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Ready to quit BF'ing and go to pump & bottle

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 

Hi Mamas,

 

I've got a 2 week old son at home and a pair of really, really sore nipples. I'm nearing the end of my rope and I am thinking of ditching breastfeeding in favor of pumping and giving him a bottle.

 

Here's our situation...

 

Everytime DS latches on, the pain is excruciating. After a few sucks, it slows down into a dull pain that I can tolerate most of the time. When he comes off the nipple, sometimes the nipple is perfectly round, other times not. It still hurts either way. And my nipples sting terribly after he's done feeding. I cry my way through most of our nighttime feedings it hurts so bad.

 

It's gotten to the point that I dread having to feed him because I know what the pain is going to be like.

 

We've tried all kinds of holds- cross cradle, football, even the laid back nursing position. The latter produces the least pain for sure, but the other holds never feel very good.

 

We've been to see a lactation consultant yesterday who showed us laid back nursing. That was helpful and the pain was reduced. But once at home, I couldn't seem to reproduce what we had at her clinic, and breastfeeding was as painful as ever.

 

DH, who was once so supportive, is now pushing formula and is fed up with my attempts to breastfeed our son. He just says he can't see me in pain anymore (we had a three day labour with DS before transferring to a hospital for a c-section, so DH is a bit worn out). I don't even like to breastfeed in front of him anymore, because I know he'll just give me a big speech about quitting BFing.

 

At the hospital, they told us that I would have to breathe through breastfeeding pain like I did through contractions. They said that it always hurts right when the babies latch on. They also checked my latch and kept insisting nothing was wrong with it, and that I shouldn't break it even when it was painful (because, as they said, it looked fine).

 

I'm at the end of my rope. My husband wants me to switch to formula or pump and bottlefeed exclusively. I want so much to develop a good breastfeeding relationship with DS. I've been told it's painful in the first weeks, and that it's painful at latch-on everytime. Is that true? At this point I don't know what to do and I'm not sure how much pain is normal that I need to just push through, and how much is too much.

 

Also, are there major drawbacks to pumping and bottlefeeding? In that case, DS would still be getting breastmilk, not formula. Would love to hear people's feedback/experience with that.

 

 

post #2 of 36
I had a horrendous time with DS at first and I think it was a good 6-8 weeks before it stopped hurting. I remember exactly what you describing, clenching my teeth and crying in pain every nursing session.

I don't know how normal that is -- most of my friends haven't had THAT much pain. I do know they say it's not supposed to hurt but that it does hurt many many moms at first. I know there are things that can make the pain worse (poor latch, tongue tie, etc.) and correcting those things can really help, though it make take a while to find the right 'expert' who can actually HELP you, you know?

I will say, I got through those first weeks (with no help!! I won't make that mistake again!!), lots of pain and lots of tears but I got through it, and my 28mo is still nursing and no, it doesn't hurt anymore (well that's not totally true, but when he's awake and paying attention, it doesn't hurt, and even when it does hurt -- i.e. when he clamps down while he's sleeping -- it's nowhere near what it was when he was a newborn!!)

You could pump & bottle-feed but I think most moms find it ultimately easier, more convenient, and far more enjoyable to nurse at the breast. There are lots of benefits to both of you as well. I usually encourage new moms to stick it out for 6 weeks -- by that point, it almost always gets so much easier. But it's always an option to pump instead so certainly do whatever works for you!!

Have you been to a LLL meeting? That's probably where I'd start, if I were you. Perhaps consult another LC to make sure the first one didn't overlook anything. You might also look into self-attached nursing, it can help with various latch issues!
post #3 of 36

Have you tried lanolin on your nipples?  I remember that pain, at about the same time with my first.  I was also ready to throw in the towel.  I gave myself a week out and said that if it did not improve, I'd switch to formula and not look back.  Someone told me about lanolin and I picked some up at Motherhood Maternity.  Within a couple days, it no longer felt like hot knives stabbing my nipples and a day or so after that, it no longer hurt.  I had a bunch of tiny abrasions, and the lanolin helped it heal.  I think the two brands I know of are Lansinoh and Medela.  You might be able to pick it up at Target or Wal-Mart, too.

 

Had I not found out about it, I would have quit nursing my eldest and never nursed her younger siblings.

 

Pumping and bottle feeding, in my opinion is the worst.  (I WOH.  Pumped for when I was gone).  You have to deal with all the hassle of bottles, sterilizing, and all that.  Making sure you have enough for when you are out with or away from your baby.  Keeping it cool, then warming it properly.

post #4 of 36

The best advice I got was that it would take up to 12 weeks for us to figure it out...the first six weeks were painful. DD had a great latch and everything but I was cracked and bloodied. I thought many times about giving up but I just couldn't do it. What helped me get through it...

- lanolin (I like the medela kind because it was easy to spread but any could work)

- cold gels...I actually got samples from our hospital since they are expensive but I kept them in the fridge and popped them on after nursing and the coolness made them feel so much better.

