I saw this thread in the new posts and I remember you from The One Thread waaaay back when.
I hope you don't mind me chiming in here.
I went through the exact same bf problems with ds - the cracking, bleeding, thrush and vasospasm. I even wound up with a bout of mastitis before it was all over. What you are going through really stinks. I am so sorry.
I totally remember that sinking feeling of dread when ds would open his mouth and want to nurse again. The pain was so terrible for those first few weeks - physically of course, but also emotionally because I felt like I wasn't being a "good" mom and properly bonding with my new little guy.
There are some things I wanted to share with you and for the ease of your Mama-to-a-newborn mind (and my Mama-to-a-nutty-toddler mind!) I'll just list them:
- For us, bf got a lot better around 6 weeks. There were still some issues but the pain subsided and I finally got the hang of latching him on right every time. Fwiw, I nursed him until he was 2.5 years old.
- Have you seen a lactation consultant? I can't recommend this enough. Try to find an IBCLC if you can. If one LC doesn't help 100%, call another one and another until you find the right one to help you. For us, it was LC #4 that finally truly helped and I swear, it was like the clouds parted and light shone down upon us while angels played harps. Her fee was so worth it.
- Vasospasm. Ouch.
In my case, I have large nipples, so ds's mouth was too tiny to avoid chomping on them while nursing. The pain was less when his mouth grew but I don't think the vasospasm ever went away. I definitely got more used to it though and finally got to a point where it hardly bothered me.
- Thrush, also not fun.
Sounds like you are doing the right thing with your diet and the chux. I also sprayed dilute vinegar on my nipples after nursing and let dry before packing them back up.
Sunlight on your nipples is also supposed to work wonders if you can pull that off. I remember taking capryllic acid, garlic oil, and GSE tablets in addition to the Diflucan. I forget the dosing schedule I was on for the Diflucan, but it should be somthing like 2 or 3 pills for the first x days and then 1x/day for another week (?) after that. If this doesn't sound similar to what you're doing, you need to get your routine changed. ETA: Dr. Jack Newman advises
"fluconazole 400 mg as a first dose, followed by 100 mg twice daily until you are pain free for a full week, which usually means at least two weeks."
- As far as different nursing postions, I'd say proceed with caution. I nursed ds sitting up at night for the longest time because football was the only position that worked for us. This is also something that an IBCLC can help you learn.
- Sleep deprivation is such a huge thing. I wish I had an answer for you. So many people say to sleep whenever the baby does and there is a lot of truth to that.
- Someone else mentioned PPD and I completely agree that you need to watch for that. I have btdt after all of our bf and transition-to-parenthood issues and it wasn't fun but we made it through (after letting it go untreated for over a year, not a good idea). What about a post-partum doula? She could watch the babe while you get the rest you need, maybe help with the housework a bit and also be a good gauge of how you are doing PPD-wise. If you can swing that, I think it's an excellent idea.
- While one-handed bf is still a future goal, how about books on tape? Music really helped me relax while actually bf. Also, Netflix is an awesome service. They mail DVDs to your house and you send them back in prepaid mailers for a monthly fee. I wish I would have watched more movies before ds was mobile! We get free trial codes every now and then, so if they aren't currently offering a free trial on their site, PM me and I'll find you a code.
- Don't forget to give yourself the love and credit that you deserve in all of this. Your dedication to bf your daughter in the face of all these challenges is truly admirable. You have already proven yourself as an amazing Mama by making this commitment to give her the best even though it is so hard right now. It's easy to get overwhelmed with the negative, but please do your best to stay positive and in the moment. Right now is difficult but it will get better soon and it will be like a whole new world.
Please don't hesitate to PM me if there's anything I can do for you. It might feel like you are alone with all these bf challenges but you are not. I wish you nothing but the best and am sending you lots of die yeastie die vibes.