April 2013 Moms

breastfeeding questions...

Hello all! 

I had my baby girl (previously team green) Elena on April 28th. I'll post a birth story and pics just as soon as i can. I have a few questions about breastfeeding and pumping.

 We had a rough start to breastfeeding. I delivered on a Sunday and therefore did not get any time with the lactation consultant until afternoon on Monday. We were able to correct my latch easily but she did a lot of damage to my nips before that correction happened. My milk came in strongly on day three which was great. I am still having a considerable amount of pain when she latches. It only lasts for the first couple minutes but it is excruciating. I have to psych myself up to feeding her because I know how badly it's going to hurt. As the feeding goes on it isn't so bad. 

I am seriously considering switching to exclusive pumping due to the pain. I haven't pumped at all yet so I dont know if it will be just as painful as well.

My questions are:

How painful is pumping when compared to feeling straight from the breast?

She is 10 days old today. Is it too soon to introduce a bottle?

To those of you that already pump exclusively, have you noticed an impact on your supply?

  Should I just tough it out until 3 weeks?

Thanks in advance for the advice!! 

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Re: breastfeeding questions...

  • Not sure on the answers to all your questions, but I just wanted to tell you that I had a bad latch on one side for about 10 seconds in the hospital and it caused a blood blister on my areola. It made it really painful to nurse at first, but it healed about 10 days post partum and it's much better now. You might not have a visible injury like I had but there could still be something underlying that might hurt for a while. I tried nursing in different positions to reduce the stress on the spots that hurt and sometimes that helped.
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  • Congratulations and our babies have the same birthday! 

    I'm not huge pumping help since i refuse to pump this time. With DS1 i pumped and feel strongly it's why i had mastitis so much.

    It shouldn't still be hurting at this point, I would guess the latch is too shallow. Somebody posted an awesome video for how to get baby to latch deeper and I found it to be very very helpful to heal my scabbed and ripped up nipples.

    Regarding a bottle, I strongly believe its a toss up. Some babies need to wait and other babies love eating and never get confused. You really don't know until try.

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  • Our babies have the same birthday!

    DS was not a good latcher in the beginning either and I cried a few times during feedings. It should not hurt. I finally corrected his latch and he no longer nipple feeds. I don't feel any pain anymore. So my advice is that if it hurts, unlatch her, correct your posture and position and try again. You can do it!!

    I was going to pump when I was having latching problems and the manual pump I have hurts even MORE!!
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  • I would suggest a followup with a LC. Might be a simple fix they can help you out with as well as being a great resource!
  • In retrospect I can say I wish LO did not get a bottle so soon. It had made nursing harder. I would suggest a follow up visit with the LC or a new one to make sure the latch is correct.
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  • image ssharaa:
    My questions are: How painful is pumping when compared to feeling straight from the breast? She is 10 days old today. Is it too soon to introduce a bottle? To those of you that already pump exclusively, have you noticed an impact on your supply?nbsp; Should I just tough it out until 3 weeks?Thanks in advance for the advice!!nbsp;

    I had the same issues exactly with my LO now two weeks old. I would say don't give up! It gets better. If you have really corrected the latch, your nipples will heal with time even with nursing.

    I only had bleeding and cracking on one nipple but noticed a difference as soon as we corrected the latch. The pain from first latching was excruciating at first but became better after a minute or two. I used lanolin a lot and spent a lot of time topless to let my nipple get some air.

    The pain was so bad at one point that I did pump for a day. For 24 hours I let him nurse on the good side and pumped the other at the same time. Pumping does not hurt as much as baby feeding.

    After that I went back to nursing on both sides and as the days went on, the pain became less. Now, I don't even wince when he latches on either breast at 15 days old!

    So I say, hang in there! The first few weeks are tough, but you will get there.

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  • I EP'd with DD and I can say that pumping can still hurt if your nipples are already raw and damaged.  Not as much as BFing, but some.  I managed to EP for about 6 months.  I noticed that my supply gradually decreased over time until I was pumping 3 times per day to get 1 bottle.  At that point I called it a day because it just wasn't worth it.

