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Thread: Thinking of quitting, please help

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    14

    Default Thinking of quitting, please help

    Hi ladies,
    I gave birth to my first baby two weeks ago and have been working on breastfeeding ever since. I feel like giving up! He is great at latching on, even on the side where I have a flat nipple- but he pinches the nipple while he is sucking. Which is confusing because it seems like he is latched on the way he is supposed to be yet this still happens. After a minute or two it starts to really sting and I break the latch and my nipple has a ridge in it from being pinched. Does anyone know what could be causing this? The only thing I can think of is that his mouth is still too small- or he is sucking wrong somehow. I have no idea how to correct it and I am dreading each feeding. It's so hard to keep doing this day and night every two hours. I break the latch over and over trying to get him to not pinch me, but it just ends up with both of us being frustrated. I usually end up putting up with the pain just so he will eat.
    Can using a pacifier cause him to suck wrong when feeding? He's been on a paci since a few days old, he seems to just need to suck on something all the time.
    Any help you can offer would be much appreciated. I really want to make this work but I don't know how much more I can take. Reading up on breastfeeding online just scares and depresses me because most of the articles say that there shouldn't be any pain or problems after 4 or 5 days. What if this just doesn't work?? Aagh.
    Here is the info you might want to know:
    Two weeks old
    Born 3 weeks early, 6 pounds 3oz
    Had jaundiced and needed to supplement with formula during the first week
    Have a flat nipple on one side
    Uses a binky
    Sometimes uses a nipple shield on the flat side to get him going

    Thanks for listening!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    100

    Default Re: Thinking of quitting, please help

    First thing I would do is get rid of the paci cause that's not helping with nipple confusion. Having a flat nipple doesn't make him cause that pinch look. I have a flat nipple also, but never experienced that ever happening. I would try to get a deeper latch happening cause I personally can tell a deep latch over a not so deep one. The way to tell is when your nipple comes out of babys mouth it looks as it has been pulled to the back of babys mouth. I have never heard anyone ever say it takes 4 to 5 days for things to be all perfectly smooth, you hear it all over this forum that it can take up to 6 weeks for breastfeeding to be totally established. You might in the future run into issues with breastfeeding. Hope I helped.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Thinking of quitting, please help

    Have you had a Lactation consultant come to see you at all? I had a some problems, and I had one and she gave me a shield too. I help a lot. I use it for a about 2 months and then he was use to nurse w/o the shield. But the LL helped out a lot. It did take about at least one month to get use to nursing. I was lucky, I did not have sore nipples. Also what kept me going is the cost of formula, and the thought of health benifits he will get.
    Good luck.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    135

    Default Re: Thinking of quitting, please help

    Quote Originally Posted by Laurap
    Reading up on breastfeeding online just scares and depresses me because most of the articles say that there shouldn't be any pain or problems after 4 or 5 days.
    Where did you read that? That's just rubbish. I had problems for nine weeks.

    My babies clamped down on the nipple initially, what helped me there was gently pressing their chin down with my finger. Good luck, I hope you will keep going, because while it may seem long, two weeks is really no time at all!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    63

    Default Re: Thinking of quitting, please help

    I think what she means is that the nipples usually don't hurt after 4-5 days unless there is an incorrect latch or something. Unfortunately, dear, it does take several weeks for both you and the baby to get the hang of it. Things start looking brighter after a few weeks...for us, it was about 6-8wks to really get it right consistently, but it wasn't that long to get at least some good feedings...you are right that not every feeding should be torture, and that something needs to be corrected if the baby is causing soreness after those first few days. (and the sooner the better, so that baby can get used to doing it right and so that you can heal up and not have to dread this...)

    That pinched line is a pretty good sign that the latch isn't quite right even though it looks ok from the outside. I had that with both of my two children. For the first baby, a friend told me to try supporting my breast with one hand, so that my four fingers were flat and together like a shelf, with my pinky finger all the way back on the breast so that the edge of my finger was against the ribcage. My breasts are big enough that I had been holding about an inch closer to the nipple, and somehow that was letting it sag or keeping her from getting a deep enough latch. Once I scooted my support hand back, it made a ton of difference. I also used the cross-cradle hold, so nursing on the right breast meant supporting with the right hand, and guiding her head by holding onto the back of her head/neck with my left hand. Stroke her mouth downward with the nipple to get her to open, and then get her on quick as soon as the mouth was open the most, and don't be afraid to really smoosh her in very close, so that she is actually pressing her nose and chin against you. Her nose is shaped so that she can still breathe even if the tip is brushing you, and you can always ease up slightly once she starts sucking if you think she's too close to breathe, but you will definitely be in pain if she is hanging on the end too far away, so smoosh in close as possible to start!

