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Thread: Will I ever be able to BF?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    9

    Default Will I ever be able to BF?

    I am so lost, I could really use some advice and encouragement.

    BF has been a terrible experience, and yet I still don't want to quit trying. I dream of having a successful BF
    relationship with my dd, my first child, and envy all of you who have made it there. We have had a really hard
    time learning to get a good latch, so my nipples have suffered. In fact, when I went to see my OB, she said they
    were the worst she had ever seen and was surprised that I was able to continue feeding through the pain! I've also
    developed mastitis and had two yeast infections. I was advised to switch to pumping and feeding EBM "for a while."
    My LC and the pedi NP both said to keep BF because I would heal faster, so I've been switching back & forth,
    depending on which expert I've heard from my recently. The result has been a disaster.

    Right now I am pumping again, and while my nipples look much better they still have scabs that come off every time
    I get ready to pump, so i still am bleeding. I'm pumping 8 or more times per day, so I wonder if they can heal
    under those conditions. I went back to pumping at DH's request, because he was worried about me becoming depressed
    because of the hard time dd & I were having when I went back to BF. The little darling would squirm in my arms
    making positioning a long, difficult process. When I got her in place, she wouldn't open her mouth - she just made
    sucking movements. I ended up opening her mouth with my index finger or waiting until she screamed. Once on the
    breast, she would continue to cry and squirm as if she wanted to get off. When I pulled her away, milk (and blood)
    would be flowing, and she'd be giving me frantic hunger cues. So I'd try and try again until we were both a wet,
    frustrated crying mess. Poor DH came home in the middle of this and asked me to go back to pumping for a few days
    to heal and to figure out what to do. He wants to be supportive but suggsts that I only pump from now on. Even the LC has suggested this may be best for us... but I want to raise my baby BF the way women always have!

    In the meanwhile, I am worried about dd's health. She lost almost a pound in her first three days, then only gained
    4 ounces in her first two weeks. The ped said to supplement one formula per day and reweigh her at three weeks.
    We did, and she gained 8 ounces. Our LC said that we shouldn't give her formula, but DH insisted we listen to the doc. DD also isn't having regular BMs. SHe has one large one every four days. It looks normal (yellow, seedy, soft, painless) so the doc
    isn't worried. The LC says it is a sign that dd isn't getting enough food and that we should be working on
    improving our BF. She also says to do anal stimulation, but the doc says to let dd's body learn to pass stool
    on its own. I don't know who to listen to! DH trusts the doc more because we've seen him and we've never met
    the LC. We only talk to the LC on the phone.

    I desperately want to BF! So here are my questions:
    1. Do I wait for my nipples to heal first, like the OB says? Or BF on injured nipples?
    2. When I do try, any tips on controlling dd's squirming? She is too strong for me to control her head with one
    finger behind each ear, and she keeps turning away from the breast.
    3. How do I get her to open wide? I read that I'm not supposed to open her mouth and I hate trying to latch her
    only when she cries.
    4. Why would she not feed when I know she is hungry, the nipple is in her mouth and milk is flowing? How do I calm her down and get her to just close her mouth and suck?
    5. How do I deal with the guilt of all this? I feel like I am depriving my beautiful dd by not feeding her
    exclusively from the breast, like I am a failure for not being able to BF. But I dread each session because for
    almost two weeks they haven't worked at all. I cry with every bottle, with every pump, and a lot in between. I even cry in my sleep because I feel so guilty.

    Like my screen name says, I am a total wreck.
    Last edited by total wreck; May 28th, 2006 at 11:26 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    189

    Smile Re: Will I ever be able to BF?

    I want to say how sorry I am that you are going through such a rough time right now. I remember how my emotions were in the beginning and I didn't have the problems you are having. I cried about everything, every little thing. Part of it is just hormones, they'll settle down soon and the world will seem better. You will find all kinds of support here and great information.

    I really hope a LLL will answer all your questions soon.

    I have a few ideas but I think LLL would be the better source for your answers. I am wondering if there is a bit of nipple confusion going on between the bottle and you. She may be getting the bottle so much that she has become used to it's flow and texture ratehr than yours. I am certainly not educated in breastfeeding enough to provide the right answers, but I have successfully breastfed 2 children and putting them to the breast often is the best way to get them to accept it.

    Just keep it up and remember that an LC or LLL has training specifically about breastfeeding and their information will be much more up to date and helpful than your Docs.

    Take care.

    Deb

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    1,064

    Default Re: Will I ever be able to BF?

    I'm so sorry you're having such a rough time. It sounds really really frustrating. Whatever happens, you are definitely NOT failing your baby. It must be very confusing to get such conflicting advise.

    I agree with the previous poster that maybe there is some nipple confusion. It is easier to get milk from a bottle than from the breast, so when baby gets used to a bottle it can become preferred over the breast. If you feel you need to pump to let your nipples heal, I'd suggest trying an alternative feeding method. You can feed by cup (they make special feeding cups for infants), or by syringe rather than by bottle. You can give formula supplements this way too if she needs them. Then, to try to coax her back to taking the breast, I'd maybe try offering the breast before she is too hungry (in between feedings). She may be more likely to take it then. An LLLeader would likely be able to provide some more suggestions about coaxing baby to take the breast.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Charleston SC
    Posts
    2,601

    Default Re: Will I ever be able to BF?

