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Breastfeeding depression - desperate for help

(24 Posts)
strangerjo Sun 06-Mar-16 22:35:17

I had a c section last week and it went very well. Unfortunately I spent the first 24 hours trying to breastfeed and the midwives kept pushing the baby's mouth onto my nipple despite my complaints of pain. This led to bleeding and frustration and eventually the baby got so distressed that I ended up crying like a lunatic and formula feeding. Anyway, it turns out that my son has tongue tie which we're getting removed tomorrow.

But in the meantime my breasts have become excruciating and hard. I've tried hand expressing and pump expressing but it's agony - I suspect I may have blocked ducts perhaps. Plus my nipples were so damaged from breastfeeding that they have scabbed over and the scabs break every time I try to express.

The whole thing has made me very depressed and feeling like a guilty failure. I'd like to try breastfeeding once my baby has his tongue tie removed but I don't have any plan about how to get my breasts and nipples better while maintaining a milk supply. I also cannot bf while the nipples are bleeding because I have hepatitis b and don't want to transmit it to baby.

ANY advice would be welcomed. If anyone can recommend someone in london who could help, that would be great too. At this point I'd do anything to bf.

Smartiepants79 Sun 06-Mar-16 22:45:46

I'm not entirely sure how old your baby is but if I remember right the swollen and hard breasts are airily normal when the milk first comes in. This eases after a few days in my experience but yours may be being exacerbated due to the fact that you are trying to express but not feeding. Your body may be getting mixed signals about how much milk it needs to produce.
I would suggest you see your GP any way as it sounds like it would be worth some medical advice on how to heal better. The pain may well just be from the scabs.
I presume you're using the usual things like Lansinoh? Also keeping the breasts open to air as much as possible.
I'm no expert (breast fed both of mine but that's as far as it goes!) but remember you are full of hormones and very, very tired. Be kind to yourself.
Breast feeding is hard work even with the best of starts and you have not had it easy.
People highly recommend a website called kellymom for breast feeding advice.

MrsPatrickDempsey Sun 06-Mar-16 22:47:12

Hi - firstly want to send a hug; sounds like it's been really tough. I think it is realistic for you to carry once once the tie has been divided
and while your nipples are still cracked I would treat them with anything that promotes moist wound healing (lanisoh is good). In the meantime express all you can to maintain supply. I would imagine hand technique will be more comfy than the pump. Your baby then needs to be guided (when your nipples are healed) to re learn correct attachment. What support have you got from your hv? This is within their remit.

Threesoundslikealot Sun 06-Mar-16 22:48:12

You need to see a lactation consultant, you poor thing. What a tricky start to your breastfeeding. Whereabouts in London (roughly) are you?

KimmySchmidtsSmile Sun 06-Mar-16 22:56:50

Smother and I mean smother your cracked nipples with Lansinoh
Lettuce leaves in bra
Gently hand express as much as you can while healing, maybe into a warm bowl of water held by dh

Start drinking breastfeeding tea, it has fenugreek in it, also oatmeal biscuits
Take regular snacks and nuts and as much sleep as you can
Continue to express by hand if pump too painful


If it does not pan out do not feel guilty, that way madness lies
Be aware you do need baby back onto boob as soon as you can before he is only used to the bottle teat
Be aware nipple shields might help but can also cause nipple confusion
Be aware it hurts like a bitch until your nipples have toughened up and I say that regardless of good latch and positions breastfed three to 3 and yelped every time for the first fortnight for each one

Best of shamrock

Lovelybitofsquirrel Sun 06-Mar-16 22:57:08

Congratulations on your new baby.
You would definitely benefit from some specialist help. The La Leche League phone line is excellent and they probably will have a group near you. Can you ask your mw or hv what support groups there are near you and get to one asap?
Good luck and take care of yourself.

boopdoop Sun 06-Mar-16 22:57:42

Have you got any lansinoh cream? It's this: Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Cream 40ml It won't solve everything but once you do try feeding again it's amazing at helping sore nipples, truly amazing. No idea how it does it but it really does help. Everyone I know agreed they couldn't feed without it on the early days. And it should help them as they are healing. You can get it in boots, supermarket etc. Hope it helps a bit. My DS was toungue tied, had a horrendous time trying and once it had been snipped it was completely different, so I really hope it's the same for you.

