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Breastfeeding my newborn

post #1 of 76
Thread Starter 
Okay Mamas, here's the deal. Dd#1 didn't take the breast, I pumped for her. I'd learned a ton of tricks trying to get her to take the breast. I was able to put them to good use this time with dd#2. She had taken the breast. So far in this first week of her life I've had cracked bleeding nipples, but was able to overcome it by improving latch, changing positions, using lansinoh and sunlight/air on my nipples. Then my milk came in and we had to learn to latch all over again. Dd#2 has to cry like the dickens to get her mouth opened up wide enough to fit enough of my nipple in there. Both dd#1 and dh are slightly traumatized by the sound of the angry, frustrated cry coming from dd#2. But then she finally latches. We have had days where it takes 15-20 mins to get her latched on each time. Now we're down to about 6-7 mins. She'll stay on for a good 20 mins per side, get several let downs, gulp like the dickens. She's gaining fabulously, has lots of wet/poopy diapers. So clearly she's getting enough.

The experience of trying to get her latched on right, using swiftness, confidence and a firm hand/arm, all the while she's crying is NOT how I envisioned breastfeeding. But it's working. I'm hoping that as she gets older, and her mouth gets bigger, that it'll get easier. Also I think she's starting to see that she needn't fight or cry forever, once she's on just start sucking the breast! We're both learning and succeeding.

I'm sure there's a broad range of "normal" for ease vs. struggle in getting your child to latch on. Please share your stories of easy and difficult experiences. TIA
post #2 of 76
Thanks for sharing this! I'm pretty nervous about the whole breastfeeding thing and really really really want it to go well. I think it will be super helpful to get a better idea of what the range of normal experiences might be like. Looking forward to reading everyone's responses!
post #3 of 76
Thread Starter 
I will add that I was in tears of frustration after a cluster nursing session spanning several hours in the middle of the night that involved lots of baby crying too. I was ready to throw in the towel thinking, "I can't do this!" My midwife came the next day for a home visit. She used to work with Amish Mennonites and they breastfed, there was no formula or bottles or pumping or tube feeding. It was "known" that cracked bleeding nipples were a part of things, or if a mama was up with a crying baby all night who wouldn't take the breast well, it was commonly known as "a thing that happens, yes". Women had "the village" to consult with: their sisters, cousins, aunts, mothers, neighbours. In my life, I have "the experts" (lactation consultants, Dr. Jack Newman works around the block from where I live, etc) ... sure wish I had the village at times, you know? It does help to talk to my girlfriends. My MW said that you can cull some gems of learning from everyone you talk to, then form your own impressions and intuition as you are going along.

She said bfing this baby will be different than bfing another baby. It's about learning the dance for the two of you. You have to learn again with each babe what will work for them and you.

I found it helpful and comforting to hear these things.

I was telling dh tonight that we, surrounded by our bottlefeeding culture, do not hear a baby screaming at the breast on and off for hours. We expect feeding to be peaceful and quiet, as we see it is for babies on bottles. Little did I/we know that it could be like this. But from what I hear, 'tis in the range of normal.

I am hoping/expecting things to continue to get better and, esp. as babe's mouth grows bigger, for latching to be easier and feeding to ultimately be peaceful and quiet.
post #4 of 76
(((hugs)))

We had horrible nursing obstacles to overcome, each different, with each of my first three DC. I was so glad to finally have a relatively non-eventful start to our nursing relationship this time with babe 4.

As far as how big your nipples are now that your milk has come in, there is a wonderful little trick I learned with DC3 that can help deflate you a little bit. It's called "reverse pressure softening" and it's in the green box at the bottom of this page.

It made a huge difference for me.
post #5 of 76
Thread Starter 
Wonderful - I even had a letdown doing that!
post #6 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emese'sMom View Post
The experience of trying to get her latched on right, using swiftness, confidence and a firm hand/arm, all the while she's crying is NOT how I envisioned breastfeeding.
LoL . . . me either.

It gets easier as the baby gets more experienced/older but boy, I thought breastfeeding was this graceful, natural act. And it surely was not, at least not at the beginning.
post #7 of 76
Thread Starter 
Yeah. And to tell you the truth (looking around shiftily, feeling like I am revealing a dirty secret) I actually use quite a bit of force and cram my nipple into dd's mouth. She cries like a banshee but she gets latched on. She even pulls towards my nipple, like she KNOWS this is what works and it's good for her, but geez, it sure seems dramatic and traumatic! Gads!
post #8 of 76
DS is 3.5 wks now and we've had a hell of a time getting nursing sorted out. First, it took five days for my milk to come in, so he ended up with jaundice and we had to use a bili blanket. Then when my milk finally arrived, I got so engorged that he couldn't latch on (speaking of which, cabbage leaves worked miracles for me in that department, and reverse pressure softening was helpful as well).

After that we both got thrush (which I'm still battling), and then I got a plugged duct in my left breast. Finally, I got mastitis and a systemic infection from being so overtired and rundown. The only persisting problems are the thrush - which causes burning and irritation but isn't nearly as bad as the cracked, bleeding nipples I had early on - and DS's evening cluster feeding sessions, which are pretty exhausting. His latch is sometimes a little lazy, but on the whole things are a lot better. Forcefully pushing him onto the breast, and then pushing his chin down with my index finger once he's on have both helped.

