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Thread: sore nipples + slow feeding

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    29

    Default sore nipples + slow feeding

    Hi everyone-- so glad the website now has a forum to post questions! My son is a little over 2 months old, and we've had lots of ups and downs with breastfeeding but we're hanging in there. Two questions:
    1) My latest issue has to do with my right nipple tip turning white after feeding. It's INCREDIBLY painful-- it looks like all blood has left the area-- I try to soothe it with hot compresses to bring the blood back-- but it's just a temporary fix. Has anyone had any experiences with this? The white area seems to be increasing with every feeding...I've also noticed the blood loss and resulting white color happening *slightly* on the left nipple tip, but it's not painful there. Latch-on is painful on the right breast only... then during nursing the pain fades... only to reappear after the feeding. In addition, I've noticed that my son compresses the shape of both nipple tips while sucking.
    2) My son seems to be a very slow feeder (sometimes hour+)-- with not a huge amount of productive sucking during each session (maybe 5 mins. tops). Then the sucking becomes non-productive (I call this "nibbling"!), with very occasional swallowing. Any hints to encourage more active sucking? Pedi says he's doing fine with weight gain...but I want to make sure he's getting everything he can, and I also want to keep my supply strong.
    Any advice appreciated!! Thanks so much!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    5

    Default Re: sore nipples + slow feeding

    does he have white patches in his mouth? Could it be thrush on your nipples? I haven't had that, but i have heard it can be very painful. If he is compressing your nipples (perhaps he is a 'nipple nurser") i would talk to a lactation consultant to troubleshoot that. Nipple nursing is very painful, maybe she can help you with a better/more productive latch on.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    29

    Default Re: sore nipples + slow feeding

    Thanks Tiffany-- we've had thrush before and this is different-- it's the blood leaving the nipple tip that turns it white-- no blood circulates there until I warm up with hot compresses-- then the tip turns red again. Bizarre! I've emailed a lactation consultant but was wondering if any other moms out there have had this reaction to nursing... thanks again for the reply!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    56

    Default Re: sore nipples + slow feeding

    Well, sounds like me. I get this less now that I cram the nipple in my son's mouth. Almost all of the aerola (sorry I can't spell this) needs to be in his mouth, more on the underside than top.

    My LC said he had a minor problem with his palate too, not enough to worry about, but it is possible you have a palate issue. But, if you haven't died yet after two months, my guess is he just isn't latching perfectly.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: sore nipples + slow feeding

    Generally speaking, it is a 'compression' from the babies tounge and the roof of his mouth due to a bad latch. It causes the blood flow to be cut of to the nipple. The way to slove this is a good latch. In the short term som mothers find that a warm compress or a hair dryer can help the bring the blood flow back quickly.

    If the latch continues to be incorrect, it can lead to sore cracked nipples, vasospasms, which are burning, throbbing or stabbing pain up to hours after the feeding for the mother. Nursing is not supposed to hurt, when it hurts there is something wrong with-in the nursing couple.

    A good latch should have as much of the areola (the dark circular part of the breast) as possible in his mouth, and the nipple should be way back in the soft pallet, you can find the soft pallet at the top of your own mouth with your tounge. It's really far back! It can take 10-15 times to get a good latch, especially in the beginning. What happens with some mothers (me included), is they latch and unlatch 2-3 times, are stressed they need to feed their babies, and allow a baby to eat in an unoptimal latch, and live (or in my case grit my teeth) through the pain. When I speak to mothers, I reaffirm, if baby is happy, and you are not stressed, take a deep breath, and get a good latch, no matter how many times it takes. To unlatch, please make sure you break the suction, by putting a clean finger in the corner of the babies mouth.

    Check out this La Leche League website for good positioning and latch:

    http://www.lalecheleague.org/FAQ/positioning.html#Is%20My%20Baby%20Latched%20on%20W ell?


    More rarely, there can be a problem with the babies mouth structure. Generally, if Mom is having some good feedings, or has good feedings it is probably, not the babies mouth shape.

    Hope this helps some,
    LLL Traci
    Last edited by LLLTraci; January 16th, 2006 at 02:12 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    29

    Default Re: sore nipples + slow feeding

    Wow-- thanks so much for the info and support. Traci, now that I have a "name" for what's been happening (vasospasm- I have lots of pain AFTER nursing and when I'm cold) I was able to do some effective web searches... I'll work on our latch-- I thought it was good (baby's mouth opens WIDE, and if not, I nudge his chin down) but now that I've touched my own soft palate with my tongue and have seen how far back that is, I'll bet he's not getting back there with the nipple... so now I have a few thoughts:
    -- I'll try to get more of the areola in there although my areolas are large- the size of a small teacup in circumference-- will have to "cram" as Dryad suggests.
    --My son seems to have a somewhat weak suck though- not much of the feeding session is "productive" sucking. Maybe that has something to do with him not getting the nipple all the way back there?
    -- He does cry and pull during feedings, he's impatient with my letdown... my milk supply is not the best- I've been taking fenugreek/fennel/blessed thistle for weeks to increase it. Perhaps this also has some bearing.
    Sorry to ramble on... of course any thoughts VERY appreciated!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    56

    Default Re: sore nipples + slow feeding

    Baby might be irritated that his food is not ready for him when he latches. In the beginning, I had to express a bit of milk on the nipple and then get my son to latch.

    I try to get my son on as far as I can and then I push on my breast near his mouth and scoot more nipple in! I also pull up on his lips to try and get them to flange out. Hopefully, he'll get the hang of this, but we were doing it wrong for eight weeks.... (Baby was not feeding and so I was happy with whatever latch I got.)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: sore nipples + slow feeding

    Hi Dryad--gotcha! I'll try to get as much in there as I can, thanks for the coaching. Much appreciated-- hope your son is doing great. Thanks!

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