Should I give up? Big (sore) nipples, small mouth, angry baby

I?ve been exclusively been breastfeeding my baby for a week now but I?m on the verge of giving up. Someone stop me please.

My baby does not open as wide as he should unless he?s crying hard, and all the LC?s I?ve seen so far have told me I have large nipples and that the baby has to ?grow into? my breast.

Often times when I try to latch and relatch him he gets so worked up and angry that he?ll start biting or he?ll latch on and then start turning his head from side to side which really hurts.

I?m raw, red, sore, dread feedings like they?re the end of me.

What can I do,  should I do to make this better? Please someone help me b/c I can?t take much more.

Re: Should I give up? Big (sore) nipples, small mouth, angry baby

  • You can do this! Your baby is going to get bigger and get better at latching. The first 2 weeks are always the hardest and the most painful, in my experience. Maybe try expressing a bit of milk into his mouth before latching to calm him down a bit and see if that helps. Take your nipple and draw it down from is nose to his bottom lip to get him to open wide. IF you need a break then maybe pump and bottle feed for a bit as any BM is better than none at all, but just keep up the practice of nursing and he will improve. Also, try out some nipple shells (not shields) to help your sore nipples and hang in there. It will get better :) Oh and make sure you are doing the football hold to nurse, it makes it way easier to get a big nipple in a small mouth...just my experience!
    4 yr old, new baby born Fall '12 & 2 losses
  • My daughter is barely a week old but the LC told me if she's crying to let her suck my finger to calm down and get in the sucking motion. This helps me a lot bc then we can both try again!

    Keep calm and trying and GOOD LUCK!
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    JHB 1/19/09
    Baby girl due 11/22/12!
  • Thanks everyone. I am doing all the things you've outlined (except bottle feeding breast milk - I can't really pump much at all and the LCs note this is normal for soem women) and I'm still in tons of pain.

     It also doesn't help that he nurses every hour. It doesn't give my nipples a break...

  • have you tried a nipple shield?  this made all of the difference for me and my baby.  So much less stressful.
    Que ser
  • Try to tough it out!  The first two weeks were so painful for me I was literally tearing up every time my baby showed signs of hunger.  It gets better little by little...Baby learns how to breastfeed and your nipples "toughen up."

     Also, I started using lanolin on my nipples after every feeding and it really soothed the soreness and it's safe for baby so you don't have to wash it off or anything when they eat.  Good luck sister, it's not easy for everyone and I sympathize! 

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  • A nipple shield should help with the pain when he latches, and lanolin plus breast shells will give your nipples a break between feedings, in my experience feeding my twins. As pp said, the football hold makes it much easier to get your nipple in LO's mouth. I also calm down my challenging latcher with a few sucks on a bottle or pacifier so that I can get him latched without him screaming. Good luck!! You can do this!
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  • I have large nipples. The medela pump comes with flanges (is that the right term?) that are 24mm, I had to buy 30mm to be comfortable. It took my first and this one 1-3 weeks of fighting and growing to work out the big nipples. I just stuck with it. I nursed DD1 for 21 months after we got passed the frustrations and pain of learning.

    This DD went from 9lbs1oz to 8bs3oz because we had such a hard time in the first week. I just stuck with it. If she got too frustrated then my mom of DH would take her, settle her back down (because I smelled like milk I couldn't get her relaxed again), and we would try again. I didn't use any nipple shields or anything, I just stuck with it, sang to her, stroked her head, and she would eventually latch. Sometimes it would take an hour just to get her to latch. After the first 10 days she finally got the hang of it and would only fight/cry once a day and now at 3 weeks she has no issues.

    The first few weeks are hard, they are for many many women. Some have big nipples, some are inverted, some have low supply, some babies have issues catching on. We shed some tears from frustration, tears from pain, and then, before you know it, everything is working smoothly and you have this amazing breastfeeding relationship with your child. It is incredible to provide your child with the most nutritious food they could possibly get.

    A little perseverance now will be completely worth it over the course of the next year or so! Good luck! Hang in there! 


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  • I have large nipples too (also had to buy the 30 mm flanges for the Medela pump) and LO had a TINY mouth, as a result, my nipples got cracked during the first 2 days.  This is what helped: (1) rented the hospital-grade Medela Symphony pump and pumped whichever breast had the more "cracked" nipple, not on every feeding, but at least a few times a day so that nipple would get a break; (2) used the breast shield on the more cracked nipple; (3) try to "hold off" LO from eating every hour - spaced out his feedings to about 2 - 2.5 hours each, I'd rock him, play with him, basically did everything to distract him from eating; (4) gave him formula in the first 2 weeks when my milk hasn't fully come in.  Between doing all of that, I made it through the first 2 weeks and DS has been EBF ever since. 

    I just want to encourage you to try and continue.  I know how hard BF can be.  Aside from the initial problems, I then had multiple rounds of plugged ducts, and basically cried on and off because of breast-feeding pain in the first 6 weeks.  In addition, because DS was a very "aggressive feeder" (according to the 3 lactation consultants I saw), I never felt the "bond" that many women talked about.  DS would basically latch on, eat, and then turn his head away the second he was full - no cuddling, no lingering, nothing.  I just stuck with it because DS was born at the 20th percentile for weight, and then moved to the 50th percentile by 6 weeks, so I was afraid to do anything to jeopardize that.

