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I need help :( (very long sorry)

(53 Posts)
LittleCheese Wed 09-Sep-09 10:38:23

DD2 is 2 days old and i really want more than anything to breast feed her, but im having some issues.

On Monday she latched straight on within 15 mins of being born and "fed" for an hour, then again in the hospital a couple of hours later for about 40mins

I really dont remember if at the time feeding hurt, the midwife said she was latched on perfectly. Since getting home on monday lunch time I did notice a couple of inflamed sore patches on nipples so just moisturised lots.

from feeding at around 11 in the morning on monday she then didnt feed again until 10.30pm and wanted feeding every hour until 3.30am. I managed 3 breast feeds at which point my nipples were in agony and my stomach felt like i was in labour again so DH did next 3 feeds with bottle of formula (2oz over 3 feeds)

She then slept until 6.30am at which point she fed 2 hourly until 10.30 all breast feeds.

didnt feed again until 4.30pm when midwife was round, midwife again assured me that she was latched correctly and it shouldn't hurt. Whilst she was feeding it was fine and she had breast feeds at 4.30pm and 5.30pm after feeding i was in agony it doesnt seem to be dry or cracked skin more tender nipples, even clothing brushing them is painful

her last 4 feeds have been bottle as my nipples are so sore for me to even consider getting her latch to on, i now feel like my dream of breast feeding her is going out of the window and the longer my nipples take to recover the less likely ill be to get her on the breast

Thank you if you have managed to read my monster of a post any advice is welcome i feel pretty rubbish about feeding right now

tiktok Wed 09-Sep-09 10:44:35

LittleCheese, welcome to baby LittleCheese

I think it makes a lot of sense to seek out good help now.

You have had pretty crappy help so far

The latch cannot have been 'perfect' on that first day. The only reason nipples become damaged early on like this is because they are being compressed in the mouth - and that happens when the nipple is not far back enough. Sometimes, tongue tie in the baby makes this harder to achieve.

The answer to this is to get the latch/positioning fixed. You can call the midwives and explain what's been going on and have someone come out and help you today - clearly your dd can do it sometimes, as you had some pain free feeds.

If you cannot bear to put her on, you must start expressing milk to ensure a supply is there for when she returns to the breast. A call to any of the bf helplines will be a good idea, too. In some places a trained volunteer can visit you to help with positioning.

Hope you get good help today.

sundew Wed 09-Sep-09 10:52:00

Hi Little cheese I had to respond - and I'm sure you will get lots of other posts. One big myth (well for me anyway) is that breastfeeding doesn't hurt. When I started bf my 2 dds it was agony - my friend described it as toecurling which I agree with. However, this does pass - its normal your nipples aren't used to having a hungry mouth sucking at them for hours at a time.

I found the nipple shields from Boots www.boots.com/en/Boots-Nipple-Shields_334235/ a godsend in the early period - they are like a big plastic nipple that you put over your own and they just help.

It is really hard in this early period - your hormones are all over the place, you are shattered after the birth so take it one step at a time. Just try and relax - which I know is SO hard at the moment and enjoy your baby - as long as they are being fed it doesn't matter if it is breast or bottle.

A close firend of mine took over 6 weeks to get breast feeding established properly - so a bit of bottle feeding now won't make any difference.

Good luck smile

LittleCheese Wed 09-Sep-09 10:54:10

tiktok thank you for your quick reply.

I did think about calling someone first thing but was a little worried at the reaction I would get to having given my dd a bottle already

As my milk has not come in yet am I right in thinking I should hand express rather than using my electric pump?

sundew Wed 09-Sep-09 10:55:00

Little cheese - me again. Fantastic advice as ever from Tiktok. I forgot to say about the stomach cramps - that is normal - someting to do with breast feeding stimulating your womb to contract - I'm sure someone will come along with the correct explanation. This only last a very short time.

tiktok Wed 09-Sep-09 10:58:11

LittleCheese - no one will raise an eyebrow at the bottle! Many, many women who call the helplines have already given a bottle.

Yes - the pains are normal, though you have experienced them quite strongly, from the sound of it. They're called afterpains, and they are your uterus contracting again under the stim. of oxytocin that comes with bf.

It is very, very temporary.

LittleCheese Wed 09-Sep-09 11:00:09

sundew thanks for your response too, I might send DH to boots for some of the shields as im willing to try anything

tiktok Wed 09-Sep-09 11:02:34

LittleCheese - shields can be useful but please don't use them without checking with the midwife first. They have serious drawbacks

Yes, hand expressing best at this stage.

brewsterbear Wed 09-Sep-09 11:04:44

My nipples hurt till my dd was around 3 weeks- and then it just went away. I had numerous people look at my latch both in and out of hospital and they all said it was fine- I even looked into thrush etc.. but I think I needed time to get used to it.