    I am sorry that you are having such a hard time. Breastfeeding really can be so challenging. Especially in those early days. Unfortunately I can not offer much more than some help and some encouragement. As to who to listen to, consider this, your ped is trained in Baby knowledge and the LC is trained in Breastfeeding knowledge. The two of them can be a great help in there areas. Can you tell me how old dd is? A poor latch can lead to very sore nipples and also poor milk exchange, hence the slow weight gain. I would really work hard to get her to open her mouth VERY wide and then try to get her to latch then. It may be helpful to see the LC or get in contact with a LLL in your area. A nipple shield might help you to heal and to work on that nipple confusion. If you are using a paci you might want to look at getting rid of that also, babies suck very differently on pacis and bottles verses their mom. Things will get better, please just hang in there!
    About all the squirming and crying, I would swaddle her, hands and all, and nurse her in a quiet environment with little or no distraction. You may also want to pick her up while she is still asleep and try to get her on before she gets to worked up? Please keep us updated!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    239

    Default Re: Will I ever be able to BF?

    I am sorry you are having such an awful time~still it is very evident that you are committed to your dear daughter and to breastfeeding. You are a very resourceful lady to be here seeking answers.

    First of all I don't think anyone can evaluate a baby over the phone so while the lc is giving common bf advice she should be insisting on a face to face consult. Is there anyone else in your area? I think you would find the help you need through LLL leaders/meetings.

    I am not in favor of pumping at all for new mommies because it is exhausting and hard on your nipples. The damage may very well be from the pump but again that needs to be evaluated in person. I admire your commitment to getting breastmilk into your baby.

    I went through a lot of confusion the first time too because I was listening to everyone and it was making me crazy. Finally I decided I would pick the source I was most comfortable with and follow their advice exclusively. For me that was LLL. The advice I got was hard to follow at first but the leader advised me to bite the bullet so to speak and the sooner I got with it the faster we would reach our breastfeeding goals.

    For me that meant getting rid of the pump, pacifier and bottles. We nursed all the time, my nipples did heal, dd did learn and gain weight and things got into balance within about a week. I nursed my baby all the time and stopped watching the clock, I let her decide when to come off the nipple and did not allow anything else into her mouth. All the time though I kept careful track of her diapers for signs that she was getting enough.

    I still strongly advise that you connect with someone in person.

    Bless you for your efforts.

    Anne

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    435

    Default Re: Will I ever be able to BF?

    Get some nipple shields - quickly - and get to a LLL leader in your area. They will see you when you call them -one on one.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    1,168

    Default Re: Will I ever be able to BF?

    Echoing everyone else -- you need face-to-face and hands-on help from someone qualified in lactation support. If it's an LC, make sure she has the initials IBCLC after her name. Many LLL Leaders make home visits or can steer you to someone who will.

    I admire your dedication and persistence, and I'm just so angry that your various health care providers have given you such conflicting advice. With the right information, resources, and support, you can get through this and go on to breastfeed successfully. Let us know how you are doing.

    --Rebecca

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Charleston SC
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    Default Re: Will I ever be able to BF?

    How are you doing today?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    1,813

    Default Re: Will I ever be able to BF?

    I agree with all the previous poster, you need one on one help and not over the phone. Somebody need to take a look to the baby's latch otherwise your problem will persist. With my first baby my nipple were almost raw, until I went to see a LC and she stayed with me for over a hour working on my latch, she was my savior! After that it took a few days for my nipples to start healing and I finally start enjoying my nursing relationship. Express a little bit of BM and rub it over your nipples and let them air dry, that help me a lot.

    The LC says it is a sign that dd isn't getting enough food and that we should be working on
    improving our BF.
    I really didn't like this expression, it sound kind of discouraging as it might make somebody feel guilty. Obviously you're working on improving your BF, you're looking for help, you just need better guidance. Please don't feel guilty, you're NOT a failure!! You have been going through some rough patches, and here you're still trying, giving your best and DD will be very grateful for that, however long it last. Patience and perseverance will take you a long way.
    Hope everything start getting better! Take care.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    257

    Default Re: Will I ever be able to BF?

    Oh my gosh, I really feel for you! Just know that this happens to people who are nursing for the second, third, fourth time too. I am nursing my third child (my first I had to pump for 8 months due to health issues) and we have had a tough time. He is now 6 weeks and things are getting much better. It can take a while, though. Just think, though, even if it takes you 8 weeks to figure it out (just a hypothetical example), you'll have many, many more months of the joys of breastfeeding ahead of you!!! It seems like forever, and I know it feels overwhelming, but in the scheme of things it is a short time.

    I would also recommend a lactation counselor. Even subtle adjustments to the way you hold the baby or help with the latch can make dramatic results. My LC just had me hold him straight across my belly and high up (right under the breasts). She showed me a better way to get him to latch (he likes to chew his way on) and it really helped.

    Have you tried Lansinoh cream between feedings to help your nipples heal? It helped me. My nipples did finally heal so it can happen

    How about just letting her lay at your breast? Let the milk flow in (or near!) her mouth but keep it a relaxed situation. Just enjoy, and let her enjoy, the skin to skin contact without any expectations?

    I'm sure you'll get great advice from some LC on this board. I hope you'll write again and let us know how things are going!

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