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Some encouragement please - when will breastfeeding become 'enjoyable'?

(29 Posts)
ZippysMum Fri 09-Oct-09 09:04:42

I am enjoying doing the right thing by my babies - but really, really struggling with the pain. It seems to go in phases - going through a very painful phase just now...

Very occasionally, the 'really painful' (toe-curlingly, teeth-grittingly, try not to yell out because it hurts so much) bit only lasts a minute or so with one DT. I can see how it might become better - this is encouraging.

The other DT is very small and has a painful latch even when he's doing it 'right' (big bbs and very small mouth).

I have had and still have amazing support from an NCT bf consultant and an NHS bf supporter. They have observed lots of feeds and are happy with the latch. Babies are both gaining weight rapidly and loads of wet and dirty nappies.

I've tried everything to get DT2 to latch more comfortably, but the dimensions of mouth vs my huge nipple seem to make it impossible. Even with a really wide gape, he only gets the nipple and a little bit of areola in - and even then he is 'chewing' on the edges of the nipple. I am now trying to feed them separately so I can concentrate on their latch individually.

But basically, 3 weeks in and exclusively breastfeeding (16+ feeds per day), it is still agony nearly all the time (bad enough it makes me cry), I dread feeds and my bbs and especially nipples are so sensitive that I can't let anything touch them except a good supportive bra once they are coated with lashings of lansinoh.

Practical advice would be great, but actually what I think I need is some reassurance that things will improve.... (and an idea of when this might happen...)

Many thanks in advance.

ZippysMum Fri 09-Oct-09 09:05:59

ps. It's me with the big bbs and dt2 with the small mouth. Just to clarify wink

Powdoc Fri 09-Oct-09 09:13:30

I had a really easy time of it (sorry, don't want to sound smug. Found other bits really difficult!) and enjoyed it after a few days, but for a couple of my friends who had a tougher time, 8 weeks was a massive milestone and they realised that they were enjoying it. It may come a lot earlier for you, but hope that helps a bit.

Well done for feeding twins. Must be knackering!

WoTmania Fri 09-Oct-09 09:13:53

Have you looked at the Rebecca Glover site?
She is an Aussie LC and has a DVD called Follow me Mum.

DS2 had a little mouth and it was agony for 2 wks then I started 'folding' my nipple into his mouth. She says that if you get the lower lip 3-4cm below the nipple the nipple will follow iyswim.

When did it get enjoyable? I really love post 6 months BF but really it eases up after 6 weeks so you are halfway there

Hope it gets better for you soon.

ZippysMum Fri 09-Oct-09 09:16:54

Thanks powdoc. 8 weeks is only 5 weeks away. Will try to hang onto that!

<<mutters 'this too will pass, this too will pass...>> smile

ZippysMum Fri 09-Oct-09 09:18:32

Oooh thanks WoT I will have a look.

MrsKitty Fri 09-Oct-09 09:19:37

Try "nipple sandwich" technique here There's better links & descriptions than this online but don't have time to search at moment (trying to feed newborn, entertain 2 y old and Mumsnet at the same time!)

It works for me & I have similar issue with size of boob vs size of mouth! Used technique with my son too.

ZippysMum Fri 09-Oct-09 09:28:50

Thanks Mrs K. Dt2 has just woken up so will try the sandwich!

curiositykilled Fri 09-Oct-09 09:40:55

I had this with both my children. I promise it does get better. I agree with WoTmania, it took 6 weeks to settle down both times with me.

I have one quite flat nipple and one inverted one, quite large nipple area and had two small babies with small mouths (6lb5 and 7lbs), even though they were good feeders it took a while to draw the nipples out enough and to roughen them up to stand up to feeding and a while for the babies to open their mouths. The things I found helpful were expressing from the most sore one and using nipple shields when I had scabs to try and protect the scabs from being pulled off.

I totally dreaded feeds, especially night ones and cried constantly until it improved. I did not give a single bottle in the end. My mum had fed 4 of us with no pain so couldn't really sympathise but really the only thing I could say is that you need to make a decision to grit your teeth and stick with it no matter the pain. IT WILL GET BETTER, just do whatever you can to try and make it better each time and wait for it to settle down.

Good luck, once things improved I loved, loved, loved breastfeeding!

climbeverymountain Fri 09-Oct-09 13:12:12

I found it really painful for the first few weeks. BF advisors kept telling me latch and position was fine. It got better around the 2 month mark, and now at 3 months I love it! Good luck!

fustilarian Fri 09-Oct-09 13:57:58

it will get easier! i'm 5 weeks ahead of you with my twins and things really are settling down. i'm feeding one at the moment so no capital letters sorry as typing with one hand.
i don't have painful latch problems so i don't know about that, but my main advice would be don't count the feeds or the number of hours sleep you re getting, just feed and feed and eat and doze whenever you can, and, hard as it is to believe, in about 30 days time you will suddenly think, as i have, 'oh my goodness, dt1 is really contented lying in his bouncy chair watching the world go by, and dt2 is asleep and likely to be so for a couple of hours, so i'm going to have a cup of tea and relax!' it will happen, i promise.

