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Thread: 7 week old fighting at the breast, short feedings, pain

  1. #11
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    Default Re: 7 week old fighting at the breast, short feedings, pain

    I went to the LC yesterday and I guess it was somewhat helpful but not a panacea. I found out he was indeed latching poorly, and also found out how hard it is to get him to latch better. I don't know how babies younger and smaller than he is ever manage it because I can barely fit enough of the breast in his mouth now, and I can only do it on my own correctly about a fourth of the time, when I have the patience to work at it, which is not all the time.

    Based on the fact that my breast wasn't actually spraying across the room and I didn't produce very much (3 oz on both sides combined, measured by weighing the baby before and after feeding), she thought that he probably wasn't fighting because of letdown and too much milk but because of frustration from not getting enough. She said I should feed him on demand and that I don't have to offer him the breast every hour like I have been. She said if things aren't better next week she'll have someone look at him for a possible tongue tie. He's still fighting occasionally, but not every time, and only feeding for short durations, still.

    The feelings that make me want to quit are things that I can't imagine any LC can help anyone with at all. While I feed the baby on side A, the nipple on side B starts hurting with letdown. How can that be stopped, and how can you stop it at all without hurting supply? I can't even hold my baby against my chest (his preferred position) because it hurts to have any pressure against my breast at all, to have anyone or anything, the softest slightest weight, touching them, and he's not soft or light. The sheer weight and size of my breasts are uncomfortable every minute, even after I've just been completely drained. And more superficially, I hate the way these gigantic porn star boobs make me look and how none of my tops fit even though I'm within 4 lbs of pre-baby weight and my jeans fit fine. I'm used to having an hourglass figure and now I'm an apple and I look totally disproportional. I feel very self-conscious about them. For physical discomfort and vanity issues, this is as bad as late pregnancy or worse, because this lasts longer. Can anyone give me moral support on these items or tell me there is some kind of hope for them?

    We're going to the pediatrician in a week and I'll ask about acid reflux.

  2. #12
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    Default Re: 7 week old fighting at the breast, short feedings, pain

    Marjojo, I hear you are frustrated and tired. But you are blaming breastfeeding for things that have nothing to do with breastfeeding.

    Your breasts being large now is biologically normal and occurs to most women during pregnancy and after birth. It’s temporary and normal, just as your body and especially your tummy area getting large during pregnancy was normal. Your breasts are not "porn star" -they are all natural and beautiful. Of course your breasts will become smaller again (even as you continue to breastfeed.) But to some degree, your body, including your breasts, have changed permanently, due to carrying a baby in pregnancy.

    If you are almost back to pre-pregnancy weight in 7 weeks, you have breastfeeding to thank, at least in part.

    Go out and buy a couple nice tops that fit your new beautiful body, and a nursing bra or two that will help support your breasts. There are inexpensive options.


    can't even hold my baby against my chest (his preferred position) because it hurts to have any pressure against my breast at all, to have anyone or anything, the softest slightest weight, touching them, and he's not soft or light.
    What did the IBCLC say about this pain? Is this let down pain? Engorgement? If it is either, have you tried some gentle hand expression to relieve the pressure? Sometimes if I want to "stop" a leak or have let down pain I gently press my nipple with my hand or arm-pushing gently straight back into my chest.

    How long a nursing session was this? 3 ounces sounds like perfectly normal before and after nursing weight gain to me. Anything over 2 ounces is what an IBCLC wants to see when doing such checks was MY understanding.

    Forceful letdown does NOT mean the milk shoots across the room. I have had ffld wiht three kids and it has never shot across the room.

    EDIT-I forgot to add: If your IBCLC helped you find a comfortable latch, doing that will improve the pain as your nipples heal. You will NOT have to be so careful about latching forever. Because so may mothers stop nursing before their baby is 3 months old, they never learn the secret of breastfeeding-that what feels weird, awkward, inconvenient, uncomfortable, even painful early on, becomes- with time and practice- comfortable, like second nature, easy, convenient, even fun.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; July 20th, 2013 at 04:17 PM. Reason: forgot something

  3. #13
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    Default Re: 7 week old fighting at the breast, short feedings, pain

    It's hard for me to believe that my breast size has nothing to do with breastfeeding. I gained a cup size during pregnancy and another (or two more depending on the bra sizing) when my milk came in. It's the second (or third) cup size that makes me hate the way my body looks and feels. I believe that breastfeeding might have helped me lose the 20-some pounds I have already lost, but I've also heard that breastfeeding makes your body want to hang on to those last five pounds as you need the fat reserves to make milk. Not to mention that it hurts to exercise with these breasts. Just about the only free time I get anymore is weekend afternoons while my husband can watch the baby for two hours at a time while I go out, and I've spent at least 4 of those afternoons shopping for clothes and I have bought only 2 items because I hate the way everything looks on me.

