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breastfeeding for a week now... not sure how much more I can take

(104 Posts)
star6 Fri 10-Oct-08 10:10:01

Hi there,
I was advised by the lovely ladies on my october antenatal thread to post here. They have been incredibly helpful and supportive, so I have not given up just yet. DS typically feeds for 30-45 minutes on one side. It's incredibly draining. The latch is not perfect. In fact it's horrible. I wince in pain when he latches on. I follow all of the advice from the bf counsellor, midwives and websites but he just refuses to take it unless it's that same painful latch!! have red scabbed over spots on tip of both nipples now and feeling engorged quite often.
How long does a baby usually feed from each breast for? Do you usually offer both with each feed?

Is there any way to get him to latch better? He seems just so stubborn with it...

It's day 9 now and the sides of my breasts (the outer part) is very sore to the touch (not red or anything, just sore). Is that normal?

I'm hand expressing a bit when they become engorged and even pumping with electric pump while he feeds on the other side to relieve it sometimes... any other ways to treat engorgement?

When I lay down to try to sleep my whole body feels like one big headache, especially my legs, everything throbbing (maybe I'm just overdoing it with housework?) How dangerous IS it REALLY to take more than 8 paracetmol within a 24 hour period?

Sorry for the essay... I'm a bit of a mess. Really weepy and difficulty controlling emotions as well.

LadySanders Fri 10-Oct-08 10:17:04

poor you. someone will no doubt come along and help more than me. but from my experience, 30-45 mins is normal. the latching on can be quite sharp-intake-of-breath even when its good but pain should subside within a minute or so, though sounds like you may need some more help with gettin ga good position for good latch.

are you using lansinoh/kamillosan/something similar on your nipples after every feed... that will help with the sore skin.

if you keep pumping and expressing your breasts will keep getting engorged cos they think you are asking for more milk to be made.

weepy and emotional normal so early after birth, and yes you do need to take it easy with the housework, sleep when the baby sleeps etc.

it will all get easier, honestly.

fifitot Fri 10-Oct-08 10:23:39

I know it's hard but keep going - you'll get there. My LO fed for that long too. A better latch usually helps but if you've had advice and it still hasn't worked, just keep trying different positions.

I know alot of people say bfing doesn't hurt but ime until our nipples toughen up it does for a week or so. I agree about the lansinoh and get lots of air to them. Don't bother pumping, just keep putting baby to the breast. They are much more efficient than pumps!

Forget about housework! Try feeding lying down and nap while baby feeds. I used to fall asleep and wake up and she'd still be at it!!!!

Good luck! I am sure someone more knowledgable than me will be along soon x

FaintlyMacabre Fri 10-Oct-08 10:31:10

I'm afraid I've not got lots of bf advice, but, firstly, ANY housework is too much at this stage! Someone else can do it.If you have any visitors wanting to 'give you a break' by holding the baby, redirect them to washing up etc.
Also, you really shouldn't take more than 8 paracetamol in 24 hours, partic. not for several days in a row. Ibuprofen is fine while bf if you're able to take it.
There's good advice above as well.

Congratulations btw! smile

tiktok Fri 10-Oct-08 10:33:35


You need medical advice as well as support - the one big headache you feel could be an infection (not uncommon postnatally). Yes, it is dangerous to OD on paracetamol. You may have a urine infection, an infection in the uterus, or mastitis (inflammation of the breast which can make you feel crap all over).

You need to see a midwife or a doctor today - absolutely do not leave it, or you'll hit the weekend.

I hope someone knowledgable has seen you feed from start to finish - that's the only way to really assess what's going on. Sore nipples can be treated, too - hope the midwife has helped with this.

But main thing at the precise moment now - see a doc or m/w about your health.

Hope you feel better soon.

KateF Fri 10-Oct-08 10:34:39

I'm so sorry you're having a hard time - no-one tells you the first couple of weeks are a bit grim sad. You are doing brilliantly and all the advice given so far seems spot on. Just concentrate on you and your baby, take it one feed at a time and it will get better.

tiktok Fri 10-Oct-08 10:34:58

And I agree with the others about housework - preposterous you are doing anything at all like this That's what partners, mothers and mothers in law are for

TheBlonde Fri 10-Oct-08 10:35:58

listen to tiktok- try and see someone today

bundle Fri 10-Oct-08 10:36:36

star6, please follow tiktok's advice and see someone today, those early days are really tough esp if you're feeling as rough as you sound. i had mastitis 3 times in 10 weeks when dd1 one was born and almost gave up bf, I'm so glad I didn't but dh really wanted me to as I was suffering - until i got latch etc sorted and somehow we just "got it"

bundle Fri 10-Oct-08 10:37:44

I also used nipple shields for a bit (sometimes frowned upon) and they helped enormously.
please dont' do any housework!

berolina Fri 10-Oct-08 10:38:34

Poor you and well done.

