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When to admit defeat?

(6 Posts)
FabFrench Sat 20-Jun-09 08:52:13

My DS is 4 weeks old today. He is my third, and I breastfed the other two for 7 months. With the others I had the usual issues of cracked nipples and soreness for the first couple of weeks, and I battled through. Breastfeeding got established, and became a pleasure. My new baby was born with a tongue tie, and bf quickly became excruciating in a way that I felt was beyond what I had experienced with the others. He was referred and the tongue tie successfully snipped at ten days. By this time, I had started to use nipple shields on and off to protect my cracked nipples, but I found that the pain did not improve even when my nipples had healed and I stopped using the shileds, as I felt that it was interfering with his latching on technique. The pain was worse in my left breast, continued all the way through the feed, often reduced me to tears, and left an aching dragging pain in my nipple and through my breast for up to an hour after feeding. I have been checked for thrush, and don't have it. This week I saw a breastfeeding counsellor who sat with me and observed the feeds. She said that even when he appears to be latched on well, he is bringing up his bottom lip during the feed, and chomping on the nipple. This means that I have to persistently break the latch and start the feed again, which results in a stressed out windy baby. Also, the pain worsens as the feed progresses, meaning that I can't always manage to get to the end of a feed, so he doesn't get lots of the hind milk, and therefore stays hungry, with feeds going on over 2 hours of stopping and starting at times. On the right side, the pain in less severe, but as I don't have such a fab supply on that side, he begins a feed, and then quickly starts to pull the breast all over the place like a lamb with a sheep, and guess what, that makes me sore. I have persevered for four weeks, and yesterday, decided to stop feeding him on the left side, express as much as I can, feed him on the right and top up with formula. This has caused me massive guilt and anxiety, as my eldest was allergic to cows milk, and I had planned to keep this one dairy free until he was over 6 months. He loves the formula, and will take expressed milk (although I struggle to express enough from my left side, even though it's full) He seems fuller and more satisfied, I know I've done the best I can, so why do I feel so guilty? Sorry for such a long post, but hormones and emotions running high. Any thoughts?

dawntigga Sat 20-Jun-09 09:01:37

Try this site - he answers emails to!

SMOOCHES to you I've been where you are.

Instead of un-latching have you tried just pulling down on the chin to get ds in the right place?


MIAonline Sat 20-Jun-09 09:14:47

I was in exactly the same position as you, so I know the pain and upset you are going through right now.

I had severe pain when feeding my DS who also had tongue tie, his was snipped at 4 weeks and I expected to see a quick improvement, but tbh, it took another month for it to start to improve, partly because I suffered so much damage to my nipples ( I am still scarred, physically, now) from feeding him and partly because his latch was so bad.

After the snip I continued for another week, but I was in agony and my nipples were starting to open and bleed more I had had enough I was crying about every feed and decided to switch to formula. But, I ended up using 1 evening feed, that was the worst feed of the day for me) and by having one break a day I managed to continue feeding DS. It gave me the break I needed. After quite a few weeks I was able to stop the formula, once my nipples had started to improve. I continued BF until well over a year in the end smile

The reason behind my long post, is to say it doesn't always have to either/or. Your plan sounds good, especially while things are still improving

Having said that also try:

exaggerated latch, am sure you will be able to google it.

Check for upper lip tie (DS also has this and I think it is one of the reasons he took so long to get his latch right, even after the snip)

Good luck, stop beating yourself up about it, you are doing a great job and I know just how painful, difficult and emotional this is. It will get so much bettersmile

tiktok Sat 20-Jun-09 09:38:55

FabFrench - what a story

Of course one option is to stop bf, or stop fully bf or stop bf directly....and no one would ever think you were unjustified in doing that.

If you want to explore further, then MIA is right, I think - the tt snip has not worked yet and it may need to be done again, possibly together with the upper frenulum. Whatever... you need a second specialist opinion from someone who can watch you feed and who understands a lot about oral anomalies. Such a person may be hard to find - even experienced bfcs would find it very hard to evaluate this, so maybe you could ask where you had the tt snipped if there is anyone who could help.

You ask why you feel 'so guilty'....I'd suggest that it's not guilt you feel but sadness and disappointment and a longing to achieve what you did with your other kids. That's not guilt, but it is hard to bear - be kind to yourself and ditch the guilt 'cos guilt is for people who are doing something wrong and knowingly. That doesn't apply to you!

electra Sat 20-Jun-09 13:00:49

FabFrench - poor you. I know how you feel as I have had a similar situation. I have a 10 week old and had breast fed my older dds and didn't use formula at all. I assumed I would be able to do the same for this one but various factors seemed to conspire to make it impossible to continue beyond 6 weeks. At first I didn't enjoy feeding her formula and felt bad about it. It took me some time to come to terms with the whole thing but I feel better now. I agree with tiktok - it's the disappointment.

FabFrench Sat 20-Jun-09 21:48:56

I think you're both right that it is disappointment rather than guilt. Have persevered today, and have managed so far with bottles of expressed milk and bf. Have looked at some of the sites people suggest, and have tried pulling the chin down, with mixed success! The pain is so different on both sides though. On the left, it is excruciating, sharp pain through the feed. On the right, it is although he is chomping down on the nipple, and pulling it around. Today, I could feel it in my ribs. Have tried not to break the latch, as I know this is stressful for him, and is what one site suggested, but found the pain too much. Will persevere a bit least I know I can express and use formula if all else fails, and this takes the pressure off. What a saga! Thanks for the advice and support, it all helps. x

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