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Thread: Please, PLEASE help me *long*

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Default Please, PLEASE help me *long*

    I'm sorry for the vague title, but I just don't even know where to begin.

    LO is 8 weeks old tomorrow. She was a normal vaginal birth, and 9lbs 9oz. She's my first baby, and I tried desperately for a natural birth but I just couldn't do it: I had nubain first, then the epidural. There was meconium when my water broke so I wasn't able to breastfeed her literally immediately, but she was latched on (poorly) within 20 minutes of her birth. We have had problems breastfeeding from the moment she was born, and I'm about to give up. I'm in constant pain and I'm distraught. I feel like we've exhausted every option.

    In the hospital, I fed her round the clock every 2 hours, always with the assistance of nurses. The pain she was causing me was agonising (this is coming from someone who took the epidural, yes, but after 24 hours of labour), so a lot of the time I just fed her drops of colostrum. I thought that it was normal to be in that much pain. Before we even left the hospital, we saw two different lactation consultants. I don't remember what either of them did, but one (I'm going to call her The Breastfeeding Wizard, or TBW) managed to get her to latch without causing me any pain. LO has never been able to do that since.

    At her two-week paediatrician appointment, they asked me how breastfeeding was going and I burst into tears. When I told them how much pain I was in (at this point, my nipples were cracked, bruised, and bleeding), they scheduled me an appointment with one of their LCs (LC3). With her, I tried different positions and a nipple shield, and nothing helped. If anything, the nipple shield made it worse. She checked LO for tongue tie and said it was mild but not enough to cause a problem. She brought in another LC (LC4) for a second opinion, and she disagreed: she said it was probably what was causing the problem and we should get it clipped. We got it clipped a week later, and saw absolutely no improvement.

    Fastforward to now. We had a consultation for speech therapy and none of their methods (different positions; squeezing LO's cheeks; trying to force her chin down) worked, so they decided we definitely needed the therapy and we started a week later. We've now had two sessions. In the first, they again tried different positions, cheek squeezing, and a nipple shield, to no avail. Positions we've tried along the way include: football hold; clutch hold; side-lying; all 'upright' positions; cradle hold; cross-cradle hold; and some I've just improvised. They tried to get me to support my breast, hold her tongue down with one finger, pull her chin down with another, pull her to my breast AND hold her all in unison: maybe I'm missing something here, but I found that literally impossible to even do. In the second - today - it was much of the same. Again, I cried. I told the therapist that I feel like we've tried everything, and she admitted that we have. She said that all she can think of now is getting an X-ray of LO's head while she's eating (not sure how I feel about that) to figure out what's going on, and she's trying to work with my paediatrician/insurance company so I can see BFW again (we can't afford it out-of-pocket).

    Now (sorry, I warned you this was going to be a long post), her suck-swallow-breathe reflex, which had previously been great, is off. She's sucking too much and swallowing too little. She spits up most of what she eats. She cries, kicks, screams and punches when I try to feed her (either bottle or breast, but she's worse at the breast). We're all pretty sure my supply is drying up. I'm renting a hospital-grade pump but I just can't bring myself to use it. I'm SO exhausted and in so much pain, and I hate the pump. I pretty much EP'd for nearly two weeks and they were the most miserable and stressful two weeks of my life. She's also falling asleep at the breast so much that we can go through two hours of "nurse, try to wake, put down for a nap, nurse again because she's screaming" and in that two hours she will maybe spend forty minutes actively nursing.

    Throw postpartum depression into all of that, too, and I'm on the edge. My marriage is failing because I do nothing but try to feed her, scream in pain and then cry and stress and obsess. DH and I just had an enormous fight and when he asked if I was even listening to him, I realised that I hadn't taken in a word that he said because even then I was just thinking about this post. I dread feeding her because it never works and it hurts so much. I feel like we've done everything and I should just give up, but I know that if I do that I will never be able to forgive myself.
    Please, please help me. Is there ANYTHING else that I can do? Anything?

