April 2013 Moms

Need tips from moms who have breastfed before.

So breastfeeding was a major fail for me with DD. I lasted about 6 days before I quit. The first few weeks being home were horrible for me due to lack of sleep and severe hormonal swings (sorry to scare any FTMs). I wasn't in a good place emotionally, and the severe pain of a bad latch was almost making me feel resentful of my DD when she needed to nurse (It's incredibly hard for me to admit this, even 2 years later). But after a wonderful prescription for Zoloft and switching DD to formula, things got much better.

I always had that residual guilt from giving up so soon though, and I'd really like to try breastfeeding with this LO. I know that there is going to be some pain during the first month of breastfeeding. But if you ladies have any tips on how to ease the discomfort during this time, it would be appreciated :)

 

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Re: Need tips from moms who have breastfed before.

  • Ava had trouble latching, too, so I used a nipple shield. It helped a TON. Granted, my supply dried up by 6 months, but at least I made it that far. 
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  • lanolin, lots and lots of lanolin. After ever session, slather that stuff on. Change your bra or take a shower? Slather it on. and the Lanisoh disposable breast pads. To be honest, If I leaked I kept using the breast pad for awhile until it was a little too full. The combination of breast milk and lanolin on my nipples helped.

    I dreaded each feeding for the first week or so before it stopped hurting. And that was with a nipple shield. 

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  • First of all, I'm so sorry you had such a difficult breastfeeding experience with your DD!

    As far as the pain goes, mine wasn't unbearable but it was rough for the first 2 weeks or so. My boobs were sore and my nipples would crack and sometimes bleed. That said, lanolin was a godsend. I put it on my nipples every time I nursed and before bed and after showers. It helped immensely. I used Lansinoh lanolin, but I'm sure most brands would be fine.

    The other piece of advice I have is to feed often and not wait until your boobs are totally full and rock hard before nursing. The pain was much worse when I was too full.

    Also, make sure your LO is latching properly. Have a nurse or better yet, lactation consultant at your hospital or birth center check the latch before you go home. Once home, if you have any latch or other issues, call a lactation consultant ASAP. A bad latch can make the pain so much worse.

    I hope you have a much better experience this time around and that you are able to breastfeed for as long as you and LO want! 

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  • No tips from me as I was also not able to BF(milk came in very late and DD didn't want to latch on) but I am interested to hear what other women have to say. I also hope to be able to BF this time around, however, if that is not a possibility once again, I'm going to try my best not to be so hard on myself as I was last time.
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  • Most hospitals now employ lactation consultants and are there for you! Don't leave the hospital if you are still having latching issues. A good lactation consultant will spend however much time you and lo need to get things right. I gave up due to pain caused by poor latching with DS1. No shame, but there is help. My physical issues were the same with #2 and #3 (flat nipples) and since I had the support of the LC I was able to have some success with #2 (6 month exclusive BF) and I managed to hang in there and BF #3 for a full year! 

     Good Luck!! 

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  • My best advice is to find a good lactation consultant and see them regularly. In the first week I saw 3 LCs and saw a LC once a week for 6 weeks after that. Latch is such a big part of the discomfort and it is a really really hard thing to learn for both of you. LCs can help with this and the more you can see them, the more it will help you. Also, if you have any friends who have BF before, have them help you at home. In the first 2 weeks, if you can have someone to help you a few times a week, or even every day, this will greatly improve your chances.

    Other than that, you can find support here on the BF board and loads of info on kellymom.com. I've heard many women find success and relief with nipple shields. I never used them so I can't comment to that. Lanolin cream is a must and don't forget breastmilk is a miracle healer. Put that on everything!

    Good luck!

  • You may be talking about latch pain, which I think often is a sign that the latch is not good - so meeting with a LC if that's the case is a good idea, as early as possible (like, in the hospital). 

    For nip pain, agree about lanolin.  I also left a little milk on my nips and let it air dry for a couple minutes before I covered up again with pads & a bra.  There's something soothing in the milk that helps prevent cracking.

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  • Nipple shield, you can also get the cooling gel breast pads that help ease the pain, Lots of cream, and the thought that it does and will get better GL!!!
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  • I would suggest reading something that is encouraging about breastfeeding before having the baby. It's hard to have things not go as planned and might make you feel more confident this time around. I would also suggest going to a La Leche League meeting while pregnant because that can be a great environment to prep for breastfeeding. 

