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Thread: Wife has painful feedings

  1. #1

    Default Wife has painful feedings

    Hi we have a two day old girl, its my wifes second and she didnt breastfeed the first. Everytime she feeds she's crying in pain, we've tried positions, tea bags, ice packs. She has blisters on her nipples. The nurses tried helping but were unsuccesful. They think that the baby is only grabbing on to the nipple, and nothing else but after 48 hours we are convinced our baby cant open up any wider, my wife has pretty large (circle surrounding nipple that i forgot what is called) and we were told that the baby has to have all of that in her mouth. theres no way that is possible. please help i cant take seeing my wife cry everytime, and sometimes miss feedings, my babies gotta eat!
    thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    10,440

    Default Re: Wife has painful feedings

    Some women have areoles that are big. The baby can't take all of that in. The idea is to take as much of the base of the nipple as possible, and for a newborn, that isn't that much.

    It sounds like you guys need more help than the nurses at the hospital can provide. Call an IBCLC (international board certified lactation consultant). http://www.ilca.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3432 is a way to look up ones near you. Your insurance may or may not pay for the consultation, but honestly, hands on help is the best thing for latch problems. Severe pain can indicate a tongue tie, thrush or other problem that needs hands on help to detect and then fix.

    I will say this in the way of hope....that happens to me every baby. I know how to get good latches, and my middle two babies were born nursers with perfect latches from the get-go, but the fact that I have sensitive skin means that little newborn mouth just causes me pain, severe pain, and blistering/scabbing. If the pain goes on longer than the first 30-60 seconds, I unlatch baby and try again. I try to nurse baby MORE, as a hungry baby will suck harder and cause me more pain. And I keep in my mind that the soreness and boo-boos will go away by the time my baby is 7-10 days old; if it's still hurting after that, we have thrush (another reason for painful nipples and latch, and possible for anyone, more prevelant in moms who had antibitiics during labor) or an ongoing latch problem.

    Meanwhile, keeping her nipples coated with lanolin and hydrogel pads may help. Some moms find that airing them out is helpful. All-purpose nipple ointment, which you can get a script for from your midwife or OB, will also help heal her up. Try varying the baby's position so the pressure isn't always in one spot.

    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/start/bas...resources.html may be helpful, but IME, babies do not like hands on the back of their heads forcing them to latch like the picture shows. Letting baby latch itself tends to get a better latch.

    Don't give up. We have all BTDT. You just need a little help
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,152

    Default Re: Wife has painful feedings

    Welcome and congratulations on the new baby! I'm sorry your wife- and you- are in pain over breastfeeding difficulties. I suggest an immediate call to a lactation consultant, preferably one with the IBCLC credential. If the baby's latch is difficult enough that your wife has blisters only 2 days into nursing, she needs professional help with the baby's latch. The baby should also be checked for tongue-tie, something which your pediatrician should be able to do.

    It is not necessary for a baby to get the entire areola (that's the circle of darker skin surrounding the nipple) in her mouth in order to nurse successfully. You want to aim to get as much as possible in the baby's mouth, but depending on the size of the areola it may or may not be possible to cram it all in the baby's mouth. Areola size varies widely, and a woman with larger areolas is not going to be able to fit the whole thing into a tiny newborn mouth!

    When a new mom develops blistered nipples, the culprit is often a shallow latch. Signs of a shallow latch include:
    - pain that coincides with baby latching on
    - nipples that appear compressed, ridged, wedged, or shaped like new lipsticks after the baby unlatches
    - nipples may be blanched (whitened, as if all the blood has drained from all or part of them) after feeding
    - mom may feel like baby is "clamping down" or "chewing" on the nipple
    The reason a shallow latch causes problems is because babies are supposed to breastfeed, not nipple-feed. When a baby is latched on properly, the nipple sits on the very back of the tongue, almost at the opening of the baby's throat, and the majority of the baby's sucking occurs on the elastic tissue of the areola. You can understand the problem with a shallow latch by doing the following: pretend the tip of your index finger is the nipple. Stick it into your mouth a short distance, so it lands on the front of your tongue, and suck. You'll feel a lot of motion from the movement of your tongue, and the tip of your finger will be compressed between your hard palate on the roof of your mouth, and the moving tongue. If that were a real nipple, ouch! Now stick your finger deep into your mouth and suck. You'll discover that there's much less motion experienced by fingertip "nipple" and that all the sucking and compression is happening at the front of the mouth, where the areola is supposed to sit.

