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Thread: Just Struggling

  1. #1

    Default Just Struggling

    I am the mother of 2 wonderful children. My first child is 4 years old and my second is 8 days. I was unable to breastfeed my first child and really want to be able to make it work with my second. My newborn lost almost a pound from delivery to discharge. And when we took him in for his 1 week checkup had lost again. They told us to supplement with formula. Both of my nipples are sore, cracked and bleeding severly to the point of excruiating pain everytime he latches on. I literally cry for the first several minutes. I have tried different positions and have even tried the breast shield. He seems to be able to latch on really good with the breast shield even though the sucking still is very painful on my cracked nipples. My nipples do not protrude much at all. I want to make sure that my baby is getting fed enough I want to take care of him first and foremost but just looking for some suggestions on what I could be doing wrong, or what I can do to fix it, or anything to help ease the pain, also are there reasons not to use the nipple shield, is it something that I can use consistently and what is the chances of him not wanting to continue if I have to use a bottle to supplement with formula . I dont want to give up but I am struggling very bad. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default Re: Just Struggling

    First off, have you been to a lactation consultant? To make sure your latch is correct? Also have you been using lanolin? I HIGHLY recommend it. It was my life saver. You can get it just about anywhere. It'll be by the breast pads and bottles. I use the Lansinoa brand. Also this is the HARDEST time of breastfeeding. I PROMISE it WILL get better. Get past the next couple weeks and you'll hardly remember these times. And there are lots of reasons no to use the nipple shield. It can lower supply and once babe gets used to it it's really hard to get them off it. So if you can avoid it I would. Also make sure IF you do choose to supplement then get a bottle that is wide mouthed and has the slowest flow nipple. And also remember you can do both if you have to for a little bit as far as supplementing. But in the long run I think it's easier to stick it out so your supply doesn't go down. Use the Lanolin after every single feeding. You don't have to wipe it off before feeding. And go topless as much as you can for a little while to give your nips a chance to heal. Good luck! Don't give up mama! You are doing great!

    Young SAHM of
    Afton (A1) (1/24/09) and
    Autumn (A2) (8/29/11)

    Sealed in the SLC Temple

    and and now CDing!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Northern Cal.

    Default Re: Just Struggling

    Congrats on your new baby! I'm sorry you're having such a hard time! That sounds really painful!

    I second the recommendation that you make an appointment with an LC, preferably an IBCLC, as soon as humanly possible. It seems very likely that your baby's latch is off, which can cause all of the pain you're experiencing, and also, unfortunately, prevent your baby from transferring milk from your breasts, which can result in poor weight gain AND (this is important) really harm your supply and prevent it from getting off on the right foot, which can be hard to fix down the road. A good LC can weigh your baby before and after a feed to see how much he's getting (it's best to do this over several visits), trouble-shoot your latch, help you find positions that work well, and give you advice on healing your nipples and whether nipple shields might help you with your flatter nipples. There's so much someone can do in person that we can't do online.

    Don't give up!! But get some help! Immediately. It's worth paying for. Formula is really expensive, so seeing an LC and working out your BF'ing issues early on is money well spent and can save you a bundle in the long run.

    Many of us had a really, really hard first couple weeks/months breastfeeding and have had special challenges, which is why we're here, but we are so glad we stuck it out and we want to get you through this hard time and on the road to a long happy breastfeeding relationship. You can do this!!

    When my nipples were really cracked and bleeding, polysporing or bacitracin ointment worked better than lanolin to heal them. It also has the side benefit of hopefully guarding against mastitis, which broken skin on your nipples can put you at higher risk for (and that's the LAST thing you need right now, believe me).

    P.S. Some women find the nipple shield very helpful, although it can hurt your supply because it reduces direct stimulation. I would get checked out by an LC and get more advice on that, as it really depends on your unique situation. For some women, it allows them to breastfeed and is a great thing - and most babies do learn to nurse without it in the long run, but it can be a hassle. I would avoid one except as a last resort. But you never know - you might be "last resort" territory, and I'd certainly use one rather than not nurse. Talk to a LC.