I used to count to ten when she was actually on by which time the pain would subside a bit. I used lanosin cream in between which helped a lot. Don't wear ant ribbed tops or anything as they made mine worse.

cory Wed 09-Sep-09 11:14:44

also check out that there isn't a breastfeeding counsellor attached to your local hospital

I had one who came out to my house to support me, she was brilliant

Bessie123 Wed 09-Sep-09 11:15:20

It took me around 3 months to establish bf properly. if it makes you feel better, i think almost everyone has some problems with it and it does hurt but i think it is worth it in the long run. you just have to get through the first few weeks of it hurting and your lo needing to feed almost all the time. it will get better. i'm sure you are doing really well, it's so normal to feel like you're not doing it right but you are.

Having heard bad things about it while i was pregnant, i called the leche league's helpline in desperation and they were really great, so supportive. i don't have the number but i'm sure you could google them.

hanaflowerhatestheDM Wed 09-Sep-09 11:22:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NellyTheElephant Wed 09-Sep-09 11:24:10

With al 3 of mine i had quite a lot of pain (and cracked, bleeding nipples) which started a couple of days after birth and lasted about 10 days. For me the problems were caused by engorgement of the breasts making it difficult for the babies to latch and it righted itself once my milk settled down a bit after a week or so. The one thing that got me through those early days was pumping when my nipples were very painful (electric pump) and giving the milk in a bottle. The pump was much gentler than the babies' sucking and seemed to allow the nipples to heal up a bit so I'd be able to do the next feed with the baby to the breast then pump the next one etc until the need to use the breast pump reduced as everything settled down. I also used to find that it was the initial latching on (maybe just a minute or so that was really painful - once they were properly on it was fine, so a deep breath and gritting my teeth for those first few seconds would generally get me through.

If you are in pain after the feed you might find a gel pack helps - you can buy specific ones for breasts (I bought them in Boots I think) which you an either warm up or chill in the fridge, whichever you prefer, then put into your bra (or even good old fashioned cabbage leaves - bizarrely they do help, although you feel pretty silly with cabbage leaves sticking out of your bra!!). I also used Lanisoh and Kamillosan creams which really helped sooth (I liked Kamillosan best).

Good luck - it really does usually get better quite quickly.

JetLi Wed 09-Sep-09 12:34:30

Well done LittleCheese!
I found there to be a bit of toecurling initial pain when DD latched on - if I counted to 10 and it was still there, then I relatched. Then I do think there's a wee bit of initial nipple sensitivity that needs to pass with BF - it took few days for my nips to toughen up - DD has a latch like a Dyson vacuum cleaner! I had problems at the start just like yours and was advised to pump (or feed) 3 hourly to protect my supply (DD was initially very sleepy so didn't want to feed enough) so do what tiktok says. I had a BF lady come to the house every 3 or 4 days to help and inbetween we went to the local BF drop-in at the hospital. The hands-on help I got was invaluable. I also fed formula at first in moments of upset and panic and I promise no-one ever chinned at me.
I'm now 8 weeks in and its lovely and I can't tell you how glad I am that I perservered smile

JetLi Wed 09-Sep-09 12:44:01

I found breast shells are good for sensitivity - they just keep your clothes/bra off the nips between feeds - I remember my softest fleecy PJ's feeling like the roughest sandpaper on me at the start - go topless when you can too.

mathanxiety Wed 09-Sep-09 16:01:00

It feels a bit like having your nipples sanded, doesn't it? If you can manage to get a lot of the areola into baby's mouth, her tongue won't be scraping off your nipples so much. Squeeze your boob until it seems quite horizontal and flat, with fingers underneath and thumb on top, while she is latching on, and see how far you can get your nipple into her mouth. I was advised to go around with my maternity bra flaps open and let milk dry on my nipples until they 'toughened up'. I think the reasoning behind the advice was that if they stay warm and moist inside your bra or clothes they are more likely to remain very soft and tender. Takes a bit of time, though.

Mapleleaf134 Thu 10-Sep-09 08:57:12

It makes me so annoyed when all the 'experts' say that it shouldn't hurt. Of course it should! Your nipples are being rubbed for up to an hour 8-10 times a day! There are a very lucky few who don't have pain, but I honestly don't know a single breastfeeding mum who didn't have toe-curling pain for several weeks. I know it's hard to see beyond the next day or so with a newborn, but it will eventually get better. I found wearing a night-time bra very helpful. The breast shields were also good for a bit, and I used lots of lansinoh cream. But really, you just have to wait it out.

If you do decide that it's too much, however, and switch to bottles, don't beat yourself up, or let anyone make you feel bad. Several of my friends stuck with it, and and several didn't, and all of our babies are healthy and happy.

Good luck! x

NoGoodNicknamesLeft Thu 10-Sep-09 09:08:17

agree with mapleleaf.

wet your finger and rub it very, very gently on some delicate bit of skin, e.g. inner elbow. now continue to do it for half an hour. now repeat that seven times a day. ouchville. eventually your elbow skin will toughen up. same with nips. health visitors who say it shouldn't hurt at all make me cross.

lansinoh rocks.

