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Is this normal!?

(19 Posts)
hollowtree Fri 01-Dec-17 15:28:48

Long story short, my baby has finally started breastfeeding at 12 weeks!

Long story long: she was an attempted natural breech birth turned EMCS due to getting stuck. We attempted to BF and had a tonne of support from the midwives and beyond but no luck. Tried everything, finally saw a lactation consultant privately who diagnosed nerve damage to her neck (as a result of being breech and getting stuck). Referred to a cranial osteopath for treatment, after one session she latches! The evening before she turned exactly 12 weeks. I am over the moon as I really put my all into finally being able to BF. She has been on expressed breast milk until now but, due to birth trauma and PTSD (which I have since received treatment for) my milk supply was never more than half of what she needed. So we are still topping up with formula but I am hoping my supply will increase as we breastfeed more (tried everything else too!)

So, what I need help with is that I am finding her latch SO painful! My nipples feel like they're on fire! We have had the latch checked regularly since and have received alot of breastfeeding support and this was always fine with the consultants and practitioners who have seen it. They have all said we have a good latch.

So I suppose what I'm asking is, when you first started to breastfeed, did it hurt? I was ok the first few days. First ever latch on a Sunday evening, by Thursday (yesterday) so sore I had to stop the night feed and express instead! I have also tried nipple shields which do help a little.

Not been too bad today so I'm wondering if my breasts are just getting used to the feeling? Any advice appreciated! Did anyone else experience anything like this when they first started?

sunshinebutterfly Fri 01-Dec-17 16:04:01

Hi - well done on the perseverance!

A couple of quick things
- Are you using Lansinoh? If not I'd recommend it! I used to use it before and after every feed to start with.
- If your nipples are damaged (bleeding/ cracked) ask the GP for Actiform cool patches - don't let your nipples get scabs.
- Have you found Kellymom yet? It has loads of useful info.

Keep asking for support and try and pop into a breastfeeding support group - other mums are fab for suggestions of different things that worked for them . Good luck and let us know how you are getting on!

hollowtree Fri 01-Dec-17 16:11:55

Thank you sunshine! Yes I do have Lanisoh but only use it after a sore feed... I'm going to try using it before a feed now!

I'm going to start attending La Leche League sessions too. Thanks again!

user1493413286 Fri 01-Dec-17 16:14:21

I would apply the nipple cream lots and it should sort it out and your nipples will toughen a little.

Bert2e Fri 01-Dec-17 16:34:30

Congratulations on getting your baby to latch - it shows that it is never too late to try!! Ok, who has looked at your latch and what training have they had? I can categorically say that if you have sore nipples then your latch is not good. Nipples do not toughen up, and no amount of the fabled purple cream (Lansinoh) will stop them getting sore. Only a good latch will do that. What it will do however is allow cracked nipples to heal without a scab forming using moist wound healing - although recent studies have shown that it is no better than petroleum jelly (Vaseline) which is much cheaper! When she comes off the breast are you nipples still nice and round or are they squashed / pinched / looking like a new lipstick on the end?

Do you know where your local bf support group is? I really think that you need some face to face support to help with the latch and also to look for and anatomical problems in your baby's mouth (like a tongue tie).

Sorry for so many questions.....

How frequently are you expressing? at least 10 times in 24hrs including at least once at night?

Once you've got a better latch you also might want to look at using a supplemetary nursing system (SNS) so that the top ups are given at the breast rather than by bottle as the sucking will help to stimulate your supply.

Sorry a bit of an epic post but there is so much going on here!

hollowtree Fri 01-Dec-17 17:08:42

The same consultant who diagnosed her nerve damage and an NHS paediatric doctor (who I went to see for the same reason).

Obviously there is work to do with the latch as, because of the nerve damage we have been trying to overcome, s he does not fully extend her neck/tongue or open her mouth wide enough. But considering that we've managed at all to get this far I am just working with it and hoping it will get better! It already has even today...

Lactation consultant ruled out tongue tie. Expressing 6-8 a day as well as the breastfeeding. I feed her as long as she wants, express the rest at the end of every feed and then top her up with formula (I have never produced as much milk as she needs. Currently getting about 50%).

I like the SNS idea for the top ups! Hopefully- The goal is to get her exclusively breastfeeding eventually but this in the mean time would be a good solution.

hollowtree Fri 01-Dec-17 17:09:29

user I feel like they have already toughened a bit!