    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: Just Struggling

    You need hands on help, as something is not right with the latch. It will hurt for that first 30-60 seconds, but then it should get better.
    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!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Just Struggling

    The Internet is great, but when it comes to latch problems with a newborn, NOTHING beats hands-on help!

    Do you have a pump? There's no reason to supplement with formula if you can pump enough breastmilk (breastmilk actually has more calories per oz than formula). In addition, if the baby is having trouble transferring milk due to a poor latch, pumping will help you maintain your milk supply. If you must continue to supplement, I strongly suggest talking to the IBCLC about using a hospital-grade rental pump with correctly sized shields. She should be able to set you up with one.

    I know this stinks, mama, but you can get through it! I did.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Just Struggling

    I know you are stuggling, exhausted and frustrated, but I can assure you this is the kind of thing that almost always has a solution. I also had terribly damaged nipples that first week, had to pump, used a sheild, la la la, with my oldest. By one month in, I was nursing happily, had plenty of milk, and we were weaning off the sheild. I got good hands on help and it made all the difference. You are in very early days here, so this is a situation that is absolutely salvageable.

    Remember the 4 keeps:

    1) Keep your milk flowing: You can keep your supply up by pumping if you absolutely have too much pain to nurse regularly. You want to be nursing and/or pumping at least 10 times a day at this age. Make sure it is comfortable to pump, of course.

    2) Keep your baby fed: if you have to supplement, then that is what you have to do. Unnecessary supplementation is harmful, but necessary supplementation allows you to feed your baby and buy time to fix the problems. I cannot tell you if you need to supplement or not, but I can tell you that if you do, you will still be able to breastfeed once you are past these issues. BTW you do not have to bottle feed to supplement. You can cup or spoon feed, feed with an at the breast supplementer (once the latch is comfortable) even paced bottle feeding is better than typical bottle feeding when worried about nipple confusion. If you need more info on these options, let us know.

    3) Keep baby close: Hold baby. Lots. Baby needs you and you need baby.

    4) Find and Keep a Good Breastfeeding Helper: As pp’s suggest, when things are this difficult it really is time to see a professional. That means a board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) or any LC who comes highly recommended. Even private home appointments with an IBCLC are quite affordable and cost a fraction of the cost of feeding baby formula for a year if it comes to that.

    You may want to get names of LC's from your local LLL Leader, they will also know if there are low cost programs in your area. You can also look up names here www.ilca.org I suggest moms call two or three before hiring if possible, you want someone you feel confident in and comfortable with.

    If you absolutely cannot see an LC quickly, see if you can meet with a local LLL Leader.

    Nipple shields carry their own set of issues, can actually cause worse more pain and nipple damage if used incorrectly, and are really just a band-aid until the underlying problem can be fixed. BUT, I always think that if that is the only way mom can nurse, go for it. You may want to pump to help prevent the supply issues often attendant with shields. But please only use a shield under the guidance of an LC.

    My only suggestion for the painful latch is to look at how you are positioning yourself and your baby to nurse. Many moms are taught to nurse in positions that increase the risk of nipple pain and other maternal discomfort. Experiment as you like, there is no one ‘right’ way to nurse your baby. For positioning ideas see: http://www.biologicalnurturing.com/ and http://www.llli.org/faq/positioning.html and http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfeeding.pdf
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; January 26th, 2012 at 09:03 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Default Re: Just Struggling

    my nipples cracked and bleed as well. I used everything and it didnt work for me and then heard of the medela shells. They were my lifesaves they allow you nipple to stay dry and nothing to touch them. THE GREATEST THING MADE : ) Hang in there it will get better.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Denver, Co.

    Default Re: Just Struggling

    Mama, you have gotten some really good advice from others above. I just wanted to tell you that you aren't alone. The first several weeks were really tough with my daughter. My nipples were trashed, and I know the kind of pain you are describing. Get some hands on help. It does get easier and better. We are here to help support you. Hang in there and just keep trying. You can do this. You can. And you will. Don't give up.

    Baby Girl Born 2/17/10 to her two mommies
    BF from day one. I looked up one day and realized I'm nursing a toddler!

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