Ugh. Nursing has been such a struggle for me. My daughter is just over a week old. She is gaining well and having a great diaper count despite having jaundice and being pretty sleepy. But since she was born my nipples have been so sore. The cracks are gone it seems, but they are still pretty sore. It is the worst when she is latching on but the pain is bearable when she is taking good, deep swallows. It's so hard from about 4 pm until 10 pm when she wants to cluster feed. I have a really good supply (at the ICBLC's office she took in three ounces during the feeding and then I pumped another 1/2 ounce in five minutes when she fit me for a pump).
Here is what I have tried:
-I have seen an ICBLC and her latch is as good as it's going to get...my daughter has such a small mouth. The LC says that I have good techniques, baby has no issues with her tongue, latch, or sucking. She suggested either using the hydrogel pads, a nipple shield, or pumping. I REALLY want to avoid a nipple shield. I also want to avoid artificial nipples until she is at least 2 weeks old.
-I went to Kellymom and looked at all the info about healing sore nipples, and all the info seems conflicting.
-When she starts sucking faster or it gets too painful I usually unlatch her, burp her, and then offer again.
-The Medela hydrogel pads don't stay on well and it hurts more when I nurse her after taking them off.
-I put lanolin on after every feeding, which does help a little.
-I express milk onto my nipples after some feedings and let them air dry.
-I use the sandwich technique, compressions, and check her latch often.
Am I going to be able to heal while she's still nursing? What can I do to help that process along? Every LC I have seen tells me we'll have an excellent nursing relationship once I heal and the jaundice is gone. I just need to get through this pain until then!
You can absolutely heal while nursing as long as the latch has improved and is no longer injuring you. I had cracked, bleeding, very painful nipples with my oldest, saw two IBCLC's before I saw any improvement, and I healed up fine (and actually quite quickly) while exclusively nursing. If, however, you continue to be reinjured, then you may not heal while nursing.
"latch Looks good" is not helpful advice if it feels bad. The pain is telling you something is not right. On the other hand, this is very early days and baby getting bigger & you both getting more practice may indeed help a lot. Many moms in the early days have that "30 second sizzle" feeling at the start of nursing. But toe curling pain or pain throughout the feeding is indicative of a not quite there latch and it really does not matter if it looks good.
My suggestions? Try different positions. Most classic nursing positions have mom sitting bolt upright and gravity is thus pulling baby off the nipple, this causes nipple trauma. Try laid back breastfeeding positions that allow gravity to pull baby into the breast. You can be leaned back as much or as little as you like, and baby on top of you in whatever positions work for you and your baby. It may well feel fumbly and weird at first, this is normal. If laid back does not work, try any position.
Nurse very frequently. A soft breast is much easier to latch onto than one that is overfull or engorged, and a baby who is calm when coming to the breast is able to latch more efficiently. If baby is frantic or crying everytime they come to the breast it can cause lots of issues.
Don't use any remedy that makes you feel worse.
If any advice appears conflicting, use what makes the most sense to you. Breastfeeding advice is never one size fits all.
Do you have local support like la Leche League or a mommy and me type meeting? Get any breastfeeding support you can. This is very early days and many moms havea rough time at this point and go on to nurse very happily, I was one and I have seen it happen again and again.
info on laid back breastfeeding positioning: http://www.biologicalnurturing.com/ and http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfeeding.pdf
:ita x1000 with lllMeg. It is totally possible to heal while nursing. I did! The fact that you're already over the cracks suggests that you are all on your way to pain-free nursing.
One thing that helped me when I had bad cracks was using a combination of 1% hydrocortisone ointment and Bacitracin on my nips (mix and apply using a clean finger). the hydrocortisone combats inflammation, the bacitracin fights infection. According to my LC, it doesn't need to be washed off before nursing.
You've gotten the two best responses you could get here. I just wanted to chime in and let you know that I was able to heal while continuing to exclusively nurse. One thing that helped me was these breast shells that you can wear under your clothing. They let your nipples have air to breathe between feedings without you having to walk around topless. I believe this is the one I had, but there are other brands out there. I also liked the Medela lanolin better than the Lanoish brand. The Medala one was much smoother and didn't hurt as much. :shrug
It does get better, mama. Hang in there. I know it's hard.
My daughter is almost 6 weeks old so the pain is very fresh in my memory. I had a very hard time with pain at first. We had a poor technique the first couple of feedings which set us up for continued pain while healing. I did stick with it and was able to heal while exclusively breastfeeding like the previous posters. I remember it being particilarly hard because once injury occurs it is so hard to know if the latch is correct. How do you know it is right if it always hurts due to injury. I found that listening to all the advice (conflicting though it was) then sticking with the advice closest to my gut instinct worked best for me. Also, laid back position was very useful to me especially in the early days when there was sooo much milk. Given all this, I cried for about 3 weeks of breasfeeding and now only 6 weeks in I almost forget how it was a struggle at first. I remember feeling so frustrated, defeated and like a failure, but it does get better. Just like giving birth, now that we're on the other side of the difficulty I feel a strong sense of accomplishment. Keep it up and keep seeking advice and support wherever you can.