    While you're in the hospital (and once you leave) really pursue help if things aren't going right. A certain level of discomfort is normal as your nipples get used to nursing but continual pain is usually a sign that something isn't right. If I'm correct (because of the new breastfeeding insurance laws) most insurance companies are required to pay for a certain amount of lactation consultant visits. I would definitely suggest seeking out a lactation consultant right away in the hospital if things aren't going well. I relied on my nurses for the first couple days and I don't think they were very knowledgeable about breastfeeding, which was tough.  

    I think in my case it was important to set small goals too. I had constant, unexplained pain with nursing (which is really rare and I sought out a ton of help to no avail) so I would set my goal for the next month and when the next month came I would decide if I was going to keep going and then would set a goal of the next month. Next thing I knew my daughter was 13 months and I finally felt ok with weaning.

    Good luck!  

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  • I tried everything...nipple shields helped a little and so did the soothie gel pads, which can be kind of expensive if I remember correctly, but totally worth it. BFing certainly isn't easy. Emotionally I went through the same thing you did. Because of DS's "ferocious suck" and a clogged duct I switched to exclusively pumping when DS was only about 1-2 wks and pumping was life changing for me. I gave it up entirely after 3 months because for me it was a quality of life issue. I felt so guilty but at the same time I was a much happier mom, wife and person as soon as I gave it up so don't be so hard on yourself if it doesn't work out the way you envision.

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  • In addition to what everyone else said...find a breastfeeding support group in your area.  They are usually run by a lactation consultant, plus the support of other Moms going through the same thing is so helpful.  I went once a week in the early weeks, it kept me going!  Then once you get through the rough part it gets easier!
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  • I a "dumb FTM question"

    I am using 100% pure lanolin in order to prep wool diaper covers.  I assume it's the same thing... since it is 100% pure lanolin.  It's pretty sticky, almost waxy.

    So here's my question - does the baby latch on with lanolin residue on the nipple?  Or do you wipe it off if you've recently applied it?

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  • image mypalbabs:

    I a "dumb FTM question"

    I am using 100% pure lanolin in order to prep wool diaper covers.  I assume it's the same thing... since it is 100% pure lanolin.  It's pretty sticky, almost waxy.

    So here's my question - does the baby latch on with lanolin residue on the nipple?  Or do you wipe it off if you've recently applied it?

    It's totally fine to nurse with Lanolin on your nipples.

    Also in response to the OP, I would be wary of using nipple shields unless you've tried every other option. All of the many lactation consultants that I saw when I was having issues said to stay away from them because if the baby learns to latch with a nipple shield it can be really hard to ever get them off of it.  

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  • I actually think that expressing a little breastmilk onto the nipples and allowing that to air dry works MUCH better than lanolin (and yes it's the same stuff you use on wool diapers).   Your boobs are exposed, which is of course awfully weird but it works much much better.

    As for success, I agree that the lactation consultants and other support systems are a huge factor.  You need to make sure your support system (YH, family, etc) knows that they need to encourage you during this time. 

    You can do it!

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  • image nyki06:
    image mypalbabs:

    I a "dumb FTM question"

    I am using 100% pure lanolin in order to prep wool diaper covers.  I assume it's the same thing... since it is 100% pure lanolin.  It's pretty sticky, almost waxy.

    So here's my question - does the baby latch on with lanolin residue on the nipple?  Or do you wipe it off if you've recently applied it?

    It's totally fine to nurse with Lanolin on your nipples.

    Also in response to the OP, I would be wary of using nipple shields unless you've tried every other option. All of the many lactation consultants that I saw when I was having issues said to stay away from them because if the baby learns to latch with a nipple shield it can be really hard to ever get them off of it.  

    agreed on both accounts. 

    We only used a nipple shield due to inverted/flat nipples. I wouldn't do it for pain because you are just going to have to go through the pain again when you manage to wean them off of the shield. 

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  • image SpringPeeper:
    image nyki06:
    image mypalbabs:

    I a "dumb FTM question"

    I am using 100% pure lanolin in order to prep wool diaper covers.  I assume it's the same thing... since it is 100% pure lanolin.  It's pretty sticky, almost waxy.

