Hello! I'm new to LLL. After consulting with several LCs I hope that real moms can give me advice. My lovely baby boy is almost 3 weeks old. We had a difficult vaginal delivery. He had a lot of heart decelerations and ended up coming out with his arm next to his head and the cord wrapped around. He was taken right away to NICU for breathing difficulties. It was also hard on me-pushing for 3 hours and a 2nd degree tear. Our BF experience didn't start the way I'd dreamt. We didn't have skin to skin until the next day but I get to try nursing him. He was never given a bottle or pacifier. He was a little jaundiced and wasn't peeing so he was very sleep until my milk came in. Then he got better.
But I've become worse. From the beginning I've had a lot of nipple soreness. I was told that it would go away. My nipples had little red blisters that have gone away. My mom started making a big deal about his frequent watery poops (which everyone said was normal) so I overanalyzed and thought he was getting too much foremilk. I started getting him to stay on one breast until the next feed when I would switch to the other. But going 4-6 hours for each breast I became painfully engorged. None of my nursing bras fit and were too tight. So I've developed a bunch of plugged ducts and mastitis. The outside of my right breast is hard red swollen. I had a fever. I'm on antibiotics and alternating hot n cold with massage to clear out the duct. But that side feels so hard and lumpy I can't imagine much is coming out of it. My nipples are still sore. Water or tshirts rubbing against them sting. It usually hurts with initial latch then eases up but sometimes it starts to sting again while he nurses. Like a strong pinching. Stinging. Sometimes he slips down the nipple and has more of the tip. Sometimes it feels like he's gumming my nipple like he's closing down on it. I don't think the arreola is as deep I'm his mouth as it should be but at only 6.5 lbs his mouth is pretty small. My nipple is bigger than his nose! It's also hard to get his bottom lip to stay curled out. It rolls back in. His bottom jaw also seems to close in.
I've tried all the tricks. Nipple sandwich. Tickling lips. Asymmetrical latch. It seems like luck if I get it right. But what's getting me the most is frustration with him on other nursing problems.
1. He will only nurse in cross cradle. He cries and fights other positions and I can't bring him to the breast.
2. Even in cross cradle he turns his head every way except towards the nipple. All the way backwards. It takes about 5 minutes to get him latched. If I let him lead on his own he tries to get it but then keeps letting go. Like he needs me to pop it in his mouth.
3. His hands are everywhere! They scrape my nipples. I can't see his mouth to latch. Or he sucks on his own hands.
4. Comfort sucking. I don't mind it at all but it makes my nipples so sore. He also starts about 9pm til about 12:30am. I would be able to lean back and relax if not for the soreness after a while. When he's half asleep he loosens up on the nipple and flicks me more with his tongue.
5. Tongue flicking - he will flick the tip of my nipple with his tongue in his moth then start sucking. This makes me think his tongue isn't down over his gum. I don't know how to fix this.
As a last resort I would pump n bottle feed and I suppose I can mix in a bottle after a week but I don't want to lose the nurturing and closeness of feeding from the breast. But with the above issues and the soreness I still have I need help. The LCs never seem to offer advice other than keep trying do it this way and the pain is supposed to go away. Get through the first two weeks. The engorgement has eased up but the breasts still have heavy sore spots and my nipples are so tender.
Please give me some tips on these issues before I give up. It's been so frustrating at times typically late at night.