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#1 of 76 Old 01-21-2008, 02:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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

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#2 of 76 Old 01-21-2008, 03:09 AM
 
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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!

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#3 of 76 Old 01-21-2008, 04:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#4 of 76 Old 01-21-2008, 04:03 PM
 
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(((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.
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#5 of 76 Old 01-21-2008, 05:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wonderful - I even had a letdown doing that!

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#6 of 76 Old 01-21-2008, 06:50 PM
 
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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.

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#7 of 76 Old 01-21-2008, 06:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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!

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#8 of 76 Old 01-22-2008, 01:01 AM
 
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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!

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#9 of 76 Old 01-22-2008, 02:27 AM
 
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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 :

: totally blessed mother of 2
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#10 of 76 Old 01-22-2008, 04:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#11 of 76 Old 01-22-2008, 06:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#12 of 76 Old 01-22-2008, 07:01 AM
 
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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...
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#13 of 76 Old 01-22-2008, 07:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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!

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#14 of 76 Old 01-22-2008, 07:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hugs to all the Mamas with nursing challenges. Thanks for commiserating with me!

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#15 of 76 Old 01-22-2008, 02:55 PM
 
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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.
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#16 of 76 Old 01-22-2008, 03:30 PM
 
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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!
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#17 of 76 Old 01-22-2008, 03:34 PM
 
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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.

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#18 of 76 Old 01-22-2008, 04:27 PM
 
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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....

:

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#19 of 76 Old 01-22-2008, 05:28 PM
 
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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.

SAM, momma to 3 beautiful babies: Tristan (5), Gabriel (4) , & Brighton (2)

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#20 of 76 Old 01-22-2008, 09:42 PM
 
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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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#21 of 76 Old 01-23-2008, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello Mamas. Please help me keep my sanity. I too am glad for this thread.

After dd#2 cluster fed some extra to rev up my supply we're back at cracked bleeding nipples. She's 9 or 10 days old. Shouldn't things be getting better, not regressing? I'm so discouraged. I'm trying not to be though. The reverse pressure thingy has been helpful.......but apparently not enough.....sigh. I'm so tired.

Gotta keep those spirits up. Any words of encouragement would be helpful! TIA

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#22 of 76 Old 01-23-2008, 12:38 PM
 
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Emese'sMom.

I think I remember reading somewhere that there was a growth spurt around 10 days. Do you have some lanolin and some of those cold gel pads? I hear rubbing some expressed milk into them and leaving them bare as much as possible is helpful too. I'm so sorry they're such a mess. You can get through it though! Things will improve. Mine are pretty sore but not cracked or bleeding thank goodness.

Pilgrim: Jack does almost the exact same thing. From about 1am-6am all he wants to do is nurse/fuss or just be awake (and demanding entertainment).

I've had a bad headache for days. I'm pretty sure it's from slouching when I nurse and bending over the baby but I can't seem to get him high enough to be comfortable. I'm using like four or five pillows but we can't get it right.
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#23 of 76 Old 01-23-2008, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Chavaleh. I KWYM about the slouching etc. even if you have pillows. Sigh, so the 10 day growth spurt, eh? I do have lanolin etc. and will air out the girls. How do the cold gel pads help?

Dd#2 also has a night time wake period. We'll be thinking of each other then!

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#24 of 76 Old 01-23-2008, 02:07 PM
 
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I think they'd just feel good.
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#25 of 76 Old 01-23-2008, 02:15 PM
 
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nak - of course...

i CAN'T WAIT until ds and i are able to do side-lying breastfeeding!! i tried a few nights ago, but realized that a good latch needs to be more automatic for it to work well. i am going to love the nights that i can sleep through feedings...

we have regular bouts of latch regression around here. what has been most helpful for me is revisiting my own positioning while latching on, esp getting a straight back and a flat lap. i have to scoot my hips all the way to the back of the couch, then use a pillow between my upper back and the couch. after i make sure my lap is flat, i then position the boppy, and support it underneath with another pillow. (ds LOVES waiting for all of this , right? ) after a good latch has been found i can shift my posture around.

night-time feeds are harder, because i also don't want crying to wake up everyone in the house, so i feel more rushed and stressed. and it seems like my baby won't open up wide enough for a good latch unless he's a little worked up...

the football hold is all we do right now. i can't wait for the days of side-lying and cradle holds. i also want to learn how to have ds nurse in a carrier too. someday.

hang in there mamas! it's gotten so much better for us lately, but just yesterday ds opened up a crack in my nip in less than a second. i don't even know how it happened... he has a super strong suck going on in that tight-lipped mouth!!!
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#26 of 76 Old 01-23-2008, 03:03 PM
 
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For the thrush that we got the day my milk came in, I read in my book that for the nipple to do a swab of water and vinegar solution and for baby's mouth swab the water and baking soda solution. It's in the herbal book by Susan Weed for Childbearing years. I LOVE that book! I used it religiosly that night all the next day and all that night and I haven't had it for 3 days now. That's what worked for me!