    No amount of hearing a stranger on the internet call my body beautiful will ever make me believe it. I have some pretty deep body image issues to begin with. There's a difference between the way we judge others and the way we judge ourselves, and between knowing something intellectually and feeling it emotionally. I would tell a friend in my position that she's beautiful, but will never believe it of my current body. I know intellectually that my breasts are not obscenely sexual, but emotionally, when I look at myself in a revealing top that used to look tasteful, I feel ugly and fat and gross.

    I think the LC said that my breast would be less sensitive to touch when I have a correct latch consistently because my nipples won't be in constant pain. I don't remember whether I asked about the let-down pain or what she said if I did.

    I was in her room for 45 min, but I don't know how long we nursed, we didn't time it.

    It sounds like you're telling me that I might have forceful letdown after all? I'm just so confused. I feel inept and like I'll never be able to make sense of any of this. Everything seems totally random and crazy-making.

    The baby still won't nurse for longer than 10 minutes at the most, and more often does only 5 or less. I never get drained and always feel on the verge of painfully engorged.

  4. #14
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    Default Re: 7 week old fighting at the breast, short feedings, pain

    It's not about what I think. DO YOU think you have forceful letdown? And/or overproduction? I do not know about the ffld, but op sounds likely from waht you have posted here.

    I am sorry you are feeling so negatively about your body. I really do believe that all breastfeeding women are beautiful. But, if someone had called me beautiful when I was carryng around the "cannonball boob" I had ONLY ON ONE SIDE in the first few weeks with my last baby I probably would have socked them in the nose. So thanks for being kind about my remarks which were kind of dense.

    I am also sorry you are feeling inept, because as far as I can tell, you are a wonderful mommy. Your baby is doing beautifully, Gaining and doing great. YOU are uncomfortable and that is a problem. But it is a solvable problem. Time will help. Good helpers that you trust will help. Support will help.

    it sounds as if your IBCLC helped you with latch some, but perhaps did not have time in 45 minutes (short for a session with an IBCLC) to address possible oversupply. Are you able to follow up with her before next week?

  5. #15
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    Default Re: 7 week old fighting at the breast, short feedings, pain

    I spent most of yesterday evening in tears, the baby and I just crying at each other, and now the middle of the night. I think going to the LC made things worse because now that I have an idea about a good latch, I won't settle for letting the baby do something to me that I know for sure will hurt worse, even if a good latch isn't pain-free, at least not yet. So I'm getting incredibly frustrated with this uncooperative baby, to the point where I was being rough with him trying to get him to latch right, to where I scared myself and had to wake up my husband to take him away from me.

    As this interaction shows, I can't be a good mom when I'm in pain like this. I might have been up to this point, but I can't take it anymore.

    I don't know what I think my problem is, forceful letdown or what, and I feel utterly incapable of figuring it out. Everything feels random, inconsistent and nonsensical. His feeding, his sleep, his every behavior. From what I can see, the fact that I can't make sense of it means I have two choices. 1. I can drive myself crazy trying to make sense out of the senseless, consulting countless contradictory experts, becoming more and more confused and going down a rabbit hole of obsession and insanity. 2. I can give up on the idea of anything ever making sense and try to go with the flow as much as possible. This also means giving up on the idea of any of it ever getting better, accepting the painful status quo as inevitable.

    This totally could be a hormone crash. Up until now I have felt really very happy, in a deep way. Even when frustrated, I had access to this deep well of contentment from loving my baby. Now, when I try to access that, I just get depressed because I feel like I'm failing him and like I can't make sense of him enough to give him what he needs.

    I'm calling the pediatrician in the morning about acid reflux. It sounds like that is the best diagnosis we could get because it's an easy fix. Calling the LC again Monday morning. Afraid to be alone with the baby when my husband goes back to work on Monday.

  6. #16
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    Default Re: 7 week old fighting at the breast, short feedings, pain

    The hormone crash is a very, very powerful experience. There's this amazing postpartum high- you feel great, triumphant, happy, beautiful- and then a few weeks later there's a crash. I remember suddenly feeling exhausted, sad, fat, dumpy- and the fact that I had grown a cup size didn't help at all! Be patient with your breasts. They should definitely deflate a little as you get over the overproduction phase, and they may even return to their original size. Mine ultimately did, which was a huge surprise to me! But I put on one of my old bras, which I had been saving in what felt like a remote hope of going back to a DD instead of a DDD, and lo and behold, it fit!!!

    If the postpartum crash feels excessive to you, please discuss that with your doctor or midwife. Postpartum depression is real, and there are things you can do about it.

    I do think that "going with the flow" is, to a certain extent, the best coping technique you can possibly have as a mom. Not just with a young baby, but also with an older baby, a toddler, an older child... So much of what they do is "senseless" or at least changing so fast that there's no real pattern.

