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8 weeks PP and still struggling with breastfeeding

(14 Posts)
ArkAtEe Tue 11-Dec-18 19:09:16

Baby girl is 8 weeks old and we have struggled with breastfeeding from the very start but have tried to persevere as much as possible. We have always fed her a couple ounces of formula to top up when breastfeeding has just gotten too painful, first she was cupfed and now bottle-fed. Happy to say we barely use formula now as I've been expressing enough breastmilk instead.

Midwife at hospital said she had slight tongue-tie but have had this checked twice more and they both said no tongue-tie. Have also had latch and positioning checked several times and they can't find a problem there, have been given tips to get a deeper latch but I can't seem to make much improvement.

I thought I might have nipple thrush for a few reasons including sharp shooting pain in breast whilst feeding but GP said she thinks that's all down to nipple damage. We were both treated anyway as baby did have white on tongue but that's gone now and I've been using the cream on me but I've not had any improvement.

Other points are...

- she is very windy even after a breastfeed (will be burped, put down to asleep but then will wake up crying needing to be burped again)
- takes a long time feeding on breast often falls asleep still sucking and wakes up after coming off herself still hungry
- spits up milk daily but not every feed
- always dribbles milk whilst feeding
- it seems like she constantly wants to be fed but if being bottle fed she will often only take 2oz at a time but then will need another couple ounces within the hour
- nipples are severely cracked and come out squashed or lipstick shaped

I want to keep breastfeeding as long as possible, and I was happy when I managed to swap formula for expressed milk... but the pain has gotten worse on one side and so haven't been able to breastfeed on that side. I have been pumping on it but am getting less and less from it and making much more on the side that I'm still breastfeeding from so ending up a bit lopsided... But I don't want to stop expressing on the side I'm feeding from because I still want enough to not go back to topping up with formula again.

Also, she is a terrible napper. There are two times she will sleep well, in the sling if being walked around or for a 5 hour stretch after 1am if she's been awake a lot in the evening. I know 5 hours is good at night but it's exhausting dealing with her crying all day and evening. Most of the time she has to be rocked to sleep only for her to drift off and open her eyes minutes later. Often I can't work out if she's crying because she wants to be fed again or if she's overtired... feels like she's only content and happy for the odd 10 minutes throughout the day.

No idea what I'm expecting by writing this post as I'm not sure how anyone can help but I just wanted to write everything down and feel a bit sorry for myself whilst I try to rock my baby to sleep in her bouncer and her eyes open after drifting off for a minute for the umpteenth time...

OP’s posts: |
LordPickle Tue 11-Dec-18 19:21:42

Well done for making it this far OP. Breastfeeding is a labour of love and is really hard, especially at first. thanks

Is your DD gaining weight? This is the most important thing.

When she's awake, is she ever not breastfeeding?

8 weeks is a long time to still have cracked nipples and problems. My DS had a tongue tie and once it was sorted, all the problems you described went away.

I am not a medical professional but I did LOADS of research when I was suffering like you are and I do wonder if she's got a tongue tie.

Can I PM you?

ArkAtEe Tue 11-Dec-18 19:49:41

Thanks for your reply. Everyone is happy with her weight and she does plenty of wet and dirty nappies. I can pump about 15oz throughout the day now so half her feeds are from a bottle, she only drinks from the bottle little and often but it's quicker than breast so I do get more time with her awake not feeding. However when I was breastfeeding more than this before it felt like she was feeding all the time whilst she was awake. I'd be more than happy for you to PM me with any further advice

OP’s posts: |
chilledteacher Tue 11-Dec-18 19:54:15

Hang in there OP, I could have written your post myself. It does get easier-my little one is just coming up for 16 weeks and it's only been in the past 3-4 weeks that it's clicked for us and stopped hurting.
As long as she is putting on weight and you are getting to change lots of wet and dirty nappies she is doing ok.
I found breastfeeding support from the local HV team helpful, might be worth a ring? smile

DameSylvieKrin Tue 11-Dec-18 19:55:37

This was me two weeks ago. Three days later he suddenly cracked it and it is honestly pleasant to feed him. Nipple shields helped to give me a little break from the pain and to teach him to latch properly — he was premature and didn’t have a strong instinct to suck — but I think mostly it was him getting older that helped. Hang in there, you might be days away from it all working itself out.

chilledteacher Tue 11-Dec-18 19:56:43

Forgot to add mine had tongue tie which was corrected at 3 weeks but the way it was explained to me was that he had to "relearn"'how to suck properly and that this would take a while. It Would definitely be worth getting her checked for tongue tie.

reallyanotherone Tue 11-Dec-18 19:56:53

8wks is classic for your supply to start self regulating.

