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Thread: Exreme pain - Where is the special bonding experience I was promised?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    3

    Unhappy Exreme pain - Where is the special bonding experience I was promised?

    This is my first new thread on La Leche, recommended by my midwife, so apologies if I mess up. My son born Jan 5th '07 is causing extreme pain to each breast/nipple every feed. My midwife, also a breast feeding support worker, agrees he is positioned correctly yet each feed it feels as if my nipples are being pulled and squeezed by some cruel power tool/device. I have tried counting backwards/smiling/positive thoughts etc but nothing seems to stop the floods of tears tears rolling silently down my face. I read comments not to give up yet I dread each feed. Bleeding nipples, full breasts and a combination of deep/sharp pain are all pointing towards giving up. Where is the special bonding experience I was promised?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    214

    Default Re: Exreme pain - Where is the special bonding experience I was promised?

    I feel your pain and have these thoughts as well. I committed myself to BF prior to the birth of my DS because of the health benefits. This and the idea that many millions of women in the past and in other parts of the world BF, so why shouldn't I be able to bear the pain as well.

    I had read that many people feel special bonding during BF. As a first time mother (DS is now 1 month), I didn't realize how painful and labor intensive BF was. There are all these sweet pictures of women BF their babies in magazines, but the reality for me is discomfort and, to be honest, some degree of boredom while breastfeeding.

    DS has appropriate latch and I have a decent tolerance for pain (walked immediately and didn't ask for any pain meds after vaginal delivery) but the discomfort from BF is difficult to tolerate, especially early on - not only on the the breasts but from the contractions of the uterus. It gets better but it still causes some degree of discomfort to the point that everyday, I am asking myself whether I can and should continue to exclusive BF.

    Hang in there!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Default Re: Exreme pain - Where is the special bonding experience I was promised?

    I don't have specific advice for your situation now, other than to say that those early days are very difficult. I didn't have the warm fuzzy right when I came home from the hospital, either, and I didn't have the issues you are facing right now. Some people take a little longer to bond, and it's hard to feel good about something that makes you feel so bad! It DOES get better, and you will feel that special bond.

    Have you thought about getting some other in-person help, such as an LLL leader or a IBCLC certified lactation consultant? I know your midwife told you that the latch was fine, but maybe an LLL leader or the IBCLC person could give you more practical advice about soothing your painful nipples now, as well as check the latch, and rule out any other problems that may be happening that are causing your pain.

    Hugs go out to you! Seek out some help sooner than later, so that you can possibly feel some relief!

    Lisa

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    882

    Default Re: Exreme pain - Where is the special bonding experience I was promised?

    I can completely empathize with you! My son is 3 weeks (will be 4 weeks on Monday) and if it weren't for the fact that he's my second, I probably would have given up. Between his latch needing work, my total engorgement (I make enough milk to feed him and a third world country), clogged ducts, and just nipple pain, I probably would have given up by now.

    But, there are a lot of things that can help with pain. I know for nipple pain, I put an ice cube in a baggie and then put those on my bras over my nipples. Also, using a Lanolin ointment (Lansinoh is great) after every feeding and as often as possible. Getting into a warm shower and massaging the breasts also helped a lot. If you do not have a pump, you may want to consider buying an inexpensive manual pump. Expressing some of the milk before your LO nurses will help prevent pain from latching onto a full and sore nipple.

    Please hang in there...the pain will subside and you will be able to feel that wonderful boding experience.

    Lots of hugs!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Default Re: Exreme pain - Where is the special bonding experience I was promised?

    It's not fun for everyone in the beginning... nobody told me that! It was so difficult, painful, frustrating. But, we stuck it out and are now going on 4 and a half months of nursing. It DOES get better... your LO is so little yet and you are both still learning and getting to know one another. Also, problems with breastfeeding only magnify the feeling that you are not bonding with your child - I know I felt like I was failing her when she was crying because we couldn't get her to latch on and she just knew that I couldn't do it. You work through it, though, and it definitely rewards you. Now I feel like my daughter and I are super-connected. It just takes patience. The pain goes away, too, your body is just getting used to a little babe constantly at the breast. Hang in there, you're doing great!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Exreme pain - Where is the special bonding experience I was promised?

    to you mama!! I promise it gets soooo much better!! You will get that special bond!

    Sorry for th whsort response. NAK.
    Newly Pregnant momma to My little Miss Gracie with a little sibling on the way.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    562

    Default Re: Exreme pain - Where is the special bonding experience I was promised?

    Congratulations on your son's birth, and welcome the forums. I'm glad your midwife pointed you in our direction, and I hope you will find lots of good information and support here.

    I'm sorry you are having such a thoroughly rotten and horrible experience with breastfeeding so far. Sadly, nipple pain and damage are very common experiences for new mothers, but they are definitely not NORMAL. The more hopeful news is that these problems are definitely FIXABLE -- if only a mother can find the right information and practical and emotional support when she needs it.

    Your midwife may agree that your baby is positioned correctly at the breast, but positioning and latch are two different things. Positioning is something that an outsider can observe, while latch is mostly an invisible/internal process that has to do with what is happening inside the baby's mouth. No one can look at a baby and momma nursing and reliably pronounce, "That's a good latch!" Severe and ongoing pain throughout a feeding, together with damage so severe that nipples bleed, are a strong indicator that -- no matter how things may LOOK from the outside -- something is wrong with the baby's latch.