    Please be assured that IT DOES GET BETTER! I was in pain and tears with every nursing session with my first baby. I hit the 6 week point at which "everything gets better" (supposedly), and I still hated nursing! It still hurt terribly (due to deep cracks) and I felt like a freak for not being able to master something so simple and natural. But it did get better. It took way longer for me than it does for most moms (4.5 months, if you can believe it- the cracks were that deep), but I am still very glad that I hung in there, accepted the status quo, and went with the flow.

    We'll be here for you, mama! You're not going to be alone in this journey.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  7. #17
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    Default Re: 7 week old fighting at the breast, short feedings, pain

    Marjojo, I suggest you call your doctor. Your sudden change in mood is concerning to me. Also, I strongly suggest trying to put together some consecutive hours of sleep, even if it means having someone else give baby a bottle. It's FINE to do that.

    There is nothing contradictory here. It is apparent (to me, but I am not you) that you make more milk than your baby needs right now, and THAT IS OVERPRODUCTION. No matter what else is happening, that is happening. Because your baby is growing well yet you still feel so very uncomfortably full. It's early enough to think that OP is going to rectify on its own, it may not be all that severe. However, since it is causing so many issues, no reason to not consider being more proactive.

    Your baby has a hard time latching well. So it hurts to nurse. When a baby can not nurse effectively, it can make it harder for baby to empty the breast. If mom has overproduction, baby not being able to extract milk more efficiently is more of a problem for MOM than baby. Baby gets enough milk, but mom still feels full.
    I see no obvious signs of reflux, however, if IT is reflux, medication will probably help. Also, holding baby upright after nursing and short, frequentl feedings will likely help (Not neccesarily every hour. Just frequent.)

    Not one of these things are in contradiction. They could ALL be happening at once. They could all be making the others worse. They are all solvable.

    This is also not in contradiction:

    Your baby is gaining welll on your breastmilk. So even if all of the above are happening, none are harming your baby in any serious sense.

    I know how it is to get lots of conflicting opinions. I suggest, first, try to get some sleep, 4-5 hours in a row. Or do somethign else to help you relax, like getting outside for a walk or having a comforting meal or something good to drink, whatever works for you. Try to clear your head. Then nurse your baby however YOU want to. Use the tools you have been given but adjust as needed for you. Observe what is happening with your baby and your body. What makes sense to you? What doesn't? YOU are the expert on your baby. I think you understand much more than you know.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; July 21st, 2013 at 09:34 AM.

  8. #18
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    Default Re: 7 week old fighting at the breast, short feedings, pain

    Yesterday was better. I did get some sleep and got away from the baby for a while and had some cookies and a milkshake. I pumped more than usual and got some relief from the constant feeling of fullness (though if I have oversupply it might have made it worse). I gave up on trying to get a good latch at least temporarily because the nipple pain is better than getting frustrated and possibly hurting him.

    Is it possible my nipples are just so exquisitely sensitive that breastfeeding will always be at least uncomfortable for me? I even find pumping unpleasant and have to set my pump to the lowest possible suction to be able to stand it. I have never enjoyed nipple stimulation during sexy times. Whenever my husband used to try it I would immediately cry out and push him away. Even reading a scene in an erotic novel that includes pinching or sucking of nipples makes me wince. The idea of nipple stimulation being pleasurable for some women is so foreign to my experience that I can only barely believe other women like it. When I thought about this it made sense to me that breastfeeding is so unpleasant for me.

    Should I consider cutting milk from my diet? Could something I'm eating be causing his fussiness? Sometimes after feeding, while I try to burp him, he just screams like he might be in pain.

    I have another appointment with the LC on Tuesday. I mostly want to get help with the latch, since it seems like I can only do it with help. When I called to make the appointment, she suggested pumping or expressing a little before feeding. It was a different LC than the one I worked with on Friday.

    I sent an email to a counselor over the weekend too.

  9. #19
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    Default Re: 7 week old fighting at the breast, short feedings, pain

    I would suggest not worrying about food allergies at this point. Allergies via breastmilk are very rare and cause symptoms that are not evident in what you describe. Certainly for now when everything is so hard, I suggest, eat/drink what you like!

    I forget- Have you tried nipple sheilds? While very rare, yes, some mothers experience the normal sensation of nursing as either emotionally upsetting (this often happens if the mom has a history of abuse-sexual and even emotional or physical abuse) or has so much sensitivity nursing is painful. Nipple sheilds can sometimes be effective tools in both such situations. But it is important to make sure baby is getting enough milk when using sheilds, & proper fit, putting the sheild on properly, etc. is important, so I would suggest talking sheild use over with an IBCLC if you like. The good news is nipple sheilds are affordable (under 10 dollars) and you usually only need one, and they last a long time.

  10. #20
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    Default Re: 7 week old fighting at the breast, short feedings, pain

    In general, when a baby is properly latched, there is little or no stimulation to the actual nipple. The stimulation is all to the areola. So nursing is generally not painful, even for women who are extra-sensitive (and I count myself among them, though not to the degree that you describe).

    Do you ever notice color changes in the nipple, perhaps the end of the nipple turning white, pale, or bluish-purple?
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

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