    DS is EBF (I had a lot of problems with DD so I didn't EBF her and went to EP) and had a great latch from the start.  Having said that, I still had pain for about the first 2 weeks and then it gradually got better.  I also put Lanolin on my nipples before and after each feeding.  I really think that helped.  I know it's hard, but try to hang on if you can.  Most sites say wait to introduce a bottle until 4 weeks, especially if you are having latching issues.   

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  • My baby was over 9 pounds, which for some reason triggered them to be checking his blood sugar every couple hours. The end result of this was that a couple times his sugar was too low, so they required him to be on formula since the breast milk was not keeping his sugar up high enough. So, he was on the bottle and breastfeeding at the same time from birth. He's one of the ones PP mentioned who just likes to eat and doesn't care from whence it comes. He also sucks a pacifier between feedings and hasn't had any problems with breastfeeding.

    I do pump. I try to do at least one bottle a day so that hubby can have a chance to feed the baby too. My pump is electric and it doesn't hurt me. It has variable suction though, so if it were to start to hurt, I could turn it down a bit, which I have done. When my baby latches, it does sting at the beginning for just a few seconds, and then it doesn't hurt anymore. This does not happen to me with the pump.

  • AmyG*AmyG*
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    I would try to do a follow up with an IBCLC lactation consultant, or an LLL leader for support and help in latching deeper and healing faster.

    Exclusively pumping is a pain in the butt long term solution to what is a temporary problem of painful latching.  usually it is gone by 2-3 weeks, as everything heals and gets used to it.  exclusively pumping is like all the work of formula feeding (bottles and washing them and warming milk) plus all the work of pumping which for many women doesn't work out.

    I had a lot of difficulty letting down for a pump, even with a hospital grade rental pump I could get enough milk to cover the bottom of a bottle, and one time I miraculously got 4 oz with hand expressing and a manual pump.  If I had decided to exclusively pump due to sore nips, I would have weaned to formula after about 2 days.  I nursed my boys for a combined 50 months!  pumping doesn't work for everyone. 


    some women have ample supplies and can pump a few times a day but most women tend to need to pump at least as often as baby eats, and sometimes one or two additional times to get enough ounces.  Pumping also tends to take 20 minutes every time baby eats, while once baby gets good at breastfeeding they may take only 5-10 minutes to nurse.  Pumping CAN be an answer for some women, and it may work out for you, but I wouldn't pump as a first choice for sure.


    Laid back nursing is one option for a deeper latch, or try baby in football hold so you can see aby's mouth better.

    use one hand to hold the boob, and squish it a bit with thumb on top and fingers underneath so you can stuff more in baby's mouth.  make sure you are not holding baby's head tightly, they need to be able to open wide and tilt the top of their head backward and reach up to the nipple to latch on--so hold nipple a bit closer to nose than mouth when trying to get baby to latch.  If you hold nipple lower, they reach downward to latch and their chin runs into their chest.  make sure their shoulders are square facing you, not one shoulder further away than the other one.  pull butt in tightly up against you and head and shoulders will be out a bit so head can go backwards a bit.

    switch positions as often as you can so that a different "side" of your nipple gets the brunt of the latch.  make sure baby finishes one side fully before offering the other side so they will get more hindmilk and stay full a teeny bit longer.  try to catch them before they are frantic and crying, look for early hunger signs like rooting or licking lips in their sleep.  a frantic crying baby can't concentrate and tends to latch on poorly.

    use a lanolin or other nipple creme after every feeding.  if you are extra itchy when you wear wool, and you don't particularly like the flavor of feel of lamb to eat, you may have a bit of a lamb allergy, so you may want a non-lanolin nipple creme like earth mama nipple butter, or kerry's herbal's miracle salve. 


