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Thread: Could really use some encouragement!

  1. #1

    Unhappy Could really use some encouragement!

    My daughter will be 5 weeks on Monday and I've had struggles BF the entire time. We're using a nipple shield and I have a love/hate relationship with it. I had trouble getting her to latch with it so I sought help at my local hospital from a lactation specialist three weeks ago but am having trouble again! I've been having really sore and tender nipples which sometimes occurs during nursing but usually I'm just sore towards the end of feedings and afterwards. I'm going to go back again this week to see if something's wrong. I feel like though they say the latch is great when I'm there and she's doing great but then I feel like I can't recreate this at home and I lose confidence.

    We've also had a marathon of cluster feedings several times but pretty much constantly for the last week. She switched to cluster feeding during the day and into the evening and then gets up every hour to 3 hours at night but sometimes will not sleep unless I keep holding her after she feeds. She does this during the day too. Yesterday she wouldn't sleep all day and it took me forever to get her to sleep nursing her and then I had to hold her for the whole 3 hour nap. Ive also been pumping to store milk as I will have to occasionally leave her within the next month because I'm finishing up my BA degree online but will have to go in to do school work every once in a while. But when she feeds this often I literally have no time to pump or only once a day and I only get 3 oz from both breasts because I cannot dedicate enough time pumping because she'll start crying to eat in the middle of it.

    I've been feeling especially drained with this last week of her Constantly wanting to nurse. My husband was Super supportive in the beginning but I feel like I'm wearing him out now. I honestly don't know if this is just me being overly sensitive though and just expecting too much out of him.

    My DD is gaining, has PLENTY of poopy and wet diapers so I know she's getting enough and I am committed to making BF work, but I'm just having a hard time. I feel like a Horrible mother for getting so drained and overwhelmed because I know she needs this and won't be this little forever. Is it normal to feel overwhelmed while adjusting to this?? Is this going to get better?

    Thank you!
    Last edited by @llli*collins22; July 8th, 2012 at 04:24 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    New York

    Default Re: Could really use some encouragement!

    Greetings Collins22!
    I see how your situation can be so frustrating.
    Wouldn't it be nice if your DD nursed well and had a deep latch, filled her belly with your milk and then dozed off to sleep for 2-3 hours.
    Wouldn't it be nice if while she slept your hands were free to work on your BA or if while she slept you took a much deserved nap.
    Nipple shields can be wonderful helpful tools but alas there is a downside.
    the nipple shield prevents the comforting elongation of your nipple to stimulate the soft palate of the baby's mouth, which is a pleasure sensor and can lull the baby to blissful sleep.
    You might want to try removing the shield after she has had an initial good feed and retrain her to suckle without it, when she is not distracted by hunger.
    A sling might also be helpful so your LO can be held near and close in between nursing sessions and you hands are free.
    However I long for the days when health professionals, doctors and midwives told mothers to take it easy the first 8 weeks.
    The first 8 weeks are devoted to rest, getting your self healed from birth and falling in love with the baby.
    Everything else can wait until mamma is past the first 8 weeks.
    Started my family in 1986
    Finally done in 2001

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Montreal, Canada

    Default Re: Could really use some encouragement!

    Oh mama, you're working so hard and though she's not showing it, your LO appreciates it.

    I would have written this post word for word a few weeks back. Actually, around 5 weeks old I started to use the word "relentless" when people asked how we were doing. My DD would cluster feed for 6 hours and I'd be lucky if we got 3 hours of straight sleep at night. It hardly seemed worth it and there were a lot of tears. But now that we've hit 12 weeks things are sooo much easier -- her latch (finally pain free due to her bigger mouth), her time between feedings (1.5 - 2 hours when awake), and her ability to nap on her own (though she definitely has days where she just needs mommy's arms).

    I echo the PP -- you might find some relief with a sling or a baby carrier of some sort. You can try nursing in it (we never really got the hang of that) and it may help her sleep while you do things around the house. Our DD sleeps really well in hers. It's totally normal that she wants to stay in your arms during naps as you are safety, security, warmth, and everything to her. Consider napping with her or, at least, keeping her in your arms for a longer period before trying to put her down. Once you do, leave your hands on her for a while before leaving her alone. We also left DD with a small washcloth with breastmilk on it. She at least had my scent and that helped her sleep a bit more. You may already be doing this and it's not working. Just know that it's temporary and, before you know it, she'll be so much bigger and different that you'll miss these days.
    Mama to Viv since 4/08/12 -- my all natural post-breast cancer miracle baby

    with just one breast. So far so good.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Could really use some encouragement!

    hi collins22. I used a nipple shield in the early weeks with my oldest. Ugh! I understand the love hate thing completely!

