I'm a mom of 2 kids, and am pregnant with #3. This will be very long and drawn out, so TIA for bearing with me.
After my first two breastfeeding experiences, I'm debating whether to even try. I would feel so guilty if I didn't give it a shot, yet I'm horrified at the thought of having the same problems again...
With baby #1, soreness became blisters, then bleeding scabs (all within one week). I went to a lac consultant, who watched our positioning and said I was doing it right. She also told me, as I winced and cried, that there should be no pain if positioning is good. Huh? I tried lansinoh. I used only water to clean, I air dried. I walked around topless, much to the delight of my husband. I expressed milk and applied it to the nipples. The scabs never healed; they just got sucked off by my daughter and bled again. I would pump until I healed, then try again, and the scabs came back. I decided, darnit, she's getting it somehow! I started only pumping (no nursing, no formula) for 4 months. My milk supply was surprisingly good, she thrived. But constant pumping and bottle feeding takes a lot of time, and amidst post partum depression and panic attacks, I went to formula.
Baby #2, I was determined. This was it. I would make it work. I did all the same stuff as before, used lansinoh before I gave birth, and added Soothies, an occasional nipple shield, breast shells, and help from my wonderful Mother-in-law who nursed 3 kids. Still had scabs and immense pain. At first, I figured I'd just pump again, but that was out of the question with chasing around a 3 year old and DH unable to take more time off. It was taking so much out of me, that I wasn't being a good mother to either child or a good wife to my very understanding DH. so, I went to formula again.
I'm only 7 weeks pregnant, and I'm already losing sleep over this. I want so much to sucessfully breastfeed. I know the benefits over formula are outstanding. But I also need to be a happy, healthy, sane mommy, without scabby, bleeding nipples that get reopened 8-10 times a day! I know that some pain is normal, and that this takes time, but no one I know who's nursed has ever had anything like this. I've been told to try "toughening" my nipples, before birth, but it seems like every source I've found online says not to. Is there anything new I can try? How can I prepare for this before the birth? Any advice is greatly welcomed.