Sorry I am jumping right in without an intro, but I am desperate to get advice that I am on the right track hopefully. I used to come to these forums back when my dd, now 7, was an infant, but forgot all my log in information so registered again. I know you all give great advice so I thank you in advance.
I am a pretty experienced breastfeeder- I nursed my dc now 7 until she was 3. So that is why it is especially frustrating to be having breastfeeding problems with my new dc, who is 5 1/2 weeks old. My right side has always given me some problems historically- I had major scabbing on it during the first few weeks of my dc7's life, but it resolved once I got better latch. I pumped only on that side while it was healing, for about a week, and then we were good to go.
This time around, I was doing ok. A few mornings when I was very full because my new dc had started to sleep through the night longer, I would only give dc one side and pump the other (the right side) to build up a freezer stash for a wedding in August. Then, about a week and a half ago I started to have some pain at latch on with the right side. Major, excruciating, burning pain that flared at latch and then disappeared. When I inspected my nipple, I had a cut which looks like a slit right where the part of the nipple that sticks out meets the areola. I started using lanolin again, and called a LC who advised that I try different positions. I had been using cross-cradle, but started alternating with side lying and football, which caused less pain. Two days ago, I noticed a second slit on the other side of the nipple, identical to the first. I got so discouraged that I decided to exclusively pump this side until it healed, just like I had with my first child. I never considered that these cuts may have been caused by the pump to begin with.
So all day yesterday I pumped that side. it was not super painful, but it was not comfortable. So at the end of the day I look at my nipple and I have two more cuts- it looks TERRIBLE and I am so sad and discouraged. Like I just set myself back so much further, when I thought I was doing the right thing. :( So last night my dh went out and got hydrogels and a nipple shield. I had the hydrogels on all night, although it is not a perfect science to get them to adhere to where the cuts are, because they are right in the fold of where the nipple meets the areola. Things are looking a little better after last night, but the cuts are still there. I had planned to possibly use the nipple shield to nurse the damaged side while still protecting the wounds.
I think that my horns on my breast pump may be the wrong size and caused the damage. I am taking advil for the pain 30 min before feeding. I am letting BM get on it and air dry. I plan to continue to try to use the hydrogels. I offer the damaged side second to the baby. The other side is fine, no pain, no damage, so I know her latch is good.
So this morning, I grit my teeth and prepared for pain, and I nursed her on the bad side without the shield and it did not hurt at all!!!!!!!! Football hold, advil before, hydrogels all might have been the cure- I don't know what did it but hopefully this keeps up. Wounds looked ok after nursing (as opposed to after pumping, when they looked bright red and open).
So how do I proceed from here? I am so afraid of doing the wrong thing and causing even more damage, plus I don't want to lose my supply!!!! I also don't know if there is anything else I should be doing.
Thanks so much for your input, and for reading this far!