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What was your biggest breastfeeding challenge?

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 

Help us compile a helpful resource for moms by telling us about your biggest breastfeeding challenge and how you overcame it (or didn't). Please share helpful tips, resources etc and we'll share them with the community in an article (we won't share your name in the article). 

 

Can't wait to hear your experiences! Thanks. 

post #2 of 48

Mine was being 'OK' with using the nipple shield. There is such stigma attached to it as if its some 'fake crutch' or you'll lose your milk... but it has been the only thing that finally gave me a successful breastfeeding relationship. At 4 months baby finally latched on with out it. 10 months old and still nursing. I never made it longer than 2 weeks before. 

post #3 of 48
Getting him to latch and nurse long. He would latch take 10 sucks then pull off. I would count and if I got to 15 I knew we were home free. But man that could take a long time.
post #4 of 48

My inverted/flat nipples. Baby was never able to latch, not even with nipple shields and lots of help from a LC. I couldn't establish my supply through exclusive pumping, so we wound up formula feeding. 

 

I still feel sad about it because I was very motivated to BF and I couldn't make it happen. I'm worried that the same thing will happen with subsequent babies and that I'll turn out to be one of those rare women who'll never be able to breastfeed. 

post #5 of 48
The pain when the baby is latched on and pulls away. She does this several times a feed. When I started BF and my nipples were very sore the pain was enough to make me gasp. Now it still hurts when she does it but my nipples aren't as raw so I can handle it better.
post #6 of 48
The nursing aversion. DD just would not nurse. I think the nurses and I at the hospital were pushing it too much and she would just scream when touching my skin greensad.gif. I started EPing, gave her bottles and after weeks of struggling with a now dipping supply, I saw an LC. At 10 weeks we were able to charm DD back to the breast! Kellymom has a great section on nursing strikes and using paced bottle feeding to give DD an experience closer to nursing and nipple shields to simulate the bottle nipple, we got her to latch! I'd give her a bottle then casually offer the breast an hour later. This way she wasn't starving and was relaxed and ready to try. Id also not let her get upset at the breast. If she started fussing, the session was over and id offer tiny bit of milkfrom a bottle. For weeks she needed the shield but at one point it fell off and she just kept going. She was about 12 or 14 weeks old by the time she was EBF but she's still nursing now at 23 months despite my pregnancy.
My biggest tip is to use any tools or resources you can find if you're struggling. I did it all: pump, nipple shield, LC consultation, bottles, finger feeding, formula supplementation, even domperidone for supply. It was a ton of hard work and I had a healthy term baby and no obvious physical problems. Nursing is a skill and although instincts can guide you and baby, there is no substitute for hands on help from an experienced woman who has been there.
I'm a different mom now and feel confident that my second child will have an easier start nursing. I have experience to draw on and know just how easy and how difficult breastfeeding can be. With my first I was in a vacuum. The women in my family all formula fed and had no pointers for me. I think a big part of many women's struggles with nursing is the lack of experienced role models in the family/community.
post #7 of 48

Cracked nipples.  Oh, the pain!  It happened with ds2 and ds3 and with ds2 I called the crack on my right side the Grand Canyon b/c it was the entire length of my nipple and DEEP.  With ds3 it looked more like a hole. *shivers in rememberance* Anyway, I aired them as much as I could, used lots of lanolin, and just gritted my teeth through the pain (literally).  Really, that's all you can do.  Once you fix the problem that caused the crack (in my instance it was one long nursing session right after birth where I let them latch on improperly b/c I was exausted), it starts healing.  I think it took about a week and a half for the toe curling pain at latch on to subside.

post #8 of 48
Goodness... Reading the above makes me feel very lucky... For me it is the fact that I feel very "different" because I'm nursing past 1 year. I'm in Ireland and Breastfeeding past 6 months seems to be rare.
post #9 of 48
My biggest challenge was getting thrush on my nipples that quickly developed into eczema when my nursing toddler was 2 years old. My healthcare practitioners would just tell me to stop nursing....after all my kid was 2 already. However, my kid was not ready to wean. And while not nursing would mean I wouldn't be in pain, the eczema would still be there. The skin on my nipples would get puffy, red, cracked, and slough off...especially after eating a bowl of pasta. This led me to a gluten free diet for about a year, which helped with the worst but it never really got better. It was horrible.