    If you have continual burning like glass going thru your nipples when you latch on, you could have thrush, esp if you had antibiotics during or after delivery.  Thrush is a yeast infection of the nipple/breast.  Ask your LC for an evaluation if the pain is intense. If you have thrush, or are prone to yeast infections normally, be sure you are vigalant about changing wet bras or breastfeeding pads so you don't have a warm moist environment for yeast to thrive in.


    warm water or warm saline solution soaks can speed healing.  as can some fresh air and sunshine on the nips-but don't flash the neighbors.  Cool compresses and motrin can help with swelling, inflammation and pain relief.  so alternate warm and cold.


    get help if things don't improve.

    breastfeeding board is available for even more help and support too!



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  • I had a great latch in the hospital, but shortly after coming home something went wrong and we started messing up.  My right nipple hurt SO bad that I stopped having him nurse from it, and pumped that breast for a week until I was able to see a lactation consultant.  I pumped it whenever he would have fed from it (it didn't hurt when I pumped.)  The LC helped me fix my mistakes, and now, less than a week later, all issues are resolved and my supply has been great.

    I'd definitely see a LC again, and definitely pump if you can!  I started using a bottle when he was 6 days old so my husband could feed and had no problems.

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  • I'd go buy a nipple shield before going through the bull of pumping and feeding... wash and repeat. I just started pumping to build a stash and only do it once a day and I already hate it. 

    GL with what ever you decide!  

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  • I had a really rough time starting out. I ended up with scabs on both sides and a really bad blister that covered the entire nipple on the left. By the time a LC saw me she said there's no way I should nurse like that. I literally sobbed the entire time.

    She gave me a nipple shield and I used it until I was healed. It still hurt but nowhere near as badly. It also prevented her from getting parts of the scabs and blister in her mouth when she ate.

    It took about a week to get her off the shield and a lot of patience but it was totally with it.

    I would try a shield before pumping and doing bottles. Medela makes a great one with a cut out so your baby's nose can still touch you. If you do go medela, don't get a size small. Owie! My LC told me the smalls are painful for most.

    Good luck!
  • LO had a shallow latch and clusterfed on day four...and I ended up with two bloody nipples. Breastfeeding was excruciating, like you described.

    So on day five I started EPing to let my nipples heal. Honestly, it was such a huge relief. My healing nips still hurt, but the actual pumping wasn't painful.

    I took a week to heal, and then started reintroducing breastfeeding yesterday. LO had no problem latching on again, and this time it didn't hurt!

    Now we are doing a combo of boob and bottle. Pumping doesn't seem like a huge hassle to me. Right now, actually, it is more efficient than breastfeeding because LO keeps falling asleep on my boob so each session takes 45 minutes.

    For me, switching to pumping saved my sanity. I obviously don't know how your LO will do switching between a bottle and breast, but my guy had no problem at all. Switching to pumping has been a positive experience for me!
  • Hi I can't really answer your questions, but wanted to let you know that for me, the first week was the worst. Then it didn't just become easy overnight, but things started to improve. For instance, Baby Boy's latch got MUCH better. I was still in pain, but it was only residual pain and it didn't last for long once Baby Boy was latched on. I could tell my nipples were healing as I could no longer see blood in my nursing pads.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is Don't give up yet. I sincerely believe the worst part is behind you. Good luck!
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  • I really urge you to stick it out. Firstly, I can't say whether pumping will hurt more or less than baby, but it WILL hurt. Secondly, if you start exclusively pumping now, it's likely if you do it for a time that you won't be able to get baby back on the boob later if you want to. I BF with some pumping, and breastfeeding is SO much better. Pumping is tedious, uncomfortable, and annoying. In the MOTN, would you rather sleepily feed your baby in bed, or do you want to get up every three hours, hook yourself up to the pump, clean the pump parts, and THEN bottle feed your baby? I didn't have the same struggles as you, but it was very painful for me at first, too... It gets way better and it is wonderful and rewarding and helps you feel close to baby. Only you can decide what is best for you, but I would urge you to hang in there a little bit longer. Try cold gel pads on your nips, squeezing breast milk on them and letting it air dry, and staying topless when you can.


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