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I'm a failure

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
I probably shouldn't even post this here because I'm just going to get a lot of guilt trips about it, but maybe some of you can offer me some support.

I have flat nipples. I had a hard time breastfeeding my older son and ended up supplementing about 50/50, eventually going entirely to formula around 9 months. I was determined that the same thing wouldn't happen this time.

So my baby (now 10 days old) gained weight as he should, and I thought things were going well. The nurses put me on a nipple shield this time, and it still hurt to nurse, but at least it helped him get enough this time. I met with two different LCs, and both of them got him to nurse with a correct latch and without the shield.

But the sores on my nipples were getting progressively worse. Like scabbed over to the point where I had to break the scab to get the milk out. And when I tried to get him to latch on without the shield by myself, it hurt so bad I screamed out loud. Tried again with the shield - I just couldn't take the pain.

Since Monday I've been pumping and bottlefeeding, and I've had to give him some formula to make up the difference. Not a huge amount, maybe 8 oz. a day, but still. I just about had a nervous breakdown Tuesday night when I ran out of pumped milk and both my breasts were empty and he was just screaming from hunger. I just didn't have any more to give him.

Now, I know I should still be trying to get him to latch, but I can't face it. It hurts to even think about it. I'm having PPD bad enough that my doctor gave up her lunch break to see me and got me in to see a therapist that same afternoon. The therapist told me basically to stop feeling bad about the breastfeeding, that it was just one more thing making me depressed that she didn't want me to be worrying about.

Right now my plan is to keep pumping until the sores heal and then try to work up my nerve to get him to latch again. One of the LCs is going to call Monday and try to work with me on it.

I am just freaking out about the whole thing. I don't know if I'm going to be able to get him to latch again. I don't know if I can handle EPing. I don't know if I can keep up my supply, the way things are going. And I hate myself because this was supposed to be so easy and it just isn't.
post #2 of 47

sorry to hear you're having troubles. no guilt trip here. nursing is tough when it hurts. i remember the pain i had; it was worse than unmedicated childbirth! if you can, try to take it one feeding at a time. if you can get him latched, great. if you can't face it, pump. next feeding, try again. at 10 days old, there's still time to work on it.
post #3 of 47
I just wanted to stop by and say you are not a failure. I am so sorry it's not going as well as you'd like. Keep your chin up.
post #4 of 47
Oh honey I am so sorry .You are only failing if you don't try, and you are trying sooooo hard...

I had the same issue with the scabing on my nipples. It hurt so bad I eventually broke down and was taking advil every 4 hours. That helped take the edge off and I was able to nurse through the pain. I have heard that nipple shields only make the situation worse.

What helped me also was to keep my nipples always wet. I used Soothies, which helped A TON and Lansiol. I used both of them together, although I found out later it might not be a good idea...I didn't see any bad effects from the combination though.

At least your dc is not loosing weight. Try not to be so hard on yourself-you will do whatever it takes for you baby, and that is the makings of an AMAZING mom.
post #5 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElliesMomma View Post
it was worse than unmedicated childbirth!
I completely agree!!! My labor was easy in comparison, it was over in 16 hours. The nipple pain went on and on and on for weeks!!!
post #6 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeivaKai View Post
Oh honey I am so sorry .You are only failing if you don't try, and you are trying sooooo hard...
I agree with NeivaKai - try to be gentle with yourself. your baby is still so new, you have lot's of time to work out the kinks. Can your OB prescribe something for the pain? Advil or tylenol may work, but if you need something stronger short-term, there are other options out there for you. so many others would have already completely given up, and you are still trying - that is truly commendable.
post #7 of 47
It really sucks having bfing problems! Try not to beat yourself up. You are not a failure. I used soothies for chronically scabbed nipples. They helped some, but not quite enough. They are also quite expensive. What helped me the most was putting lanolin on my nipples and then leaving my bra and shirt of for a few hours a day.

My dd was never able to latch, (I also have flat nipples) so I EP'd 18 months for her and had a great supply. I would have gone to 2 years, but my milk dried up due to being pregnant. The great thing is, is that I still have 3 deep freezers full of my milk, so dd is still getting it! It is possible to EP long term if you can't take the pain of bfing. Check out the EPers tribe. http://www.mothering.com/discussions...4&page=50There are a lot of tips for pumping and maintaining your supply. Feel free to pm me anytime to chat about EPing. I know it sucks, but it is a real alternative if you can't take the pain of bfing.

