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Thread: breastfeeding can be hard...

  1. #1

    Default breastfeeding can be hard...

    Hi all,
    I'm new to the group and just want some reassurance that it does get better. My baby is 4 weeks old, he spent his first few days in NICU getting formula bottles and pacifiers and it has been such a struggle to get him to breastfeed since. The pumping every two hours, nipple shields, syringe feedings are luckily over. With the help of an LC we finally got him to latch last week! And now we are dealing with excruciating pain, sore bloody nipples and it still takes some time to get him latched initially. It seems like as soon as we make some progress, another hurdle pops up.
    We did have our first pain/fuss free feeding today on my right breast! But, am dreading the next feeding on the left breast because the initial latch still hurts so much as the nipple heals. It's usually just the first minute or so that hurts, it is the worst pain I've ever experienced!
    So anyway, I guess I'm posting this because breastfeeding has been such a challenge for us and I want to hear of other success stories. I was so close to giving up on many occasions. So many tears, swear words, and screams have been exchanged. Last night we had a rough feeding and I wondered if I would be able to do this. Taking it day by day, but want to hear from others that is does get better!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    22

    Default Re: breastfeeding can be hard...

    Are you using lanolin at all? that really helped soothe my nipples when they were cracked in the beginning. I use lansinoh. Really slather that stuff on between feedings. IT feels gross and sticky but it keeps the skin from cracking, reducing pain later.
    It really will get better though. you are still getting to know each other and transitioning back from bottles is tough - we are doing it too!
    I have days still when she wants to nurse a lot or feed for a LOOooong time when my nipples are sore and raw, i just use tons of lanolin. My baby is two months old and is JUST NOW starting to latch onto the breast more successfully. Even this morning early she was fighting at my breast, like she wanted it but didn't at the same time- and sometimes it's still awkward and weird, but overall, the instances of us being exhausted and covered in milk are fewer and farther between. Keep at it, mama!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    france
    Posts
    105

    Default Re: breastfeeding can be hard...

    Hi wanted to give your words of encouragement! 4 weeks is fresh still. Make sure you're getting a deep latch to avoid that nipple trauma! I reached out to my LC SO MUCH. I hope she's helping you address the current pain issue.

    It definitely does get better, and sometimes you'll hit a hurdle and feel like you're reversing; but it'll improve again. This happened to me so much. On top of it, BF caused tension between my hubby and I bc he couldn't take all the problems but I'm a control freak I guess and was so committed to not feed my baby 'plastic milk' (my definition of formula) that I worked through all the problems on my own, without the help of docs bc lord knows they don't know anything about BF! Ok, well, a lot don't.
    Always keep your LC's number close by. I had every problem you could name and my nips get tender even now if my baby is rough. I would say that I struggled/had issues til 3 months. After 2 months it was way better. Honestly- take it day by day, then week by week and don't give up I promise you. I used to just be furious at night and grumble 'this is bull**** breastfeeding is NOT pain free!' But alas, it is. And it's so much fun to watch my baby girl do all her cute lil things that she does when she feeds. You'll get there.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,959

    Default Re: breastfeeding can be hard...

    4 weeks is early, early days. And it does get better! My oldest daughter had an undiagnosed lip tie and perhaps a posterior tongue tie, as well. As a result, I spent the first 4.5 months (yes, MONTHS!) with horribly cracked nipples, immersed in a nightmare world of pumping, supplements, trips to the LC, weigh-ins for the baby... And let's not forget the tears and screaming. I was a traumatized mess and so was my husband. I gritted my teeth, took it day to day, and promised myself that I would wean my daughter at her first birthday.

    But you know what? It got better! My poor abused nipples healed, my daughter started to gain weight from nursing alone, and I phased out the pumping and supplements and weigh-ins. By 5 months nursing was tolerable. By 6 months it was enjoyable. By 8 months I realized there was no way I wanted to wean at my daughter's first birthday- and I didn't! We nursed very happily for 3 years. And even though I had an unusually awful beginning, and took way longer than average to reach the pint at which nursing became enjoyable, I would not trade one second of our 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!"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Central FL
    Posts
    938

    Default Re: breastfeeding can be hard...

    Most people I know who had easy to average breastfeeding experiences tell me that it still takes 6 weeks to get it down.
    I've been having a mildly rough experience and I'm at 8 weeks but I feel there is light at the end of the tunnel now since we got my sons posterior tongue and lip tie corrected two days ago.

  6. #6

    Default Re: breastfeeding can be hard...

