8 weeks, tons of help, and still in pain - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 04-24-2013, 09:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My LO and I have had a really hard time BFing. It took weeks for her to learn to latch without giving me blisters. Once she did, we found out that my intense, awful pain wasn't just her latch's fault. I have a really, really painful letdown when my breasts haven't been fully emptied - and since I have rather a lot of milk and LO eats erratically, they usually haven't. Add in vasospasms

 

Now, she knows how to latch properly, but frequently doesn't. The best I can tell, she's deliberately using a nipple-only latch to try to get less milk at one time. She only does it when she's not really that hungry - if she's been asleep for hours and wakes up hungry, she latches on beautifully and can handle the letdown just fine. 

 

Also, she thrashes around a lot, arching her back, turning her head, all with my nipple in her mouth. I can't even tell how much this hurts, especially since she often does it while clamping down hard on the nipple. Finally, when she's nearing the end of a feeding but still a bit hungry, she'll grind the nipple back and forth between her gums - YOW! She's totally calm when she does this, just seems to be playing around.

 

I also feed her expressed milk in a bottle, and she doesn't squirm at all when we do that. She does like to play with the bottle nipple between her gums.

 

Honestly, I'm about ready to give up. I thought things would get better once she learned to latch, but it's still so painful. Anyone been through similar shennanigans? Any advice?


Proud Marine Corps wife tiptoeing into SAH parenting. Living happily ever after with my Beast, baby Ginny (3/1/13), two dogs, and two ratties.

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#2 of 6 Old 04-25-2013, 11:39 AM
 
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I'm so sorry you're having such a hard time! We had different issues but I can certainly relate to the struggle to establish an effective latch. There's a lot in your post I can't help with unfortunately but I can offer what worked for us in terms of nursing manners. My DD would clamp down from time to time or outright bite at the breast. It was also a playful/exploration type behaviour but it hurt like hell and made nursing tense and interfered with bonding. The LC I saw for getting DD to nurse told me about this technique and it worked like a charm! When she did anything at the breast that hurt, I quickly unlatched her and put her down. Yes, she cried but after a few seconds I picked her up again and gave her a chance to try again. Sometimes she bit/clamped again and I immediately put her down again. In a few days the behaviour decreased dramatically and in a couple of weeks it just about stopped completely. The key was quick, consistent response and simply not tolerating being hurt. Being so young, I never held it against her but I couldn't allow her to hurt me so I interrupted the behaviour and quickly let her try again.
I hope this helps and I want to offer you congratulations on your baby. You're a courageous, dedicated mama to keep going with all these difficulties. Keep looking for answers and trying things. hug.gif
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#3 of 6 Old 04-25-2013, 11:42 AM
 
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Your baby also may be starting to teethe (I know it sounds crazy at her age but my DD had teeth by 3 months of age so it isn't impossible). When she's grinding your nipple with her teeth, you can also offer her a tether or other hard object that she could soothe her gums with
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#4 of 6 Old 04-25-2013, 04:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the suggestions! I wondered about teething. She's still so young, but she was born 3 weeks late, and I guess it's not unheard-of for an 11-week-old to start getting ready to teethe.

 

I've been taking her off the nipple when she's hurting me over the past couple of weeks, and honestly it hasn't made much of an impression. She now comes off by herself if she needs to really squirm around when she has gas (which is a big improvement), but the rest of the time, nothing.

 

Thank you for the encouragement! 


Proud Marine Corps wife tiptoeing into SAH parenting. Living happily ever after with my Beast, baby Ginny (3/1/13), two dogs, and two ratties.

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#5 of 6 Old 05-15-2013, 05:18 PM
 
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The vasospasm can continue for quite a while after the latch problem has been fixed because the nipple has been traumatized. Dr. Jack Newman has info online about
this. Also, if you google "raynaud's syndrome of the nipple" you should be able to find a paper published by a couple of Australian lactation consultants that outlines a treatment course of fish oil or evening primrose oil. Evening primrose oil worked for me, but I had to take it for many weeks. I'm also wondering if the squirming and clamping at the end of a feeding may be your baby trying to get the milk flowing more quickly again. Breast compression may be helpful. Do a search of this for a detailed description.
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#6 of 6 Old 05-17-2013, 08:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you! Things are MUCH better now. No pain unless I'm engorged (as she's playing with the idea of sleeping longer stretches, this can happen). So glad EPO worked for you; for me, cal + mag tablets made a big difference after the first week or two. 

 

She was squirming around when she needed YET ANOTHER burping session, and popping on and off when she wasn't hungry. Quite a learning curve!


Proud Marine Corps wife tiptoeing into SAH parenting. Living happily ever after with my Beast, baby Ginny (3/1/13), two dogs, and two ratties.

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