I finally found a dermatologist at a new healthcare system when I switched my insurance to have a birth center within the university hospital for my 2nd baby. He quickly determined that in fact I did start out with thrush, and the thrush medication just did not work so I developed eczema within a week and it just got worse from there. The dermatologist prescribed me something like a triple nipple cream: out of the shower first apply the cortisone cream, then antibiotic ointment (but it turns out I'm allergic to that now, as well as lanolin), then an emollient like Vaseline. We also discovered mold in our laundry room around this time and had it remediated. A few weeks after the mold in our home was gone, and I had been applying the cortisone cream and Vaseline twice per day (on very clean skin out of the shower) at least an hour before nursing, I was able to eat gluten again with no problems and the eczema has not returned. Yay!

I quickly discovered after the birth of my second that I absolutely cannot use lanolin. I developed a rash right away. So I used olive oil instead.

Oh, and a minor problem I had when starting out nursing my first is that he just did not want to latch on. He would arch his head the other way and get all fussy, like he just didn't want anything to do with me. But I was way too tired to even consider pumping and bottles. So I would let him suck on my pinky then carefully bait and switch with my nipple. Totally worked.
Edited by pohaha - 3/3/13 at 8:21pm
post #10 of 48
Posterior tongue tie. Was very hard to catch- most pediatricians can't figure it out. Saw three LC's- the third figured it out. My DD's latch was incredibly painful until I got her TT released. My nipples looked like the tips of lipsticks. Ouch! Dr. Dahl in NYC did the first release, but didn't cut enough. Dr. Kotlow, a ped dentist from Albany, NY, who is a saint in my opinion and works closely with LC's doing research, repeated the TT release using a laser at 11 weeks and we never looked back. Still breastfeeding at 25 months. Thank you Dr. Kotlow!
post #11 of 48
Yes! Tongue ties, especially hard-to-find posterior tongue ties, are the culprit in sooo many issues. My son had an undiagnosed one that caused tons of nipple damage and pain and I have had lots of clients with babies who needed revision. Unfortunately, most peds don't know enough about the subject to identify them and/or don't think they are a problem. I have also met mamas who have had problems because a tongue tie was released insufficiently and needed to be re-revised. PLEASE consider doing an article on tongue tie - it would be a huge help to so many women. In fact, I'd be willing to write it if you need someone! Dr. Kotlow would be a great resource as well as Jennifer Tow, IBCLC.
post #12 of 48

For us it wasn't one big challenge, but about a dozen smaller obstacles all at once.  The first week was very rough, then our midwife got us some excellent advice from an awesome LC, and this put us on the right track within two days.

post #13 of 48
We had a difficult beginning, with flat nipples, oversupply, forceful let down, mastitis, thrush and cow's milk intolerance all cropping up in the first four weeks. By 8 weeks we had dealt with all of it with the help of a wonderful pediatrician and lots of support. Transitioning back to work and pumping full time was surprisingly not difficult. And we settled into a very comfortable breastfeeding relationship for the rest of the year.

Perhaps a bigger issue arose in the second year when my husband, who was never truly comfortable with breastfeeding, really started to withdraw his support and push for weaning. I had to rely a lot on the support of friends and family most significantly my mother in law and we made it to 2 years. Of course it changed the relationship between myself and my husband but the experience help to increase our communication skills and trust each other.
post #14 of 48
Had multiple issues. Milk came in too fast and became engorged (ow). Took two weeks to be able to get my supply sort of going with pumping and trying to nurse. Pain from cracked and bleeding nipples (allergic to lanolin) - mothercare and earthmamaangelbaby both make a fantastic lanolin free nipple cream. After things had sort of settled... my son had been on formula and pumped milk. Over the next month worked on weening him off formula and just nursing. He had a painfully strong latch at first that hurt so bad. (Also during those two weeks had mastitis and thrush- yay). But through tears and sheer stubbornness to want to exclusively breastfeed... at week 6, my son was officially exclusively nursing. And has been ever since. Im so thankful smile.gif
post #15 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by bohemianmama21 View Post

Pain from cracked and bleeding nipples (allergic to lanolin) - mothercare and earthmamaangelbaby both make a fantastic lanolin free nipple cream.

