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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I made it through the first year of nursing. It is probably the most difficult thing I've ever done.

My DD nursed soon after birth. At day 3 I was hugely, painfully engorged. By day 4 my nipples were scabbed. On day 5 I woke up shivering with the fever of mastitis. After several weeks one side was so badly cracked that I pumped and finger-fed her when it was time to nurse on that side. That only lasted for 3 days when the original crack started to heal up but the pump was creating other ones. For weeks it seemed like the only time I left the house was to visit a LC, breastfeeding clinic, LLL, or my midwife for help with nursing. Nursing was excruciatingly painful. I tried several positions, every chair in the house, every hold. The only way I could nurse at all was with a "My Brest Friend" pillow in the cross-cradle hold. I got two pillows, one for the house and one to keep in the car.

Suddenly, when DD was just over 5 months old, it got slightly better. I no longer cried every time she latched on. I don't know what changed, but we did go and visit my parents for a week and she stopped sleeping through the night while we were there. I wonder if the fact my breasts didn't get as full that week allowed them to heal.

We've been through some rough patches since then. But we've made it through. I've never had deep tissue pain, but I've treated for thrush just in case. I took DD to a cranio-sacral therapist. I know I have Reynaud's, but it seems to be as a result of the tissue damage, not the underlying cause. Her latch has been checked, double-checked, etc.

I STILL have to use the nursing pillow and cross-cradle hold every time she nurses or I end up with sore nipples. This includes the middle of the night, sit up and turn on the light feedings that make my eyes grainy and me very grumpy in the morning. NIP is fun - carting the pillow everywhere I go, I feel like a fool.

I don't know how long I can keep doing this. I don't know how long I want to keep doing this. I want so badly to enjoy nursing. I don't want to sit there cringing and wishing she would just stop. I want the "happy rush of hormones" that my LLL leader said every nursing mother experiences. I went to my LLL meeting and another Mom was nursing her newborn looking so comfortable (she is also tandem nursing her toddler) and I wanted to weep. I'm so full of envy whenever I see another Mom nursing effortlessly. I'm terrified of having another child and going through all this again.

My DD is beautiful, healthy, and she loves her 'num-nums' and I cling to that with everything I have.

Thanks for reading my story.
 

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And to go further on that, I think many here right now are proud of you for sticking it out! I had (note past tense) inverted nips, and nursing was an absolute nightmare....7 years ago. I had an IBCLC come to my house to "teach" me how to do something I just assumed came as naturally as going to pee, lol. It stinks when it hurts. When you are both crying each feeding, it stinks. When you bleed and wipe that blood out of their mouth, it stinks. When you can't settle down enough to let letdown happen, it stinks. When you are in the shower, massaging your mastitis bb's and it hurts so badly that you see stars, it stinks. BUT! Some of us mamas stick it out, and then it stinks less and less. I've nursed two other kids since that first and my bb's are stretched so much, I could *almost* nurse across the room, lol. Pain, schmain. hasn't crossed my mind in ages. I remember needing a stack of pillows and sitting "just so" and carefully laying my son across my lap and ensuring his latch was "perfect". I remember it now b/c of your post. I actually don't think about that much anymore, been too many years.
You CAN do this, heck, you already are!! It will get better. Unfortunately, I don't know the timeline for better. pumping did help and so did those nipple shields or whatever they are called (I always confuse them with the other thingys, lol). Lansinoh too. Lots of water/keeping well hydrated helps. Being chilled out helps. Knowing others who have btdt and lived to tell their story helps. Dang, you are awesome, mama. I hope this post helps!!!
Instead of looking at how much longer you can do this, look at how far you've come. To go forward, break it down. I can do THIS feeding. I can. Then, maybe you can do one day's worth of feedings and so on and so on. I know you can, b/c you already have. Good for you. Now keep on truckin. and here's another
b/c you can never have too many of those!
 

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I have BTDT although I did not have any problems at first. I had a slight latch issue that was corrected at a LLL meeting and slightly sore nipples until that was resolved but that was it. Until my DD was 4 mos old and then all hell broke loose. Apparently I had some major ductal thrush issues and just was ignoring it/mentally blocking it (I have a huge pain tolerance, didn't think I was even in labor and almost had my 2nd child in the car). Anyhow, we had been treated for thrush (w/Nystatin creme for her bottom and my nipples) at 1 mos and it had been hanging out ever since. In January I had a badly cracked nipple, it's now the end of July and that thing still isn't healed-ugh! Over the course of several months I had mastitis 3x, and 4 courses of antibiotics (1 for the original infected nipple). I have tried everything I've read on the internet, spent hours reading great articles on kellymom, LLL, etc. and talked to every breastfeeding source I can find-LLL, LC, my nurse at the OB (of course they think I should have weaned at the first sign of a problem).
Eventually, I weaned my DD off of the "problem" breast and I just nurse her on one side. All of those problems/issues nursing were in the left side (including some nasty plugged ducts along the way). I weaned her from the left side 2 months ago and have been religiously using neosporin, lanolin and monistat combined and my nipple is still cracked and looks infected. *Sigh* when I go in for an OB appt in 2 weeks I'm going to have him take a look at it.

So many ppl have told me to stop nursing, even my close friends who bf all their kids. They act like I'm some kind of crazy radical martyr or something. Anyhow, kudos to you for sticking with it, I know how difficult it is to do. I do plan to wean my DD at 1 year b/c she's really not that interested in nursing much anyways. She is very distracted and will not NIP (or even in the car if her sister is in the backseat)... if I try to get her to then she bites me, hard. She loves table food and eats well and nurses about 3-4 times per day. I'm also pg and between nursing her and m/s have lost about 5 lbs so far (which my OB's are not going to be happy about!) and I'm really tired all the time.

Beth
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Beth - sounds like you are having a rough time of it! I pondered weaning on the one breast that has always been more sore than the other, but my big fear is that with more use the other would get bad also, and then where would I be? My DD still nurses as much, if not more, than when she was tiny and she is very hesitant about new foods so I want to nurse her as long as possible. I said 1-2 years before she was born, and we made it to a year, so now we will reevaluate at 18 months and go on from there.

I too had many people tell me to stop nursing - including the doc I saw for the mastitis at 5 days ( I left and went to another doc who said 'nurse as much as you can stand') It is sad that I most often find myself coming here for the support that would be so welcome IRL.
 
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