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BFing problems-advice/experiences wanted!!

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Ok ladies, first off, my name is Lisa and I am new to these boards as far as being registered but I have been lurking for a few years.

Please bear with me on this post it may be long but I would TRULY appreciate the help/advice/opinions/experiences of the women here. I will include all points that I think pertain to the situation and I guess you can "weed through" what is relevant or not.......

I had my first baby on Nov 5 2002. My dh and I were completely on board with breastfeeding him. We took a class, we read "THe Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" I surrounded myself with some remarkable woman who were very pro breastfeeding and who were so supportive of me during my pregnancy. I started using Lansinoh during my last trimester (since I heard it helps). One point I would like to raise is that my breasts did not increase in size during my pregnancy at all.

The hospital I had my son in is WONDERFUL, extremely pro bfing in fact you have to tell them if you don't want to because it is "expected"

After my son was born, he was put to my breast within minutes (he didn't do anything but the nurse put him there and rubbed the nipple on his lips)

He was taken to do a breathing test (no problem but they wanted to be sure) and he was back at my breast about an hour later, this time he sucked a little. Within a few hours, the LC came in for a lesson and helped him latch on etc. He didn't seem to latch right (his tounge was up on the roof of his mouth and he didn't like to bring it down) but they continued to help me. The one thing that really ticked dh and I off was that the LC asked me if "we were really committed to doing this" I guess because it wasn't going well. We told her we were.

While I was in the hospital, I pretty much had help at every feeding to get him bfing, through the night included (the nurses were awesome, so supportive) My nipples were sore but they said that was normal.

ok, then we went home, I could only nurse using the boppy, I had a huge amount of difficulty positioning my son, I felt like I didn't have enough arms!!!

He never would open his mouth in the "0" shape that he needed to latch on and that tounge continued to be on the roof of his mouth. I had the help of friends who were successful and they seemed to think his latch was fine. (I made sure his lips were flanged and his tounge was under the nipple)

Bear with me here....

Whenever he nursed it felt like my breasts were being slashed with razor blades, not just the nipple but the entire breast hurt. It was so painful and when I would ask people if it hurt, they all said not as much as I was saying it did. It was very painful the entire time I nursed.

Also, my son NEVER seemed satisfied after he nursed (like the articles and books said he would, he was wide awake like I was giving him stimulants (I ate/drank "by the book" and had NO caffiene or typical problem foods) One day he didn't sleep from like 10am- 1am at like 6 days old, basically he was barely sleeping at all.

I am not sure if it means anything but his breath was very sweet after he ate (is it supposed to be??) Between the pain and his wakefulness, I was emotionally drained!!! At 10 days after his birth, dh and I decided I should pump and give ebm so that at least he would get the bm without my pain, but I got very little from pumping.

Basically at 10 days, I went to feed him and he chomped down on both of my nipples and I lost it, I just broke down in tears and dh said that we are switching to formula and we did and my baby has been completely different since.

It only took a couple of days for my breasts to dry up, actually my right breast (which never got a " full" feeling dried up really quickly and never even leaked, the left breast leaked a lot (was my right breast not working??? if so is this unusual and is there anything I can do??)

I knew going into this that it would be tough but for me it was like torture, I really think my breasts weren't working properly or something because my experience was so unlike the mom's I know who went on and on about how great bfing was for them, no pain, just this wonderful connection. I feel so gypped!!

What can I do for the next baby do you think. should I try to pursue why my right breast never "grew" like the left one once my milk came in???

Do you think I wasn't producing enough and starving my son??

Why did it hurt so much??? I know pain is relative but this seemed to hurt way more than it should have, not just when latching but through the whole nursing session.

I want to try bfing again with my next child and I guess I am trying to start my research early ( my son is only 11 weeks!!) TO better prepare myself for the next one.

oh yeah, another unfortuate problem was that the bfing support group I was going to attend was not meeting until Deember due to the Thanksgiving holiday and I just wouldn't have made it that long!!!

