Breastfeeding Frustration — The Bump
Babies: 0 - 3 Months

Breastfeeding Frustration

I am breastfeeding my DD (8 days old).  Everything started off well in the hospital but at some point things went off track.  I now how completely cracked and bleeding nipples.  After being reduced to tears and desparation last night, I started pumping and feeding her with the dreaded bottle... and to make it worse I held her off with a pacifier until I could finish pumping.  Called a LC last night but she can't come out until Wed. night.  Just ordered the Medela Calma nipple on Amazon (nipple that makes baby create suction to get milk) but until it arrives and/or I heal I will be stuck bottle feeding.  I am terrified to stick my nipples back in her mouth... each feeding was getting worse and I'm sure the bottle and paci has compounded the issue.  I can't understand why my bf technique is so bad.  I was doing the football and cross cradle holds.  Will I be able to go back to bf?  I really want to.  I enjoyed the experience until the pain became unbearable.  Anyone out there who can help me?????

Re: Breastfeeding Frustration

  • Don't worry, you haven't sabotaged yourself.  The lc should be able to help lots.  DD has had lots of issues nursing, and we are still working on it, but most days it gets better than the last.  I still mostly pump and bottle feed, but each day she nurses more and I can pump less so if there is still hope for me, there definitely is for you.  Good luck!
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  • imagealexisjames:

    I am breastfeeding my DD (8 days old).  Everything started off well in the hospital but at some point things went off track.  I now how completely cracked and bleeding nipples.  After being reduced to tears and desparation last night, I started pumping and feeding her with the dreaded bottle... and to make it worse I held her off with a pacifier until I could finish pumping.  Called a LC last night but she can't come out until Wed. night.  Just ordered the Medela Calma nipple on Amazon (nipple that makes baby create suction to get milk) but until it arrives and/or I heal I will be stuck bottle feeding.  I am terrified to stick my nipples back in her mouth... each feeding was getting worse and I'm sure the bottle and paci has compounded the issue.  I can't understand why my bf technique is so bad.  I was doing the football and cross cradle holds.  Will I be able to go back to bf?  I really want to.  I enjoyed the experience until the pain became unbearable.  Anyone out there who can help me?????

    Had you been using lanolin cream? If not, put it on after every feeding. And, I'm sorry to tell you this, but I think you should get her back on the breast ASAP and push through the pain. Each time you stop to heal your nipples and then start again, it will just come back - you need to push through and your nipples will toughen up soon. I found that my nipples were better at the 2 week mark.

    I don't think it necessarily has anything to go with your technique - I think most women's nipples go through hell at first.

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  • I had the same experience with DD until we learned how to properly latch. I had visit to the LC in my doctor's office on a relatively regular basis to get some help but once we got a new latching technique down it fixed the problem. My problem had been that I wasn't helping to guide DD on to my breast properly. I had been too timid in how I was holding her. By holding my baby firmly with my thumb behind one ear and three fingers behind her other ear with my palm comfortable around her neck I was able to easily maneuver her in a way that was clearly comfortable for her and me. Holding her like this I can lift her up onto the nipple from the bottom so her bottom lip is at the bottom of the areola. Once we got that down we were able to get her latched on properly and all my pain was relieved.

    Also, don't worry about having used a bottle or pacifier - we had done the same things and still were able to work it out. There is hope! Hope that helps!

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  • I'd definitely try to cream...that helped me. I used the Medela lanolin cream...i had cracked and bleeding nipples around the same time..and it goes away..I think it just takes your body some time to get used to it and then it will 'toughen' up. The frustrating thing is that all LC say it shouldn't hurt, and if it does you're doing something wrong...blah blah blah..you now have a person sucking on something that isn't used to being sucked on like that, let alone every 2-3 hours. My cracked and bleeding went away after a couple of days. Hang in there...I think the baby will go back to the boob with no problem...we use a bottle every now and then and my DD still lets me nurse her. I'd just try and bear through the pain b/c it will go away. Good Luck and it gets better
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  • My LC had me use a mixture of hydrocortisone, polysporin, and lotrimin after nursing every other time, alternating with lanolin the other times.  Also, rinsing with a saline solution after nursing helped, too.  Walk around topless or at least let your nipples air dry after nursing.  Good luck!


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  • I've heard that rubbing breast milk on your nipples is an excellent way to help heal them although I don't have any personal experience. I think it's worth a shot and you don't have to wait for anything to be shipped or bought.
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  • Sorry you're going through this! I had so more soreness the first week and dreaded nursing- two things that really helped were after feeding, express a little milk and rub on your nipple and air-dry (sounds kind of weird but it helped all the cracks heal really quickly) and I used the Soothies gel pads (I tried lanolin but these worked so much better for me).

    I had trouble initially getting a good latch with DD- I hated the football hold that the LC showed me in the hospital- it just didn't work. I had a lot of luck with this laid back breastfeeding position from the LL League book (http://www.llli.org/docs/0000000000000001WAB/WAB_Tear_sheet_Toolkit/01_laid_back_breastfeeding.pdf)- it helped both of us get a better latch and then other positions were easier as well.

    I hope it gets better for you soon!!


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  • I'm only 7 days in, but 2 days ago my nipples started bleeding.  I went to the LC from my hospital, and she said LO has a great latch, but the damage was probably done the first  2 days in the hospital, when she wasn't opening wide enough.  Whe suggested using a nipple shield until I'm healed, hopefully by tomorrow.

    Also I LOVE the soothie gel pads, put them in the refrigerator and it's such a relief.  Good luck.  Breastfeeding is more  difficult than I thought it would be, but I'm hoping to stick with it.

