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Don't know what to do...

(46 Posts)
starlover Wed 30-Mar-05 10:11:51

DS is now 7 weeks and I am almost at the end of my tether.
My boobs have been cracked and sore forever now and feeding him has become agony.
I sat there in tears feeding him last night because it hurt so much.

I desperately want to carry on breastfeeding him, but I can't seem to do it right Midwife, HV and breastfeeding counsellor have all said that I have him in a good position, and get a good latch (when he finally stops flailing his head around)... so I don't know what I'm doing wrong.

SOme days it seems a little better, and I feel like things are getting better, but then it just gets worse again.
I have tried everything. I walk around topless as much as poss, I put breastmilk on my nipples, and I've got through nearly a whole tube of lansinoh... but they just won't heal.

I am crying now because I don't want to bottle feed him, but I can't stand the pain of b/f any more.
Even between feeds my breasts feel tender and I get these shooting pains through them.

We had such a sticky start with him, and I was over the moon when he finally started to feed from me... and now it's all gone wrong.
I feel like such a failure, and a bad bad mother because he loves booby milk and I am thinking of taking it away from him and giving him formula.
It's like someone giving you lovely, delicious home-made food all your life, and then suddenly turning round and saying you have to have skanky microwave meals.

I don't know what I want anyone to say... I just need to get it all out I suppose. I want someone to give me a magic answer on how to make it not hurt anymore, but I know that won't happen.

Leogaela Wed 30-Mar-05 10:18:09

Starlover - don't be so hard on yourself. How can you say you are a bad mother when you are suffering so much to make you little one happy.

Is expressing as painful? will he take expressed milk from a bottle? Maybe if you could replace the odd feed with an expressed feed it would give your nipples a chance to heal properly then you can get back to fully breast feeding after your nipples have had some relief.

And I don't think formula milk is THAT bad! A lot of effort has gone into developing a healthy alternative to breast milk, can't say the same about mw meals!

hunkermunker Wed 30-Mar-05 10:18:42

Oh honey - I can't write much as taking DS to the doc in a mo - could you try using a nipple shield for every other feed perhaps?

Big hugs and hopefully someone else will be along who can offer more detailed advice. You're doing a wonderful job sweetheart. Lots of love xxxxxx

beansprout Wed 30-Mar-05 10:19:30

Starlover, you poor thing. This must be so hard for you. All I can say is that I used to curl my toes when ds latched on, plus I had mastitis early on but it did get better. If you need to make the change though. please, please try not to give yourself a hard time about it. It clearly isn't a decision you would take lightly. Hopefully someone will be able to give you some better advice soon.

misdee Wed 30-Mar-05 10:19:53

would nipple shields help your poor nipples at all? i'm not sure if its a good idea or not, am sure tiktok or someone will be able to help more.

and i feel the same as you with regards to formula. its smells rank.

starlover Wed 30-Mar-05 10:23:11

I will go and dig the nipple shields out again. He didn't get on with them last time I used them but will give them another go.

I feel like it's ruining my enjoyment of him iyswim... I hear him waking and hope he'll go back to sleep just so I don't have to feed him

Newbarnsleygirl Wed 30-Mar-05 10:23:33

I think you need to go back to your Gp Starlover. There must be something else which is causing the pain. Have you tried Camilosan?

I was recommended that by my Midwife when I was going to BF.

Don't call yourself a failure, I mean you managed to BF him for 7 weeks. You don't have to give up just yet.

Give your gp a call and get an appointment today and maybe give your BF counsellor another call.

Sorry I'm not much help, I'm sure someone will be along soon with some good advice.


QueenEagle Wed 30-Mar-05 10:27:27

Starlover I really feel for you. Even tho my MW told me I was latching him properly I had the same prob with one nipple in particular, sore cracked bleeding and when my ds was sick it had blood in it from what he'd swallowed from feeding. It used to make my toes curl and I'd cry whilst he broke the scab during feeding. I used to cry when he woke up wanting a feed knowing how much it was going to hurt.

In the end I borrowed a breast pump and expressed every other feed. Nowhere near as painful doing it this way and my nipple healed after about a day of doing this, enough to then feed him from the breast again. Could you borrow a pump and see if this helps you?

My MW also told me to break ds from the breast if it started to hurt when he was first latched on and latch him again until it was comfortable to let him carry on for a full feed.

I was also prescribed antibiotics as I also had shooting pains right through my breast - they seemed to go through from my nipple to my back even when he wasn't actually feeding. Get checked out with your GP, you may need some too.

I really hope things start to improve for you xxx

throckenholt Wed 30-Mar-05 10:28:54

have you tried the rugby hold - ie where he lays under your armpit and comes at you breast from teh other direction ? If you see what I mean - I found that was much the easiest way to get a good latch.

Also think about maybe expressing for some feeds - that may give you a break.

Also just a thought - but try squeezing some milk out before you feed and putting it on your nipples - may help.

Or give a bottle of formula for 1 or two feeds to give your nipples a break.

Don't feel a failure - it definitely isn't always easy for everyone, and he has already had 7 weeks of breast milk - much more than a lot of babies get.

tiktok Wed 30-Mar-05 10:32:09

starlover - things are really not right if you are experiencing this much pain...I think you would be helped by getting a full and thorough assessment by someone who really knows what they are looking for. If you have a breastfeeding clinic near you, that would be a good place to get this sort of help.

