if that's why expressing isn't working any more. Could the scab be preventing the milk getting out?
Nipple shields, I used lansinoh plus an organic nipple balm (balm first to soothe then lansinoh to protect from the next piranha latch! 😆) I’ve heard good things about the silver nipple shields for helping healing but not used them myself. We used the “flipple” technique to get a deeper latch, once she had her tt divided at 8 days. We used nipple shields until she was about four months so don’t be deterred if it’s not fixed overnight!! You have my sympathy, I remember how dire it makes you feel in the beginning and my toes curl when I read of other women with cracked bleeding nipples etc!! I also expressed round about a bottle a day to get a bit of a break but to be honest it was also painful and wasn’t enough of a break to make a difference! Oh and also find a new lactation consultant, mine was invaluable just for reassurance and support, aside from dividing the TT. If you’re in the south east I’m happy to PM you her details
You need to heal your nipples without scabbing, keep them moist with lansinoh or jelonet dressings, otherwise the scab reopens every time you feed and they never heal. BUT if your nipples start throbbing get tested for thrush! (Happened to me, was insanely painful)
Maybe the nipple shield was too small?? Again, a good LC will help you find the right nipple shield and show you how to use it etc
Oh and just anecdotal but my SIL had two ELCS and struggled to produce milk after both, I think there is a delay, so maybe you need to do more skin on skin etc to bring it in properly??
I've been applying lansinoh after each time I try to express. I'll apply it more often but it doesn't seem to make much difference. It hurts just to put it on.
It's bad enough all the physical painful but isn't it but the emotional side makes it so tough! I just want to nurse my beautiful dd not sit hooked up to a milking machine!
Yes the emotional side is so tough, especially when you are post birth and hormones all over the place anyway and feeling like you’ve been hit by a truck!! I found Lansinoh so sore to apply, which was why I used the balm first, I think it was something like angel earth or some organic make, I can try to find a link! Really recommend it
This is only my experience, but try bigger nipple shields! I bought Large and used them perfectly; when I went to a BF consultant, she measured me at a small: tried both small and medium and they were agony. The Large allowed my nipples to heal.
Have you tried the rugby ball hold, or feeding lying down (both also good after a C-section)
Try not to get too disheartened; it's a bloody hard thing to learn for both you and The baby.
There's nothing wrong with you or your ducts! You've had some great advice here - I would just reiterate that it does get so much easier and becomes a lovely thing!
Mother of two c-section-born, breastfed kids.
That lactation consultant doesn't sound particularly helpful - given all the issues I find it impossible to believe that tongue tie isn't affecting the feeding! And why do you have to wait until baby is 1 week before dividing it? I suggest you get a second opinion from an ATP registered tongue tie specialist: www.tongue-tie.org.uk/Mobile/m-tongue-tie-important-information-for-parents.html
You've already had lots of good advice about looking after your breasts/nipples, I just wanted to also mention Breast Angels Silverette cups, I have just ordered some after they were recommended to me. Expensive but you might be able to find them cheaper on eBay/Gumtree/FB marketplace.
Otherwise just keep plastering on the Lansinoh... you could also see your GP and ask for a prescription for APNO (All Purpose Nipple Ointment) - again I haven't used it myself but it was recommended to me.
Which breast pump(s) have you used by the way? I wonder if there are any breastfeeding support services that could loan you a hospital grade pump? Might be more efficient than the pump(s) You have tried.
Hang on in there - I think things will improve massively once you can get the tongue tie divided. Meanwhile just do what you have to do to feed DD and heal your nipples - expressed milk or formula, it's all good!
Thanks everyone. It really does help.
I braved the nipple shield again on my other breast and glad to report no bleeding. It still hurt and if anything the latch was worse. The shield seems so big! Every time she latches her bottom lip is at the base of my nipple. I'm pretty sure this must be the problem and that I need to get a deeper latch. I've tried the two techniques suggested at the hospital and group today - the first was making a 'sandwich' with my finger and thumb and the second they called exaggerated latch, both to aim the nipple up and offer up more of the breast. Can't get either to work! She only ever opens her mouth a couple of centimetres and always ends up with her lips around the base of my nipple. And my breasts are so engorged now they're rock solid so I don't see how she could get a mouthful of it anyway? And I can't express any milk off to soften them, nothing happens!
I used hospital grade pumps when I was expressing for ds. The one I've been loaned now is called calypso ardo or something. It seems equally as efficient, i.e. not much!
Not sure about the 1 week thing. Maybe just local NHS policy here? The LC I saw is based at a children's centre. Can't afford to go private.
There's a list of NHS tongue tie practitioners here (by region):
Not opening the mouth properly goes with tongue tie. Try a breast crawl?
Someone’s suggested it earlier but have you tried the ‘flipple’ for helping TT baby to latch?
Found it massively helpful when my DS and I were struggling. That and ‘laid back’ position.
It does get better
I can't seem to do any of those exaggerated latches or nipple sandwiches because I can't shape my boob with my fingers. It's rock hard. How can I relieve the engorgement? Pumping and hand expressing does nothing. I've tried putting dd on all night thinking she would be more efficient. It hurts like hell and I don't think her latch is efficient enough to get anything out. The LC said she was nibbling not drinking and I think I see what she means. I can't feel any kind of let down, there's no milk on my breast or in dd's mouth, and there's no reduction at all in the engorgement. I honestly don't know what to do. The pain of it all is worse that my c section recovery.
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