BettyBi0 Sun 06-Mar-16 23:00:42

Bless you. I could have written your post myself after my first birth. My only advice would be nipple shields, call the NCT breastfeeding hotline - you don't have to be a member, see a lactation consultant in person as soon as poss. They will help you with expressing to protect and establish your supply. I had to combination feed for a while but got back to just BF after tongue and lip ties fixed. And congratulations on your new baby

MirrorMouse Mon 07-Mar-16 08:38:22

You need to post on the infant feeding board on Mumsnet, not the Parenting board. There are lots of knowledgeable people there who can no doubt recommend some expert help for you.

Tellmeagain Mon 07-Mar-16 23:47:47

My baby is 8 weeks old and I have had the toughest start with breastfeeding but, like you, really wanted to be able to feed my child myself. Due to tongue tie and bad latch my nipples cracked, blistered and peeled with bleeding during feeding on one side.

I used hot flannels on my boobs in the shower and bath to try and take them down a little when they were at their most painful before lathering with Lansinoh and expressing. I couldn't get the hang of hand expressing so used an electric pump and massaged my boobs thoroughly to get the milk out. I did get mastitis which was awful so would suggest you do the above to see you through whilst your nipples heal and get someone to come to your house to help you with your baby's latch and to build your confidence when you're able to - the Breastfeeding Network sent a local supporter to me and she was fabulous.

I went from breastfeeding in agony during week one to three weeks of only formula feeds until the tongue tie was cut and am now back to complete breastfeeding and have found the breastfeeding support group at my local children's centre to be massively helpful, helping me realise that I am far from alone. Good luck and I hope things improve for you.

strangerjo Fri 18-Mar-16 17:09:49

Thank you all so much for your kindness and advice. I have seen various lactation consultants but still had issues despite the tongue tie procedure. It turns out that it had reattached! It required a second procedure. I'm still expressing and will be seeing another lactation person on Monday. I'll definitely look into all your suggestions. Thanks again x

Tellmeagain Fri 18-Mar-16 21:34:28

Well done for keeping on expressing, it's tough (as is the wait and going through two tongue tie procedures!). Good luck for Monday.

hydrangea78 Fri 18-Mar-16 22:47:34

If you're in SE London, join the facebook SE London la leche league (LLL) group for excellent online support from mum's in similar positions and find solutions to your queries. Congratulations!

sepa Sat 19-Mar-16 01:25:59

Strangerjo your story sounds a lot like mine (c section, baby forced to nipple etc)
The only way I got over the hard boobs was by expressing the milk out. I am 2 weeks following a c section and my LO hasn't yet got the hang of BF. I had some really bad midwives after i came out of hospital though so I cancelled their appointments as they were making me worse!
Your midwives who see you in your home should be able to help you with BF though. Hopefully you get nice ones!
Try getting nipple cream to help with your sore nipples (as others have said lanosh is great for them)
If you can't BF until your bleeding has stopped you will still need to express to make sure you keep your milk supply up!

Good luck OP flowers

Florentina27 Sat 19-Mar-16 03:23:41

Hi, haven't read the other comments but I've been in the same situation as you. The best cream for your nipples would be lanolin from lansonh as you don't have to wipe it when breastfeeding and also the other brands have a thicker consistency and makes it painful to apply. We used nipple shields in the end as my nipples were braking and she's had her tie snipped at 7 weeks. I started to feel better at 4 weeks . from 2 weeks was only painful at the beginning of feeding and from 5.6 weeks had no discomfort at all. Hang in there, it will get better. If you get engorged massage breast while bf and same in hot shower. It helps to massage with a worm flanel right before feeding so your let down will start before latching baby ( it is most painful before your let down as the sanction is the strongest). All these helped me. I heard cabbage leaves works wonders. Good luck