    With my second child, I had the concept down to get him close as above, but it still took a little while to teach him. His problem was that he clamped down hard because I had an oversupply issue, an overactive letdown. So, he clamped down trying to cut off some of the flow. You can read more about such issues on the LLL website or even on the forums (if you seem to be spraying milk and he sputters and gurlges trying to swallow fast and cries during the feeding in frustration, those are good clues). It is fixable!

    Another thing, since he opened his mouth on his own and I wasn't needing to stroke it, I didn't always get the angle right. Some one told me to think about eating a bite out of a giant hamburger, one that is piled so high that you have to stretch your mouth to take a bite. You'd open your mouth wide and put it on your lower lip first and then close your upper lip over it. Picture the motion of the hamburger, as you try to get your mouth onto both crusts. Got the image? What are your wrists doing? Probably rotating just a bit, holding the hamburger near your nose, putting the bottom crust into your mouth, then rotating the sandwich angle down a little bit to get the top crust into your mouth. That's how you cram your giant nipple into your tiny newborn's mouth. Hold it flat a little with the four fingers and your thumb, and make that hamburger motion (but esp. if you are large, remember to hold way back at the base of the breast, not right behind the nipple--it will be flat enough from back there, otherwise a closer hold will just pull the nipple away from baby).

    One other soreness issue--sometimes stinging that gets worse as the feeding goes on can be caused by a yeast infection. If you had antibiotics for Group B strep or a C-section, or you feel a vaginal yeast infection coming on, or the baby's tongue is covered in white that doesn't rub off like plaque, or you've been leaking milk like crazy so that your breasts are always wet...those are all things that might make you a good canidate for a yeast infection of the nipples. Read up on it if you think it could be an issue, b/c most doctors are clueless about treating it together in a breastfeeding mom and child, so you want to be well-informed. The pinched line makes me think that it's a latch issue causing you pain, but that doesn't mean you couldn't have both. Burning/stinging/itching could be yeast if you have reasons to suspect it, and if better latch doesn't fix things entirely.

    hope that helps...those are just my experiences with similar pain, and as you can see, they were both different causes...if you talk to a real LLL leader or a lactation consultant at the hospital, they might be able to watch you feed and give additional insight. Could be something I haven't experienced, you know? Get as many tips as you can, because you are right, it shouldn't hurt all the time at this point. But, be easy on judging yourself or baby...don't
    expect it to be perfect so soon. Figure out what's wrong, and then expect to spend several weeks practicing it, just like if you were learning a sport.

    P.S. If there isn't an LLL locally, sometimes the hospital LC might be free as part of a health care initiative. And even if she's not, it's better than a year's worth of formula, right?
    Last edited by Quiteria; April 25th, 2006 at 02:15 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    1,168

    Default Re: Thinking of quitting, please help

    Hey Laurap,

    Welcome, and congratulations on your new baby! I'm glad you posted -- the problems you are having are very common early on, and the previous posters have already given you lots of good advice.

    My son and I had the exact same problems -- nipple pinched at the corners, pain throughout the feeding, and I had two flat nipples so I can imagine/remember all too well how you are feeling right now.

    You can and will figure this out and get through these problems. You've come to the right place! I will also encourage you to get some face-to-face help from a LLL Leader or an IBCLC.

    The two links I'm pasting here give a very detailed explanation of how to latch, complete with pictures. LCs are finding nowadays that the "asymmetric latch" described here is the most reliable way to get baby latched on nice and deep and transferring milk well. Depending on what you've been reading, it may sound a little different -- I remember learning to "ram" the baby onto the breast, and to aim the nipple straight into his mouth. Look these links over and give it a try.

    http://www.wiessinger.baka.com/bfing...latchtalk.html

    http://www.wiessinger.baka.com/bfing...latchlist.html


    I want to emphasize that if you're having pain throughout a feeding, then something is definitely wrong and needs to be fixed. Many moms find that they have intense but brief pain with latch-on; if the latch is good, this pain fades within a few moments, while a bad latch never feels right. If you grit your teeth and nurse through constant pain, you may end up with cracks or blisters on your nipples, which are going to hurt far worse until they heal. Trust me, you don't want to go there!

