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Thread: Sore nipples - help

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Default Sore nipples - help

    My daughter is 17 days old and I've been bf her since birth. My nipples still hurt at latch on. Once she gets latched on, it's fine after about 10 seconds, but the initial latch on is dreadful. What can I do? I've been to a lactation consultant twice and both times she said my positioning and everything was fine. I would appreciate any advice that anyone can offer. I saw in one of the previous threads someone mentioned thrush. How do I know if that's my problem? What are the signs and symptoms?

    I have also been considering stopping the actual bf and beginning to just pump for bottles and storage. What is the opinion on this practice? Does it still give all the benefits of bf to the baby and also to myself (weight loss)? Please offer any advice so I can make up my mind. I feel that my husband doesn't get a chance to bond with her since she always seems to be eating or sleeping. Plus it would alleviate the pain of latch on. If I did go this route, how often would I need to pump to ensure sufficent supply and comfort? Thank you for your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Default Re: Sore nipples - help

    Welcome to the boards, Justme. And congrats on your new arrival!

    Quote Originally Posted by Justme
    My nipples still hurt at latch on. Once she gets latched on, it's fine after about 10 seconds, but the initial latch on is dreadful. What can I do? I've been to a lactation consultant twice and both times she said my positioning and everything was fine.
    Pain at the beginning of a feeding signals that something is "off" with positioning and/or latch. Things can look good from the outside, but if it hurts, something isn't right. I have some resources that might help:
    http://www.lalecheleague.org/FAQ/positioning.html
    The following are NOT LLL resources, but you might find them helpful:
    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/start/bas...resources.html
    http://www.wiessinger.baka.com/bfing...latchtalk.html
    http://www.wiessinger.baka.com/bfing.../position.html
    http://www.wiessinger.baka.com/bfing...latchlist.html

    Quote Originally Posted by Justme
    I saw in one of the previous threads someone mentioned thrush. How do I know if that's my problem? What are the signs and symptoms?
    Here is some good information:
    http://www.lalecheleague.org/FAQ/thrush.html

    Quote Originally Posted by Justme
    I have also been considering stopping the actual bf and beginning to just pump for bottles and storage. What is the opinion on this practice? Does it still give all the benefits of bf to the baby and also to myself (weight loss)?
    Well, exclusive pumping can work. I, personally, don't recommend it unless there is absolutely no other way. The reason being is that it's so much harder than just nursing. It's a HUGE commitment. < Hats off to all the mothers out there who do it, and do it well! > I would suggest you maybe try to look for another solution *first*. And, yes, the benefits for exclusive pumping and exclusive breast milk feeding are the same. **

    Quote Originally Posted by Justme
    I feel that my husband doesn't get a chance to bond with her since she always seems to be eating or sleeping.
    There are other ways Dads can bond with babies. Also, it's NORMAL for newborns to just eat and sleep. This phase passes SO quickly. Before you know it, she'll be wide awake and will be MUCH more fun for Dad. Some families even have specific jobs for Dad. One family in particular has Dad doing all the baths. He loves it! He gets a special time to bond with baby, and mom gets a break. It's a win-win situation. You might find this resource helpful:
    http://www.lalecheleague.org/FAQ/dad.html

    Quote Originally Posted by Justme
    Plus it would alleviate the pain of latch on.
    Yes, it probably will. But, the pain you're having while nursing is certainly fix-able! Have you considered calling your local LLL Leader for assistance?

    Quote Originally Posted by Justme
    If I did go this route, how often would I need to pump to ensure sufficent supply and comfort?
    You would need to pump with a hospital grade or full-size double electric pump at least 8 times a day. You would sometimes need to pump more frequently to mimic "frequency days" like your baby naturally experiences during a growth spurt. If you should choose to exclusively pump, I would suggest that 1) you try to fix the problem with latch on first as breastfeeding is SO much easier than pumping in the long run 2) you try pumping and feeding before making a full time commitment to exclusive pumping and 3) you consider waiting a couple of more weeks before exclusively pumping so your milk production levels will likely be "set".