NoGoodNicknamesLeft Thu 10-Sep-09 09:11:15

oh, but do make sure baby gets latched on properly. after all the gas and air at labour, i was a bit dopey and dd "latched on" to a bit of boob that had no actual nipple in it. got a massive hickey that was very sore over next few days. doh! sucked like a dyson that one from the get go.

tiktok Thu 10-Sep-09 09:26:54



Nipple pain is not inevitable, and 'toe curling nipple pain that lasts several weeks' is not normal.

Nipple pain is common, but it should not happen.

The analogy with rubbing the inner elbow with a damp finger does not work! This is nothing like what should happen with breastfeeding.

In breastfeeding, the nipple is not rubbed at all. The nipple skin does not need to be toughened up.

I am sorry to make people cross by saying it shouldn't hurt....but I take calls and speak to women all the time who have heard rubbish about pain being unavoidable, so they continue until they either give up because of the pain, or they battle on with their nipples becoming worse and worse. In almost every case, even with the really, really messed up nipples, amending the way the baby takes the breast helps. It's easier to help these women if they seek help in the first days, too - but if they read 'eventually it will get better' and 'your skin will toughen up' they're not gonna bother.

There are cases where soreness remains a mystery, cases where the baby has a tongue tie, cases which do seem to be a question of waiting until the baby 'gets it' by himself....but none of this means soreness is normal.

Maria2007 Thu 10-Sep-09 11:37:17

LittleCheese, first of all CONGRATULATIONS on the birth of your baby!! How lovely to have a newborn...

I just want to reassure you & say that giving a bottle those first few days is so common, don't beat yourself up about it! I did it too (gave one bottle of formula on day 2) & then went on to bf for almost 9 months. On the other hand though, as the others have said, it's true that bottles (although reassuring & sometimes even necessary in the short run) are unfortunately not a help at all to establishing bf .

You say you really want to establish bf. You can do it, I promise you, it's really something you can do as long as you get the right help & persevere a bit! The pain you describe in the stomach is not nice, but it passes very quickly, I promise! It passed with me by day 7 or so. The pain in the nipples... I think a small amount of pain can be normal, but the amount of pain you describe suggests- perhaps- that you have an issue with the latch. Please please get some help from a bf counsellor or postnatal doula who knows about bf, its so rewarding & reassuring to get it right- the latch can be quite a tricky thing even though babies manage to get milk with even a half-ok latch. Even one-two visits can make a huge difference. I too had many problems with my baby latching & a postnatal doula (trained in bf) came in for a few hours that first important week. It made such a difference, it was the difference between bf & not bf. The bf helplines are also excellent, they won't tell you off for using formula, they're used to it, it's normal! They'll, rather, suggest ways to help things improve with the bf. If a bf counsellor on the helplines tells you off for the formula, I would end the call & ask for help from someone else who is willing to listen openly.

Good luck! You can do it... that first week is hard with a newborn, please get as much rest as you can, get your DH to help a lot!

NoGoodNicknamesLeft Thu 10-Sep-09 11:48:01

tiktok: there is contact, there is wetness, both are unavoidable unless you are just squirting the milk magically into the baby's mouth. the teat may be at the back of the mouth and pointing up and not being touched etc., but the aureola sure as hell is being kneaded by the tounge and laved for min 3.5 hours a day when it has barely ever been touched before.

also each babe has a different suck - some are little monsters and worry at the breast and suck like billy-o and some are gentle and take delicate sips. yes so they're not supposed to suck, some still do, so bah humbug.

tiktok Thu 10-Sep-09 12:30:21

Bah Humbug to you, too, Nicknames hmm

There should be no friction of the sort you are implying involved in breastfeeding.

I did not say there is no contact.

If you have access to academic literature you can find out more about this.

Tongue movement and intra-oral vacuum in breastfeeding infants by Geddes, Hartmann et al is one paper.

U/sound imagery appears to confirm that milk is removed by the creation of an intra-oral vacuum, created by the tongue, with some peristalitic action.

If there's friction, rubbing, laving....you're gonna get sore. Yes, the baby will also get milk but it is not the best, or even the normal, way for the baby to get milk. Attention to positioning and attachment should avoid this.Sometimes it doesn't. Persistent nipple pain is something we don't fully understand, but in most cases, persistent pain can be improved by understanding that friction and rubbing have no role in comfortable breastfeeding.

cleanandclothed Thu 10-Sep-09 12:43:48

Tiktok - I hear what you are saying about the latch being key to pain-free-ness. But do you agree that sometimes the let-down can hurt 'toe-curlingly' even if the latch is OK? My let-down hurt for about the first 2 months even when it was happening spontaneously with no baby there! And sometimes (when everything was so new) it was difficult to work out if pain initially when the baby was feeding was let-down or latch.

tiktok Thu 10-Sep-09 12:48:45

clean - yes, very, very unusually, there can be pain on let down.

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