    Lose the pacifier for now. He does need to suck all the time, but the paci can contribute to latch problems (which probably started with the formula bottles his first week.) When he can't be nursing, let him suck on your (or someone else's) clean pinky finger, nail down against his tongue. For whatever reason, this doesn't cause nipple confusion and can actually help retrain a newborn's tongue to mold properly at the breast. Once you two correct the latch problems and you're not in pain all the time, I suspect you'll find it much easier to nurse him for longer periods and you won't feel a paci is so necessary anyway.

    You don't mention his diaper output. Sometimes latch problems can result in poor milk transfer -- meaning baby is nursing but not getting enough milk. The best indicator of whether baby is getting enough is his diaper output -- how many wet ones and how many dirty ones is he making every day?

    --Rebecca

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: Thinking of quitting, please help

    Laurap--It sounds like the other ladies have all given you wonderful advice!!
    I can't help with this situation other than to give you some moral support. I quit BF my son at 3 weeks--he is now 22 months and I can honestly say that I have regretted the decision to stop BF since the day it happened. I had some horrible mis-information and a lot of pressure from the women in my family who had never BF so didn't know what to do to help, other than offer formula.

    I believe you have found the right place and a LLL meeting would be hugely helpful! I am currently 28 weeks pg for #2 and went to my first LLL meeting a couple of weeks ago.

    I truly hope you do not give up! I'm not sure what your original motivation was for making the decision to BF but it is the best thing you can do for your baby's health and is definitely cheaper than buying formula for a year! Keep your chin up, keep asking questions and get the help you need. I know you can make it and all of us are rooting for you!!!

    Krista
    Wife to Barney
    Mommy to Justin Reed (22 mos)
    Mommy to Ada Grace (edd 7-7-06)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Thinking of quitting, please help

    Thanks so much for all of your responses- I didn't expect so many thoughtful answers so quickly!

    Well I am scheduled to see a certified lactation consultant this afternoon. Last night I was in tears trying to get him to latch right, and my hubby felt so helpless. We are really on a tight budget but to him it is worth it to pay for a consultant to help get this breastfeeding thing off the ground.

    I am going to try not using the paci, and maybe just a pinkie as one of you suggested. (It would be great if sucking on a pinkie could even help him suck a little better)

    I think he is getting plenty of milk, we end up changing his diaper with every feeding. He also takes every chance he gets to pee on us! lol (he waits until I move the washcloth to put the diaper on, or he goes while we are still fastening the tabs...sneaky little guy)

    Last night I tried for 30mins to get him to latch onto the flat side without using the nipple sheild, because I am not sure if it is contributing to him pinching me or not. I finally gave in and put it on. I think his mouth is just too small. This morning I used the nipple sheild for about 5mins at first, then took it off and he was able to latch but of course was still pinching me. Sigh.

    Hopefully the consultant will be able to address all these things this afternoon. I'll let y'all know how it went.

    Thanks so much again for all your support and advice, it is really helpful even to hear that I'm not the only one that's gone through it. (Also that it's normal for problems to persist for several weeks...I was beginning to worry my attempt at bf was doomed)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    290

    Default Re: Thinking of quitting, please help

    Laura,

    Is your nipple shield the kind that is a full circle of silicone or is it a contact nipple shield? A contact nipple shield is designed so that the baby's nose rests agains the mother's breast instead of silicone. It is supposed to be more helpful in transitioning baby to only the breast. Here is a link with a picture that shows the original shield and the contact shield:
    http://www.medela.com/NewFiles/speci...l#nippleshield

    You might consider asking your LC if it could help your situtation.
    Tanya, LLL Leader and Mama to three wonderful kids

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    1,168

    Default Re: Thinking of quitting, please help

    I'm glad to hear you'll be seeing an LC this afternoon. Let us know how that goes. A face-to-face, hands-on evaluation with someone trained in lactation support can work wonders.

    I forgot to say in my first post that in our case, the latching problems improved gradually, not suddenly. The pinched-at-the-corners shape gradually went away, as did the shallow pinchy feeling while nursing. So if you don't see an overnight cure, don't lose hope.

    I know you can't see all this right now, but it sounds like you actually have a LOT going right in your breastfeeding relationship already. Your baby is nursing frequently and getting plenty of milk; your husband is concerned and supportive; you have access to accurate information and trained lactation support; and most important of all, you yourself are determined and willing to persist through difficulties. This is the recipe for breastfeeding success! Months from now, you will look back at these first few weeks as just a bump in the road.

    --Rebecca

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