    In breastfeeding, "feels" and "does" are a lot more persuasive and important than "looks." Your baby's latch may LOOK fine, but if it FEELS wrong to you (as indicated by severe and continuous pain) and if it is DOING something bad (like making your nipples bleed) ... then I can pretty well guarantee that there is major room for improvement in your son's latch.

    Unfortunately, latch problems are also probably the hardest thing to fix using words over the internet. We can point you to some resources, but ultimately you need to see someone who is skilled in providing in-person, hands-on help in lactation. A nearby LLL Leader is a good start, or an IBCLC-credentialed lactation consultant. Get on the phone today, right now, and try to find someone who can meet you in person as soon as possible. You might also ask your midwife to recommend someone with a good reputation; she should have a sense for which local LLL Leaders and IBCLCs have particular skill in getting newborns and their mommas off to a good start.

    One particular issue to be aware of is the possibility of tongue-tie. See this non-LLL resource for lots of links on this topic. When things "look" good but "feel" horrid with a newborn, and where the pain is severe and continuous and the nipples are being damaged, it is possible that the baby's frenulum (the membrane under the tongue) is too short to get a good, comfortable latch. Some cases of tongue-tie are not immediately apparent by looking under the baby's tongue; ask whomever you work with if they know anything about posterior tongue-tie as discussed in recent work by Catherine Watson Genna. (Scroll down the page on that last link to find a podcast by Genna.)

    I'll include some reliable websites that discuss the basics of good latch and how to treat sore/damaged nipples.

    Watch the video clips on this non-LLL website for demonstrations of both good and bad latch:

    This non-LLL website is an excellent compilation of latch/positioning resources

    For tips on healing damaged nipples, try this non-LLL website

    Hang in there, but don't delay in getting skilled in-person help. The sooner you can figure out what is preventing your baby from latching comfortably, the sooner you will get some relief and get closer to that "special bonding experience" you've been promised!
    Last edited by LLL_Rebecca; January 11th, 2007 at 11:53 AM. Reason: adding links

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    36

    Default Re: Exreme pain - Where is the special bonding experience I was promised?

    I am sorry that you are going through this. It is certently getting much better, once you figure out how to bf propertly.
    I would second Rebecca that it is probably a bad latch causing the pain. Follow the suggested links, they are very helpful. Especially the videos of Dr Newman are very good, they helped me a lot to make my baby latch on correctly. And get personalised help as soon as pissible.
    Lanolin helps to sooth the pain and try to relax as much as possible, rest when your son is sleeping, warm baths, whatever works for you. These first days are hard enough even without the pain, but week after week it is getting much better and better.
    Good luck

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    69

    Default Re: Exreme pain - Where is the special bonding experience I was promised?

    It seems like yesterday I was crying in pain and frustration ready to quit as well! My little DD was having problem latching on correctly, and it was so very frustrating because she would just scream at the breast and was not gaining weight. I remember the excruciating nipple pain that nobody told me about! ha. And like someone said, it just looks like it would be so easy..but it is definenlty not.

    One thing you could try is a Nipple Shield. You can get those at a Target store. They will help w/ the nipple soreness as your little one won't be directly on the nipple. The Lansinol cream does help and for the engorgment all the suggestions are wonderful ones. But all in all alot of this you have to wait out. I promise you when you LO is 6-7 weeks all this will be over and you will be sooooo happy that you stuck with BFing!!!! I remember my Mother betting me 1000.00 that at 6 weeks everything well be so much better, and guess what? She was exactly correct. Your milk supply should be more stable than....meaning your baby will probably be eating at more regular times and so you won't be making so much extra (which causes the engorgement). My DD is now 8 months and I am still BFing and it is soooo awesome to have that bonding time with her!!! I don't know what I'd do if I would have quit. Right now the whole bonding thing does seem kine of riduculous when you are in so much pain, but trust me, IT GETS BETTER! I really really hope you can stick it out for the next couple weeks. I promise you though, when your baby is 6-7 weeks thing will make a HUGE turnaround...anyone else agree with me?? You are doing the best thing possible for YOU and YOUR BABY. Did you know, BFing for 3 years i believe..not all at one time.....significantly reduces your change of Breast Cancer? Also, your baby is less likely to have allergies and all that other junk! Please keeep it up and if you ever have any other ?'s make sure you and let us know!!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    1,712

    Default Re: Exreme pain - Where is the special bonding experience I was promised?

    In the early weeks, I experienced terrible pain. My LC said things would toughen up in two weeks, after they still weren't I gave it another, and then another. It was around week 6 or 8 that I felt we were getting the hang of it. My DH would say, "Are you sure you want to go through that. We can give her formula." I just said no and kept on with it. I experienced terrible pain with my son as well and so knew to expect it this time which I do believe helped prepare me for it better. Do all the pain relieving methods you can to just get you through these first weeks and then the bonding will come when you can finally look down without tears and see that darling baby and know what you are doing for him/her. Stick with it, get help, and you won't regret it. If you quit now, you probably will.

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