There were times during the first couple of weeks that I felt like throwing in the towel, so you're not alone!
post #9 of 76
Bostonianbaby - have you tried grapefruit seed extract for the thrush? worked wonders for me. 10 drops 3 times a day (take it in shot of something to mask the taste). best of luck - i know how much that hurts! don't worry it will get better! promise :
post #10 of 76
Thread Starter 
So frustrated right now. Baby is up again to feed and I am having trouble letting down. Since I started the process half awake and tired, I let her latch and pull off ineffectively. Now I have a cracked nipple again on the right. Sigh. I am so tired. My milk is not letting down. We've been at it for an hour this time!! Earlier all night she was even latching on almost right away! Help. Oh well, back to the trenches.
post #11 of 76
Thread Starter 
So baby normally sleeps during this time after an evening nursing marathon. But she's STILL up! What gives? Probably a growth spurt. Just my luck that I can't sleep in tomorrow b/c I have a MW appt. I am feeling soooo tired and grumpy. ^@^@@%$^&^%#*&$%#^@%$#!%$!^%$@&^$*

Oh well. Thanks for listening to me vent. It's so much harder than I thought it would be, this bfing! OTOH what did I expect with the newborn period? Sleep deprivation is par for the course.
post #12 of 76
emesesmom,

2 am nak right now

i'm right there w/ you - a rough start, not much that's peaceful, and now sometimes it's great and sometimes still painful. ds can get really mad sometimes if there's a wide-mouthed latch, and then we both end up upset. it was worse when i was engorged, but that part is better now, and overall things have improved. i HATE how it only takes a few seconds of a bad latch to re-open wounds - yeoutch!!

and 3 to 4 hour cluster feeds... sigh...
post #13 of 76
Thread Starter 
Yeah. Tonight dd#2 had a cluster feed from 6:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. to (ongoing). I am SO ready to be done with this tonight. I have to wake up at 7:30 or 8 a.m. with dd#1 to get her ready for grandma and go to the midwives office. I've had 1.5 hrs of sleep tonight. Brutal. Hopefully I can catch up on sleep the rest of the day tomorrow. Sigh. Sigh. Sigh. Hang in there, Girl!
post #14 of 76
Thread Starter 
Hugs to all the Mamas with nursing challenges. Thanks for commiserating with me!
post #15 of 76
We've had a heck of a time getting going too. I failed at breastfeeding my eldest and still feel guilty about it to this day so it's something I was really worried about. Jack wouldn't latch on properly at the hospital until right before we left I finally got him to latch on the right breast. The first couple of days home he wouldn't latch on still except occasionally on the right and my mom brought me a nipple shield which got him on the left breast but made him reject the right without a shield. Then he was sucking in a lot of air and getting very little milk I think. There were no dirty diapers and only a small amount of wet ones.

Saturday night in the wee small hours I became convinced I was starving him, broke down sobbing and considered breaking out the evil can of free formula from the hospital. Instead I made a frantic post to the LJ breastfeeding community, bucked up my confidence and started trying to get him to latch on without the shield. Finally sometime around when daylight broke he latched on to both breasts and since then we've been doing much much better.

He started having numerous poo and wet ones last night and I'm breathing a sigh of relief. He still once in a while doesn't want to take the left breast for some reason, I guess the nipple is a little funkier or something but eventually I can usually get him on. I'm so so so glad I didn't break down and use the formula.

He's down 11% from his birthweight so we're going back in to the ped to weigh him again on Thursday just to make sure he's gaining now. I'm feeling pretty confident.
post #16 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emese'sMom View Post
The experience of trying to get her latched on right, using swiftness, confidence and a firm hand/arm, all the while she's crying is NOT how I envisioned breastfeeding. But it's working. I'm hoping that as she gets older, and her mouth gets bigger, that it'll get easier. Also I think she's starting to see that she needn't fight or cry forever, once she's on just start sucking the breast! We're both learning and succeeding.
Not in your DDC but yes, yes and yes! There can be a steep learning curve for both of you and you are doing so well! I remember feeling like this with my second and we did get it right, eventually, and she nursed till she was over 2. It will be much easier than EPing once you both get the hang of it and you will be able to nurse effortlessly like you see other mothers doing in good time!
post #17 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by junestars View Post
Bostonianbaby - have you tried grapefruit seed extract for the thrush?
I've been taking the tablets but realized I wasn't taking enough - I upped it yesterday to 250 mg 3 x daily. I've heard that the tincture might be more effective though - do you think I should switch to the drops? I would LOVE to get rid of the thrush!

I'm also taking probiotics, putting infant acidophilus in DS's mouth, boiling paci's and pump parts, and using white vinegar in the laundry.
post #18 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonianBaby View Post
do you think I should switch to the drops? I would LOVE to get rid of the thrush!
Sounds like you are doing everything right. I don't know about the tablets - the liquid drops are what worked for me in just 2 days (after Gentian Violet and Jack Newman's compound nipple cream and everything else you've already mentioned.) If you try the liquid it can't hurt. Best, BEST of luck!

Emese'smom - totally sounds like a growth spurt!

Chavaleh I'm glad it seems like the worst is behind you. I remember how hard it is but honestly after a couple of weeks (or months for some) it will honestly become the easiest thing you do all day. I swear.

Just think of this time like boot camp - as long as you both are breathing/surviving you'll be okay and there is an end to it all and you'll be so glad you did it. One day at a time....

:
post #19 of 76
All of you ladies are amazing for perservering through the challenges! Good for you!

The only way that I've found for me to handle the cluster feeds is to nurse on my side in bed, most of the time I'll just fall asleep and my LO can keep nursing as long as he likes.
post #20 of 76
I just wanted to let y'all know how much I appreciate this thread! DD2 has been doing these cluster-feeds, but I didn't know such a thing existed! It's like she nurses, makes diapers, fusses, nurses, etc. for several hours! And it's often been from 12-5am - EEK!! It's been frustrating to me, but now I know there is a name for it and I'm not alone with all that!

And I've been not letting her cry at my breast and accepting a faulty latch just so she wouldn't wake up DH and DD1. I guess I'd better close some doors and go downstairs and get it worked out!
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