    Here are some useful tips for dealing with a shallow latch:
    1. Call the lactation consultant. Immediately!
    2. Experiment with different nursing positions. Many moms have the most success with the football hold. I personally preferred the side-lying position with a newborn.
    3. Google the words "nipple sandwich technique" for descriptions of a way to cram more breast into a tiny newborn mouth.
    4. Treat the pain. Use lanolin ointment (Lansinoh is a common brand) on sore nipples to keep the skin moist and supple. You may also want to tray a combination of 1% hydrocortisone ointment and Bacitracin antibiotic ointment to combat inflammation and infection (use pea-sized amount, mixed and applied using a clean finger). Go braless as much as possible to reduce chaffing. Keep the humidity high in your house- dry air means dry, fragile skin.
    5. Check out these videos: http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/conte...agename=videos. Don't expect to copy them exactly, just use them for tips.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    28

    Default Re: Wife has painful feedings

    Hi - I have an 11 week old who almost became a formula fed baby because of my pain. It was unbearable and I was crying like you describe your wife doing. I was stifling screams at the point of latch-on. I can very much relate to what she's going through and I feel such empathy!

    It seems that not much is said about nipple shields and I think maybe that is because it is considered a "band-aid" rather than working on the underlying problem, but a nipple shield saved our breastfeeding. I have since talked to women who stopped breastfeeding because of the pain who didn't know about the nipple shield, and one of them felt mad that she didn't know, that maybe it could have saved her - and I think it could have, and it makes me sad to know that women might be quitting without knowing about it. I read that the rate of quitting after a few days or weeks is high and I wonder how many of those women could have been saved by the nipple shield. So I certainly recommend trying all of the suggestions you've heard, and probably first if she can still stand to have the baby at the breast, but if it gets to the point where you are considering stopping with the breastfeeding, don't forget that there is a way that it can be done without that terrible pain, even if that "band-aid" doesn't fix the underlying problem. With the shield I feel a little pinch when baby latches on, not very bad, and then after a short time, maybe 15 seconds, no pain at all. Before the shield, I got to the point where my life was so miserable and I was in so much pain that I didn't even want to hear anything else about continuing to work on the latch because I was frustrated to the point of throwing in the towel, my baby just wouldn't open her mouth wide and I felt I couldn't do anything more, I just knew I had to end this pain somehow, even if it meant formula. At the risk of sounding dramatic, I do look back at that as a very dark time, all that pain, and to think that was such a precious part of my baby's life, so young, and I wish I could have just been enjoying feeding her rather than dreading it. My guess is that other women might be at this point when they quit. During the painful time breastfeeding was a nightmare for me, and it shouldn't have to be that way. I feel sorry that I couldn't enjoy my baby completely including feeding times before I was using the shield. Dreading nursing times was no way to live because she was nuring every 30-60 minutes! But that was at 4 weeks after progressively getting worse, so hopefully your wife still has plenty of time to work on this and fix it before she gets to any kind of a breaking point. But if she does get to that point, remember about the shield.

    In addition to a LC, I went to my ob/gyn because of the nipple pain/trauma. She gave me lidocain jelly for numbing, and all purpose nipple ointment, but also recommended the shield because she said I need to be enjoying my baby right now, that I can't get this time back, to use the shield if that is what helps. The ob/gyn said I could use the lidocain up to 3 times a day, no more, but the LC recommended that I NOT use the lidocain because she said it could potentially affect the baby, so I didn't use that because I trusted her oppinion so much. The LC, in addition to the ob/gyn, thought the nipple shield was a good idea. So please try to fix the latch as was suggested, but with me nothing was working, or not fast enough anyway, severe pain is horrible thing to be living with, and I was desperate and after I used it was so thankful and sorry I hadn't done it earlier to ease the pain. I think most people, including lactation consultants will tell you to work on the underlying problem rather than a quick fix, and I can't say I disagree with that, I only know that I was living a nightmare, I never knew pain could be so bad. The pain was worse than the labor pain, or at least mentally because I knew the labor would be over but I wanted to keep breastfeeding for a long time and couldn't see any light at the end of the tunnel with all that pain. My husband was in your shoes, not knowing what to do. I would ask him to leave the room while the baby latched on because I knew it was hard for him to watch the pain I was in, and I couldn't help my reaction when she latched on, so there was no point in both of us suffering, and my 4 year old (who I didn't breastfeed) was staying with my parents because of the situation with my pain and crying. So...we've certainly been there.

