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At my wit's end.

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
This breastfeeding thing has been one of the more miserable experiences of my life. No one can help me and I feel totally lost. My husband keeps telling me that there is no magic bullet and I need to stop trying to find that secret method to make it stop hurting. He reminded me that the LCs that have looked at me say that everything looks fine.

When I went to the support group on Monday, the LC suggested a slight change in position and had me continue pulling his chin down after he latched. I have been doing those things but it is getting worse and worse on my left side. To make matters worse, he is starting to do the same thing on the right side. The LC did say that he is not opening his mouth very wide for latching and is keeping his tongue high. She had no suggestions for that so I guess my husband is right, I am on my own. Problem is, I can't stand it much longer. I had a huge meltdown while trying to feed this am. It hurts so bad and my nipple looks like a tube of lipstick when I pull him off. The top part is all pointed out and white and the bottom half does not look like it has been sucked on at all.

At least he is getting what he needs, but I am not sure how long I can keep it up. Maybe I am just being a whiner and need to suck it up and ignore the pain.

My husband said that since I can't handle it, we should just call it quits and go buy some formula. I don't want to give up but something has to give.
post #2 of 19
You should absolutely get nipple shields until the pain goes away mama. I don't even nurse Lilah anymore because she can't nurse very well, and I was nursing 24/7 when I have so many other things going on too. Everyone has suggested a nipple shield to me to assist with her latch so that she can suck better, I just haven't gotten one yet. I'm hoping the LC at my Pedi's office can help with that. I promise it will help you keep nursing but relieve the pain mama.
post #3 of 19

This might be a stupid question but have you tried a football hold on that side?
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Football hold is what I have been using because it was the "best" as far as the least amount of pain. In the past 24 hours, his latch had deteriorated or he has been working the one part of my nipple too much because it is excruciating now. I tried switching to a cradle last night but it was even worse.

I have a nipple shield but am wary of using it as everyone has told me that would make the problem worse in the long run...it is amazing how many schools of thought are out there on things. I would use it before I went to formula.
post #5 of 19
My 3yo DD had a latch that made my nips look like a lipstick tube. We finally worked it out, but I had an LC that was coming over to my house once a day helping me, too.

Nipple shields--I have a dear friend who used them and finally decided she didn't care how long she had to use them, b/c she was nursing the babe more comfortably. One day he just was able to latch w/o it, when he was a few months old.

I also heartily recommend all-purpose nipple ointment if you are having redness, cracking, etc. The pain was excruciating for me until I had that. I walked around w/my breasts exposed for over 24 hrs, nothing touching them, just letting the ointment work. It made a big difference.

Also, check out the BFing forums. They are wonderful. Big hugs and good luck, mama. Keep us posted!
post #6 of 19
Kellymom also has a Forum -- might want to check that out, too.

Good luck!
post #7 of 19

Maybe it's a boy thing, but I was having the same issues nursing George, and I never had any issues with the girls.

One thing that I did that helped, when he would latch on, I would pull out his bottom then upper lip so that they were more "trumpeted" so he could achieve a deeper, better positioned latch.

If it's so bad that you're considering formula...get the nipple shields. You being in extreme pain isn't good for you, or Lane. Even just 6-8 feedings with a nipple shield can give your nipples enough of a break that you can recover enough to not be in pain and work on getting a better latch without also dealing with all that agony.

Breastfeeding with nipple shields > formula feeding any day of the week!
post #8 of 19
So sorry you are in pain.

I've found this website really helpful.
post #9 of 19
just wanted to send my
post #10 of 19
Ok, I have btdt, so when we starting having issues I immediately saw the LC. The first ones said positioning and we did some changes. Was still having issues and fights getting latched. Started looking at DS3 a bit more..then went to the WIC LC's. They saw it too...

Have someone look to see if he might be tongue tied...and trust me..it can hurt, because even though he is properly positioned...his tongue cannot properly get under the nipple to cup it right, so he ends up flicking the tip of the nipple a bit more.

Also have yourself and him looked at for thrush...
post #11 of 19
I had some time like that, when baby nursing had me uncontrolably sobbing. It has gotten better. It went on for months with my son though... I wish I would have tried a nipple shield with him!

You have gotten some great advice here, and here is mine, please be kind to yourself.

You are amazing and this is just not easy for everyone. It is a battle, one that threatens to take so much from us, including our self confidence and joy in being close to our new babies. It is a battle worth fighting for sure but we have to remember to be kind to ourselves and get help and take care of ourselves how ever we can. We might cry through nursing but there is other time to nurture ourselves and find peace and calm too while reminding ourselves that this hardship will pass, it must.

You can do this!
post #12 of 19
Can I cast another vote for nipple shields before formula?

I'm so sorry you're having a tough time mama. I was like that with my first DD. The pain just never went away, even after exclusively pumping for weeks and weeks. I ended up switching to formula for other reasons, but the pain was a major factor in the decision. I'm now using the nipple shield with DD2 and I am thrilled that things are going so well. I was just thinking about how much easier this is than formula! When I mention the shields, lots of women have told me that they depended on them for the first few weeks or months but were able to wean off them as the baby got better neck control and a larger mouth. I hope that will be the case here too!

I do have a few suggestions for you in addition to the shields.

