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Thread: Discouraged and depressed.

  1. #1

    Default Discouraged and depressed.

    Hi! My baby is six weeks old now, and I have pretty much lost all hope of successfully breastfeeding him. From day one it has been painful every time he latches on...like a vice clamping down on my nipple. Within a few days of his birth, my nipples were excruciatingly painful and completely torn up, so I started pumping for him.

    Since then, I have seen two different IBCLCs, a doctor who specializes in breastfeeding problems, a pediatric dentist to check for tongue tie, and an osteopath for craniosacral therapy twice. The doctor also took cultures and put me on antibiotics for mastitis.

    At this point, I am feeling pretty hopeless. I put the baby to the breast a couple of times a day, but it's still so painful, and the more I try to nurse him, the worse it gets. Additionally, he isn't tranferring milk well either, do we both end up frustrated.

    I am glad I'm pumping enough for now to meet his needs, but I'm not sure how long I can keep this up (I also have an 11 year old with a busy schedule, two year old twins with special needs, and a husband who is always at work).

    Everyone says his latch "looks great" but my nipple is always flat/ lipstick shaped at the end of a feeding. The doctors said the problem is that he has a tight jaw. It seems like he never gets into a good sucking rhythm (long sucks and swallows), and even after a long time at the breast he drinks a bottle afterwards, and I'm still able to pump a lot after he nurses.

    I am so depressed about this. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Discouraged and depressed.

    Welcome, mama! I'm sorry your nursing journey has been so rough so far. I had similar issues to yours and I know how physically and emotionally painful it can be.

    The fact that you are seeing lipstick-shaped nipples after a feeding says to me that you have a latch problem. It doesn't matter if your latch looks textbook-perfect on the outside. It's what it feels like on the INSIDE that matters! The difficulty with milk transfer can also indicate a latch problem.

    The good news about latch issues is that babies generally outgrow them. A tiny baby has a tiny mouth, and even at the best of times may not be able to take a deep "bite" of breast. The bigger the bite, the deeper and better the latch. So I encourage you to keep going, keep putting him to the breast, keep working on it. I had cracks, pain, and milk transfer issues for about 4.5 months- well, actually I had cracks and pain for that long. The transfer issues sorted themselves out at around 3 months. Anyway, just when I thought I would never heal, and never nurse pain-free, things turned around and I was able to nurse my baby until she was 3.

    One thing you mention which is very normal is baby taking a bottle even after a long nursing session. Most babies will do this, because they love to keep sucking and don't mind eating until overfull. What may help is to get a professional scale and do several days' worth of weigh-feed-weigh records. You may be able to identify certain things that you are doing that contribute to more successful feeds- things like nursing position often make a big difference. And you might find that your baby is getting more from the breast than you think, potentially enabling you to ditch the bottles.

    Hang in there, mama! I know this is awful, and I can't imagine how hard it must be with and older kid and a pair of special-needs toddlers in the house, but we'll be here for you every step of the way.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Discouraged and depressed.

    Thank you! It is very encouraging to hear that someone had similar problems that eventually got better. Every day I hope that things will miraculously be better, and then when they aren't it's so disappointing!

    Has anyone here had success with craniosacral therapy? I feel like it isn't doing anything, really. Does it take several sessions to see a change?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Discouraged and depressed.

    I cannot answer your question about cranial sacral therapy, sorry.

    You have had a tough time of it and have a lot on your plate, so it’s important to take care of yourself as well. So if anything I or anyone else suggests is too overwhelming, don’t worry about it. Do only what will work for you.

    I hate to say it but it sounds like you are on the way to exclusive pumping. As you are discovering, this is much harder than nursing at the breast, although many moms do succeed in doing it even for a long time. However, if you want to nurse at the breast, I would suggest working very hard at this point to cut down on pumping and nurse more. You can always go back to more pumping but it is harder to go the other direction, iykwim.