    ETA: diaper output varies. Always enough wet ones, but sometimes she can go a few days without pooping. Weight gain is good: at our last ST appointment, when she was exactly 7 weeks old, she was 11lbs 9oz, a full 2lbs weight gain. Today, just six days later, she's up to 12lbs exactly.
    Last edited by @llli*acover4422; September 19th, 2012 at 10:47 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Please, PLEASE help me *long*

    What is her weight gain like over these 8 weeks? What is her diaper output per 24 hours? Can you go back to the breastfeeding wizzard? It seems that she got baby positioned for a deep latch which helps with pain. Also what does your nipple look like after nursing? Like a new lipstick?
    Mommy to Maxwell 10-9-07 weaned with love (a party and a remote control monster truck) on his 4th birthday
    My Boy 3-16-10
    And my sweet pea Sam 2-12-11

    Watch Your Language

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Please, PLEASE help me *long*

    Her weight gain and diaper output is good (I edited my post to add that, thanks for reminding me). We're working on seeing the breastfeeding wizard but my insurance won't cover it without a referral from the paediatrician, and they want me to see their own LCs (LC3 and LC4). My nipple doesn't look like a new lipstick after nursing, no. Often she will jerk her head back with my nipple in her mouth (yet another problem I forgot to mention) and then it will look elongated, but when she doesn't do that I don't notice any difference. It looks the same as after I've pumped, maybe?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Please, PLEASE help me *long*

    Well I think you are having more success than you are giving yourself credit for and based on her weight gain I don't think your supply is drying up either. I think it's unrealistic and UNSUPPORTIVE of your DH to expect you to think about anything BUT your child at this point. Being able to feed our young is a PRIMAL need and if you feel like that is in danger that is going to (and SHOULD) take precedence over everything else. 40 minutes of active sucking is a super good nursing session. And think going to speech therapy sounds like a stressful mistake that you could have lived without that is throwing off your confidence. But seriously you are doing better than you think. Because despite your latch issues your child IS DEFINITELY transferring milk. AND she is still willing to eat!
    It's totally normal at 8 weeks for exclusively breast fed kids to go day without pooping.
    Find a LLL leader in your area. Get yourself to a meeting and get some in person help and support for free. And have a nurse in. Take the baby to bed this weekend and just spend all weekend in bed in your undies skin to skin with the baby and let her just eat and try to refind her suck-swallow-breath reflex. But calm down. There is nothing here to indicate ANY kind of supply issue. And while I understand that you are in pain, the pain isn't causing your baby to not eat. Sometimes it just hurts because their mouth isn't big enough to latch deeply. It you got the tongue cut it's likely that you will get it worked out in the next 4 weeks. Most people turn a corner by 12 weeks. But in the meantime find a real leader in your area, CALL HER and get yourself to a meeting.

    Way too lazy for formula

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Please, PLEASE help me *long*

    I just wanted to send hugs your way. When I was learning how to bf baby#1, it also put strain on my marriage, but if your situation is anything like mine, it's only cuz your husband doesn't like seeing you so upset. We also got off to a rocky start, but finally got things down when my DD was about 2 months old. Please stick with it, mama. As the PP said, you deserve more credit than you're giving yourself. It's hard. Especially when you're a new mom. If the PPD persists, please seek help for that too. I'm sending you hugs and a round of applause. Sorry I don't have any technical advice.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Please, PLEASE help me *long*

    Has anyone suggested treating for thrush? ETA: I ask, because I had no classic symptoms of thrush and it hurt so much for way longer than it should have. Within days of starting APNO, it was much better.

    And when does the pain start and how long does it go on?
    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!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Please, PLEASE help me *long*

    I agree with Shelly and Susan, you are doing way better than you give yourself credit. Im going to set aside the husband stuff, Shelly addressed what I would say, but i wanted to share with you that when i started nursing DS1 it was a nightmare, my nipples were torn up, bloody chunks off my nipples, i used to hide in the bathroom and cry avoiding him :tears. Basically i got treated for thrush as did baby, and i worked relentlessly on his latch. He had a shallow latch.

    If you cant see the wizard, and just to point out, even if you have to pay, it is cheaper than formula , for a while, check out Dr Jack Newman videos online about correct latching of baby.
    Mommy to Maxwell 10-9-07 weaned with love (a party and a remote control monster truck) on his 4th birthday
    My Boy 3-16-10
    And my sweet pea Sam 2-12-11

    Watch Your Language

  8. #8
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    Sep 2012
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    54

    Default Re: Please, PLEASE help me *long*

    Thank you all for your help and support. I hope I don't sound like I'm just trying to push aside your advice, but there are yet more details I forgot:
    First of all, LO is getting a lot of formula now. I'd say she's getting mostly formula and barely any breastmilk. Is it still normal for her to be pooping so little?

    The reason I think my supply is drying up is because I'm nursing her so little, her latch is so poor, and when she does nurse, she still gulps down 4oz of formula afterward. A week or two ago she nursed for an hour and it went pretty well, so I was ecstatic. Five minutes later, she was screaming, and we figured out she was still hungry. She took 3.5oz of formula. Today, as per the speech therapist's instructions, I timed how long it took to pump 2oz. I couldn't even get 2oz from both breasts combined: in 30 minutes, I ended up with 1.5oz. When I returned from the hospital I could get 3oz from each breast with a manual pump.