TIA ladies

ANy advice , books, articles, links etc. would be appreciated.

post #2 of 13
I'm sorry bfing didn't work out for you this time and I'm glad to see that your are hopeful to try again next time.

I would say that first off - nope you were not starving him and you probably did have enough milk for him or after 10 days of only bfing he would have been very sick and dehydrated. My ds suffered from dehydration when he was a week old and there's no way you could miss how sick your baby would have got if he were not getting enough food. (btw, just as a side note my son was not dehydrated b/c of any milk or bfing problem, but he had a bladder infection at birth that we were not aware of until a week later so he was too sick to nurse properly). Anyway, a baby who is not getting enough milk would not be having wet and/or poopy diapers and would be either super sleepy or crying. I truly don’t think you’d have missed the signs.

Also even though your breasts didn't grow a lot they could still be producing milk just fine. As far as not being able to express much - that also doesn't mean you weren't making much - some women have a very hard time expressing milk even with the best pumps even though they have an adequate supply.

As for the pain - not sure why that would be the case. Could be poor positioning or your child could have had one of those Hoover Vacuum like suction latches I had a friend whose newborn would suck so hard the baby left teeth marks on her breast even though the child's teeth had not broke through the gums yet!

I would say next time around get yourself to a lactation consultant until the problem is resolved - join LLL - and try again!
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

THank you, I should have added that he did have the appropriate amount of wet/poopy dipes so I gathered he was getting enough, I also should say that at the hospital, they told me he had a VERY strong sucking reflex, if you put your finger in there it was amazing how hard he sucked it.

I guess I feel confused that I was being told the latch was fine but in my gut, I knew it wasn't but was unable to rectify the situation without help but the "help" kept telling me he was latched ok???

I think you are right, I need to get with an LC from the getgo and pay one if necessary to insure (or is it ensure??) that I get the help I need.
post #4 of 13

I, too, am sorry to hear that you had such a disappointing experience, especially after you and your husband prepared so well and had such high hopes. No, breastfeeding should not hurt so badly, so don’t fear that it will be like that with #2!!

I think dotcommomma is right on with her analysis of breast fullness & pumping (a pump is not necessarily an indicator of how much milk you are producing, especially in the early weeks when your milk is getting established).

Breastfeeding can be sometimes be challenging at first, but most obstacles can be overcome with the correct support, encouragement, patience, and practice! I know that sometimes that is a lot easier said than done. Having a new baby can be overwhelming under any circumstance, but if you have a baby with nursing challenges, it can seem all the more so.

That said, a good LC should have been able to help you out with the tongue problem. That may well have been what was causing your severe pain. Someone could have come right out to your home and sat with you for as many times as it took to get it.

Alternatively, when a mom is experiencing such pain, it is a good idea to get checked for thrush, an infection that can be passed between babe and mom. Sometimes, babe will show no symptoms, other times, he can have white patches inside his mouth. With mom, pain is usually a good indicator.

There are exercises you could try to get the tongue to lay flat: gently placing a clean finger inside baby's mouth before nursing, turning over to the nail side down, and then slowly pulling out. There are others, too, that if the problem should occur with baby #2 are usually helpful. Avoiding bottles and pacifiers before week 3 is also helpful.

Next time, keep asking and asking until you find a GOOD LC to help you!! In the meantime, try not to dwell on it too much (again, easier said than done).

Good luck!!

ps. Woamnly Art of Bfeeding is a good choice. I think The Breastfeeding Book by William Sears is also good, if you want to try something new!
post #5 of 13
I'm so sorry to hear that you had such a painful experience.

Just a note: if your baby is only 11 weeks, your milk may not have "dried up"--you could possibly build up your supply and nurse this baby, with help. Get in touch with a local La Leche League Leader asap. This is called "relactation," and it can be done with a nursing supplementer.
It is normal for one side to be leaky or leakier that the other, and it is also normal to have the breasts get much bigger during pregnancy or not bigger at all--we're all different that way.

Your baby may have been fussy because you were so frazzled--it's amazing how sensitive they can be. He could also have had a developmental change or an allergy.