    HTH!
    Last edited by LLL_Jolie; March 21st, 2006 at 10:53 AM. Reason: **The benefits of breastmilk feeding are comparable to the benefits of direct feeding from the breast.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    46

    Default Re: Sore nipples - help

    Congratulations on the birth of your baby!

    The above response was great , but is missing one thing, IMHO.

    I think there might be an important factor that is lost in the exclusive pumping.

    When a baby is nursing she exposes mother to germs etc that she has come in contact with.
    Direct contact between mouth and breast.

    Maybe I am wrong, but I would think there would be a definate delay in mom's antibodies getting to baby to fight against the germs, without that direct contact.

    If you are pumping and are ahead with your milk supply, you might be freezing today's milk and feeding it next week. Well today's milk might have the antibodies to fight of the illness that she came in contact with yesterday but doesn't even show signs of having yet.
    Today's milk might fight off the illness completely or lessen its duration because your body's imune sytem is developed and much quicker to respond with antibodies than your baby's.

    So it is great that an exclusively bottlefed baby is getting EBM but there are definately a few downsides.
    I think this delay of immunity response is one of them.
    A big one, at that.

    As for your husband, I think it is a normal response for him to feel somewhat left out.
    The brand new baby stage is alot of feeding and sleeping but he can certainly hold and snuggle your sleeping baby.

    There are definately many things that you husband can do.
    As your baby grows he can be involved with feeding foods
    when the time is apropriate but what about bathing?
    singing, snuggling baby when awake or asleep?

    My LLL Leader said that their ped. would actually write a script for 20 minutes per day skin to skin contact ...baby and dad.
    winter or summer, strip baby down to diaper and dads shirt off...wrapped in blaket or sling or under covers in bed if it is cold. Or even tuck baby in dad's shirt.
    I love that he would write it on the actual prescription pad and all.
    20 minutes min. per day dad and baby.
    I love it!

    I think most people are used to seeing babies being fed. In mags., books tv etc people think of taking care of a baby as feeding a baby. So if that is the case people assume that to get to know a baby , you need to feed it.

    My extended family did not have any experience with breastfeeding, and seemed to be thinking along this line and so thus felt disconnected.

    Ifound that in educating them to the benefits of breastfeeding, they could see the value of breastfeeding. Once they understood the value to this foriegn experience (they really did treat BFing like a strange thing to do) then they seemed willing to try other ways to bond with my children.

    I think my husband went through this process to some extent as well.
    At first he felt like he didn't have breasts, so he couldn't help.
    It may have been a combination of him thinking, "I can't help and baby is fussy so he must want to nurse." and me having a milk reflex response that would soak the front of me at the slightest fuss noise and saying, "oh I'll take him back." whenever he fussed ever so slightly.

    We definately had a time of figuring out how Mark could bond with our oldest.
    With subsequent children, my dh had an easier time bonding as he rembered ways to do so and knew that every baby noise was not a demand to nurse. (rocking and singing with dad is one of their fav. things)

    I wish you the best in your decision making.
    One thing that a friend told me once was to never make a rash decision.
    Think about it. Work through it. Pray about it.(if that applies) and decide tomorrow.
    Then the next day...think about it, work through it, pray about it and decide tomorrow.
    again and again. LOL
    Remind yourself that anything worth while takes work and effort. Remind yourself of your goals and then think about it...etc.

    Congrats again!
    Oh about the thrush.....did you or your baby have antibiotics during labor/delivery?
    If yes, then you may very well have it if you have not been taking probiotics.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Sore nipples - help

    one other thing...all that pumping can make you sore too ! and it isn't nearly as fun as when you and baby finally get it right and bf becomes enjoyable

  5. #5
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    Mar 2006
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    2

    Default Re: Sore nipples - help

    Thanks for all of the advice. I'm going to try and stick it out with the feeding and only pump for storage (I go back to work in 3 weeks) and for bottles for my husband.