  • I'm sorry! I was in the throes of frustration and desperation around the same time. Definitely get some lanolin and put that on your nipples to try to get them healed up. I know how painful it is, all of my girls have started out with a bad latch and I had the cracked and bleeding nipples. A good LC is an amazing resource. Your LC should definitely get things on the right track. Good luck, you can get through it!
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  • imageLena122:
    I've heard that rubbing breast milk on your nipples is an excellent way to help heal them although I don't have any personal experience. I think it's worth a shot and you don't have to wait for anything to be shipped or bought.

    This. Express some milk rub it on the nipples and let it air dry. They will heal super fast. I also used lanolin but this worked much faster. A bottle and a pacifier are not guaranteed sabotage. My son used a pacifier since day 3 and a bottle since week 3 with no problems and we are still breastfeeding.  

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  • I had the exact same issue and the LC said my LO wasn't latching deep enough.  We tried working on it but I couldn't bare the pain anymore so I have been EP since week 2. I hope it works out for you though. I don't have much advice except you might also want to try the BreastFlow bottles and hold the bottle close to your breast as you feed her.
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  • My nipples were never cracked or bleeding, because I was starting to be in extreme pain when she nursed so I started pumping and alternating breast and bottle feeds.  I used the medela lanolin cream, air drying and the medela gel pads and now they are much better.  I have been giving DD bottles (we had low blood sugar issues and I tried colostrum and a lactation aid but she was just expending too much energy and we were one low sugar away from her being admitted to NICU and taken away from me) and a paci since day 1 and she still breastfeeds well so I don't think you will sabotage the BF with your LO.  Babies feel tension and if your in excruciating pain every time you feed, your LO will feel that.  

    I was always told that breastfeeding is the most natural, beautiful thing in the world, and that has not been my experience. We had latch issues and supply issues and at first my daughter would not latch at all on the left side so I was engorged, she and I were both crying and as a result, she was chomping on my right nipple because she was starving.  She also wasn't gaining weight at first either.  It has taken me over a month to get a routine that is working for us.  I did not feel like BF was a bonding experience until last week.  It has been the hardest thing I have ever done in my life and I give every women who does it immense respect.  We now breastfeed during the day, and I pump and bottle at night.  I find that getting enough sleep is key for me and Daddy also get to feed her too.  My LO has now gained 1.5 pounds in 2 weeks.   

    Bottom line: your baby needs to eat so whatever you have to do to feed your baby is the best thing for you both.  You are still giving breastmilk and that is the best thing you can give.  I know what a hassle pumping is, so good for you for sticking with that.  It is a lot of work. I hope your nipples heal quickly and you can get back to EBF, if that is what you want.  

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  • imageEveryNameIWantIsTaken:
    Don't worry, you haven't sabotaged yourself.  The lc should be able to help lots.  DD has had lots of issues nursing, and we are still working on it, but most days it gets better than the last.  I still mostly pump and bottle feed, but each day she nurses more and I can pump less so if there is still hope for me, there definitely is for you.  Good luck!

    This is me too. You'll get back to nursing, it just might take time.  DD didn't do well with the Calma nipple.  It was too fast of a flow.  We use Playtex VentAir Advanced, which is what my LC recommends.

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  • I know exactly how you feel, because you sound just like I did! As big a pain as it is, I would keep pumping until you see the LC.  Sounds like there may just be a problem with the baby's latch. "Pushing through it" will only damage your nipples more if there's a problem with his latch, and you won't be pushing through anything at all!  I "pushed through it" for 2 weeks before calling a LC after being hospitalized with mastitis.  I remember crying every time he woke up to feed, before I even got him near me.  To be honest, I despised my child those two weeks for causing me such pain (thank you postpartum hormones and depression)!  I had blisters, sores and scabs all over my nipples.  After finally getting a LC to take a look I discovered LO had a bad latch and a tongue tie.

    In the meantime, most WIC offices have websites with videos showing proper breastfeeding techniques.  Also, you may want to have someone close to you with experience breastfeeding (maybe a mom or sister?) take a look.   


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  • And that "calma" nipple is amazing! It really helps establish a good latch when you will put baby back to breast.

     

    Good luck and hang in there! Never quit on a bad day! The first few weeks are the hardest then it gets dramatically easier, trust me.

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  • I BF DS #1 for almost a year and with this baby already have blisters. However, my left side has almost completely healed (took almost 6 weeks with DS). What worked for me:

      1. Getting a correct latch

      2. Ameda Gel Breast Pads- LIFESAVER!

      3. Letting everything air dry before putting my bra/nursing tank back on.

    I have blisters, not cracks, so lanolin didn't help me. I needed everything to DRY not be moisturized.  

    This is tough stuff... i don't know how babies survived if moms HAD to breastfeed, because it is SO painful. Definitely talk to a LC, but I think it's unrealistic to say there should be NO pain.  You can do it! 

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  • Thank you sharing your experience.  I know I should not have been experiencing as much pain as I was.  The lc is coming tonight.  Hopefully she can figure out what I am doing wrong and how to correct it.  I really want to make this work.  I am encouraged by your experience.
  • I'll give that a try.  I've been using combinations of breastmilk, lanolin and previously gel pads which were cooling but I don't think they were healing.  Thanks.
  • We had issues too and have done every combination of breast, bottle and paci. You havent compounded the issue with "dreaded" anything.  My LO knows what to do with each one and switches no problem. Do what you need to do- dont let the LC make you feel bad for doing what you think is right for you and your baby. They all turn out fine in the end!! The pain was horrible for me too so take a break and a bottle is fine. Relax and go with your gut and you shoudnt be miserable!! If you are, make a new plan. Babies get stressed when we are! 
  • I had the hardest time in the begining too.  I ended up mostly pumping and feeding him with a bottle. At around 2 months though, he came around and now we interchange as necessary perfectly and he prefers to be on the breast.
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