    Please see esthervegan's wise words. We as a society expect the impossible of new mothers and newborn babies. Mothers expect the impossible of themselves. The first 2 months (at least) with a new baby-no matter how that baby is fed or how 'well' breastfeeding goes, is normally a period of great exhaustion, great emotion, great joy and great frustration. "Overwhelmed" is a normal state in this period. If this is your first baby especially, there is the sudden realization that Parenthood means Life will Never be the same! That realization takes some adjusting to! But it does get better, easier, less confusing-I promise. And breastfeeding will soon become a tool that HELPS you in your mothering journey. If your feelings seem more like they may be ppd, please talk to your hcp.

    OK, so baby is gaining awesome and that is truly great. So you have two major issues blocking you from crossing over to the easier side of things, as I see it -1) Needing to use the shield and 2) nipple pain.

    Nipple pain is the most pressing issue. It should not hurt you to nurse. It does not matter WHAT the latch looks like, if it hurts, it is not a good latch- Because it hurts!
    Some ideas: 1) Nipple shields, when not put on properly or when they ill fitted can create latch pain.
    2) Latch pain is often helped by changing positioning. What have you tried? What seems to work the best? What makes sense but maybe did not work earlier? Try old ideas again. 3) Have you tried laid back? Try it again. See info below.
    4) Are you sure the issue is latch? (If pain is worst during feedings, if your nipple is misshapen after nursing, if there is nipple damage) then latch is likely the issue or at least the main issue. But you may want to rule out thrush or bacterial infection of the nipple as well.
    5) Could forceful letdown be a factor? This can cause baby to clamp. Ouch.

    What are you doing to help your nipples heal if they have been damaged?

    Are you only pumping to store milk for the upcoming separations? Because many moms need to pump regularly when using shields due to supply concerns.

    If supply is not a concern and it's just for storing milk for upcoming separations I would strongly urge you to consider backing off on pumping until you get this latching issue resolved. Think about what would be worse-to have to give baby formula here and there for a few days next month, or to lose your nursing relationship entirely because you overwhelm yourself so much at this point you give up breastfeeding entirely.

    Also-is pumping comfortable? Does your nipple rub against the tunnel? It should move freely. This week I have talked to THREE moms for whom PUMPING was causing nipple damage. This is real problem, particularly if your breast shells are the wrong size and/or you are pumping at too high a setting.

    As far as the shields go-as long as baby is capable of latching and nursing without the shield, then you can keep working on weaning baby from the shield. No need to stress over using them but life gets way easier post-shield in my experience.

    Laid back: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...astfeeding.pdf and video: http://www.biologicalnurturing.com/video/bn3clip.html

    Nipple shields: Includes info on weaning off: http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/child/wean-shield/

    Forceful letdown: http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supp.../fast-letdown/

    Edit: Healing sore nipples: http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mother/nipplehealing/
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; July 8th, 2012 at 12:42 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Manhattan, KS...for now.

    Default Re: Could really use some encouragement!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*collins22 View Post

    I feel like a Horrible mother for getting so drained and overwhelmed because I know she needs this and won't be this little forever. Is it normal to feel overwhelmed while adjusting to this?? Is this going to get better?

    Thank you!
    Don't feel like a horrible mother!!! You're doing wonderful!

    But yes, it's normal to feel overwhelmed. And yes, it will get better!

    I don't have anything to add to the experienced mamas' replies above, I just know that extra support and encouragement are helpful during this time
    Daniel Keith + Rachel Joy = Leonel Dante [4/13/2012]

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Default Re: Could really use some encouragement!

    I agree don't feel bad at all! It sounds like you have been listening to your baby's cues and that means your doing awesome. I used a shield too. It was the only way I could nurse with tolerable pain level for a while. Then there was no pain and then the pain started again and got worse. This was when I decided to chunk the darn thing. DS's latch still was not great but it was far less painful than with the shield. I kind of look at it as a sign we were done with it now. Have you tried w/o the shield to just see how it feels?

    Also all that nursing sounds so normal and like my baby and many others I've read about on the forums. This too shall pass and it may seem like an eternity but you will make it through this time. When I went through my rough patch I realized how little I had seen the outside of my house and even just sitting on the porch nursing and letting him sleep in my arms there was a refreshing change. Try going on a family walk either with a stroller or a sling/wrap of some kind.

    Another thought, if your LO will transfer to another person and stay asleep, do this with DH and you get up and do something (preferably for yourself like a shower but cooking dinner or laundry would be ok too). I did this a lot when I thought DH was getting tired of it all. Seemed to help but later on I found out he was just frustrated as I was because he couldn't fix it all for me, while I was frustrated that I couldn't fix it all for DS and everyone/everything else. So he may not be upset with you at all. Just keep letting him know how grateful you are that he is supportive.
    Married to the best husband ever since Nov 2009
    DS born 1/7/12 at 36 wks after PROM and Gestational diabetes happy and healthy ~

    Taking it one day at a time.

    Currently and !!!

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