    It does get better, and probably will faster than you think. I had cracked and bleeding nipples and horrible pain at first and almost gave up after my LO's one month appt with almost no weight gain. But we worked through it with some minimal supplementing and a lot of nursing and at 4 months he is doing great and feeding is a now a breeze and we can go anywhere without me panicking about the when, where, and how's of feeding. It probably all came together at 3 months. That's when he, I guess you could say, grew into it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    2,627

    Default Re: breastfeeding can be hard...

    I had twins in NICU 13 days and the first 10 weeks were really hard, then they got good at milk removal. I had a singleton with had numerous issues the first yr and we went on to have a great toddler nursing experience till she was 39 mos. The first few mos can be hard but once you both work things out it ends up being easier than bottle feeding with tons of benefits.
    Nursed my sweet daughter 3 years, 3 mos.

  8. #8

    Default Re: breastfeeding can be hard...

    Breastfeeding IS hard!!! I've had such a difficult day today, spent most of the afternoon crying and feeling like the worst mother in the world. My son is 9 weeks old, we had a difficult birth so he was given formula right from the get go and spent a couple of days in NICU, just like you. I was able to breastfeed from the beginning, but he was getting lots of formula through a tube+later bottle, so he got used to 'huge' portions and it took 3 weeks to wean him off the formula and purely on breastmilk. A nurse in NICU advised me to use nipple shields, which I still use now. I'm not really sure why she thought I needed them, as to me his latch, etc. seemed fine and my nipples weren't in a terrible state. Once we got him off the formula I thought everything was going brilliantly, and I was so proud and also just happy to be rid of the bottles with the heating, cleaning, etc. Then today we went for a weigh-in and turns out he's barely put on any weight in 4 weeks, only 150 grams. I was in tears! He's such a content and alert little boy, and whilst he does spend a long time feeding, I had seen NO signs of continued hunger from him. I thought he was thriving. Now, I have to let him eat 10 minutes at each breast, then give him as much as he wants from a bottle, and pump to maintain/increase my own supply. I'm gonna try and stop using the nipple shields. Also, I hadn't been changing sides like that, I've just let him feed from one breast until he didn't want it anymore and only then switch, so maybe my supply was low because of that.
    I'm not as upset as I was earlier today, but I still worry that all this bottle stuff and keeping track of how many millilitres and what not will ruin the instinctual side of parenting in general and breastfeeding specifically. It feels so clinical, and I feel like I can't trust my own judgement or intuition anymore.
    But despite the fact he hasn't put on much weight, he is such a wonderful boy, and very developed and it's such a privilege to watch him grow and discover the world. He was born by c-secion after 22 hours of unsuccessful contractions, and at the time I was upset about 'failing' at delivering. But once he was there, in my arms, I couldn't have cared less about HOW he arrived in this world, all that mattered was that he was there, healthy and safe. It's the same now, yes, I'm upset that I have to supplement with bottles, but ultimately it doesn't matter, as long as he is healthy.
    Sorry if this is a really long post, just wanted to share and hopefully hearing other real-life stories (as opposed to the 'oh it so natural, i didn't even think about it' bull that you sometimes hear: "women have been breastfeeding for centuries, why on earth do you need to read a book about it?") will help you.
    Good luck with everything!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Central FL
    Posts
    938

    Default Re: breastfeeding can be hard...

    I agree not easy.
    Of course in the more distant past living groups were likely bigger and everyone grew up watching mothers nurse their babies.
    I so wish I had done more reading/research on it before hand.

    I'm also just past 9 weeks and still having issues with weight gain and nipple pain due to tongue/lip tie.
    We are largely off the formula and using expressed breast milk.
    I don't like the idea of limiting babe's time at the breast if he is actively feeding. I do compressions and if that doesn't get him swallowing again I'll switch sides at 15 minutes if he is sleep feeding but he often will keep eating much longer so it become a judgement call as to when to take him off the breast so that I can pump and have daddy give a bottle (so far I haven't been able to give him a bottle, if I have to supplement on my own I have to use the SNS.)

    Remember that if he has been maintaining weight or just not gaining fast enough on just nursing alone, you are probably not that low on supply and problems are likely more to do with milk transfer (which really long feedings are a major sign of poor milk transfer.) Probably only need to get a few extra ounces into him per day beyond what you were doing before.
    Nipple shields if they are not Necessary will likely cause more problems with milk transfer and your milk supply than they help with.
    Take heart in the fact that your grueling feed, feed, pump routine will likely only need to last a short time if you can get away from the nipple shields and the baby has a good comfortable latch.
    Last edited by @llli*tclynx; May 16th, 2014 at 10:48 AM.

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