My beautiful DD is just 4 days old and I'm really struggling with nipple soreness. I can't get in to see a lactation consultant through my insurance until the middle of next week and I"m just beginning to look into private LC's in hopes that I can see someone this weekend. But in the meantime, I'm hoping to find help here.
I successfully BF DS2 just two years ago and thought I'd remember enough that it would be easy this time around. As far as I can tell, DD's latch looks ok - I don't see any obvious problems with it. Her lips are flanged outward, I'm trying to get as much areola in her mouth as possible and trying to aim my nipple for her upper lip as she latches on. Still, it feels kind of pinchy. At first I thought it was just my nipples getting used to BFing again and by the time I started thinking something was wrong, my nipples were starting to really pay. Now they both have scabby areas that will break open and bleed during feedings. I tried pumping on the more sore side, but I think I'd have to exclusively pump for a few days to see any real progress on my healing. I'm afraid if I only pump and bottle feed for a couple of days, she'll lose any progress we've made on her latch.
How do I keep breastfeeding and allow my nipples to heal? I'm using Lansinoh after each feeding but at best it's only preventing things from getting worse.
Do you have a Le Leche League in your area? You can call a leader and they should be able to see you or at least talk to you this weekend. My son had an insanely painful latch when he was a small infant, and his latch looked beautiful. I finally had an LC put her finger in his mouth and feel his palette and she said he had a VERY high palette which caused my nipple to basically take a right angle turn up into the roof of his mouth when he latched on. It was so painful, but basically he had to grow bigger and have a bigger mouth for it to resolve, which it did sooner than I thought it would, thankfully.
Have you tried all kinds of different positions to help with the pain too? I found a football hold to be the least painful with him when things got really rough. It felt a little funny to have his body all squished up behind me, but it felt a lot better and I found it the easiest way to get even more areola in.
Hope someone can chime in here with more words of wisdom, and good luck!
I agree, sometimes that latch is right, but it seems a little growing helps! My son had a tight, tight mouth when he latched. I tried the football hold too, it got more breast tissue in his mouth.
As for the nipple injuries, a little dab of expressed milk left to air dry worked wonders. Then keep the lanolin on them. Breastmilk will heal any cut quickly, actually!
Blessed mama to four, and expecting a boy in March 2013!!!!
Thanks! I'm doing a bit better today. I'm being really diligent about expressing a little milk and then letting them air dry, then using Lansinoh. I also tried a nipple shield for a few feedings and I think that helped. I'm also trying to be really diligent about adjusting her latch as well as I can. All those things together seem to be helping. It's not perfect yet, but getting better and the active bleeding during feedings seems to be stopping. I'm also wondering if it's just a bit of a learning curve for us both and whether her tiny little mouth is playing a part.
On a frustrating note, I tried contacting my local LLL leader and her response was basically that she felt I needed the skills a trained lactation consultant could give. She then attached a sheet of breastfeeding services which included only three local lactation consultant's websites, the first of which was her own, and the two others being broken links. The message I got was, I'll help you, but only if you pay me through my lactation services. I thought LLL leaders were there to help just as experienced and educated moms who understand breastfeeding? I didn't expect to be told that I could only be helped if I was willing to pay. It was a real turn off for me.
I would keep up with the breast shield. I had terrible cracking with dd and when ds came along I was terrified. The hospital recommended a shield, and it got us through the "training" period. I didn't have trouble weaning from the shield to the breast. Most books and sites say never to use one, but heck, it got us through.
snow cherries i would toss that nipple shield as far as it can go. for me it was a source of major nipple soreness and blood, almost every nursing attempy even with a decent latch. my mil is an ibclc and is camping out in my living room, and my midwife is absolutely awesome - both encouraged bfing without the shield. looks like you posted this a little while back, how are things for you guys?
I have inverted/flat nipples and have to use a shield too. My first son nursed for a full year using a nipple shield, and my 8 month old is on the same track. I had the same trouble you did initially with cracked, bleeding nipples, babies coming off with blood trailing out of their mouths...I cried at each feeding because it was SO painful! I actually had to take a little break from breastfeeding for a week or so just to get my nipples to a place where I could handle any kind of latch, then started latching each boy with the shield (I'm not sure why I let things get so bad again with my second - must have been the hormones driving me to it! ). Anyway, I love using a nipple shield! It saved breastfeeding for me, and both boys are happy and healthy. It is preferrable to wean from the shield, since they are intended for temporary use, but if you end up using them long-term and your baby is growing well, I'd say stick with it! I also found a cute case to keep my shields in between feedings called a Shield Shell. I have one that I keep in the diaper bag at ALL TIMES, plus a couple around the house where I nurse most often...that way I'm never without one. I ordered them at www.shieldshell.com, and it was definitely worth it. They stay clean and protected from my dog and two-year-old, plus they are easy to find in the middle of the night when I just can't see straight anymore.
Thought I'd post an update. Baby is 5 weeks now and nursing is going great! Things eased up for us around the 2 week mark or so (if I remember correctly?). Using the nipple shield really was very helpful for us. I'd never tried one before and it really helped my nipples to heal. I tried nursing without it every third feeding or so just to keep her used to the "regular" way. I think all in all I only used the shield for about 4 or 5 days. I think her latch was just too tight and shallow for the first several days. Once she grew a little and we learned how to work together things started getting so much better. I still have some soreness at times when I don't get her to latch deep enough, but it's tolerable and fixable. I know the general wisdom of LC's is to stay away from the nipple shields, but it was really helpful for me and I'm glad I thought to try one. I never did end up seeing a LC. Thanks everyone for your input!