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Thread: Horrible breastfeeding experience!

  1. #1

    Exclamation Horrible breastfeeding experience!

    I'm a first time mom and having such a horrible breastfeeding experience! In the hospital I was given a nipple shield for flat nipples, and have been using it for two months now. The first month was really difficult, the shield irritated my nipples terribly, oddly enough, and I had severely cracked nipples to the point where the pain was so bad that I could feel little adrenaline rushes. I met with a LC and she worked with us and helped him to latch properly but my nipples were so damaged at that point that it was more painful to breastfeed than to use the shield. So now a month later, I have been using the shield. This month has gone smoother, (with the shield) but the last week has been difficult again. I have had two clogged ducts and I am starting to worry my supply is getting low. The last two night feedings have been frustrating - very slow let down and a fussy gassy baby so I tried without the shield and I thought it was working perfectly! Its been 24 hours, and I now have two blisters and one of them is a blood blister. Back to the shield again... I'm about ready to give up! My goal was to breast feed for 12 months, and I'm already wanting to call it quits! Can anyone offer advice, encouragement, shared experiences, tips, etc..?
    Last edited by @llli*kasu; March 2nd, 2014 at 06:50 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Horrible breastfeeding experience!

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby and on making it through what must have been a horribly frustrating 2 months. It will get better if you hang in there, I promise!!! New babies have tiny, tiny mouths and it's hard for them to get a good deep latch even when there's no anatomical reason for them to have difficulty (e.g. flat nipples, tongue tie). But babies grow and they almost always grow right out of their bad latches by the time they are a few months old. A big mouth can take a deep "bite" of breast, and once a baby is latching on deep enough, nipple trauma is a thing of the past.

    My first question is, how flat are your nipples? Completely flat? Inverted? Or just short?

    Second question: have you been to see the LC recently? It's generally recommended that moms have expert guidance when using the shield, because it can in some instances cause lowered supply.
    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!"

  3. #3

    Default Re: Horrible breastfeeding experience!

    Wow sorry you had such a difficult time of it! I also used shields in the early days with my oldest baby. We probably weaned off at about six weeks. So I have shared some of your experiences and I know how frustrating nipples shields can be. Also you should know that it is not unusual to experience pain and even injury when using the nipple shield. Nipple shields were designed to help a baby latch who was otherwise not able to latch or unable to latch effectively. Yes it is sometimes used by mothers for nipple pain and injury as well, but the fact is a baby should not really need a shield in order to nurse without causing pain to mom. So the underlying issue of the poor latch remains because a nipple shield is not going to fix that (although it will keep baby nursing at the breast when otherwise that might not be possible and that's a very big positive.)

    I have some questions for you.
    Have you been pumping at all? Typically it is recommended that mom's pump when using a nipple shield. I don't mean pumping instead of nursing, as you would if you were separated from baby for a time. I mean pumping "extra".
    Did the lactation consultant have any suggestions as to why your baby was unable to nurse without injuring you? Have you kept in touch with her? Is follow up possible? Would you want to do a follow-up appointment? What have you tried as far as positioning or latch techniques? Was baby ever assessed for tongue-tie or lip tie? Has weight gain been normal? And about how many times per 24-hour day this baby nurse?

    What exactly are you seeing that makes you think your supply is low? Is your baby not having enough wets or poops? Not gaining properly? I'm not sure what you're saying about the night feeds. Gassiness would not be a sign of low production. As far as a slower letdown than previously, that is a pretty normal thing to happen at this age.
    When a baby gets fussy at the breast due to a slower letdown, the typical recommendations are to switch sides, or to try breast compressions and/or hand expression to stimulate flow.
    Now nipple shields could make both of these options a bit more problematic. However that does not mean they could not be tried.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Horrible breastfeeding experience!

    mommal Thanks for the welcome!

    Starting off they just seemed short, but now that I have been using the shield and a pump occasionally, its pulled them out a little more.

    I've only visited the LC just the once. Honestly I was a little embarrassed that I gave up so quickly, almost instantly actually. Just had the two month well baby check up, and his weight gain is good, the supply worry has been the last two days. I'm concerned about the shield causing low supply, especially because from what I have read a very low percentage of moms use the shield as long as I have...
    Last edited by @llli*kasu; March 2nd, 2014 at 07:25 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Horrible breastfeeding experience!

    Oh hey I totally missed mommals post. She must've posted while I was editing.
    It doesn't sound to me as if you gave up. Nursing with a nipple shield is still nursing. And in fact in many ways it is more difficult than nursing without one. So you sound like a trooper to me not someone who gives up.
    Okay so if your baby has been gaining well exclusively breast-fed, then your milk production is probably okay. However it is true that when mothers use nipple shields it does seem to correlate to poor production long-term. This may be due to the shields, or it may be due to the poor latch that creates the need for shields, it may be a combination. But this is why additional pumping is typically recommended when using nipple shields. How often you might need to pump is the open question. Do you see a way to put pumping sessions into your day? Do you have a good well working pump that you can use?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Horrible breastfeeding experience!

    lllmeg Thanks for the reply -

    I pump about once a day. I use a single electric pump (evenflo), I purchased it so I could leave baby for a couple of hours for errands, but we have been using the extra for his fussy period in the evening. The LC didn't suggest why he didn't latch since I told her about how the nurses told me I had flat nipples. I COULD follow up with an appointment, but honestly I remember everything she taught me and am using the same techniques, they just aren't working that well for me. I use and prefer cross cradle hold, but I have also tried football hold and side lying. His weight gain is normal, no tongue tie, and he nursing about 9 times a day, give or take a feeding.