fustilarian Fri 09-Oct-09 14:00:05

oh and i did have very painful nipples with dd1, cracked etc and horrible shooting pains, and that passed at around 6 to 8 weeks too- so you are nearly there.

pushmepullyou Fri 09-Oct-09 14:04:40

6 weeks for me. Moreorless fine after that [smile}. Think I had a similar problem to you and had to wait for my DD to get the hang of opening her mouth properly. Hang in there it honestly does get better!

whydobirdssuddenlyappear Fri 09-Oct-09 14:08:39

I had this with my 1st, to the point where I was about ready to give up. It does get better pretty quickly though (I think by about 6-8 weeks in my case). FWIW, my midwife at the time said that for many women, the first 4 weeks are the hardest. I found that by about 3 months, it was relaxing and enjoyable. I hope it works out the way you want it to. Good luck.

ZippysMum Fri 09-Oct-09 14:41:21

Thank you to you all - this is just what I needed. I took a couple of paracetamol this morning to take the edge off, used the 'nipple sandwich' and it wasn't too bad at all! I hope it lasts, but I keep trying to think it's just a tiny part of my life, but such an important part of DTs.

Hanging in there till 4/6/8 weeks by my fingernails!!

curiositykilled Fri 09-Oct-09 14:43:53

Oh yes, medicine for the 'edge' I will remember that!

ZippysMum Fri 09-Oct-09 15:00:20

Nothing like pharmaceuticals to improve one's quality of life

notasausage Fri 09-Oct-09 15:26:32

Much respect for bf twins. I had a smallish baby 6lb11oz and found it got better after a few weeks but didn't enjoy it till about 8 weeks. Hang in there - they grow quick and you will all get the hang of this quicker than you know.

BertieBotts Fri 09-Oct-09 17:54:30

Try taking every feed as it comes and just think "one more feed" rather than focusing on a date if it seems too far away.

Shelly75 Fri 09-Oct-09 17:58:43

I promise it does get better .... didn't have twins but so identify with your pain, the tears, the toe curiling agony of it all, and everyone saying "you must be doing it wrong if it hurts"!

So after about 10 weeks and two lots of mastitis, it did get better and I fed him for a year. I look back now and am so glad I didn't give up .........

ParanoidAtAllTimes Fri 09-Oct-09 20:41:18

Just have the one (so impressed at those of you bfing twins!) but I can't recommend Lansinoh highly enough- I was in agony still at 6 weeks but as soon as I started using it the pain had almost completely gone within a week or less.

Ds now 12 weeks and I love feeding him- so glad I stuck with it.

Keep going, you're doing so well!

KatherineHepburn Fri 09-Oct-09 21:31:45

Hi ZippysMum
You are doing great - twins must be really hard work at this stage.

I just wanted to add to the other feedback that it was 6-8 weeks until I didn't have to reverse into the shower anymore too!!!
It really does get easier.

I had a similar situation (nipple to mouth size) as you with my wee one and was advised by a fabby breast feeding lady to place her onto a pile of pillows on my lap at boob height, then to squeeze (just softly) my breast around the nipple area into a mouth shape so that it fitted in better. (sorry, kind of hard to explain but it really, really helped us)

When I did get sore though I found that taking a feed off and expressing helped things to calm down (and aided my sanity) - it depends how you feel about using both boob and bottle though.

The next few weeks will whizz by.

MarsLady Fri 09-Oct-09 21:51:36

Every day you get better and better at it ZM. The Zipettes will grow and their mouths will open and take the breast in properly. You keep keeping on my lovely and don't forget you have kellymom and drjacknewman (and of course a voice on the end of the phone whenever you need it). grin

swanriver Fri 09-Oct-09 21:55:21

The first 12 weeks with twins was pretty horrific, both v. bad latchers, feeding much improved after that, and by six months it was a complete joy - really felt sorry for the mums who were always trying to heat up two bottles of formula. Just stick with it, bfng twins is its own reward. Also later on it is like taking a happiness pill (the oxytocin etc) when you are at your most stressed, you can just sit down and enjoy a moment with the babies.
I fed individually to start with, because it was so difficult to get latch right, but then when things settled down and babies had more head control it became easier to tandem feed. You need loads and loads of pillows, especially supporting your arms, so that you are not taking weight of babies yourself and someone to help you position them at each feed when you starting to tandem feed. Mine used to roll off the cushions in the most frustrating manner.

SCARYspicemonster Fri 09-Oct-09 22:00:52

I had a silicon dummy that I used to clamp my teeth on every time I started a feed. It was absolute bloody agony frankly. Had a really badly chomped nipple too which didn't help matters. But I persevered (through gritted teeth) and it got better. I don't remember when exactly but it was around 6-8 weeks as others have said. After that it was absolutely painless and just lovely. I'm so pleased I carried on - it really was worth it

My friend has just had her 3rd DC and she has had this with every single one of them. She just told me that you get through it (she was the one that recommended buying the dummy). Knowing that she had been there and come out the other side was massively helpful.

It just hurts some women, I don't know why but it seems like eventually your breasts begin to cope with the let down more easily.

Congrats on your DTs - I think you're a very brave woman for feeding 2 at the same time! I take my hat off

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