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i'm about to give up

561 Views 14 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  tiffanymm
I just don't know where to go from here, and "this too shall pass" isn't working for me here. Dd2 is 9 weeks now and from the first moment on the breast this bf relationship has been difficult for us. She just doesn't stay latched on well and my breasts hurt so much. Yes, I've seen LC's and I now have a breast shield, which sucks and makes her latch even worse seemingly. Also, I've had thrush at week 3 after the baby was born and now we seem ok with that. For now.
It takes several tries to latch her on, while her little hands move about, she accidentally scratches my nipple and I'm already frustrated before I latch her on. And then, when she's finally latched on, her lower lip gets sucked in and ends up at the edge of my nipple instead of on the outer edge of the dark part of my nipple. I end up pushing her head towards my breast to keep her latch from hurting me, but her lips still slips towards my nipple anyway. My nipples are pink/red and burn as soon as she latches on. Only once or twice did she have an open latch and stayed there like that, relaxed in my arms and I thought: this is how it's supposed to be! Aha! That doesn't feel bad. And then the next time it didn't work again.
The worst part for me is that I actually can't stand bf anymore and I get frustrated and angry about it now, and I find myself delaying the moment of latch-on, somewhat unconsciously, as I realize that I'm giving her a paci way too often now to soothe her. Don't flame me, I know it's not "right" to give her a paci when she is hungry instead and in fact it doesn't work, she always spits it out anyway. She knows better!
She is a super healthy 12 lbs baby and her sweet temperament and kind nature make me forget how difficult the bf is until I have to latch her on again.
The breast shield sucks, as it leaks and makes her latch smaller, which is the problem to begin with. And the LC's have suggested various positions, pretty much all of which don't work because of her latch. I also find myself checking her latch every few moments, and I'm almost obsessed with checking it. Poor baby. really. I wish things were easier. My dd1 had such a good latch and we had no problem, except that even back then I didn't enjoy bf, but we made it til 11 months. Dd2 is only 9 weeks and I'm thinking about switching to pumping full-time. It's soo much more work though, plus she doesn't bond with me when bottle fed, none of the sweet, happy smiles that she gives me after bf. She takes the bottle ok, which I find myself doing more often. Oh, her latch was bad before I introduced the bottle! In fact her latch has stayed the same and the bottle didn't change a thing. She now gets a bottle once every 2 days to give my boobs a break.
I'm so stressed about this. I can barely bf in public, since it's so tricky.

I hate the feeling of sucking on my breasts now and dh hasn't been able to touch my breasts for months and as far as I'm concerned, that's just fine. But I know I'm missing something here and I have some healing to do about this, but I don't even know how or where to begin. At this point I'd much rather have no breasts at all.
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Oh my goodness Mama, I'm so sorry! I'm afraid I don't really have any advice for you, and I'm running out the door..but I couldn't read and not respond.
I'm sure the ladies here will have some good ideas for you
I hope things get better really soon!!
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I'll share my story in the hopes it will help. With my 1st, I had an impossibly difficult time and I remember crying a lot and sounding very much like you do. I guess I had short (practically flat) nipples and my dd had a short top frenulum which meant her top lip didn't flange out. I had that horrible nipple shield which was a crutch and NIP was so impossible. My neck hurt so badly from constantly checking the latch. Nipples were sore bloody messes, and any latch hurt either the nipple or internally like shards of glass for at least the first few minutes of sucking. LCs had me do a "nipple sandwich", which, over 7 years ago, greatly upset the LLL leaders when I did it at meetings. I didn't care, it got her little mouth on the nipple. I did this for maybe 3 months? Severe pain in my wrist and forearm as I had to squash the nipple or breast near the nipple for the entire time she nursed, which was usually 30 minutes to an hour at a time. It was a very very very rough time in my life but we did get through, with a lot of support from dh. I can NOT believe I had issues with my 2nd but I did. I got through those with some help from the midwife and some emails to a friend who is a LLL leader and things cleared up much more quickly. "Hang in there" sounds so lame to me but things do pass. Do try to skip the paci this early on, save that for later, ya know?

Oh - she nursed for over 5 years and my 2nd, 3, is nursing at the moment.
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Wow, that's so hard!! What kinds of suggestions have the LC's given you? Maybe if we know what you HAVE tried, someone can suggest something different...

