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Thread: 12 weeks and still not pain free

  1. #1

    Default 12 weeks and still not pain free

    My DS and I have had a painful bf journey. Early on we had all sorts of problems as a result of poor tongue movement (no tongue tie just short extension) and lack of coordination (which lead to a bad latch) and anatomical structure in his mouth that was misaligned (according to an LC and a CST). We've made progress but still are not pain free. It seems like we've made incremental steps along the way but we keep finding another layer to correct. I'm still looking for that last thing to make it enjoyable. But right now, my nipples are still so sore and I'm so discouraged. On top of it, I experience vasospasm because of how he's feeding.

    I've been primarily using cross cradle as a position but have been trying new positions in the last few days in hopes of finding something better. I tried laid back and football and neither seemed to transfer milk as well (though I'm guessing on that. The diapers are all good and he seems content but he's been nursing more frequently). Baby is gaining well and generally seems content from feeds and for that, i'm grateful. But I want to not be constantly uncomfortable!

    So here's my problem:
    1. He clamps down during the feed. Usually at the end when he's tired but not always. He compresses hard and persistently (even when I try and unlatch)
    2. His suck is ridiculously strong -- he can finish a feed in 5 minutes.
    3. The initial latch hurts, it improves in the first 20 seconds, and then about 2 minutes in it starts to burn/itch as he moves from the "priming" suck to the deep swallows. It almost feels like he's got stubble on his chin and it's irritating the skin where his chin meets my breast (but there's no irritation to the skin, it's just the sensation)
    4. I have vasospams because of the compression
    5. My nipples (including aureola) are sore and feel bruised

    So, i still need help! I want to know how I can get him to stop compressing and sucking so hard. Is there anything else I can do?? Will it resolve at some point on its own? We've tried tongue exercises, I've seen multiple LCs, I've worked with CST and chiropractic and nothing has resolved our issues. Anyone have any insight, advice, or similar experience??

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 12 weeks and still not pain free

    Did nursing laid back or in football help with the pain and clamping at all? What about sidelying? If these or any other position is more comfortable, I would definitely suggest doing that and not worry so much about milk transfer....why that concern, at this age, especially a baby who only takes 5 minutes to nurse? Is baby gaining poorly?

    Laid back is very helpful for several issues. One aspect of laid back is it allows baby to come to the breast from so many angles. This can be very helpful if there is any bruising or injury. I once had a really bad bite and latch was very painful, and nursing my baby 'over my shoulder" basically reversed her latch and made nursing comfortable while I healed.

    Clamping and short nursing session make me wonder if there is a fast letdown going on?

    My oldest reflexively clamped when he started falling asleep at the breast. This was a temporary stage but while it lasted, yowie. I had to watch like a hawk and slip my pinky in to the corner of his mouth, force it between the gums, and twist (like opening a paint can with a screwdriver) the second he started.

    How often does baby nurse? One thing that seems counterintuitive but often helps for latch pain is to nurse more frequently.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 12 weeks and still not pain free

    My Baby had a posterior tongue tie (not easy to see and not all practitioners recognize them) and an upper lip tie neither corrected till 8 weeks. Things didn't improve just from the correction. They didn't really improve till after we were seeing a speech pathologist for several weeks, we saw her for 6 weeks total and I was doing different exercises with him 5 times a day for six weeks. So I would recommend seeing if you can find a physical therapist of some sort with experience working with breastfeeding babies. Some speech therapists, occupational therapist or find some one specializing in oral motor therapy.

    And yes, I agree with Maddieb, clamping combined with fast feeds and some of those other sensations you describe sound like maybe he is clamping down on your during over active let down. If you unlatch baby when you let down are you spraying milk?

    In my case my LO would clamp and sometimes even choke but I most certainly didn't have an OALD but his tongue and lip ties also combined with some muscle weakness meant it was tricky for him to control a mouthful of milk and that problem definitely got better with the tie corrections along with the physical therapy.