The length of feeds are (sorry) entirely normal at this stage and possibly for some time to come, but you do sound like the latch needs help. Is he taking aerola into his mouth and not 'just' nipple? is he removing milk efficiently - can you hear him swallowing, can you see something waggling by his ear when he feeds?

Housework? At 9 days? Do not even think about it. Really. Is dh/dp around? Family? Friends? Would hiring a post-natal doula be an option? - I am a tiny bit concerned and suggest you REST as much as you can but also watch your symptoms. I don't think you have mastitis but please be careful.

fifitot is right - feeding lying down can be a godsend, but please don't do it on the sofa and make sure your bed is safe fo co-sleeping (firm mattress, no gaps baby could slip down into, duvet/pillows well out of the way).

Hang in there

Shooflypie Fri 10-Oct-08 10:38:47

gosh star you are doing brilliantly - don't worry it will get better.Someone like Tiktok will be able to advise you really well.

In the meantime:
yes definitely get Lansinoh - it will sort out any cracks in a few days

maybe get a BF counsellor to sit with you and watch DS latching on and advise - easier when someone is actually there.

it IS very tiring in the beginning but your body adjusts and also the baby gets much better at feeding - will do so quicker and more efficiently.

I only offered one boob per feed - it seemed enough when DS was very small

engorgement shd settle down too - express a little just to ease the soreness

sore boobs - soak in a really hot bath as long as you can (!), I found this really helped.

Finally do NOT do anything other than nurse your baby. Stay in bed and have a 'babymoon', get to know him, sleep when he does - I stayed in bed for at least a whole morning/afternoon or sometimes all day at this stage. You need every ounce of energy!

Weepy is perfectly normal, when you do get out of bed, go for a (very short) walk to get some fresh air.

Housework - do NOT do this! Really! Remember in some cultures mothers are not allowed to lift a finger for the first 6 weeks. For good reason.

In a few weeks this will have settled and you will have much more energy and this will seem like a distant blur smile

berolina Fri 10-Oct-08 10:39:30

OK, tiktok has said mastitis too - she knows better - take her advice and see someone

sinpan Fri 10-Oct-08 10:41:23

Sorry I can't offer much practical advice, it is so long since I breastfed, but just wanted to say well done for trying so hard. If you can't carry on you've still got your DS off to the best possible start.

I breastfed both my DSs but stopped feeding DS1 after 12 days as my breasts were so sore, he fed non-stop and I wasn't sure if he was latching on properly. Looking back I'd say I just didn't have enough help. I was on my own with the baby from 1 week old and the constant breastfeeding left me no time to eat, drink, sleep, get dressed, have a shower, nothing. I really needed someone around to do everything else so I could just feed. When DS2 came along, I felt much more positive about breastfeeding, knowing I had been able to do it (even if only for 12 days) and more importantly, my aunt stayed with me for 5 weeks, which made life tons easier, as it meant I could concentrate on establishing feeding.

With DS1, I knew no other mothers, so that didn't help either. I didn't really have any positive experience of breastfeeding to show me that it could be done.

How much help have you got? Have you got close friends who've successfully breastfed? It's not always easy to establish breastfeeding and I too remember feeling completely overwhelmed by it, and frustrated by what I saw as my apparent failure to do what was best for my DS. Of course I see now that just reinforced all my negative thoughts and made it more likley I would stop. Although it was a relief at the time and DS1 took to the bottle very happily - was a very hungry baby and is still a hungry child - I'm sure if I had had more help and more positive support, I could have carried on. My sister-in-law had similar problems to mine establishing breastfeeding, but stuck to her guns and got there in the end, so it can be done with the right help.

I think it is normal to feel pain when the baby latches on, that's the 'drawdown'??? - breastfeeding experts correct me if I'm wrong here. I remember the pain of latching on with DSs, but with DS2 the pain seemed to disappear as breastfeeding became more established and after 3 or 4 weeks I could breastfeed without any pain at all, only the very pleasant sensation of the suckling baby.

BTW DS1 who was breasfed for only 12 days is bigger and smarter than DS2, who had the benefit of 7 months breastfeeding, so go figure.

tiktok Fri 10-Oct-08 10:43:29

bero - just to clarify, obv I don't know if it is mastitis, but it could any case, feeling as if you have a headache all over with 'everything throbbing' is rather more than the usual postnatal tiredness, and needs a doc's or midwife's opinion.