We had a wonderful latch the night she was born and the next morning. Then she didn't latch well. So we had to work on her latch for a few days. Got her latch good and my milk came in on the 4th day with thrush. So now we are going on about 4 or 5 days of nursing well. It is a new experience with each child. I nursed my other 2 also. Different problems with each one. Hang in there. Be persistent and you WILL get it! I find that if I just hang in there through that breaking point, then it gets better just after that. Like the one poster said earlier. Lansolin was my best friend there for about a week!

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#27 of 76 Old 01-23-2008, 05:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello Mamas. Just returned from the midwives office. I want to spit. Dd#2 gained 1.5 oz in the past 5 days - not the 2.5-5 oz they'd like to see. Could be because of a different scale, surprising b/c baby has had a lot of pees/poos.

I am so tired. I have been working my a$$ off. It's only day 10. MW wants me back in 2 days to weigh dd.

I have noticed a regression in our nursing sessions. She struggles and cries at the breast a lot. Oh I don't know. One of the most frustrating things is that noone REALLY knows what's wrong. You get different advice from different experts and it's just so frustrating!

I feel really down right now. For some reason, nursing is a hot button for me. I just wanted this to work so badly. I have been making breastfeeding my day and night vision. Pretty much my whole life has been set aside to nurse this newborn (as it should be, right?). It's so frustrating to hear back that it may not be working out. I also don't think dd and I should be struggling at the breast as much as we do. When the MW saw our nursing session she agreed that it looked like something wasn't right. Dd just wants to make a small tight mouth. She suggested CST. She suggested pumping and tube feeding at the breast. I already did the pumping and tube feeding route with dd#1 and I DON'T want to go back there again. :

Oh hell. I'm so sick of trying all these things. I'm tired of feeling like a failure.
Okay, gotta go take a break and then try to bf again. : I feel so sad. Thanks for listening to my vent.

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#28 of 76 Old 01-23-2008, 05:31 PM
 
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Oh, hugs to you mama. You are not a failure. You are a champion. Do you know how many women would have never stuck with BFing this far?

My DC3 had the small, tight mouth, and SCT made a world of difference for us.

Hang in there. You're both going to make it through this, I promise...
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#29 of 76 Old 01-23-2008, 07:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Emese'sMom View Post
Hello Mamas. Just returned from the midwives office. I want to spit. Dd#2 gained 1.5 oz in the past 5 days - not the 2.5-5 oz they'd like to see. Could be because of a different scale, surprising b/c baby has had a lot of pees/poos.

I am so tired. I have been working my a$$ off. It's only day 10. MW wants me back in 2 days to weigh dd.

I have noticed a regression in our nursing sessions. She struggles and cries at the breast a lot. Oh I don't know. One of the most frustrating things is that noone REALLY knows what's wrong. You get different advice from different experts and it's just so frustrating!

I feel really down right now. For some reason, nursing is a hot button for me. I just wanted this to work so badly. I have been making breastfeeding my day and night vision. Pretty much my whole life has been set aside to nurse this newborn (as it should be, right?). It's so frustrating to hear back that it may not be working out. I also don't think dd and I should be struggling at the breast as much as we do. When the MW saw our nursing session she agreed that it looked like something wasn't right. Dd just wants to make a small tight mouth. She suggested CST. She suggested pumping and tube feeding at the breast. I already did the pumping and tube feeding route with dd#1 and I DON'T want to go back there again. :

Oh hell. I'm so sick of trying all these things. I'm tired of feeling like a failure.
Okay, gotta go take a break and then try to bf again. : I feel so sad. Thanks for listening to my vent.

oh, mama, i'm so sorry it's so hard right now. i can identify with so much of what you're going through - i, too, take the regressions very personally and have trouble not thinking "failure" about myself when nursing goes badly. but we're not failures!! this is something really hard for some of us/some of our babes.

the good things that i'm reading about your situation: you've had successes and some pain-free nursing; lots of dirty dipes; some baby weight gain has happened (and they all grow on dif. schedules remember!)... so you're really NOT failing. try some deep breathing when latching on, or a glass of wine or something to relax yourself. also lots of skin to skin with baby, lots of eye contact with baby, and positive thoughts/talk to baby helped relax me when things were starting to feel really bad. and keep posting here!! this will all be a faint memory before we know it!!
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#30 of 76 Old 01-23-2008, 07:24 PM
 
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I'm so glad this thread exists!

I just got over the week from hell in the BF department. I just had my first baby and the most stressfull part of having this baby has been dealing with bf trouble while being post-pardom and sleep deprived!

The first 2 days things seemed to be going alright, but I was not feeding him "on demand" or at least HIS demand. SO, he was behind on his "wet diapers" and then I felt horrible. SO picking up the feeding, my nipples were SO SORE that I was dreading him waking up to feed. Then when he would latch, I would feel a searing pain much like someone dragging a thumbtak allong the side of my breast. NOT FUN. We ended up having to use a bottle a total of 5 times but I had dh feed him with it so he would only associate me with boob.
THANK GOD, a lactation consultant friend that I met on here came over and checked things out, correcting my positioning a little and it has helped. My nipples have also gone into the "numb" zone and they don't hurt NEARLY as much now.
Things are pretty good now and he's all on the boob. No more crying mommy!
:

Mother of 2 boys, new little one on the way
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