Misspilly88 Fri 01-Dec-17 17:13:53

I heard 'looks like a great latch' SO many times. It was a terrible latch. I think if it's wrong, you'll know it. Trust your body. Nobody can tell you how much pain you're in. And seek help until you get it.

BertieBotts Fri 01-Dec-17 17:20:01

The difference between Lansihoh and vaseline is that Lansinoh is safe if the baby ingests it so you don't need to wipe it off before a feed, whereas vaseline isn't okay for them to swallow - I think? Correct me if I'm wrong.

KatoGreen Fri 01-Dec-17 17:37:46

Hi hollowtree congratulations on getting her to latch, that's really incredible after 12 weeks. I know from my first child what a huge undertaking it is to keep trying to bf & keep supply going when baby can't latch - it's such an all consuming journey- massive congratulations to you for getting this far!

I can't advise about nipple pain as so far with my DC2 I'm still using shields as she can't yet latch without. (She had tongue tie which was divided last week. But for the few split seconds she could latch without shields before division the pain for me was eye watering- at hospital tongue tie clinic they said she was clamping down with her hard gum ridge because she simply couldn't move her tongue. So if your baby only just had some intervention for the nerve damage then the latch pain could presumably be related to that - did hospital say it will correct in time, as for tongue tie? It takes them a while to re learn how to use their mouth.

Re supply- with my DC1 I pumped & fed in a bottle. I built my supply by pumping every 3hrs and taking fenugreek & domperidone. Did hospital mention either to you?

Natural foods to boost supply include eating lots of oats and flaxseed (I think) - Google lactation cookies & see if someone (friend family( can cook you up a batch

Basically you are doing amazingly & your post is inspiring- hang in there & keep going!!

KatoGreen Fri 01-Dec-17 17:40:21

Ps - cranio osteopathy may also help baby after the nerve trauma

AMagdalena Fri 01-Dec-17 18:11:47

Wow, you have done amazingly to persevere for so long!

In answer to your question, it used to hurt me at the beginning a little when DD wouls clamp down on my nipple during a feed. I was advised to insert my little finger into her mouth to release my breast and try to latch her on more deeply.
We had to use nipple shields for about 4 weeks as well as DD would not latch on without them. It took some work, but we ditched them in the end.
In your situation, as in ours, it might be a case of practising on the latch.

Good luck. I am sure you will get there!

Bert2e Fri 01-Dec-17 18:36:13

BertieBotts studies have failed to show that lanolin is better than other moist wound healing ointments such as petroleum jelly ( Petroleum jelly is routinely used in NICU / SCUBU on the lips of babies with no worries about the swallowing some. Lanolin is obtained from sheep's wool and petroleum jelly is from animals that died millions of years ago!

Bert2e Fri 01-Dec-17 18:40:33

Many paeds/ consultants have no idea how to check for a tongue tie - has anyone felt under her tongue? Often tt babies struggle to open their mouths..... Are you in the position where you could see a private IBCLC (lactation consultant) Listings here:

hollowtree Fri 01-Dec-17 18:54:49

kato and amag that kind you so much! It was so hard!! Yes I'm on domperidone and fenugreek. Pumping regularly too!

Lactation cookies sound good... we have seen a cranial osteopath for a few sessions which is how she learnt to latch. I think as you say it is a case of learning.

Bert2 Yes we did go private and that's how we found out about the nerve damage and got referred to the osteopath, but thank you for the great suggestions!

Today has been a little easier so perhaps she is learning to open her mouth wider and it time it will become easier and more comfortable!

hollowtree Fri 01-Dec-17 18:56:32

*thank not that kind! What is up with autocorrect!?

BertieBotts Fri 01-Dec-17 20:55:18

I am perfectly prepared to believe it's no better, I just wondered about the safety of swallowing it. I was told Lansinoh and Kamillosan are the only safe ones to use. This is what I was told 9 years ago with DS so it could of course be out of date now.

sunshinebutterfly Sun 03-Dec-17 09:50:35

Hi Hollowtree - how are you getting on?

I have just remembered this blog. It was lovely & very inspiring to read when I was having issues latching my LO.
Its always nice to know your not the only one who has been through this!

Hope the feeding has been less painful!

hollowtree Sun 03-Dec-17 12:02:02

Hi sunshine much better thank you! That's so much for this article, it is very reassuring to know I'm not alone with finding breastfeeding hard, I always thought it would come so naturally but it has been a real struggle. Thanks for all your help xx

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