*Make sure you break the suction *completely* before removing the nipple from the baby's mouth. It may not hurt much while you pull your nip out but it creates long lasting damage that makes latching on WAY painful in the future. I have a hard time getting my pinky in her mouth b/c I don't want the nail to hurt her so I break the suction by pulling on her lip until I hear and see her let go.

*Get him checked for tongue tie. There are many types and the type that looks the most mild (that pediatricians do not recognize) is the type that interferes most with breastfeeding. I suspect DD2 has it but her ped did not see it and I'm not sure what to do next. Hopefully you have more resources than I do.

*Keep your nipples dry as much as you can. Expose them to air even if it means laying around with your top off an a burp cloth in your lap to catch milk. Change breast pads frequently - sometimes you'll be damp and not realize it til you look at your nip. They can't heal when they're damp. Also go easy on the lanolin for the same reason. I got some Mustela Nursing Comfort Balm that I love so much more than lanolin. I also use breast shells to keep my nips dry and let them heal. Not sure why nobody told me about them last time but they are awesome.

I hope some of this helps! I hate to see a mama struggle. Kontessa is right - it just doesn't come easily to some of us. I have cried and cried over breastfeeding, wondering why it wasn't easy and natural for me.
post #13 of 19
I don't have any different advice from what anyone else has offered, but I want to let you know that it gets better. With DS1, I spent a lot of time crying b/c of the painful, bloody nipples. I dreaded each feeding. It hurt unbelievably for three or four weeks, then it got better. His latch was fine once he finally got on, but he had a small mouth and I have big nipples, and he just had to grow. I also think he had a powerful suction - DS2 is much more gentle. We ended up nursing 19 months (would have gone longer, but my milk dried up while pregnant with DS2) from that rocky start.

You are doing your best - try the nipple shields. You are not alone in this.
post #14 of 19
You are doing such a great job so it's terrible that it's so frustrating. Please don't feel guilty about using nipple shields, ok?
post #15 of 19
Bump. How are you mama?
post #16 of 19
Originally Posted by Dee-Groovy View Post

*Get him checked for tongue tie. There are many types and the type that looks the most mild (that pediatricians do not recognize) is the type that interferes most with breastfeeding. I suspect DD2 has it but her ped did not see it and I'm not sure what to do next. Hopefully you have more resources than I do.
I am going to suggest that if you suspect she has a tongue tie, but your Ped does not see it...see if you have any local attachment parenting groups, or even contact your local WIC office.

Where I live, those two have been the most valuable resources for where to get the tongue tie issue looked at and fixed.

Often times the WIC LC's know the available sources, because they deal with so many people on WIC that are nursing and may have that same issue.
post #17 of 19
DDCC as I saw this and I had very similar issues with my DD, and I wanted to tell you to not give up yet! We had a very rough first six weeks, but it was so worth it in the end. I had the tube of lipstick look thing going on and everything too! Here is what helped me the most:
--Getting DD CST (cranioscacral (sp) therapy)--this is basically a massage for the baby, a very, very gentle form of chiropractic care. Look for chiropractors in your area that either do CST or who have substantial experience with infants. We got our recommendations from our midwife and our doula. I was VERY skeptical of doing CST but the latch issue was getting so bad that I was only really nursing on my left side and the right was so engorged even with pumping. DD had a long hard labor and came out a little crooked and after a single session of CST, she nursed pain-free on the right side right there in the doctor's office. AMAZING. We only took her to the one visit and it was so worth it.
--Getting a better breastfeeding position and pillow. For a long, long time I could only really feed with the My Brest Friend Pillow (the boppy was useless for us), sitting UP on a couch/chair with careful attention to position. I used tightly rolled cloth diapers to help with positioning so that I could devote all my attention to the latch.
--learning to be super patient for the latch. I would wait and wait and WAIT for her to open BIG, often starting and stopping multiple times until we got a good latch. I often ended up in tears during this process, but in the end, it was worth it as we finally worked towards a good latch together.
--switching LC's. The first three (yes! 3!!!) I saw weren't much help for us. I just kept looking for more support until I found it. I called LLL and asked if there was another very large busted Mama who had BTDT with oversupply issues and latch issues who could help me, and a lovely mama who is now a very close friend arrived for the afternoon with her toddler in tow, and worked with me with all the tips and tricks that she knew. She wasn't a LC then (she later took more training), but the fact that she shared my build and issues made all the difference.

Hope some (any!) of that helps!
post #18 of 19
No advice here, but we are in the same boat. I am going to call an LC today to try to get in today or tomorrow. We already have an appt with our family dr tomorrow - I will have him check for tongue-tie or any other problems like an infection that might be causing the horrible pain. And I may head up to buy some nipple shields today b/c the pain is almost too much when my son latches on. Keep me posted and let me know what works for you, as it may help me too.
post #19 of 19
Hope I'm not being redundant....I don't have time to read all the responses but just wanted to throw in two more suggestions.....

My MW suggested 2nd Skin Moist Burn Pads when I was so sore and blistered with my first. In between feedings I just kept those puppies on my nipples and it was very soothing.

Have you thought of having some cranio-sacral done on your LO? I also did this with my first b/c she had some positioning issues and a LONG time in the birth canal but a nice bonus was that my nipples cleared up immensely after one session on my DD's little head! Our chiropractor did a home visit.

Lastly, hang in there! It really does get better and nursing is so rewarding once it doesn't hurt!
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