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i need i'm so sad and disappointed, my milk's not in and my nipples are bleeding

1107 Views 18 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Ivanhoe
my baby was born on 10/14 via c-section. my milk isn't in yet and my nipples are cracking and bleeding. i've seen about 5 lactation consultants and they all think her latch is good but a bit too shallow. she's so hungry that she gives me no time to get enough nipple in her mouth before she's sucking away.

i've been pumping as well, but at this point i dread it. nursing her and pumping is sheer torture. it hurts so much i cry every time. i also cry because i feel so bad this is happening. we had to start her on formula (and at this point we're using the bottle. trying to get the SNS to work AND a good latch is just impossible and makes me cringe), i feel like i'm depriving her of something so important, and i can't stop crying about it. dh doesn't think it's such a big deal and doesn't understand how terrible it feels for me.

if my milk was in already i would feel so much better, like i could put up with the pain. but having to suffer like that, and then having to give her formula anyway is just too much. i'm so out of it i feel like i can't enjoy my baby.

if anyone has gone through something similar, please post and let me know. i feel helpless and hopeless and i don't know how much longer i can do this.

i'm planning on contacting my local LLL asap, but in the mean time i don't know what to do. i fear i might not be stimulating my nipples enough.

i don't want to give up, but i just don't know how to handle it.

thanks for reading.
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Here is info on nursing after c-section...
This link has TONS of info that you will find useful.

Here is info about assymetrical latch(might help your baby get a deeper latch)

How often are you nursing? You will need to nurse OFTEN to help your baby get all the nutrition she needs AND to signal your milk to come in. Nurse as often as she LOOKS at you. Nurse,nurse and nurse some more. Plan on doing nothing but nursing. You get the idea
If she sleeps for longer than 3 hours,wake her to nurse. She should be nursing about 10-12x per day.
*IF* your baby needs a supplement(go to to help you determine this),then your best bet would be to use the sns,or alternatively,the sns as a finger feeder(your LLL Leader can show you how). If you are missing any feedings,you can pump or hand express. It is very important to stimulate your breasts(as you yourself said).

If your nipples are cracked and bleeding,it is certain that *something* is not right. I would suggest contacting your Leader and seeing if she can assist you. Definitely try the assymetrical latch. It has helped MANY moms. Also,you can expose your nipples to air as much as possible. If your nipples are severely cracked,you might consider washing with soap once a day(not normally recommended,but sometimes recommended when cracks are severe)and possibly even apply an anti bacterial ointment(your local LLL Leader can tell you more).

I hope these links will help you out a little. I'm sure your milk will come in soon.

You asked if there were other moms who had experienced this,and there is. I don't know exactly where the thread is,but if you do a search for milk not coming in or Lisa Lynn(I think)it should come up. It had tons of replies and tons of info.
Don't give up! You're doing GREAT!
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definetly get some lansinoh if you don't have some already. It will make a huge difference.
I also found that warm showers felt great. And you can put a heating pad on your chest before nursing to encourage letdown.
Here you go:

I'm on day... oh I dunno he's already a month old, and still haven't gotten my milk in. I know what you mean about the SNS, it seems like the only way he can suck on the *&^% tube is to have a shallow latch, so I have to relatch and relatch and RELATCH him over and over again most of the time to get him on my breast correctly *and* getting the supplement....

And I so feel your pain about the sore bleeding breasts. Before we started supplementing Orion was nursing so much, and so hard, he gave me blood blisters on both nipples. OW. Have you tried maybe giving your baby a bit of formula to kinda tide her over and then offering her the breast when she's not ravenous? Just a thought...

Oh yes, lansinoh will help. Get some.
And air those nipples out.

Good luck!! I know how stressful this is!
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You're definately not the only one. We had a really tough start too - c/s, bad latch, had to supplement...

Know exactly what you mean about that ^$#* SNS tube! My dd would suck the tube in like a straw and bypass my nipple altogether. We did syringe finger feeding, I tried the SNS but couldn't get it working. Went with the Avent bottle but I had hell weaning dd off the bottle. It'll be better if you can get the SNS working - I think it weaning them off it is easier than bottles and effects their latch less. My dd's latch got worse after the bottle and she was less interested in the breast.