My thought, though, is that once your baby gets a little bigger, it might be easier for her to get a better latch. But, sometimes it can be tough to correct a latch that hasn't been the best from the start. How was her birth? It looks like you birthed at home in water? Sometimes the journey of birth can put something out in their neck or otherwise make it harder to suck... has anyone suggested cranio-sacral therapy or checked for tongue tie?

Just a few thoughts... it's hard that this is so frustrating for you!
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Oh very good point about cranio sacral!!! That totally helped my 2nd nurse better! I forgot about that. I wish I'd known with my 1st as her birth was very difficult (posterior, long pushing, crooked neck for years, poor muscle tone). I have read all newborns should get it and I tend to agree!
, mama. Our doula (with #2) suggested that in retrospect cranio-sacral therapy might have helped #1 - she was a vaccuum extractor baby (
) and was so high-needs for so long... sigh. It might be worth a try.

Re: breastfeeding - have you consulted with LLL leaders? It might be worth a try to call around a bit and ask for the name of the *best* LC that your doula/midwife/LLL leader can recommend. Skill and experience can make a difference.

Your story reminds me a *lot* of a girlfriend who had a very difficult delivery and a very difficult early bf - she persisted through some rough patches and went on to nurse for 16 months. I know that's probably not much comfort, but if you can take it day-by-day, that might make it easier.
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A couple of things:
If you find that you need two extra arms to hold this baby's arms so you can nurse, either have someone hold the baby for you, or swaddle them REALLY WELL with their arms down so they can't flail and scratch you and make a mess of things.

Continue working with the LCs, maybe even every day or every other day until you have the latch consistently where you want it. This takes time. It's hard. But it's SOOOO worth it!

Can you talk to someone about the not wanting to have someone sucking on your nipples feeling? Maybe this is an emotional thing you can work on?
i was going to suggest the swaddle also.

it really helped my boy settle in for a long, concentrated nursing session.
oh mama I'm sorry. I went through all the same stuff. Is she tongue tied by any chance? I'm guessing you've tried nursing in the bath, going topless all the time and letting her nurse when she's relaxed or almost asleep, or have you tried side-lying? The bath def. helped both of us to relax and get the latch better. She also seemed to latch better when I would walk around holding her. I was topless for the first 3 months of her life basically. I would def. try swaddling too. Sometimes I would pump a bit of milk first to get my boobs to settle down and then she could latch better. I know what you don't want to hear which is: it'll get better, but it will if you just take it DAY BY DAY. Don't think of the next week or the next month or the next few months, just take it day by day. I didn't think i'd make it till 6 weeks and here we are at 6 months bfing away
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Even though I'm in SF, there is only one LLL meeting per month in a somewhat distant location from me.
The LC meeting was almost $100 for one hour, however they are somewhat accessible after you pay that initial amount, so yesterday I spoke to a different LC for 20 min on the phone. She told me to just pump a few times a day to de-escalate the situation and give my boobs a rest, as well as do some diflucan again as she thinks from my words "burning sensation" that I'm still dealing with thrush. I'm also going back to a LC bf moms group on Monday, maybe I can find more answers. Also, I should have my dd's tongue checked if it needs to be snipped, so she can feed better. It's supposed to be painless and easy to do.
Also, I looked into doing cranio sacral for dd, but haven't really found anything online yet for babies....Her birth was really a good one, no trauma and she came out like a torpedo in a HBAC waterbirth, her head looked good but her face was a bit bruised after birth. Oh, Mothering will publishish my birth story as a web exclusive early next year!! I'm psyched about that as I've never been published before
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oh i just looked at the pics of your birth and they are amazing!
what beautiful girls you have!!!!
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No advice but tons of {{{{{{{{hugggsssss}}}}}}}}}

I know how hard it is, try to hang in there hun!!
Huge hugs for you. I had to see 3 different LC's before the last one saw that DS was tongue-tied. I had lipstick shaped nipples after he would be done nursing and I had scabs on them as well. He was not gaining well either. Once he had he frenuleum (sp?) clipped is was like heaven. The dr took less than 1 minute to clip and put in 1 stitch.

I truely hope you find the help that you need.
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