    Don’t assume you have more issues than you actually do. Having milk still in the breasts and/or baby taking a bottle after nursing do not mean there are milk transfer issues. Many moms make an overabundance of milk in the early weeks and as mommal pointed out, babies will take a bottle after nursing all the time even if they fed well at the breast. Were you ever able to exclusively nurse, and was output and/or weight gain not appropriate? Output and weight gain are how you can tell a breastfed baby is getting enough or not getting enough.

    For milk transfer issues and/or long nursing sessions, have you tried breast compressions? Dr. Jack Newman should have a good description of this technique.

    When you saw the IBCLCs, did they take a full history, examine baby's mouth, and you, and watch you nurse, and give you adjustments to try? Did they do a before and after nursing weight check? (these can be helpful in determining milk transfer esp. if done over several days as mommal suggested.) Were your sessions with them at least an hour long? I ask this because too many times I have talked to moms who saw an IBCLC, say, in the hospital or something, and the visit was quite short. It takes TIME to sort out latch issues and rule out physical causes. And yes, sometimes it takes seeing several different people.

    Did the pediatric dentist you see know about the four identified types of tongue tie? What about lip tie? Unfortunately not all peds or dentists are up on the latest research about tongue tie. The book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (8th edition) has an excellent discussion of tt.

    Here are some suggestions for painful latch:

    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 when they come to the breast it can cause lots of issues.

    Are your nipples damaged or have they healed while you have been nursing less? If needed, Keep working on healing your nipples. There are articles with suggestions for that here and at kellymom.com
    info on laid back breastfeeding positioning: http://www.biologicalnurturing.com/ and http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfeeding.pdf

    When supplementing, are you feeding baby in a way that is supportive of breastfeeding? There are alternatives to bottles like cup feeding, or you could try paced bottle feeding. http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfedbaby.pdf

  5. #5

    Default Re: Discouraged and depressed.

    Thanks for the reply. This is why I'm so frustrated...I feel like we've tried everything...different positions, laid back nursing, both of the IBCLCs were great and took a lot of time with us. I just don't know what else to do.

    Right now, my nipples are much better but if I try nurse more than two or three times a day, they start to get damaged again. The more I nurse him, the more painful it gets, so by the end of the day I'm really sore, and nursing is super painful. I'm using all purpose nipple cream after nursing.

    He has been weighed before and after nursing a few times now, but has never taken more than an ounce after 20 minutes or so of nursing.

    I just wish I could find something to do to make things better.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: Discouraged and depressed.

    I just want to encourage you to keep pumping. It is really hard. I have spent the last year exclusively pumping for my fourth child, born with special needs. He is the youngest of four boys, and when he was born, they were all under 6 But I did it. You can too Nursing is so much easier that I would keep working on it. There are some moms here who had terrible problems with soreness, and it did get better with time.

    Could your baby have what is called a bubble palate? That can make breastfeeding very painful and less effective. The good news is that it often improves with time.
    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!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Discouraged and depressed.

    Since you have tried everything and the pain and damage seems connected directly to latch and nursing at the breast, I would suggest revisiting the idea the issue is a tongue tie, lip tie, high palate-in other words, a physical issue. The not fantastic milk transfer is indicative of tongue tie also. (after two weeks or age I think you usually want to see a milk transfer of 2 ounces at least per nursing session.) What did you IBCLCs say about tongue tie etc?

    So sorry this is so difficult. I have talked to many moms who had pain & damage for weeks, even months, before it lessened. So time can make things better in many cases. However, I would say they usually did not have pain and damage so bad they could not nurse exclusively or almost exclusively. So this is an unusual situation which makes me think something physical is going on. Tongue tie is apparently much more common (and some suspect, becoming more common) and more of a breastfeeding barrier than was once thought so I always suspect that first in such cases, and, unless it is "classic" tongue tie where the tip of the tongue is attached and pulled down, it can be more tricky to diagnose. But some less obvious forms of tt are often even worse for breastfeeding.

    But I am not up much on alternative therapies, maybe if you created a thread asking specifically about cranial sacral treatments you could get more input on that.

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