    So here's my question - does the baby latch on with lanolin residue on the nipple?  Or do you wipe it off if you've recently applied it?

    It's totally fine to nurse with Lanolin on your nipples.

    Also in response to the OP, I would be wary of using nipple shields unless you've tried every other option. All of the many lactation consultants that I saw when I was having issues said to stay away from them because if the baby learns to latch with a nipple shield it can be really hard to ever get them off of it.  

    agreed on both accounts. 

    We only used a nipple shield due to inverted/flat nipples. I wouldn't do it for pain because you are just going to have to go through the pain again when you manage to wean them off of the shield. 

    I had to use a nipple shield due to flat nipples as well. Were you ever eventually able to breastfeed without the shield?

     

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  • Thanks ladies, for all of the tips and words of encouragement :)
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  • My daughter had a terrible latch. We found out, at 5 weeks, that she had tongue-tie. We had the tongue-tie rectified, but her latch never got a lot better. That, combined with vasoconstriction, has resulted in my nipples still being purple lol But there were several things that helped me last a full year:

    Find good help! The most important thing is to find a good lactation consultant. In addition to latch help, she will keep your mind at ease in regards to making sure that baby is drinking enough. I found mine by going to a local llli meeting and asking for recommendations. Not only did my LC help with my daughter's breastfeeding, she potentially saved my life by getting me help when I started to sink into bad PPD.

    I don't like lanolin because it is so thick and sticky. It really hurts trying to smear it on when your nipples are cracked and tender. I recommend Motherlove nipple cream. It seems a bit pricey for the size but a little goes a long way. It also helps to put some on before you pump, if you have really sensitive nipples.

    My favorite ointment for when my nipples were really messed up was All Purpose Nipple Ointment. It has an antibiotic, antimycotic (think yeast), and anti-inflammatory in it. You need a prescription and it needs to be mixed by a compounding pharmacy, but it is really great when you feel like your nipples can't take anymore latching pain.

    And finally, air out your nipples as much as possible. Moisture build-up is the worst thing possible for cracked nipples.

    OK. One more thing, if you've been nursing for a while but all of a sudden get the chills, a fever, and overall feeling of getting hit by a Mack truck. See your doc, ASAP. You probably have mastitis. Luckily, once you start antibiotics, you start feel better really quickly.

    I know that this all sounds like a real pain in the asss (and it is at times), but it's worth the trouble if you really want to stick with BF.

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    agreed on both accounts. 

    We only used a nipple shield due to inverted/flat nipples. I wouldn't do it for pain because you are just going to have to go through the pain again when you manage to wean them off of the shield. 

    I had to use a nipple shield due to flat nipples as well. Were you ever eventually able to breastfeed without the shield?

     

    At three months! I actually stopped trying to wean off the shield after a month. It was like she couldn't find anything to latch to. Then at three months I randomly tried again. She latched just fine. I went through a week of adjustment with some pain and then we also dealt with some forceful letdown that the shield helped block. We continued to nurse for 18 months. 

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  • I don't have a lot of tips, but I can offer support. I stopped breastfeeding DD after 4 weeks because I cried through all of our nursing sessions, resented her, and felt like a horrible person.  I had a ton of other things going on (including gallstone attacks that I thought were panic attacks from nursing - yes it was that bad, and thrush) so I really hope I can do better this time.   One thing I'm going to try is to set smaller goals for myself.  I would love to breastfeed for the whole first year and possible beyond, but I think I was way too set on that last time. If I have to pump earlier, use nipple shields, give DD a pacifier for my sanity, I will.  My goal is to make it at least 3 months.  Of course I hope to go longer, but after the experience I had last time, I'm kind of just proud to even be trying again.  

     

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  • image SpringPeeper:

    lanolin, lots and lots of lanolin. After ever session, slather that stuff on. Change your bra or take a shower? Slather it on. and the Lanisoh disposable breast pads. To be honest, If I leaked I kept using the breast pad for awhile until it was a little too full. The combination of breast milk and lanolin on my nipples helped.

    I dreaded each feeding for the first week or so before it stopped hurting. And that was with a nipple shield. 