    Now breastfeeding is easy and joyful for both me and my baby. My 4 year old snuggles up with us now, without having to see me cry and hurt! If you need a shield in an emergency you could get one from the hospital. Or from your wife's ob/gyn perhaps, and you can order them from Amazon, or a lactation consultant. There were two feeding times when I was completely "out of order", meaning it was impossible to nurse, it really could not be done, so we gave her bottles of pumped milk. But with the shield I could have kept her at the breast for those feedings. My pain got progressively worse regardless of all our efforts to work on the latch, until at 4 weeks I switched to the shield and have been there since. I'm only 11 weeks into this bf journey that I hope lasts at least 2 years...so I don't know what the future holds, I want to try to work on latch again without the shield now that my baby is bigger...when I get up my nerve. One concern is her nursing with it at night - I don't know if it's possible if I fall asleep for her to suck it into her mouth now that she's bigger and stronger at sucking, and her mouth is bigger - I am concerned about that and will be looking into it. Our pediatrician told us to be careful because the shield can reduce milk supply but I have also read and been told by the LC and others that that advice is old and applies to the older shields that weren't as thin and flexible. I have lots of milk after using it and my baby has doubled her birthweight in 11 weeks. So, just remember, maybe just as a last resort to keep you breastfeeding, these shields are out there! Good luck, my heart goes out to your wife!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,152

    Default Re: Wife has painful feedings

    The PP gave good advice about trying a shield. However, I strongly suggest that a shield be used only with the guidance of a good LC. While it is true that the newer, more flexible silicone shields are less likely to cause reduced milk supply, the potential for it to happen is still there. I had that experience- and yes, I was using one of the new, flexible shields.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    28

    Default Re: Wife has painful feedings

    Also meant to say that I also had the blisters, from what I learned it was from "blanching", the baby wasn't putting the whole nipple/aerola into her mouth in order to massage the milk out properly, just sucking the life out of the tip of the nipple. Oh the pain! I hate to remember it! And my nipple would be a little flat pointed thing when she finished. And the skin was coming off. Worst times were when I was engorged, and I had so much milk that this was much of the time. With the nipple shield engorgement was no longer an issue as far as latch-on is concerned.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    10,440

    Default Re: Wife has painful feedings

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mydreamscametrue View Post
    Also meant to say that I also had the blisters, from what I learned it was from "blanching", the baby wasn't putting the whole nipple/aerola into her mouth in order to massage the milk out properly, just sucking the life out of the tip of the nipple. Oh the pain! I hate to remember it! And my nipple would be a little flat pointed thing when she finished. And the skin was coming off. Worst times were when I was engorged, and I had so much milk that this was much of the time. With the nipple shield engorgement was no longer an issue as far as latch-on is concerned.
    But that is vasospasms, caused by a poor latch
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Wife has painful feedings

    Oh, and I just saw mommal's post and I totally agree to get good guidance from someone with more experience than me. I only had my baby 11 weeks ago and it's all new! I only know what I've experienced and each case is different. There are a couple of good videos on youtube about the proper technique for using one, but guidance from a LC would be better. As much as I love my nipple shield right now, even I want to try again without it because of some concerns such as decreasing milk supply (even though there is no sign of it yet), safety of using the shield at night and just that it would be better not to have that extra step every time you nurse and having to remember it in the diaper bag along with everything else. So...of course if your wife can resolve this without getting dependent on the shield it would be better. I just wouldn't want anyone to quit without knowing about it which I'm afraid some women do, so consider it only as a last resort.

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