Those little boys with "strong" sucks can *hurt*! It is imperative that the latch be normal, and it can be hard to tell if it isn't. Did you see any blisters or patches of white on the nipple? Was the nipple very red? Were you sorer on one side? If your baby never opened his mouth wide, the suck and tongue tip on the end of the nipple can really hurt. Was your baby's back straight, or was his head turned? Does he have a short frenulum--the connective tissue that is under the tongue? Does his tongue looked "forked?" Seriously

How are your breasts recovering? Did they bleed?

Thrush is a possibility, especially if you had antibiotics in labor or after. But you'd probably still be sore. Ditto for mastitis.

Good luck to you.
Feel free to send me a message privately if you want more help.
post #6 of 13
Yes, I am also sorry you didn't get enough of the right kind of support for your bfreastfeeding. Any LC with a copy of the Breastfeeding Answer Book shoud have been able to help you with is issue of pushing up his tongue, and his tight mouth. His chomping too, all are indicators of a condition called hyper-tonicity--is he very tense still now? does he arch his back, or melt into you? Does he relax his limbs , or seem to stay tense, even when falling asleep? Does he chew on his bottle? These kinds of babies need extra patience and soothing to get them to nurse.

Pumping takes some time to get the hang of, for some women. you should have been using a Medela Lactina, with a double pumping kit, every 2-3 hours, round the clock. it can sometimes take a couple days to even get drops of milk from the start, esp as colostrum is ony produced in teaspoons, not ounces.

It is quite common for one breast to produce more milk than the other.

If you want to relactate, even if just to be able to give him some of your pumped milk in a bottle, seek an experienced IBCLC LC, or exped LLL Leader.
post #7 of 13
Good luck, Lisa/starbright. I hope all this great advice is some help. I can't offer anything but support and sympathy (only 3 wks experience bfing myself and still having questions myself...).

I don't mean to hijack this thread but I have a quick question...

Originally posted by DaryLLL
<snip>It is quite common for one breast to produce more milk than the other.<snip>
This seems to be my case. DD definately prefers the left breast and gets frustrated after a while on the right -- nearly always goes on to the left when I start on the right but rarely wants a second boob when I start on the left... It really seems like there is more produced by the left breast (or as if it's just easier to get a let down or two or three (hungry little critter) on the left).

Should I try and do anything about it? (If so, what?) Or just go with the flow, so to speak?

post #8 of 13
Many babies prefer one side to the other. Is this because that side has always produced more milk? It's hard to tell. Some other factors may be strength of letdown (some babies always like a stronger or gentler letdown, or they prefer stronger at times and gentler at times), general comfort, reflux (typically worse when lying on your left), positioning, mother's preference, etc. However, the more a baby nurses on a side, the more that side will produce. The less-used side will come to produce less. If the switch is a rapid one, the neglected side may become engorged, and plugged ducts may occur.
My dd had completely stopped nursing on the left at a year old. She took the right gradually more and more and the left less and less. She didn't like the strong letdown of the left side. I followed her lead. Soon, I was very lopsided It was comical. Other than that, we had no problems, and she nursed on the right through a second pregnancy, and now, at 2, she nurses on both again, along with her brother (who seems to prefer the left).
post #9 of 13

our babies have the same Bday!

nov 5th that is....

I wanted to add, that I have an amazing milk supply -- I spray anyone not watching. But I can hardly get any milk when I pump. Today I picked up dd from day care and she had consumed about 11 ounces. I almost cried. That's like 4 days of pumping for me!!!

and...my left boob is the one she prefers to drink from, but my right one pumps better. go figure. so it works ok -- she drinks on the left and i pump on the right.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you to everyone who responded. I cannot address all the issues you all raised unfortunately since I am one handed right now with my sweet boy in my arms.

Basically, I checked under his tongue but I honestly don't know if there is a problem there or not, his tongue isn't forked though

He has never been really stiff at all, he is a little cuddlebun, loves to melt right into me, he just was always very "rough" during nursing.

I discussed the issues you all raised with dh last night. He was really interested in the input, but it gave us even more questions concerns to look into (which is a good thing).

