Here's the situation:
- cracks at base of nipple (where her top lip goes) appeared a day or so after she was born. They have not healed, but are not bleeding and do not look infected. I've tried APNO (for the last six weeks), air drying, soothies, you name it.
- Latch has always been extremely painful due to stretching of the cracks. The pain tends to lessen about 30 seconds into feedings, but;
- for the last two weeks the nipple ends up symmetrical but compressed with a ridge after feedings. This was after I did a major review of latching (nipple was often lipstick shaped for the first month).
- I have a fast letdown and sometimes she chokes. the IBCLC said her sucking was 'disorganized', but she generally stays on the boob and manages the flow, pausing for breaths once things slow down. But she's not very gassy/fussy and her poops are almost always yellow and she's gaining fine.
- Pediatrician says she has 'milk tongue', not thrush; IBCLC and other CLCs have thought maybe there is thrush. The midwives gave me an Rx for nystatin which I haven't picked up since they seemed completely clueless about boobs. I don't have radiating pain or any of the other symptoms of thrush.
- I can't get her to open her mouth any wider than it already is and I've been told the latch looks great; but as she feeds she clicks/moves her tongue and seems to end up having a shallow latch. Sometimes the clicks themselves are painful as she pinches the nipple with her tongue; sometimes they're not painful.
- I've tried taking pumping breaks but can't manage it longer than 48 hours before I miss BF and feel disconnected from my daughter. I also worry about not being able to pump enough to satisfy her hunger.
- We have an appointment on Wed with a tongue-tie specialist.
My worry is this: if tongue tie is not the issue, how can I retrain her to keep her latch properly/use her tongue correctly? The sensation I have when she is on is similar to when I pinch my nipple, rather than when I pinch the areola. Is this even possible after 6 weeks? I've been dealing with the pain because she's hungry and I want her to eat, but it's taking a huge toll on my sanity and my husband (who is super supportive) can't understand why I'm doing this to myself. I'm worried that I have inadvertently rewarded her for the shallow latch and have now ruined our BF experience.