- nursed on one side. I would nurse on one side for two hours before switching to the other side. This helped the nipple on the other side get a break.

 

I cried through some sessions, got upset and angry, but what helped was knowing that it would get better. Good luck!!

post #5 of 36
Thread Starter 

Thanks, mamas. I'll try some lanolin today.

 

I also started wearing a bra again today and that's helped a lot. Our midwife said not to wear one in the first two weeks to help prevent mastitis, but I've gone from an A cup to a C cup and honestly, I just need the support and the protection on my nipples from rubbing against my clothes. I'm on antibiotics for a kidney infection so I figure I'm probably not getting a breast infection anytime soon.

 

Good to know about the six week mark...I'll try really hard to stick it out until at least then. Why does it get better around that time? Is it just that the babe's mouth is larger and able to take in more of the areola?

post #6 of 36

sorry to hear of your struggles but good for you for hanging in there.  My 1st was a nightmare. I talked about breastfeeding my whole pregnancy and then was so ready to give up in the middle of the night. My husband really pushed me and it did get easier, then fantastic! He nursed for the longest....2.5 years! I went on to tandem nurse and then nurse our last one. The others nursed easily.

So, I look back on what I almost gave up.

I just wanted to encourage you and let you know that you are doing a great thing and it will be worth it. I hope the pain eases soon and you get to enjoy it. He is a lucky little man :)

post #7 of 36

Can some good LC check your baby about Tonge Tie. Look for somebody that have lots of expeerience in Tonge tie

http://www.kiddsteeth.com/articles/breastfeedingdrkotlowtx.pdf

post #8 of 36

If you are on antibiotics, make sure you check that you aren't also getting a yeast infection/thrush.  That can also cause excruciating pain on the nipples. If you are, both you and the baby need to be treated, otherwise you will be passing it back and forth.

 

It is possible for it to be all of the above--abrasions, yeast infection, and tongue tie--or any combination.  Good luck figuring it out.  The first month or two is the hardest.  If I'd had to go back to work with my first, the way I did with my third, as I said, I probably would have switched to formula feeding so that I could enjoy my maternity leave and baby.

post #9 of 36

Hang in there, Mama, if you can! My first weeks with DD--really my first 4-6 weeks--were very hard. Every single nursing session was a struggle during the first 2 weeks while she learned to suck (she was born tongue-tied) and I learned how to position her. We needed a lot of continued Lactation Consultant help. The next few weeks after that were a challenge, too--we were still learning, my milk supply was regulating itself, and she nursed all.the.time. But it got better and eventually became my very favorite thing about mothering DD. She is 10 months now and adores nursing (she beams and giggles and talks to me and plays with my hair). It makes every situation better. Hungry? Time to nurse. Sleepy? Time to nurse. Frustrated while being close to walking but not there yet? Time to nurse. Teething pain? Nursing helps with that too. And boy is it nice to be able to nurse her in bed overnight.
 

Quote:
I'm on antibiotics for a kidney infection so I figure I'm probably not getting a breast infection anytime soon.

 

 


Would you happen to be taking any probiotics? I don't mean to divert the conversation or overly inject myself into your business, but I had to take antibiotics soon after my baby was born and I really wish someone had encouraged me to take probiotics to protect my immune system and her gut. We both were affected by the antibiotics in several ways but found a lot of improvement after I started taking a dairy-free acidophilus and bifidobacterium complex and Culturelle. Just trying to share what I learned! smile.gif

 

post #10 of 36

You've gotten lots of good advice about things to check, so I'll just suggest that maybe you can find someone to give a "grow up" speech to your dh?  Or do it yourself if you want.  I would be really upset if my husband was acting like his discomfort over my pain was more important than my decisions about my  body.  You've got enough to deal with, with a new baby, and recovering from birth, and figuring out how to breastfeed without having to defend yourself constantly to someone that you live with.  I'd tell him to go in the other room if he doesn't feel like being supportive while you're nursing. 

 

Hang in there!

post #11 of 36
Thread Starter 

Thanks Mamas!!

 

In answer to a few questions- I am taking probiotics and eating live culture yogurt like a fiend trying to make sure my gut and DS's stay healthy. Good advice there.

 

Glad to know the first few weeks are hard for most. Well, not glad to know it, but glad I'm not alone. I'll have the little guy checked for tongue tie. His tongue has a W shape to it at the tip- there's a divet in the center that makes me think this might be the issue. Can an LC diagnose that or do I need to find a pediatric dentist?

 

I paid a flat fee for unlimited visits to a local breastfeeding help clinic. I think we're going to pretty much live there until we get this right. Im glad to know it's still too early to throw in the towel.