  4. #4

    Default Re: 12 weeks and still not pain free

    I did get him checked out by a specialist early on because my older son had tongue tie and she said he didn't have it. But I would happily do the OT/speech exercises. Where/how did you find one specializing in infants? I called my insurance and they gave me a list of hundreds of OTs/STs but couldn't narrow it down for me. I asked my ped but he had no suggestions.

    I don't think its OALD. I don't spray milk or anything like that. He does choke sometimes on my right side only but that is occasionally. When you say the clamping was a phase -- how long did it last?

    Baby is nursing every 2 hours right now but he's also sleeping 9 hours at night.

    I'm super discouraged today. Something he stopped doing a week ago after 3 sessions with a cranial specialist he did again this morning. It's almost like my nipple gets rubbed between the back part of his guns where his molars will be. But it damages it badly and then the vasospasm lasts for hours. I'm so desperate. I don't want to stop but I don't know how much longer I can take the pain and heartache.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 12 weeks and still not pain free

    I actually found the speech pathologist I went to through some one the IBCLC at the WIC office knew of. The bottom link in my signature has more links that have to do with finding help for milk transfer issues. With posterior tongue ties it can be really hard to get a diagnosis since many people really don't believe in them. We went to a pediatric Dentist who uses laser to correct tongue ties.
    I would say try contacting an IBCLC in your area to see if they can help you find a therapist and it may be worth getting a second opinion on the tongue tie
    http://www.ilca.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3901

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 12 weeks and still not pain free

    Have you tried a nipple shield? I had similar issues and was crying before every feed because I dreaded it so much. My health visitor recommended the Medela shields and they were a lifesaver. I nearly gave up bfing until I put them on and had nearly pain free feeds. I used them until my nipples had time to heal (probably about 3-4 weeks, they were really sore and I couldn't bring myself to stop using the shields earlier because I was afraid of going backwards!). That was about 2 months ago and now my DS is 3 months old and feeds brilliantly without the shields. I will say that after stopping the shields it took about a week for my nipples to get used to the sucking again, but it wasn't agonising like before. My DS does still occasionally insist upon the shields when he wants to comfort nurse as I have an OALD and it helps to contain the flow, but for the most part we don't use them anymore! Good luck!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 12 weeks and still not pain free

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*teenytiny View Post
    Have you tried a nipple shield? I had similar issues and was crying before every feed because I dreaded it so much. My health visitor recommended the Medela shields and they were a lifesaver. I nearly gave up bfing until I put them on and had nearly pain free feeds. I used them until my nipples had time to heal (probably about 3-4 weeks, they were really sore and I couldn't bring myself to stop using the shields earlier because I was afraid of going backwards!). That was about 2 months ago and now my DS is 3 months old and feeds brilliantly without the shields. I will say that after stopping the shields it took about a week for my nipples to get used to the sucking again, but it wasn't agonising like before. My DS does still occasionally insist upon the shields when he wants to comfort nurse as I have an OALD and it helps to contain the flow, but for the most part we don't use them anymore! Good luck!
    just have to be careful with shields if there is any milk transfer issues or supply issues the shields can cause difficulty with mom's supply or babies weight gain so I would suggest getting help from an IBCLC if there are any problems with milk transfer or supply and shields are used.

    If you do have OALD and the pain is really just due to an injury that hasn't healed then I can see the shields being a handy tool.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 12 weeks and still not pain free

    I'm sorry for your pain. For mostly different reasons (though I also had vasospasm issues and just general sensitivity) I also experienced a lot of pain as well - especially the sensation that you described as the burning/itching (for me it also felt like a raw wound was being irritated).

    The first month was horrendous, by 3 months still painful and by 4-5 months it was tolerable. By 6 months or so I was pain free (except for bites from newly emerging teeth!).

    I was told to investigate thrush as a possible cause for the pain but as I understand it and as explained by m, it is difficult to diagnose if asymptomatic (eg no white spots).

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