I had pain for about 6 weeks just like you are describing. I actually bled and now have scared nipples, but I didn't give up because I new I would never use formula. I'm glad I didn't and the pain eventually went away and I was able to nurse for 3 1/2 yrs. Now my daughter is almost 5 and we are expecting a new one in Oct and worried I will go through the same thing. I'm hoping my nipples are so callused that it won't be painful this time! LOL Hope it works out, just hang in there and keep telling yourself it is all worth it!
Stick it out--it WILL get better! I had the same experience as you--excruciating pain at the beginning, that was bad enough to make me scream, cry, and tense up. The pain was worse than labor & birth. After the first 6 weeks or so it just got better and better, and eventually there was no pain at all and nursing became a sweet and pleasant thing. I know how stressful it is to be going through it right now, but it will go by so quickly and everything will get better. You're doing everything right, just keep doing it!
all this, but my pain breastfeeding baby #1 lasted for TEN WEEKS. stick it out. it will pass. one day, you will just notice, "hey, it doesn't hurt so much anymore." and then the pain is gone.
ps: i nursed through it, and went on to nurse through my next pregnancy, and then tandem nurse. for baby #2, i had NO (nipple) PAIN whatsoever. and it was super duper easy.
You guys are making me feel better as I am in the awful pain camp. I still have called the LC to see what she says. I have weird nipples anyway so I think that has something to do with it.
Lisa, Mama to two 2-26-09 and 6-15-11
"Hey baby, do you like trains?"
I got literally forced into a pitocin birth due to a "too slow" dilation progression, and after a complete disconnect of my mind, body and soul and the intuition that if I didn't get something to help ease the pain, I'd pass out and end up c-sectioned, I caved into the personal defeat/guilt and got an epidural. I've heard that epidural births make for lazy newborns who tend to have feeding issues, but for some reason I felt my baby would be "above" that :/ haha.
I nursed with a bad latch for quite a few days until my nipples bled, cracked, scabbed, oozed, got mastitis on BOTH breasts, had a fever of 101.4, went off next to zero sleep, the whole nine yards....I tried pumping exclusively, but all the guilt, talk of "nipple confusion" and stress of not being able to keep pace with baby's appetite (and the looming opinions of my worried, stressed out husband) led me to a night of exhausted delirium where I finally just beared down over my screaming baby, straddled over her, my engorged, chewed up breasts dangling over her face like sickly udders, and just shoved the nipple into her mouth...to my surprise, she got such a perfect latch that the LACK of pain actually made me cry.
And...it hasn't worked since.
Now I'm back to painful feedings, Lansinoh'd grease nipples, and hiding from the world so that I can stay bra-less and frumpy at home until we get the hang of this. Im determined to not give my baby formula, even though I came sooooo close to it on sickly udder night.
I'm so grateful to have found this forum, because being a woman who respects nature, being able to breastfeed my baby is an absolute necessity for me and my motherhood experience. There have been moments where I actually imagined throwing my baby across the room after gettIng that initial jolt of terrifying pain, angrily hearing the "it doesn't hurt if you're doing it right" record spinning repeatedly in my head. Now I don't feel like such a failure. Good luck and strength vibes to all women goin through this rough time...my nipples and I feel for you! I truly hope this subsides sooner than later!
I nursed DS1 for 4 years. It hurt for 6 months...I saw every specialist imaginable and everything wad "ok" - I called him a "little shark"
I nursed DS2 for 6 months (milk dried up) - he had a weak suck and it didn't hurt at all
I'm still nursing DD1 (7 months) but the first 7 weeks I had passion so bad I had to scream in a pillow when I latched her, she, too, wad checked for everything and all was "fine" luckily she kept losing more and more weight so it forced me to continue looking into options. I looked up posterior tongue ties and we had every single symptom. We clipped it at 7 weeks and within a free days my nipples were no longer cracked and bleeding, however, they were still flat, we got out clipped a seconds time by world expert Dr Kotlow (had to travel out of state) when she was 5 months (turned out the first doctor didn't get it all) and that gave us as much improvement in 5 days as we had had in 5 months...not kidding! Since we didn't get this taken care of early we are still working through done things, but, nursing is so much better and more enjoyable...and my nipples look normal. I've gone out of my way to learn about this topic, I can see now that my his are tongue and lip tied add well...perfectly explains both the severe pain and the weak suck.
I get so sad now when moms nurse in pain..it doesn't have to be that way...not to mention there are so many other lasting effects of untreated tongue tie, that it trekker needs to beer taken care of, in opinion.
i'm so glad I didn't take no for an answer this time. Its changed my life, my baby's life, and my while entire family's life....and hopefully others as well.
If you think something is wrong follow your gut. My only regret this time is that I didn't go straight to Dr Kotlow from the first instant I thought it *might* be a tongue tie.
Good luck with whatever you do mama!
Fledgling midwife on hiatus, Wife to B, mama to C (c/s 12/04) and S (12/07), m/c (3/12) and expecting another bean 6/13 .
The OP here checking in.
I have to say that the pain didn't subside for us for months. And now, my DS is a little over a year old. I don't think I would ever call our nursing relationship super-comfortable, though it doesn't actually HURT anymore.
We went to LCs and had the latch checked, I took him to a chiropractor, I took him for Craniosacral therapy, I got him checked for tongue-tie. None of it really helped with the nursing. It was simply time. Time time time.
It took months for us to get to a point where I wasn't in pain anymore with every feeding. I think I just might have very sensitive nipples, and maybe they needed to adjust to DS. But I will say that it does get better. And we are still nursing, and I'm glad I stuck with it. He is in daycare and has never once had an ear infection, and I think BFing had a lot to do with that.
