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DESPERATE, please help, day 4 breastfeeding engorgement

(20 Posts)
ashaj92 Mon 06-Nov-17 04:35:29

Please please please.. any advice at all out there..
My baby boy is 4 days old today, originally was exclusively breastfeeding since birth. Yesterday we hit our first major bump in the road, baby just wanting to feed constantly, nipples were on fire and I couldn’t get him to latch properly. Alongside the complete lack of sleep since my 18hour labour 4 days ago and suffering with major baby blues I was an absolute wreck. So I gave in and my DH gave baby a formula feed just to keep him going and to try give me a break.
Saw the midwife and my mum etc, with lots of support and advice I carried on with breastfeeding just fine. I’ve now got my milk coming in and my breasts are so engorged and swollen my poor baby just cannot latch at all. It’s practically impossible to get my nipple to him because my breasts are like solid, lumpy bowling balls.
We had a few little bottles of formula left, so after hours and hours from last night til now of me and baby both crying and screaming the place down, we used those just so my poor baby wouldn’t starve. Just trying to struggle through now til morning so I can call the midwife again at 9 to come back out to see us.
I had a really bad labour and birth, so I’m desperate for the breastfeeding to stick so I can bond with my baby boy. I know I probably shouldn’t have ‘given in’ to the formula so early, but after literally 6 hours sleep since my baby was born 4 days ago I already feel like a failure as a new mummy as I just want to give him the best I can.
Anyone at all with any advice on how I can get through this engorgement stage and carry on breastfeeding, I really really want to make this work for me and baby.

OP’s posts: |
JuiceInAWineGlass Mon 06-Nov-17 04:44:31

I found this the hardest bit- it will get better. Expressing or pumping just a little bit of milk first really helped mine latch on when I was that engorged. Definitely speak to the midwife in the morning and use whatever support you can drag in to sleep when you can. Remember: fed is best, do what you need to do to get through. It will get better.

Louise201710 Mon 06-Nov-17 04:47:01

Hi, with both my babies i gave them some formula in the first two weeks (both big babies and my milk supply just couldn’t keep up). Post two weeks then my milk supply was fine. You’ll get told not to give formula because your body won’t know the right about of milk to produce but I wasn’t going to let my baby starve-both mine were permanently attached for hours and still crying in those initial weeks so formula was 100% the right thing for us-I hate that you feel guilty for giving formula.
Unfortunately the nipple pain may get worst before it gets better (10 days I yelled each time they latched on) but come 2 weeks I couldn’t feel it. Plus my breasts were less engorged and settled. Wishing you all the best.

krisskross Mon 06-Nov-17 04:47:09

Hi there
No advice re engagement but someone eill be along soon im sure.
I just wanted to say be kind to yourself. You are doing ypur best for your baby and im sure you are doing a much better job thsn you reealise. Formany of us breast feeding is bloody hard but it gets easier. Ask midwife for a breast feeding group you can go to. They can help with latch etc.

angelopal Mon 06-Nov-17 04:49:02

If you struggle to get going with expressing heat can help. Mine were like that and used a hot water bottle on them to get the milk stout start coming out.

Jenijena Mon 06-Nov-17 04:50:54

I had this too, particularly with y first.

You need to express a bit (just enough to deflate your breasts a bit, not so much) off first. You can do this in a shower (the warmth can stimulate it) or just normally. If you make a C with your finger/tgumb and work from the back of your breast to the front, it will start to come (google hand expressing for more help). It can also be helpful to use nipple shields, which you can pick up in large boots and sometimes in large supermarkets. These go over the nipple and can provide more for the baby to latch on to.

Judy watch out for signs of mastitis: hot, lumpy breasts, a temperature, feeling ill...

MsPavlichenko Mon 06-Nov-17 04:53:38

Warm bath and try to express a little might help.
Savoy cabbage leaves in your bra will give you huge relief from engorged breasts too and make it much easier to feed. Honestly.
You will get there.

SandLand Mon 06-Nov-17 04:54:26

Hand express a little bit to soften things off, and see if he will latch on then.
Congrats on the new baby!

donkey86 Mon 06-Nov-17 04:55:06

I found something called 'reverse pressure softening' helped when I was engorged - read how to do it here

RememberToSmile1980 Mon 06-Nov-17 04:56:58

I have been through this. My lb is 20 days old. I would suggest you use hot flannels and try to hand express some of the milk out. I did this and it got better and then I resumed with the BF. I know that with you having a difficult labour you are still probably trying to recover from that. Don't feel guilty for giving your baby formula. As long as he is fed and content he will be fine. If you can do the hot flannels or go into the shower and massage your breasts. You should feel better soon. Do something as you don't want it to turn into mastitis. Best of luck - it will get easier, honest!

manandbeast Mon 06-Nov-17 05:05:59

Hey - this is one of the most difficult experiences of new motherhood. I always say its a bit like torture because if you manage to feed you know you have to do it again in 3 hrs. The pain is horrendous.