Just remember, babies can learn this, some just take a bit longer. Those first few weeks can be tough. I did a lot of crying at the start too - I was totally surprised and devastated that BF didn't go smoothly. After my c/s, I felt it was the only thing I had left to do to get right.

If your nipples are cracked and bleeding, then please don't use the Lansinoh. It's good for mild soreness but once the skin is cracked, the Lansinoh will act as a barrier promoting the growth of bacteria and yeast (thrush). Call your OB-GYN and ask for some Jack Newman's All Purpose Nipple Ointment - a compounding pharmacy needs to mix it up - it's an antibiotic to kill bacteria, a steriod to reduce inflammation and an anti yeast treatment.
More info here:
has good info about OTC creams you can use. Some doctors can be pains about prescribing the Newmans ointment.

Are you still taking painkillers for the c/s? If not, feel free to take the max dose of ibuprufen around the clock. This is the time you need it. It's gonna get better.
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Lisa_Lynn-- if you had a blood blister on each nipple, is it possible Orion is tongue tied? A blood blister on the upper tip of the nipple is what I had each time, all 3 of mine were tongue tied. The nipple also took on a new lipstick shape, from being compressed to the hard palate. This can cause shallow latch, which may lead to inadequate nipple stim and lowered supply.

A frenotomy (clipping of frenulum) is non traumatic and can work wonders immediately.

Anabean--Sometimes it can take a few weeks (6 weeks is common) to get nursing just right. Try not to beat yourself up for milk coming in "late" or having to supplement. The first rule of bfing is: feed the baby. An overly hungry, weak, sleepy baby is in no shape to learn how to bf. You are doing what is safest and best for your baby right now.

But you are right to feel sad, hurt and depressed. Your dh is wrong to underplay it. You want our body to do what it is designed to do. A c-sec can undermine your feeling of feminity and trust in your body, I know, I had one too. How would he feel if day after day, he couldn't "get it up" when he wanted to have sex? You might ask him this.

SNS's were designed for moms with low milk supply or adoptive moms who are trying to induce lactation, or for re-lactation. If a baby has a poor latch, they are not well-indicated. Bottles are not the end of the world. Thousands of moms (and I work with moms of multiples who are often premature, and who have no time for mucking around with the SNS) have successfully weaned from bottle to full time bfing. give yourself time and be patient. Get lots of help and coddling from dh, family, friends, church members, whatever it takes. Ask for food and drink to be brought to you, massages, hugs, anything to help you be calm, rested and nourished body and soul. You are doing the most important job in the world.
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Ana, hang in there, you can do this! We are all here for you and we will help you in any way we can.

Do you have a nursing pillow? If not, send dh out to get you a My Brest Friend nursing pillow. I didn't have a c-section and I loved this pillow; my friend who did have a c-section loved it even more, because it kept baby off her tummy.

Here is a website with the numbers of the SF LLL leaders: There's also an LLL meeting close to her: here at the website they have Leader numbers.

There's also this place in SF for support and breastfeeding help:

Is your lactation consultant an IBCLC (board certified?) They have an IBCLC at the Day One Center and here's a list of other IBCLCs in SF:

CA - 94112-1722 - Bringas-Rabara, Gemilyn Esther; 2001; (2006); 415-750-6367

CA - 94112 - Doan Nguyen, Therese; 1998; (2003); 415-206-8725

CA - 94118 - Duskin, Sara Urquhart; 2001; (2006); 415-386-9250

CA - 94112 - Fong, Mayjane Yee; 2002; (2007); 415-586-6605

CA - 94116 - Hanley, Maria Elena; 2002; (2007); 415-412-9826

CA - 94117 - Leach-Stevens, Ruth Elizabeth; 2001; (2006); 415-353-3100

CA - 94115-3730 - Perez, Catalina; 2001; (2006); 415-600-2229

CA - 94114 - Tavares, Renee Marie; 1997; (2007); 415-575-5745

CA - 94112 - Urbano-Jaime, Vicky; 1999; (2004); 415-206-4249

CA - 94112 - Velarde, Vilma E.; 1997; (2007); 415-585-6993

If you don't feel like you're getting the help you need from your current LC, then call someone else.