    The pain starts the moment she starts to nurse. If she pauses sucking, it stops; but it gets worse rather than better as she continues to nurse. How long it lasts varies. Sometimes once she's done eating I'm fine, sometimes I can't even wear clothes for an hour or more.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Please, PLEASE help me *long*

    Well, the amount of supplementing you are currently doing will definitely result in a loss of supply, no question. When the baby gets those 4 oz of formula, she doesn't get hungry again very quickly, your body isn't getting the signal to make more milk, and it's going to scale back production. The more you supplement, the more your supply goes down. To increase the chances of breastfeeding successfully, you need to scale back the supplements and nurse more, topping your baby off with less (4 ounces is a lot of formula) and then letting baby signal for more milk sooner (then going to the breast first). If you continue to supplement 4 ounces after breastfeeding, then yes, I'm sorry to say, your supply will probably be gone completely very soon. But it is not too late to reverse this process!!

    This link is really helpful.http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/basi...rease-formula/

    I agree you should be looked at for thrush or another type of infection that could cause serious latching pain. Thrush causes nipple pain that is MIND BOGGLING. I know, because I just had it and it was excruciating, way worse than what I felt with just a bad latch. I used this protocol for treating it - http://drjaygordon.com/breastfeeding/thrush.html - and saw immediate improvement.


    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.

  10. #10
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Please, PLEASE help me *long*

    Today, as per the speech therapist's instructions, I timed how long it took to pump 2oz. I couldn't even get 2oz from both breasts combined: in 30 minutes, I ended up with 1.5oz. When I returned from the hospital I could get 3oz from each breast with a manual pump.
    this is a classic sign you are dealing with someone who does not have a clue about breastfeeding. They may be a fantastic therapist, but they are obviously unaware of the FACT that what a mom can produce for the pump and what a baby extracts may have no relation to each other.

    I have a few suggestions. Take the ones that work for you if any do.

    *Call your local LLL or any other breastfeeding support organization and get support.

    *Find an IBCLC you trust--one experienced with helping babies of this age latch and with supply issues. Get referrals, question them prior to hiring-you want someone you feel confident in. So what if your insurance won't cover it? I don’t know where you live but around me in California (USA), one on one 90 minute appts with a private practice IBCLC are usually around $100 to $150 at most…A bargain, trust me. You will spend more on formula. Way more.

    *Stop relying entirely on experts who seem to be pulling you in several different directions. Educate yourself about breastfeeding and milk production. The books The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (8th edition) and, for supply concerns in particular, Making More Milk, and are the very best resources, imo. kellymom.com also has excellent articles.

    *Consider taking a break of a few to several days from trying to nurse your baby until you get effective assistance. Yes, you will have to pump at least 8 times a day to keep up your supply, with the hosp. grade pump. I know pumping sucks, but this will let your milk production live to fight another day, while you regroup. And as long as pumping does not hurt or cause damage, then this may also give your nipples a chance to heal.

    *Find time to have a coherent, relaxed and present conversation with your husband. I doubt he is an unsupportive jerk, and even if he is, he is your unsupportive jerk. But my guess is, he loves his baby and you, and his own eyes are telling him it's hurting both of you to keep trying to nurse when it makes you scream in pain & obsess! Explain to him that if it ever does get to be too much, you will stop. But you are not ready yet.

    Stop worrying you will never get over it if you cannot nurse. You want to feel motivated but not to the point you are pressuring yourself beyond the limits of human endurance, if that makes sense. In my experience, moms who felt supported, who thought they got competent assistance, and knew that they really had tried every avenue open to them to try to breastfeed, do not feel 'guilty' or painfully regretful about not nursing if that is the ultimate outcome. They are sad and wish things had gone differently, of course, but they do have acceptance and go on to mother with joy. You will know when and if you are ready to move past this and stop trying. Since you are posting here, that suggests you have not reached that point ... I know it feels like you have been doing this forever but this is still very early days.

    *Also, if it turns out exclusive nursing is not going to happen, remember that nursing need not be all or nothing...if you never are able to produce enough, you can supplement, if you never are able to nurse at the breast, you can pump what you can and provide that to baby, you can find whatever feeding combination works for you for as long as it works for you.

    *Take some time ever day to hold your baby, snuggle your baby and enjoy your baby without thinking about nursing or feeding or pumping or bottles.

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