    My nipple pain has gotten much better on the right side. It's pretty much to the point of comfort now. But the left side is still extremely painful and now it lasts for most of the feeding. Granted the pain isn't as bad as at latch on, but it still hurts the entire feeding. Why such a difference between the two? I'm doing the same thing on both sides when I latch her on. When I take her off the side of the nipple that is at her bottom lip is somewhat flattened and the top of the nipple is very blanched.

    I have seen posts where the recommendation was made to only nurse on the nonpainful side and pump on the other to allow for healing. Should I try this? Any advice/help is appreciated.

  6. #6
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    Dec 2005
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    Default Re: Sore nipples - help

    Sounds like she is clamping on your nipple on the left side. Ouch! I'm glad to hear things are improving on the right. I'm sure there is a solution to help make nursing comfortable on the left, as well.

    We all have anatomical differences on our right/left side. It could be that your nipples are shaped differently (or perhaps one nipple is flat, even), and that is accounting for the issue. Or it could be that you feel more confident in your positioning on the right side. OR...it could be that your baby is more comfortable on your right side for whatever reason. My best suggestion is to alter your positioning on your left side. Try different positions to see if something works better. Also, try to get your baby to open WIDE before latching on that side, and assure that the lower lip is rolled out (it sounds like your dd might even be sucking on her lower lip when nursing on that side).

    Have you considered calling your local LLL Leader for support?

  7. #7
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    Mar 2006
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    Default Re: Sore nipples - help

    What about sore nipples 5 mos in. Is there anything I can do position wise or do I need to wait it out. My daughter is teething and I think that is changing her sucking and she's got the dreaded interest in other things and she looks to the left and right without releasing my now extremely tender nipple from between her powerful gums.

  8. #8
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    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: Sore nipples - help

    Now, I'm only a first time mom myself and I've only been doing this for two months, but I thought I'd give you my two cents just in case it helps. First, I've been told by more than one LC that pain at latch on is pretty normal, so long as it subsides after the first minute. I think that the whole BF thing takes some serious getting used to. Have your nipples every been vigorously sucked on for 6-8 hours a day before? If even they aren't especially sensitive, it makes an awful lot of sense that there's bound to be some adjustment, even if there's nothing wrong. My husband often gives the baby his finger to suck on for a minute and can't believe that my nipples take this eight times a day for 40minutes! I think eventually, the initial latch on discomfort goes away. And by eventually, I mean after a month or two.

    As far as your husband - I also think it's perfectly normal for a husband to feel a little left out. We natuarlly spend more time with the baby because of the bf relationship. I "let" mine change diapers when he's home, especially the poopy ones! We also bathe the baby together almost allways. And, I discovered that if I nurse occasionally on the sofa or sitting up in bed instead of in my rocker, my husband can sit next to me and watch the whole thing and just be with us while the baby's eating. He really likes that sometimes, although he doesn't seem quite as taken with it as me.

    HTH

  9. #9
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    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: Sore nipples - help

    I think Pipsmom is absolutely right! I don't see why there has to be something wrong if it hurts for the first couple of months. I was in terrible pain at the beginning with cracked bleeding nipples and for a few weeks after they healed. All the lactation consultants said he had a good latch. I supplemented with a bottle after 10 days because I couldn't take it anymore--gritting my teeth feet in the air!! My son nursed every hour around the clock in the beginning. I supplemented and used lots of lasinoh gel and eventually healed and had a good 6 months before my son started biting, pulling, twisting at the nipple but the pain has never been as bad as it was at the beginning. If you see white raised areas on your childs tongue or cheeks have it checked out because thats thrush and I hear its quite painful. Hang in there.
    Last edited by glennysmom; March 22nd, 2006 at 04:27 PM.

  10. #10
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Sore nipples - help

    I have found a great way for my husband to bond with my daughter (now four months) is to take one of the other duties, and that be his almost exclusive responsibility. For example, bathtime. I've only bathed her once or twice... that's his special time to bond with his baby girl. They enjoy their time together, and he appreciates having that special ritual all to himself.

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