    I notice in the breast that had the clogged duct a few days ago isn't as full as the other. I thought maybe my supply was low because he fusses in the middle of the night and pulls off the breast and I don't feel a letdown in the middle of the night. He has plenty of wet/poopy diapers. I thought maybe the shield was causing gassiness because I feel like I can hear air in the shield while he is sucking sometimes, (it makes a "clicking noise, do I sound crazy ha?)]
    Last edited by @llli*kasu; March 2nd, 2014 at 07:25 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Horrible breastfeeding experience!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lllmeg View Post
    Oh hey I totally missed mommals post. She must've posted while I was editing.
    It doesn't sound to me as if you gave up. Nursing with a nipple shield is still nursing. And in fact in many ways it is more difficult than nursing without one. So you sound like a trooper to me not someone who gives up.
    Okay so if your baby has been gaining well exclusively breast-fed, then your milk production is probably okay. However it is true that when mothers use nipple shields it does seem to correlate to poor production long-term. This may be due to the shields, or it may be due to the poor latch that creates the need for shields, it may be a combination. But this is why additional pumping is typically recommended when using nipple shields. How often you might need to pump is the open question. Do you see a way to put pumping sessions into your day? Do you have a good well working pump that you can use?
    I never realized I was supposed to pump, wish I would have joined this forum earlier! I have an okay pump, I wish I had a better one. I think I could fit in pumping sessions in my day, with a better pump. I mentioned in another reply that the pump I use I get about 3 oz of milk with both breasts combined.

    So at this point, is it possible to build supply up, if the shield is in fact causing low supply? I guess what I'm asking is, is there hope for a better experience in the next 10 months? Pain-free, happy baby, no extra equipment necessary?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Horrible breastfeeding experience!

    It is definitely possible to build up milk production at any point. Milk production depends on frequent and effective removal of milk from The breasts. But remember your milk production is not necessarily in any kind of trouble at this point. So try not to worry too much about that.
    Yes very possible to have an equipment and happy and pain-free nursing experience. Also all babies get gas. It may lead to a temporarily unhappy baby but that does not mean they are not happy baby. A loved baby is a happy baby.
    My phone is about to die I'll post more later. Anyone have latch or positioning ideas for Kasu?
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; March 2nd, 2014 at 07:34 PM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Horrible breastfeeding experience!

    Yes, in fact I think you can probably expect a better experience if you just hang in there! So many nursing problems boil down to the baby being small and uncoordinated- but babies grow and become more adept pretty quickly.

    After a bad plug, it's pretty common to feel like you have a bit less milk. Milk supply is created based on the frequency and completeness with which the breast is emptied. When you have a plug, there's an area in your breast that's not getting emptied well or maybe even at all, and having that milk just sitting and not being removed convinces your body that less milk in needed. The best way to bring supply back up is to remove milk a little more frequently and drain the breast more thoroughly when you do. If you were able to nurse without the shield, I would say that you should just nurse the baby, because babies generally do the best job of emptying the breast. But because you have to use a shield, I think it's a good idea to pump in addition to nursing, especially on the breast that was plugged. Pumping in addition to nursing might not be necessary, but it is really good insurance in a situation like yours.

    Was baby checked carefully for tongue and lip ties?
    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!"

  10. #10

    Default Re: Horrible breastfeeding experience!

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    Yes, in fact I think you can probably expect a better experience if you just hang in there! So many nursing problems boil down to the baby being small and uncoordinated- but babies grow and become more adept pretty quickly.

    After a bad plug, it's pretty common to feel like you have a bit less milk. Milk supply is created based on the frequency and completeness with which the breast is emptied. When you have a plug, there's an area in your breast that's not getting emptied well or maybe even at all, and having that milk just sitting and not being removed convinces your body that less milk in needed. The best way to bring supply back up is to remove milk a little more frequently and drain the breast more thoroughly when you do. If you were able to nurse without the shield, I would say that you should just nurse the baby, because babies generally do the best job of emptying the breast. But because you have to use a shield, I think it's a good idea to pump in addition to nursing, especially on the breast that was plugged. Pumping in addition to nursing might not be necessary, but it is really good insurance in a situation like yours.

    Was baby checked carefully for tongue and lip ties?
    I see, would you say that 3 oz per pumping session is normal at 2 months?

    I wouldn't say he was checked "carefully"... His latch without the shield causes a "stripe" down my nipple, if that clues anyone in on anything I'm missing...

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