 

DH apologized for being so unsupportive last night. I think after seeing me through 3 days of labour then an unplanned c-section, he's just in fear/crazy mode lately. But as much as Im sure he hates seeing me in pain, I'm the one IN pain, so I explained that if I can stick this out, he needs to find a way to do that too. Formula is not on the table right now.

post #12 of 36

it gets easier at two weeks because your supply stabilizes, baby's mouth gets bigger, baby becomes more efficient and their stomach is bigger, so feedings are shorter and less frequent. 

 

after each feeding: remove the saliva from your nipple, spread  bit of clean milk on it, then cover with lanolin. 

During each feeding: pay lots of attention to latch and position (make sure baby's ear and shoulder and hip all make a straight line.

 

in general, I feel better if I spend some time each day without a bra or shirt, and even though my bra sometimes ends up with milk in it, I don't wear breast pads if I don't have to, they can be a little abrasive. and check into tongue tie and thrush

post #13 of 36
Partaria

The lanolin after breastmilk after nursing has helped me... I also supplemented a little with formula when it got really sore. It just gave me the break that I needed. I also had the emergency c section and totally planned to bf but have wanted to quit.

I have had a lot of luck with phone calls to a lactation consultant after the on site visits. This week I have stayed home and rested and did a lot of side lying nursing. Saving us the car trips has been great and having someone to call has been great.

Good luck I really hear you about the teeth clenching pain!!
post #14 of 36

The divet in the tongue is a sure sign of tongue tie.  That was the cause of our excruciating bfing. I literally was screaming and swearing in my head every time I had to nurse. He was my 5th baby and I'd never, NEVER experienced that kind of pain before. Good luck!

 

ETA: This link shows what's happening to your nipple when a tongue tied baby is sucking on it: http://www.lunalactation.com/KnoxTT.pdf

post #15 of 36

I had really sore nips as well for the first two weeks or so. One of them was even bleeding. I also had a C section after days of labor and we were just so tired for so long. So I know what you are going through!!!

 

What helped was putting on lanolin after nursing, using cooling breast pads, and just breathing through the pain.

 

The pain went away and we have a great nursing relationship. If you can hold out at all, and try lanolin, I encourage you to do so. I have to pump for work and I find it to be a pain in the rear, breastfeeding is so much easier (now). I think it will be worth it for you to try a little longer.

post #16 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by homemademom View Post

The divet in the tongue is a sure sign of tongue tie.  That was the cause of our excruciating bfing. I literally was screaming and swearing in my head every time I had to nurse. He was my 5th baby and I'd never, NEVER experienced that kind of pain before. Good luck!

 

ETA: This link shows what's happening to your nipple when a tongue tied baby is sucking on it: http://www.lunalactation.com/KnoxTT.pdf



yeahthat.gif  I would definitely look into finding someone who can clip it ASAP.  Most moms experience a lot of relief immediately after getting a tongue tie clipped.  You'll probably have some residual soreness leftover, but the latch should improve a ton. 

post #17 of 36
Thread Starter 

what kind of healthcare person do i need to see to diagnose that? a dentist? or a regular ol' pediatrician?

post #18 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angelorum View Post

You've gotten lots of good advice about things to check, so I'll just suggest that maybe you can find someone to give a "grow up" speech to your dh?  Or do it yourself if you want.  I would be really upset if my husband was acting like his discomfort over my pain was more important than my decisions about my  body.  You've got enough to deal with, with a new baby, and recovering from birth, and figuring out how to breastfeed without having to defend yourself constantly to someone that you live with.  I'd tell him to go in the other room if he doesn't feel like being supportive while you're nursing. 

 

Hang in there!


I agree with the above & am glad to read you already talked to him.  The support of your partner is everything, especially at this point.  I too had a 3 day labor ending in an emergency CS.  I was out cold when my son was born & the last to meet him.  Establishing a good nursing relationship has helped me in numerous ways & was well worth the rough start.  I also went from A cup to C.  I closed my curtains & walked around topless with lanolin for awhile to help with healing.  Good luck, it DOES get better.

 

post #19 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angelorum View Post





yeahthat.gif  I would definitely look into finding someone who can clip it ASAP.  Most moms experience a lot of relief immediately after getting a tongue tie clipped.  You'll probably have some residual soreness leftover, but the latch should improve a ton. 



Oooohhh.... yeah, get that fixed if it's the problem.  My close friend wasn't informed & ended up not BFing because of it!

post #20 of 36
For me, it was 6 weeks of excruciating pain. After that it lessened, but occasionally when she goes through a growth spurt she will nurse until I think my nipples will fall off. Motherlove makes a really awesome nipple cream as well. I used lanolin and I also put frozen cabbage leaves inside my bra when I wasnt nursing in this order: lanolin, cabbage leaf, hemp breast pad, bra. Some people also cut a disposable diaper in half and soak it with water and then freeze them as frozen breast pads. I did it a few times, and it felt good. Ice is a great way to relieve the pain. I also took tylenol to lessen the pain.

Also, I had the best luck at getting a good latch if we were using the football hold. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/breast-feeding/FL00096&slide=3
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