Practically these are the things to do:

1. Rent or buy a Medella breast pump. Your DH can get one from mothercare, they're expensive (£130ish) but you'll be able to sell on gumtree once you're done. Do this first thing today.
2. Give your nipples a rest. Feed your baby formula but pump your breasts fully each time your baby feeds. You will be strapped up to the machine pretty much all day - but that's ok. Hand express after you pumped to fully drain each breast.
3. Next day once your nipples have had a rest, let your baby latch on after you've pumped to fully drain each breast.
4. Whrbbyou feel mentally & physically ready try breast feeding again. If you experience pain after the first 30 seconds of the latch, take him off and try again. You're aiming for pain free feeding ( or low level discomfort).
5. Get someone who knows what they're talking about to check your latch

Good luck - you've done amazing to get this far. If you end up giving formula, all will be fine!!! But if you want to, you can try the above.


Joskar Mon 06-Nov-17 05:11:59

You didn't give in and you haven't failed. A wee bit of formula now and then is fine if it helps you to stay sane and get some sleep. It absolutely doesn't mean the end of breastfeeding and it doesn't mean there's any thing wrong with your supply.

The best way to get through engorgement is to feed. As pp have said express a wee bit off at the beginning to help baby latch and then just crack on. Your supply will settle very soon and this early stage of cluster feeding and feeling crazy and exhausted will pass.

Things that might help:

1. Google biological nurturing or laid back nursing. This method of latching will help you rest and should help with any soreness. There are videos online to show you how.

2. Get a stretchy sling and get someone to take the baby out for a walk or just round the house while you sleep. This person can shop, clean and cook while wearing the baby. It will help the baby to sleep. It will help you to know that none of those things are your responsibility.

3. Make a wee nest in bed or on the sofa and settle down to feed like mad for the next week. Get some box sets or Netflix on the go. Plenty water and nice food (chocolate is food...). Books/magazines/Mumsnet etc.

4. If you're on Facebook join UKBAPS or a similar support group

5. Find out about breastfeeding cafes or support groups in your area.

6. This is the most important thing: under no circumstances feel guilty. You haven't done anything wrong. You are doing a good job. This will get easier and you will get through it. It will pass even though it feels like it won't. Be kind to yourself.

Good luck!

ICJump Mon 06-Nov-17 05:15:56

Reverse pressure sifting is really helpful as is hand expressing to get a let down.
Also have a look a biological nursing it sounds weird but it’s really helpful.

Trying to only pump for a few days is probably not that helpful. It’s a double load of work and an ill firing flange will either not get milk out or do damage to nipples really quickly.

Putting baby to Breast often is also important. You can take ibuprofen and cabbage leaves do help too.

This bit is hard but it gets better

manandbeast Mon 06-Nov-17 05:23:40

Sorry I strongly disagree w above. Pumping for a few days gave mf the mental strength I needed to keep trying. I was at the point where ibuprofen and cabbage leaves were utterly useless and there was no way baby was going near my nipples again. The pump allowed me to maintain my supply but give myself a mental break.

But each to their own!

Good luck - you'll bond just fine whatever you do.

NearlyChristmasNow Mon 06-Nov-17 05:32:08

My first few days were like this too, I feel your pain.

DS also had tongue tie - he fed OK the first couple of days while my breasts were still soft, but once they became engorged there was no chance he could get a latch as his tongue couldn't reach out far enough to get round the nipple area.

I used a Medela pump for a few days, then we had his tongue tie snipped at 10 days. Things gradually got better after that.

All the best OP

NearlyChristmasNow Mon 06-Nov-17 05:36:26

We had formula too, it really helped to have it available so that DH could feed DS while I tried to express with the pump.

user1471495191 Mon 06-Nov-17 05:50:09

I found with engorgement you just have to take things gradually - a little pumping can help, too much can make it worse, a little heat can help, but again can also increase supply and blood flow to the engorged area. In the end, I used cold compresses in between feeds (frozen teatowels when the pain got really bad) and I expressed enough for one bedtime bottle for a few days, which was enough to give my boobs a break and me some sleep (while DH gave the bottle). We also gave a couple of formulas when both baby and I were crying and desperate. It got us through the tough times and several weeks down the line baby is still feeding like a trooper (with no pain for me)

Spam88 Mon 06-Nov-17 06:01:57

Agree with the advice to hand express a little before trying to latch him on, and just wanted to add that the enforcement doesn’t last long! A few days at most. Hang in there OP, you’re doing amazingly.

ashaj92 Mon 06-Nov-17 06:17:14

Thank you all so much for your kind and supportive words. This has all come as such a shock to me how hard it all is. I’ve got about 4 other friends who have all had babies around the same time, all but one has given up breastfeeding and it was around this time they gave up too - totally see why now!!
So relieved to know it’s not just me. Feeling much less guilty about the little formula feeds now, just so desperate for a nights sleep (by which I mean at least an hour or two of course..)

OP’s posts: |
Phillipa12 Mon 06-Nov-17 06:21:01

Engorgement is so painful, with dc3 and 4 i had to hand express into a muslin till my breasts were not as hard. The shape that a baby makes your nipple when it feeds is never going to happen with rock solid breasts, so of course they will struggle to latch. I always found the latch for the first 5ish seconds very painful to but this with the engorgement will settle down, and as for formula its not crack cocaine and you have not failed! Congrats on your baby.

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