    I'm not sure if you'll see this SpringPeeper, but I have a question for you or anyone who would know: I followed this advice last time and we developed thrush.  Do you think the lanolin had anything to do with that? I am just thinking of how thrush grows in damp environments and I am wondering if it would be better to let my nipples dry out. Then again, that doesn't seem like a good idea either.   

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  • image Molly&:
    image SpringPeeper:

    lanolin, lots and lots of lanolin. After ever session, slather that stuff on. Change your bra or take a shower? Slather it on. and the Lanisoh disposable breast pads. To be honest, If I leaked I kept using the breast pad for awhile until it was a little too full. The combination of breast milk and lanolin on my nipples helped.

    I dreaded each feeding for the first week or so before it stopped hurting. And that was with a nipple shield. 

    I'm not sure if you'll see this SpringPeeper, but I have a question for you or anyone who would know: I followed this advice last time and we developed thrush.  Do you think the lanolin had anything to do with that? I am just thinking of how thrush grows in damp environments and I am wondering if it would be better to let my nipples dry out. Then again, that doesn't seem like a good idea either.   

    I think that breastmilk alone probably would have been better, especially with airing out as opposed to the dampness of a breastpad.

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  • image Molly&:
    image SpringPeeper:

    lanolin, lots and lots of lanolin. After ever session, slather that stuff on. Change your bra or take a shower? Slather it on. and the Lanisoh disposable breast pads. To be honest, If I leaked I kept using the breast pad for awhile until it was a little too full. The combination of breast milk and lanolin on my nipples helped.

    I dreaded each feeding for the first week or so before it stopped hurting. And that was with a nipple shield. 

    I'm not sure if you'll see this SpringPeeper, but I have a question for you or anyone who would know: I followed this advice last time and we developed thrush.  Do you think the lanolin had anything to do with that? I am just thinking of how thrush grows in damp environments and I am wondering if it would be better to let my nipples dry out. Then again, that doesn't seem like a good idea either.   

    I didn't have thrush the first time, so I don't know. Once the pain stopped, I stopped with the lanolin, so it was really only the first couple weeks that I was slathering it. I don't think I could have stood to let them dry out when they were cracked and bleeding though.

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  • image SpringPeeper:
    image Molly&:
    image SpringPeeper:

    lanolin, lots and lots of lanolin. After ever session, slather that stuff on. Change your bra or take a shower? Slather it on. and the Lanisoh disposable breast pads. To be honest, If I leaked I kept using the breast pad for awhile until it was a little too full. The combination of breast milk and lanolin on my nipples helped.

    I dreaded each feeding for the first week or so before it stopped hurting. And that was with a nipple shield. 

    I'm not sure if you'll see this SpringPeeper, but I have a question for you or anyone who would know: I followed this advice last time and we developed thrush.  Do you think the lanolin had anything to do with that? I am just thinking of how thrush grows in damp environments and I am wondering if it would be better to let my nipples dry out. Then again, that doesn't seem like a good idea either.   

    I didn't have thrush the first time, so I don't know. Once the pain stopped, I stopped with the lanolin, so it was really only the first couple weeks that I was slathering it. I don't think I could have stood to let them dry out when they were cracked and bleeding though.

    Hm, maybe I will ask on the breastfeeding board as we get closer.  I stopped nursing at one month and we had thrush for about 2 weeks at that point if I remember correctly (which is questionable) so I think we got it pretty early.  I really hope to avoid it this time!  

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  • Don't feel guilty you needed to do what was best for both of you! Having a healthy mama is important.

    Around 4 weeks breastfeeding got easier for me. Around 6 my milk was at a normal pace. I treat each time nursing as practice. It just gets easier takes time.
  • image SpringPeeper:

    lanolin, lots and lots of lanolin. After ever session, slather that stuff on. Change your bra or take a shower? Slather it on. and the Lanisoh disposable breast pads. To be honest, If I leaked I kept using the breast pad for awhile until it was a little too full. The combination of breast milk and lanolin on my nipples helped.

    I dreaded each feeding for the first week or so before it stopped hurting. And that was with a nipple shield. 

    All of this! The first month is horrible but it will get better as after that.

    Lanolin and soft cushiony breast pads were a huge help for me.  

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