    Now 4 months in, I can't say that I love BF, but the pain is gone and there are moments when DS looks up at me after a feed and coos, and that just melts my heart.  I'm glad that I stuck with it.

    Good luck! 

  • Everyone will tell you it will get better and you won't believe them right now.  I cried a lot the first month of breastfeeding.  My LO had a shallow latch and it hurts like crazy.  Use lots of lanolin, let your nipples air out, and keep fighting through the pain.  Breastfeeding is something LO has to learn how to get better at... and they do also get better as they grow.  My LO was 3-4 months before his latch corrected... even with LC help.  

    Getting someone to take the baby and give me a break between feedings helped a lot too .  I dreaded every.single.feeding for 3-4 weeks straight.  I have friends that pumped so they wouldn't throw in the towel.  It might give your nipples a break, but I would not resort to a nipple shield (just my opinion).  Hang in there... it is not easy but you can do it!   

  • Another piece of advice...RELAX.  The LC tried to convince me to relax and when I finally did.. he was relaxed and latched a lot easier.  The baby can tell when  you are tense or frustrated.
  • My nipples are cracked & sore too.  I was an idiot and had the Amenda Hospital pump cranked up to full suction and I think thats why my nipple got so sore!  My insurance is covering this pump for a month.  

    My LC has me soak them in warm water with Epsom Salt & they finally seem to be getting better.  When I dip them in the warm water milk poars out.  Really weird!

    I have big nipples & my son has a big overbite & his chin is set back a bit.  My son has never latched w/o a nipple shield & it is extreemly frustrating - so I have to pump every 3 hours.

    I am so frustrated w/ the nipple shield as well because he only latches consistently when I am with the LC.  I use the football hold too. 

    I have my 3rd LC appt on Monday. I am unclear what the LC hopes for using he breast shield.  I am hoping that it means my son will grow into my nipples too.

     Otherwise, I plan on continuing to pump.  I want my son to get my breast milk & want to avoid formula as much as I can. I wish he would latch on becasue I feel like it would be so much easier!

     I feel you pain (literally!!) and hope we both can get through this! 


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  • You're doing a great job mama. It's so hard in the beginning! I don't know about the big nipples, but laid back nursing really helped LO fix her shallow latch. Maybe you can give it a try, google and watch the video. GL. You can do this. It doesn't seem like it now, but it will get better really soon and totally be worth it!
    TTC with PCOS since November 2009
    IUI#1 Femara/Ovidrel (cd 3-7) = BFP, m/c
    IUI#2 Femara/Ovidrel (cd 5-9) = BFN
    IUI#3 Femara/Ovidrel (cd 3-7) = BFP!
    beta #1 11/23 = 270, P4 = 75
    beta #2 11/28 = 2055
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  • I promise it gets better. DD was tongue tied. She could latch just fine but couldn't suck correctly. So the first day and a half resulted in one of my nipples the one she favored being very sore cracked. I dreaded feedings as well. We got her tongue clipped and she was doing so much better.
    After a couple days, my nipple healed but my other one got a HUGE crack in it. It's still cracked but healing.
    I use lanolin cream, but what really helped me with the soreness was cooling gels, they go in the fridge and then you put them on your nipples in between feedings, they feel very nice. I also would express my milk onto myself after a feeding and let it at dry before covering back up. Your milk has all kinds of healing antibodies.
    Now, it's healing and the initial latch hurts like crazy but it's getting better so worth it to know she is getting the best I can give her the bond that we are getting
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  • I have large nipples and dreaded BF the first few weeks.  I did use a nipple shield because it hurt so bad I cried during feedings and one nipple had a huge chunk out of it.  The nipple shield saved our BF relationship.  We used it for a couple of weeks and then weaned off. I did not find it difficult to wean.  I actually used it for all 3 of my kids.  I pumped after feedings to help maintain supply and bought stock in lanolin.  Good luck! It does stink the first few weeks ( for me 6 weeks) but then a switch happened and now it's great. 
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  • image Empireceo:

    Try to tough it out!  The first two weeks were so painful for me I was literally tearing up every time my baby showed signs of hunger.  It gets better little by little...Baby learns how to breastfeed and your nipples "toughen up."

     Also, I started using lanolin on my nipples after every feeding and it really soothed the soreness and it's safe for baby so you don't have to wash it off or anything when they eat.  Good luck sister, it's not easy for everyone and I sympathize! 

    This!  Do not give up just yet.  For me the first 5 weeks were painful.  I would cry every time LO latched on and dreaded nursing.  However, around the 6 week mark things magically got better.  I think LOs mouth grew and she learned how to work the breast better.  Since then it has been smooth sailing and I now enjoying nursing her.  It will get better, hang in there!

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  • I agree with previous posters that you can do this and it will get better and even great!  I also had a hard time at first, but there comes point when I think breastfeeding is easier than formula feeding.  It's always ready, always the right temperature, and always the perfect amount, with nothing to clean afterwards.  Do you have a good nursing pillow?  For me, that makes all the difference.  I have the "My Brest Friend" nursing pillow.  I take it with me if we are going someplace. 
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