Your milk will come in, and it will all work out, even if it takes time! It took us almost 3 months to get to exclusive nursing, and now it is a piece of cake and so wonderful it's hard to remember those early hellish months. It is so worth it - but you have to stick with it, it's a learning process both for you and for the baby!

Sending lots of encouraging thoughts your way.
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Well lots of hugs from us. My third had a bad latch and I thought I was a pro!

Can you lay down yet and nurse? That is what I do if I notice milk problems. I just take a whole bunch of naps and let the baby suck the whole time while I'm out.

Do you like oatmeal? That works great for me and the mother's milk tea. I have a pretty good supply of milk, but I love that tea. If you don't like the taste try a little creamer in it.

It will work out for you. Be positive and make sure to spend special time alone with your little one.

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Originally posted by DaryLLL
Lisa_Lynn-- if you had a blood blister on each nipple, is it possible Orion is tongue tied? A blood blister on the upper tip of the nipple is what I had each time, all 3 of mine were tongue tied. The nipple also took on a new lipstick shape, from being compressed to the hard palate. This can cause shallow latch, which may lead to inadequate nipple stim and lowered supply.

A frenotomy (clipping of frenulum) is non traumatic and can work wonders immediately.

I don't mean to kidnap your thread anabean, but I just wanted to ask about this for a second...

DaryLLL how can I find out if he is tounge tied? Is that a pediatrician thing? Something I can see myself? Who could clip it if it was needed? The LC I saw said his latch looked good at 3 days, but she didn't look inside his mouth or anything and since this is my first I don't know if his latch is correct except based on her saying that, and his little lips being flared (I can't move him enough to see his tounge, but he does stick it out over his lower gum when he's trying to latch...)... The blood blisters have healed now, but my nipple does get what I thought was lipstick shaped... not like the pretty angled lipstick, but flat on both sides... a different LC (the head IBCLC at Kaiser here) said that wasn't lipstick shaped and was fine.... thanks for the help!
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I have not read any of the posts here......
.....but just wanna tell you they I went through pure hell as well. One of my nipples was almost separated from my aerola!! I cried EVERY feeding, from pain and from not being able to figure out what went wrong.......
I just want to give you one advise I wish I would have known myself VERY VERY careful not to infect them!!! Keep washing your hands ALL THE TIME, and let your nipples air dry before puuting clothes over them. When my nipples have finally healed I ended up with very bad yeast infection that is going on and on and on for EVER!!
I am not sure, but I think I got infected by taking looong baths....
How are you doing today? I hope things are looking up for you!

When I posted last night,I forgot to add that the milk coming in at 5-6 days pp is not a very uncommon occurance in moms who have had c-sections. So,hang in there! Keep nursing frequently and working on getting a better latch. From what you wrote in your post,it *sounds* like her suck is excellant! If you find that she starts sucking before she is on the breast well,then simply break the suction and start over. Make sure that her mouth is open wide(think baby bird
),then place the nipple in her mouth. If you don't understand the instructions from the assymetrical latch page,PLEASE ask your LLL Leader about it. She might be able to *show* you.
This method should help her get MORE of the nipple in her mouth which will help her get more milk for her efforts and stimulate your breasts to make more(not to mention it will FEEL better!). If your baby should get upset because you have removed her from the breast,calm her then start over. It is important to get a good latch(for her and for you).
About the supplements,make sure to watch her wet and dirty diapers. If there is plenty of output,you might have more milk than you think. Some women never experience engorgement. Also,if your milk is not in and you find the need to supplement,you can find a balance between enough formula to help your baby get the nutrients she needs and too much formula that could hinder your supply. The key is to watch the baby and watch those wet and dirty dipes. One poster had a good plan. Give baby enough formula to take the edge of her hunger and then nurse until she is full. If needed,she could have some more supplement. If the sns is not working for you,syringe,cup,spoon,and bottle are other options.
PLEASE keep us posted. I hope all is better soon.
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Lisa--If your nipple is being compreseed and flattened after a feed, that means the latch is too shallow as you suspect. When he is nursing properly, your nipple should be so far back in his mouth it is not in contact with anything. When he comes off, your nipple/areola would normally look "long" or temporarily "stretched," but be normal shaped. Whether what you have going on is tongue tie I do not know. When he is nursing strongly, get help to push down on your breast a little, enough to see his lower lip. His tongue should be out over his lip. If he only gets it over his gum but not over his lip, the frenulum may be too tight to allow this to happen.