I don't think that I can do the relactation, I can only describe my nursing experience as "traumatic" and I just can't go through that again so soon. I am committed to trying it with the next child we have, only I will get help much sooner (like when I am still pg!!)

Although there is a part of me that is still feeling bad and guilty about the whole situation, I know in my heart that over the past 11 weeks I am really proud of my "mothering" just because the breastfeeding didn't work out I feel great that I have spent the last 11 almost 12 weeks being exactly the mommy I wanted to be, I am not bragging, just stating that I have really stuck with the principles that I had when I was pg. Being a mommy is hard work but I have never in my life done anything as wonderful as carry, birth, and feed (if onlly for a short time) my son with my body.

ok I am off topic, thanks again!!
post #11 of 13
some really great advice in here. LLL Leaders are trained to listen for the flag words of "glass is coming out" or "burning" to be signs of yeast. That certainly is a possiblity. Yeast is SO common. And like someone else said, if you had any antibioitics in labor, yeast is just about a 'given'.

Can your baby stick his tongue all the way out of his mouth? past his lips? Have you ever seen him do that? That little piece of skin (frenulum) that attaches the tongue to the bottom of the mouth may just need a tiny little clip. Tongue tied babies can drink from a bottle just fine but cause mom huge amounts of pain.

could be a very easy solution...

and just one more push for relactating....you *can* do it. Adoptive moms (who have never birthed) can, you can too, it's only been a few weeks.

regardless, I wholeheartedly applaud you for INVESTIGATING and most importantly *educating* yourself.

Knowledge is power.

Huge hugs,
post #12 of 13
when I experienced the initial pain from bf, and when seeking help, kept hearing 'the latch must be bad' but did everything they said, and still cried through every feeding...I became very resentful and confused. I didnt have much support, except dh who would NOT let me stop, even if I wanted to. MIL was VERY probf, but she passed it off as this dim lit, beautiful experience that i WASNT having...

Everyone else said to just quit, I musnt 'be able' to.

I refused. my theory was that dd's mouth was too small, and she just couldnt latch comfortably...I would keep suffering till she grew bigger. (I find this VERY amusing now)

well, for some reason, I was reading a website (dr jack neuman I think) and I looked at pictures of latching, and it hit me like a lightbulb, and it got better. I wasnt latching right. my nipple had to face the top of her throat, and most of the underside of the areola be in her mouth. Now, I am not sure if thats EXACTLY what it said, but I started doing that, after almost a MONTH of clenched, stabbing, slicing pain, sobbing feedings, etc. It started to get better.

dd also was a very aggressive feeder, strong sucker. I had HUGE blood blisters my second day in the hospital....the nurses answer was to shift postions, oh great, so then I had huge blood blisters on THAT side of my nipple as well.

It was tramatic, and I look back to that first month, and all I think about was the pain, and it makes me upset that I didnt enjoy those first moments with my baby. but now she is only 3 months, and that feels like ages ago...

what worked for me was that you HAVE to have it in your head that you have NO choice. my dh kept saying 'i wish I could feed her if its too hard for you' very sarcastically, and it would hurt me and make me cry more, because he didnt know how it felt...but it kept me on track, and I had to prove it to not only me, and prove to my dd that she deserved this milk, but to my dh ('d' not for dear)

good luck the next time around.
re-lactation sounds pretty cool.

:sinister :sinister :sinister :sinister
post #13 of 13

i second what melmel said...

about having no choice.

my primary reason for bf was because of cost. plain and simple I had it in my brain that I couldn't afford formula.

I have to say that i TOTALLY understand not being able to bf without the boppy pillow and feeling like you still can use two more hands. In the beginning dh would help me, he'd hold dd's hands away from her mouth and hold my shirt out of dd's mouth. When he wasn't home I often ran around with no shirt on because i just couldn't do it without him.

a woman at LLL revealed something her husband had said to her --

"all those books have all these lovely women who look so relaxed on them, why don't they show what bf is really like? women who are buck naked, with their wet hair in a towel."
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