SamJamsmum Fri 10-Oct-08 10:49:35

I agree that you could be describing mastitis here. So you do need to talk to someone asap about that.
Also important to look at the general feeding situation obviously. A dodgy latch may have contributed to you being at risk of mastitis.
You do need to find a bf counsellor or a lactation consultant who will come and see you feed at home. It might be that 20 minutes of advice about latch and positioning changes your world. Even 'one tip' might make all the difference.
Your midwife should know of local counsellors. Failing that your HV team (who you are probably not in touch with yet) will probably know of the local PCT 'infant feeding coordinator' and she may know or even be trained herself (ours is a bfn supporter).
Then try phoning one of the national numbers. The helpline computers automatically put you through to someone local in most cases and MANY will happily do home visits if we can. Or have the counsellor list and will phone around to find someone local.
1. The NCT (National Childbirth Trust) Breastfeeding Line: 0870 444 8708 - 8am-10pm everyday.
2. The ABM (Association of Breastfeeding Mothers): 08444 122 949 - open from 9.30am to 10.30pm every day.
3. The La Leche League in the UK - 0845 120 2918 (no specific hours given but you are calling someone who has children at home!)
4. BfN 0870 900 8787
5. NHS helpline 0844 20 909 20 (ABM and BfN volunteers)

Don't even THINK about housework. Hey my baby is 10 months and I STILL don't do housework.

star6 Fri 10-Oct-08 11:31:54

Thanks everyone. I really appreciate all of your support What would I do without MN?
Midwives have come every other day (mostly because baby needed jaundice checked... he's fine, though and it's fading well). There is a breastfeeding counsellor who has helped tremendously, but still struggling.

Trying not to do housework, but DH is so awful at it and never does it to my standard... I know I'll have to let go. When we went out to get the spatone yesterday, I took advantage of the 10 minutes to hoover as it hadn't been done in a week! You're right, though, I'll cut down on that.
A midwife is meant to be coming today, so I'll mention the headache to her. Yesterday, the midwife who came saw me in really poor form and told DH to go get spatone (I'm very anaemic - hb is lower than 8 at the moment) and told me to rest for the day and only express my milk and let DH give the milk to the baby! but when he cried, my breasts would become full and uncomfortable and I just felt like this was awful advice for helping to establish my bf relationship with my baby... so we got the spatone... I even let DH take DS out with him to get it, but I kept feeding as he wanted.

Could be a uterine infection - I am having some trouble down there... had a vontouse and full episiotomy and enormous piles... it was all so traumatic and I have a REALLY hard time with any sort of internal examination (this was most awful part of birth for me... the internal exams). So, I don't really want to tell them about this because I don't want anyone examining me there... I can't take it

Is it normal for breasts to hurt on the outer sides at this point in time?

TheBlonde Fri 10-Oct-08 11:41:34

You need to tell them about 'down there'
If you have an infection it will need treating
They probably won't even examine you
I assume the MW has been checking your stiches and that your uterus has gone down ok

HB below 8 will make you feel terrible plus the sleep deprivation
Please don't do any housework, it really doesn't matter right now

whinegums Fri 10-Oct-08 11:52:31

Hi Star, I think you've had some great advice here, so I won't repeat it.

I just wanted to say I found the first few weeks of bf horrendous - it was so bloody sore - I had grazes and bruises from DS. I constantly dosed up on long lasting nurofen and paracetamol, and dreaded each feed. I kept telling myself I'd just do the next feed and see how it was; and then the next day; and so on. I also got nipple shells to wear between feeds - I couldn't bear anything touching my nips, I couldn't even wrap myself in a towel after a bath, and they helped massively, along with rubbing in a little EBM after each feed and a tiny bit of Lansinoh.

It really really does get better - DS is now 3 months old, and we are still going strong.

Good luck. Rest as much as you can, and sod the housework.

TinkerBellesMum Fri 10-Oct-08 11:58:41

Lot's of good advice on here. Have you looked into a group? I found when things were difficult it was the best thing for us, don't know what I would have done without those ladies.

TheProvincialLady Fri 10-Oct-08 11:58:59

Star PLEASE PLEASE call your GP as a matter of urgency. I had a uterine infection and it very quickly turned from me feeling a bit ill and tired to me being very, very ill and I could have diedsad You cannot afford to risk this. The examination they will do is just feeling your uterus, ie your belly, not anything internal. Have you got a raised temperature or is your lochia (blood loss) at all smelly or a funny colour? Have you any tenderness in your uterus area? These are signs of a uterine infection - though there could be others so don't take my word for it, see your GP urgently.

Even if it is mastitis or something else you don't need or deserve to be feeling like this. Once you get the treatment you need you will start to feel so much better. In the meantime don't whatever you do do any housework [strict order].

tiktok Fri 10-Oct-08 12:08:21

Midwife's advice to express is very poor indeed

Star - you need to see a doctor and today. Sorry to be bossy

I am not a medic, but I think they are highly unlikely to do an internal but they may have a peek at your 'underneath'.

Hope all this is hepful.

star6 Fri 10-Oct-08 13:14:43

MW was just here. She was most concerned with how pale I am and low hb level. My blood loss is a bit smelly, not a funny colour, though. no tenderness in uterus area. She didn't feel around or anything... she told me I need rest more. that's what they always say.

TheBlonde Fri 10-Oct-08 13:17:21

Does your GP know how low your HB level is?
Might be worth speaking to them on the phone

tiktok Fri 10-Oct-08 13:22:23

OK - have to assume midwife knows if you need a doctor's input or not, and glad to hear she is ordering you to rest

Has anyone seen you feed from start to finish?

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