Look under his tongue, is the frenulum connected near the tip? Is his tongue heart shaped, indented at the tip?

Did you ever call a LLL Leader?
thanks everyone. i soooooo appreciate all the support here, really, it's priceless.

well, the GREAT news is that my milk is IN.

nipples are still VERY sore. OUCH. baby is nursing a lot, but i'm still not sure she's getting enough. she's having a ahrd time staying warm and seems a little lethargic. we're seeing the ped today. i get so worried so easily. it's a bit sickening.

thanks again, everyone.
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Hi Ana!

Congratulations on your new babe!!!!
Good news about the milk. Sure she's getting enough! Try not to worry too much about that. She's still very very new so maybe that's why she's kind of "lethargic" My babe was also born via C-section and he was very, very quiet the first couple of weeks, he even didn't open his eyes until he was two weeks old.

All the ladies here have offered you very good advise, I can only say, follow your heart and don't do anything but nurse. Calendula cream helped me a lot for sore nipples. Here in Argentina there's a brand that is non-toxic called Bushi. No idea if you can find something similar in SF. PM me if you need to talk in "castellano"


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It is OK to be cautious, you are new to this whole thing!! I am very happy it it going better. If your nipples don't seem to heal, or get sore repeatedly you may have thrush.

If that happens talk to your lll leader. You should be calling her anyhow!!! Even if life is good, it is always better with a little female companionship.


Milk, Milk, Milk!

I bet your baby is just as tired as you are. Keep up the good work and let everyone know how it's going.

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Originally posted by anabean
. baby is nursing a lot, but i'm still not sure she's getting enough. she's having a ahrd time staying warm and seems a little lethargic. we're seeing the ped today. i get so worried so easily. it's a bit sickening.

thanks again, everyone.
try to have a lot of skin to skin contact, your body will regulate her body temp. also a good thing to do is just stay in bed with the baby sleeping in your arms/on the nursing pillow with your shirt off and a blanket covering the both of you. and have someone wait on you hand and foot !
having her close to you will stimulate your supp;y

good luck
i also second the asymetric latch also offer the breast when she just starting to show cues so she isn't really hungry and you can practice the latch better
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thanks everyone. well, my nipples are still really sore. i'm pretty sure the latch is not right, since it doesn't hurt as much when i pump. i talked on the phone with one of the LLL leaders yesterday and she was going to refer me to this program they have in the dept of public health-- they send an IBCLC to your home for FREE. i really can't wait to get some consistent hands-on advice. meanwhile i'm still worried she's not getting enough. i pump every 3 to 4 hours, and when not pumping she's on the breast. still i only get about 30 to 60 ccs every time i pump.

the other thing that's happening to my right breast is that when i pump i see a little mucousy thing coming out once in a while, like a little lump of something... i really wonder what that is. already left a message asking that.

keep sending us milk vibes, i think we still need them.
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Ana, please do not "measure" what you get when you pump, it has nothing to do with what the babe gets when she is at the breast. Trust your body.

The withe mucosity you refer could be a milk blister? or just the milk getting thicker?

How is her temp? Is she warmer? Following Bowentherapist advise about skin to skin contact will surely help.

Sending milky vibes your way!!!!!!!!
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