You might call me crazy, but honestly, I think a lot of this has to do with DS's personality too. I know, that sounds nuts. But, everything he does, he does 110% or not at all. My dad says he is a toggle switch, not a dimmer switch. He eats food with gusto until he's not hungry, then he screams and throws everything on the floor. He giggles and coos and flirts until suddenly he's tired and he starts wailing. There is very little grey area with him. He does not ease into things. I think nursing is the same way. When he nurses he nurses with all his might, and he does not give a thought to how rough or how 'hard' he's nursing. In that moment he wants milk and boy oh boy will he GET IT. :)
I really feel for the moms out there dealing with pain. I will say that going to chiropractors and IBLCs wasn't ultimately a silver bullet, but it was really important to me that I feel like I was doing something, anything, to find an end to the pain, and that going through the list of what-might-alleviate-this was good for me, psychologically. And who knows, one of those things might actually BE a silver bullet for a mama out there, so don't give up. Exhaust all your avenues for relief. And you might find that in the course of doing so, you either solve the problem, or the problem resolves itself over the time it took for you to seek out an answer.
"The Mothers are the brave ones." - Call the Midwife
BF hurt so much at first, I remember pouring sweat and my body shaking uncontrollably because of the pain. Every one said DD's latch was good, there were no problems that anyone could see. I was so unprepared for it, I don't know why but I just never thought bf would be a problem. I think part of what got us off on the wrong foot was that the night after she was born I fell asleep with her at my breast and she sucked without latching correctly for a few hours. After that it was just imposable to heal with her nursing again every 2 hours or more. What helped a lot was that I began to pump gently and feed her with a supplemental feeder while she sucked on my finger. I would pump for 2 feedings and bf for one. That gave my nipples time to heal but still toughen up at the same time. After a week of that it was much, much better and I went back to bf with every feeding. It did stay uncomfortable for about a month and a half, though. Now she has been bf for 15 months and I am so glad I stuck with it. I do hate how people who didn't have a problem don't understand how much it can hurt. If you think about what your poor nipples are going through, I think it really makes sense that it can be so painful. I wish people would be more open/realistic about it, because I had no idea it would hurt.
I had toe-curling white-hot pain shoot through me for the first few weeks during let-down. I also had an AWESOME nurse who noticed me clench, grit my teeth and curl my feet when I latched Little Miss, checked my latch, determined it to be good, and then told me the pain during let-down was normal and would go away with time. And it did. And it was so awesome that she was just so nonchalant about how miserable nursing was for me at first, because I was determined to nurse, and I'm odd that way - if I'd had some soft-hearted nurse that was determined to "solve" my pain, it would have been a big deterrent for me. But my nurse just nodded and told me to suck it up. And we are still nursing around the clock, and still happy with it. Although she is the rudest nurser ever. I second the motion that we give honest details about nursing. For some people, it hurts. Some women are willing to have that pain to nurse, provided we know it's normal, and will subside some.
And on 09/23/2011, we were three; husband, daughter, and me!
Haha! OMG - When I first started breastfeeding I totally could have written this post! Sorry, I haven't read previous peoples posts, so I don't know if this has been said before. Everybody always told me it shouldn't hurt, but it was absolutely excrutiating for me, and nobody could really tell me what I was doing wrong. Latch looked good, baby not tongue tied, etc. I eventually after weeks and weeks of pain, treated for thrush with topical creams which did nothing and finally diflucan. Around the time I took the diflucan, the pain went away. Was it thrush? Probably. Or maybe, just possibly, after nine of the most painful weeks of my life, my nipples finally got with the program and toughened up. At any rate, DS is now 18 months old and still breastfeeding, and painlessly I might add.
I guess my whole take on this. Perhaps your nipples shouldn't hurt, but is it realistic to expect them not to? My whole entire life, my breasts were firmly supported by a nice soft bra, protected from the sun, not chafing against my shirt, washed only with water or the mildest of soaps, and treated gently by my partner. Then along comes my almost 10 pound STARVING newborn boy who would do ANYTHING to get milk out of my pampered girls. And he did. He was a very aggressive little eater, and he ate often (every hour or two when he was brand new and then also when he was having a growth spurt). So my boobies went from being treated like royalty for my entire life, to being completely torn into. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that my nipples hurt so badly, but they did. Like me panting on the edge of the couch with my fist stuck in my mouth to keep from screaming type of pain - you know what I am talking about. And I kept getting so angry at all the LC's, doctors, nurses, etc. who were telling me that it shouldn't! So many people I know had pain with breastfeeding in the beginning. I hurt for 9 weeks, my sister hurt for 6 weeks, my friend hurt for 8 weeks, another friend hurt for 4 weeks with her first then 2 with her second, you get the point. But just because a lot of people have horrible pain in the beginning doesn't mean that you don't have thrush. But, I would totally treat for thrush, just in case. I think that was a major contributor to my pain, and I let it go so long without being treated (even though my nipples looked totally fine). And if it isn't thrush, just keep gritting your teeth. I think some women have just more sensitive nipples than others and it does take time for your nipples to desensitize. After about 6 months of breastfeeding, I can safely say that my nipples were made of steel, and that almost nothing hurt them - not even when DS would have a mouthfull of bood and decide to look around the room.
So, treat for thrush and just hold on. And keep getting second opinions. You never know when somebody might pick up on something that you have missed. I know this pain seems like it will last forever. Trust me, I have been there. I know. But I promise if you can hold on long enough it won't. Good luck and keep us posted!
Vegetarian, breastfeeding, cloth diapering and EC'ing mama to my bare-foot, TV-free, free-range toddler and loving it!!!
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