I had no idea there are other products for nipples. My husband was actually the one to realize I had a lanolin allergy after reading a Mothering article about allergens in cosmetics, lanolin being a top one. I had the worst rash on my nipples on top of the thrush/eczema. Thanks for the product info.
post #16 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by bohemianmama21 View Post

Had multiple issues. Milk came in too fast and became engorged (ow). Took two weeks to be able to get my supply sort of going with pumping and trying to nurse. Pain from cracked and bleeding nipples (allergic to lanolin) - mothercare and earthmamaangelbaby both make a fantastic lanolin free nipple cream. After things had sort of settled... my son had been on formula and pumped milk. Over the next month worked on weening him off formula and just nursing. He had a painfully strong latch at first that hurt so bad. (Also during those two weeks had mastitis and thrush- yay). But through tears and sheer stubbornness to want to exclusively breastfeed... at week 6, my son was officially exclusively nursing. And has been ever since. Im so thankful smile.gif

Good for you! That is the best BF story I've heard! smile.gif
post #17 of 48
Mine has been dealing with painful slices in my nipples! Not just little cracks, but open sliced skin! Scabbing, oozzing, itching...My first baby who nursed until 2 yrs (she is now almost 4) there was not one problem, so when I had my second, only 3 months after I had stopped nursing my first, I thought I'd just breeze right into it! That was not the case! From day one it has been exrutiatingly painful, I talked to my doctor, midwife's, pediatrician, and lactation consultants. Tried nipple shields, ointments, pumping, thrush treatments, NOTHING worked and no one knew what the problem was??? At 3 months I had a culture taken from my nipples, it came back positive for a mellow case of staph? But no one seemed to be too worried about it...except for me..the one in pain! I finally got a prescription for what they call APNO triple nipple ointment..gold in a jar..I have been using it for almost 18 months now, if I don't use it for even 1 day, my nipples start to itch and next thing you know, their cracking open again! Ouch! Anyways, to shorten this up a bit, breast feeding my babies has always been such a bonding and special thing, also I feel the healthiest choice I could give them, so just because I was and have been, in pain, didn't mean I could just give up! So I've just been taking it a day at a time, which believe me, it flys by!!!! So past the tears, biting, teething, and pain! I've still managed to stick it out!!! 18 months and going strong! If any one else has had this happen it'd be great to hear about! No one else I talk to has ever even heard of it! Which makes it hard to figure out!!! Thanks
post #18 of 48
I had pretty painful engorgement after about three days that lasted a little over a week. Was superpainful, very swollen and hot. I used icepacks after feeding and hot compress beforehand. I tried to pump but it made thiings worse so I just waited it out. Eventually it went away. My second challenege has been forceful let down. It literaly gags my LO greensad.gif I did a lot of research and now I feed on one side about 1-3 times or a four hour period then switch. Initially i would switch with each feed. After about three days it seems to be working. If one breast is a little engorged I hand express (it literally used to shoot across the room!).
post #19 of 48
Cracked nipples and associated pain at the beginning with my first, and also persistent oversupply problems,
post #20 of 48
At the start, my sleepy & small (5lb4oz at birth) newborn had a hard time staying awake at the breast and had a hard time latching onto my one flat nipple too. She would latch onto the other like a champ, but then would give a few half-hearted sucks and fall asleep. And at first, being a new nursing mom, I didn't realized that those sucks were really just comfort sucking, not nutritive sucking, or I would have started sooner to try and get her to wake up and really suck. I do wish I had gotten a LC in to see us right away, she didn't get in until I was about to leave the hospital as I gave birth on the weekend and I think with immediate LC help I might have avoided the problem entirely. I did end up supplementing her with formula for a few weeks, but we stuck with the breast too and slowly weaned off formula not ever to have to use it again! I think knowing what I know now, I would have tried harder to pump for her instead of supplementing, but I was so tired and overwhelmed, I dunno if I would have been able to. I'm glad I knew enough to feed her at the breast first always at each feeding and only supplementing after if she still seemed hungry so I didn't sabotage our nursing relationship!

My other challenge was I went back to work FT at 16 weeks and pumped milk for her while she was at daycare. Keeping up was challenging at times as my body liked to be very efficient. I am glad I was lucky enough to have an awesome pumping setup and I even was able to pump the few times I traveled for work while she was still BFing. Doing my research ahead of time, the occasional Fenugreek & power pumping, renting a pump while they replaced my still under warranty pump that the motor died on, and making pumping a priority all made it so I was successful. I never had a big freezer stash, but I always had enough for my DD!
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