I hope you find somewhere.

I don't think you should use nipple shields unless you use them in conjunction with expert help.

throckenholt Wed 30-Mar-05 10:42:41

you say you have seen a breastfeeding counsellor - can you see them again or maybe see someone different.

la leche league Helpline - 020 7242 1278

NCT Breastfeeding Helpline - 0870 444 8708

Breastfeeding Network Supporterline - 0870 900 8787

Blondeinlondon Wed 30-Mar-05 10:46:55

You poor thing

Pain between feeds and the shooting pains you describe are symptoms of thrush. Does your DS have white patches in his mouth at all as this is another sign.
Go see your GP or HV asap.

Good luck!

LIZS Wed 30-Mar-05 11:15:51

Please don't feel so guilty - it sin't always so easy as it is made out to be and you ahve doen a really good job sticking with it so far.

Phone the breastfeeding counsellor asap. It shouldn't be so miserable by now and it is not good enough for the professionals to just say the position is fine if it is obviously causing you damage and pain. Are you able to try different positions ? I know I felt all thumbs with ds but it really did help to be able to alternate the hold so that the pressure wasn't always in the same place each feed. Also have you been checked for mastitis, thrush etc in case there is a physical reason behind it.

Hope you start to feel more positive soon, whether you are able to continue or not.

starlover Wed 30-Mar-05 11:26:32

the b/f counsellor I saw was at a baby cafe near here.
It's only held on a monday.
I am taking him to baby clinic this afternoon so will find out if there is anyone who can help me.

starlover Wed 30-Mar-05 12:07:50

thank you all btw... i do feel a bit more positive now. in a tearful way!

thank god for mumsnet!

throckenholt Wed 30-Mar-05 12:09:19

it really helps to know there is someone out there listening when things get tough !

Twiga Wed 30-Mar-05 12:10:32

Starlover don't have any experience yet - but I'll no doubt need a shoulder come Aug - but have remebered a new product that I heard about at the Baby show in Glasgow - their called "mother mates" and are sold exclusively in Boots - are hydrogel breast feeding pads and are supposed to aid healing fast. Here's a link for them breast pads

Also here's a link for the mothermates website - more info thee mothermates


Tinker Wed 30-Mar-05 12:12:18

I found the best way to feed, for me, was lying down on teh bed. Could read and have a rest at the same time

starlover Wed 30-Mar-05 15:36:43

If it is thrush, which it sounds like it could be... do I need to see the GP, or can the health visitor sort it?

HelloMama Wed 30-Mar-05 15:45:45

starlover, i know exactly how you are feeling - I'm sat here cringing for you. I used to sit in bed doing the night feeds crying, squeezing DH's hand. I don't know what other people's opinions are, but i found nipple shields like these really helpful. I used them for a few days or for every other feed (for a few days /weeks) and found they really help. It does still hurt a bit, but gives the skin a chance to heal underneath. I think some people say they can interfere with the latch or decrease milk supply, but I was lucky and didn't have those problems. I am still feeding DS (8 months) and am glad I perservered, but I definitely know how hard it is. Expressing is good too if you can manage it. Good luck.

emmatom Wed 30-Mar-05 15:49:44

I tried everything and I mean everything, from cabbage leaves to chinese medicine, so determined was I, like you, to continue the breast feeding.
I just couldn't continue though. When I changed to the bottle, a black curtain parted. Feed times were precious again, your little one can still be very close and look up at you as you feed. My baby also got a good full feed every time, I had no pain and life was good again. Both my children are now very healthy, hapy school children, so it was a win, win situation to change for me.
So, if you do change to bottle feeding just be reassured that as long as your baby is getting his milk and you are both happy you are doing the right thing. DO NOT FEEL GUILTY OR LET OTHERS MAKE YOU FEEL GUILTY. Good luck with your further attempts at the breast though.

tiktok Wed 30-Mar-05 15:58:04

starlover, I am surprised that no one has suggested thrush to you before coming on mumsnet....the fact they haven't may suggest that this is not what it is. It is sometimes over-diagnosed, anyway.

I don't think there is any substitute for a real good assessment of your situation.

If it is thrush, the GP can prescribe meds for you and the baby.

starlover Wed 30-Mar-05 16:00:53

well, I have an appointment to see my gp... the earliest they could fit me in was the 10th April!!!!!!!

aloha Wed 30-Mar-05 16:03:46

In a similar position to you I got my HV/midwife (can't remember which!) to book me in as an emergency, and honestly, I think this is. YOur baby's nutrition depends on it. My gp gave me antiobiotics - he said that some skin infections (which take hold on damaged nipples) can cause this sensitivity and shooting pains. I took them and the pain went - however, I also got some tips on positioning from a breastfeeding clinic at the same time so it might have been one or the other or the combination that worked - but it did work! Good luck, I know how hard you have worked to get this far.

LIZS Wed 30-Mar-05 16:06:41

That is outrageous, can you ask to be called for any appointment cancellation. Can your hv pull any strings ? You could always say you worry you are developing mastitis and that your baby could suffer as a result.

In the meantime phone one of those helplines mentioned below and see if they can put you in touch with someone locally who could visit you at home, or if there is an NCT support group in the area. I ended up speaking to an independent Bf counsellor.

Good luck

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