Can you try to get your baby to latch just once a day, to keep them familiar with the breast? The longer you go without latching, the more they will resist when you do try. If you can't take the pain, the nipple shield will at least keep them familiar with the breast, and you can always worry about weaning from it later. Some even bf with them the whole time they bf. That way, baby won't get used to the bottle and completely refuse the breast. As long as you can get the baby to latch with the shield, you have a great chance to bf! I was so afraid to use the shield (I did get dd to latch with it a few times) b/c everyone said I would have supply problems if I kept using it. Well, it would have been better for me to use the shield and pump afterwards (to maintain supply) than to be stuck EPing so long. It is a hard long road to EP, but it is possible.
post #8 of 47
Keep on keepin on, honey! It is worth the struggle, as I'm sure you know. I bet it will get better, not worse. And DO NOT be hard on yourself. The emotions and hormona changes going on in your body are quite enough to deal with without beating yourself up. It'll work out. Good job on your efforts so far. : )
post #9 of 47


I wish I could sit with you and cheerlead. I totally understand the pain. dd turned my nippled to hamburger.

-Angela
post #10 of 47
I am so sorry you are having such a hard time. You are absolutely NOT a failure.
post #11 of 47
I think we are having the same problems. I'm so sorry for you. You are not alone.
post #12 of 47
Thread Starter 
I'm already on Tylenol 3 and 800 mg ibuprofen for post-c/s pain.
post #13 of 47
You are NOT a failure. You are an awesome mom doing your very best for your baby.

I too have flat nipples. I used a shield for 2.5 months with DD. I hated the shield. I hated the LC that gave it to me prematurely. I felt like my body wasn't good enough. However, I didn't have sore nipples (until I weaned from the shield).

I suggest sticking with the shield until you're ready to try without. Cover your nips with lanolin, put the shield on, and nurse your baby. Use soothes and such for your nips. Pump when you just can't take it. Get BF well established. Get your milk supply established. Love your beautiful new babe.

Once you aren't having such a hard time, once you feel better, your nipples are healed, your milk supply is established, and you feel emotionally prepared to spent some time transitioning, then work on weaning off of the shield. By then your nipples will be a bit more elastic and pulled out, your babe will have a larger mouth and more head control to help out, and things should be better.

I really hated the nipple shield. I don't think it's a great first line of defense, but in your position, I think it's probably the best way to go. Cross the bridge of weaning from the shield later.

You can do this. Good luck. We're all rooting for you.
post #14 of 47
Thread Starter 
Right now, the pain is still too bad even with the shield (and the pain meds). I just can't take it right now.
post #15 of 47
I am so so sorry you are going through all of this pain. Huge hugs to you.
post #16 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by pookel View Post
I'm already on Tylenol 3 and 800 mg ibuprofen for post-c/s pain.
I am so sorry! That makes everything so much worse when you have other pain to deal with. Can you tolerate nursing with the shield just a few (even one) times a day, and pump the rest of the time?
post #17 of 47
Thread Starter 
Maybe. I tried once today and just got hysterical. He was screaming, I was in pain, I couldn't take it. Maybe I will try again tomorrow.
post #18 of 47
This is just a thought: make sure that your nipple DOES NOT touch any part of the flange of your breast pump. I'm talking about the bit that sticks out, not the entire ariola. Once you've turned the pump on, the part of your nipple that gets suctioned into the flange shouldn't touch anywhere. There should be space all around. You sometimes have to maneuver your boob a bit to make sure that your nipple can move in and out freely without rubbing the inside of the flange. Most women need a larger size flange than the one that comes with the pump so it is worth it to check it out. The Medela pumps are pretty easy to correct if it isn't big enough,...you just go get the bigger size.

Since it is summer, you could also try going topless and braless. Stay away from sunlight in the windows, of course. Just keep the lanolin handy to prevent any seeping wounds from scabbing up on you.
post #19 of 47
I'm a goober!!! I spelled areola wrong!!! Sorry, I am tired, but insomniac.
post #20 of 47
I highly recommend Jack Neumans All purpose nipple ointment or cream it is a prescription but it would really help you get through this. You are doing the best you can. Most people don't put in 10% of the effort you are. Give yourself a big hug. You are very patient, things will get better,, with support, things will work out.
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