Florentina27 Sat 19-Mar-16 03:26:51

A GP won't know much about bf as they they don't get any training in the matter, unless they do it in their own time or from own experience. A lactation consultant would be the best person to ask for help, also find a bf support group. If anything it will encourage and keep you motivated

mistybrouhaha Sat 19-Mar-16 21:35:53

OR you could (shock) bottle feed the baby. Your LO won't know the difference, life will be less stressful and painful. I had a very hard time with it too, and a midwife telling me that it is FINE to bottle feed actually - nutritionally very balanced and steady, not dependant on your diet or state of mind.

strangerjo Mon 21-Mar-16 16:15:09

Mistybrouhaha - thank you for that comment. I think it's heading to an exclusively formula feeding direction. It's not what I wanted when I started out and I'm ashamed to say that in the past I have been judgemental about people who formula fed... but more fool me because I have come to realise that sometimes it might absolutely be the better thing all round.

Mouseymum Mon 21-Mar-16 16:34:33

Just to say, my Dd needed her tongue tie cut 3 times, as the first couple of times it wasn't cut far back enough. Mr Griffiths at Southampton hospital (NHS) finally sorted us out, if you're desperate to bf, I'd recommend trying to get an appt with him. Took us 12 weeks to bf without pain! Please don't beat yourself up if you ff though. Good luck!

PortobelloRoad Mon 21-Mar-16 16:34:41

OP, sometimes bfing just doesn't work out. With my last two it was just a nightmare, the others were fine but hey ho, that's babies for you.

Don't feel guilty for a second if you have to go bottle, it happens, it's a shame when you're intent on bfing but it's one of those things.

My two that were bottle fed are both absolutely fine, we have a wonderful bond and they're healthy, happy kids, I can't see any discernible differences between them and the others.

We've all judged things and then had a switch when it's us in that situation. Again, it happens.

You and your baby will be fine, as long as they're being fed and looked after properly, it doesn't matter where the sustenance comes from. Congratulations on your new addition! flowers

waterrat Mon 21-Mar-16 21:25:35

Look up ann dobson. She is leading expert in supporting women and babies not just through tongue tie but in all areas. I had very similar situation to you...abd she saved me and kept me breastfeeding.

Of course it's fine to stop but if you do want to continue ..she came to my house and used a special machine to massage my aching breasts until the inflammation was reduced which helped with latching on.

She is amazing. .The swollen and sore breasts is sadly very normal. If you do jeep going you will find they stop hurting within a week or two. It's agonising I know. Have you tried cabbage leaves in your using flannels soaked in either ice cold or hot water.

If one side is less painful than the other you could just feed from that side. I only fed from my left side from about a week in and I fed for 14 months.

itsmeyouknow Wed 06-Apr-16 16:49:34

Hi jo. How are you getting on with it all? I remember the early bf days / weeks and it was horrendous. I was counting down the days until I felt I could give up. Now we are still happily bf-ing. Expressing so keeping up your supply will help. Whichever was it goes re: bottle or breast you're doing the best for your baby - try to relax and give yourself a break. X

strangerjo Wed 06-Apr-16 17:11:12

Thank you all. In the end, I have gone with formula feeding. It's not what I wanted but the baby's tongue issues and my anxiety about transmitting hep b through the bleeding nipples became too much. Expressing became difficult as I was having to balance that with looking after the baby and recovering from the c section, plus I'm now on medication that's not allowed when breastfeeding. I was quite traumatised by the pressure to bf and very indecisive about whether to persevere but overall I think I probably would have had a breakdown if I'd continued.

Imeg Wed 06-Apr-16 17:16:41

I hope you feel more positive now you've come to a decision, and I hope you can concentrate now on your recovery and enjoying your baby.

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