Any particular reason you are expressing? It’s an utter pita and more bf will be more effective at stimulating supply.

Have you tried a dummy? I found it a bloody godsend for giving me a break. Going out for walks too- you can time it, i’d walk 20 mins to the coffee shop, she’d have a look round, then fall asleep. I’d have rime to sit and have a drink in peace, she’d wake up, feed, change, then back in the buggy for the walk home. She’d have another chat and look round, then fall asleep and i’d park her in the hallway while i did a few bits.

Aozora13 Tue 11-Dec-18 20:00:35

Honestly it really sounds to me like she has a tongue tie. I say this as both my DDs had sneaky hidden posterior ones and I had similar issues to those you describe. Took 6 weeks to get DD1 diagnosed as I kept getting fobbed off by HV saying she was gaining fine and latch looks fine so “it’ll get easier”. It didn’t, until the tt was corrected! With DD2 I was at the breastfeeding group for an initial assessment at 6 days old!

Who assessed her for tongue tie? I had a HV tell me she didn’t think DD2 had one despite me saying she’d been referred to have it corrected. My local breastfeeding group at the children’s centre are brilliant if you have one? Or a private lactation consultant?

You’re doing so well, I know how hard it is flowers

user1471462428 Tue 11-Dec-18 20:03:19

Are you anywhere near Huddersfield? If so I’d recommend a trip to milk matters. Have you tried power pumping? It’s where you pump for 10 minutes then rest for 10 minutes then pump for 10 and so on. Great for building supply. Have you considered exclusive express feeding? There are several groups on Facebook?
I personally found pumping the hardest so I think you’re amazing!
I have formula fed, breast fed and pump fed my children in response to feeding issues. It’s all hard work in the early days but long term breastfeeding is easiest.... you can never forget your breasts on a day out!
Definitely get a second look at tongue tie. There is a tongue tie practitioners website where we found the surgeon who dealt with DC’s. Good luck, you’re doing an amazing job.

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 11-Dec-18 20:11:28

I’m wondering who were the other 2 people who checked for Tongue Tie. Were they Tongue Tie Practioners or Lactation Consultants?

ArkAtEe Tue 11-Dec-18 20:43:29

Thanks chilledteacher, the breastfeeding support is really good here but it seems there is only so much they can do..

DameSylvieKrin I've tried nipple shields a couple of times but she can't seem to latch on to them. I think I might try with them again.

reallyanotherone I pump because it's too painful on one side (really sharp pain) the other is more tolerable. I know baby is best at removing milk but so far my supply is good and pumping is my way of trying to protect it and I now often have milk left over. I know this might not last as I already feel like supply is diminishing in the side I can't feed out of.. I do keep trying to latch her on that side several times a day but most times I have to unlatch her pretty quickly unfortunately.

She will only take the dummy on the rare occasion and even then she will spit it out pretty quickly and start crying looking for it. I keep offering it to her and I'm waiting for the day she will finally accept it and not spit it out after one minute...

Aozora13 my local breastfeeding support group assessed her and also referred us to a tongue-tie specialist who assessed her, there is another tongue-tie specialist not so far, so I think I'm going to try them as well.

user1471462428 thanks I might try power pumping to help keep up my supply in the meantime but I'd love to return to fully breastfeeding and just pumping on top as extra. I don't think I'd be able to exclusively pump though, I think I'd just end up losing my supply

OP’s posts: |
snuggledonthesofa Tue 18-Dec-18 21:05:16

This sounds identical to what we've just been through with dc3. He's 13 weeks now and got it sussed but he still goes back to a shallow latch if he's sleepy.

My bf counsellor suggested pushing the outside of the breast (in line with armpit but a bit more forward if that makes sense) so the nipple points to the roof of his mouth. He really struggled to get a deep latch until his mouth got a bit bigger.

ArkAtEe Thu 24-Jan-19 18:53:16

That's good advice snuggled, and I do that a lot. Things are better now, mostly it's comfortable and only sometimes it's a little uncomfortable. There was no break through though, I just continued with what I had been shown to do at the beginning. I received great advice and had latched checked again and again, but in the end sadly it was mostly time that helped. But I do advice anyone struggling to get help before they give up because it helped me get through the tough parts.

I again mentioned possible tongue-tie to GP but he said no. Happy to report though that when she turned 11 weeks we ditched the formula and haven't used it since! I'm so happy that I never gave up smile

OP’s posts: |
Aozora13 Thu 24-Jan-19 19:03:45

Yay! That’s so nice, I’m happy to hear your positive update!

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