Breastfeeding
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probably stupid questions + encouragement please

FTM here (as if you couldn't tell from the title). LO will be one month old tomorrow and we're still actively struggling with breastfeeding. I'm planning to make an appointment with a LC at our pediatrician's office ASAP, but in the mean time:

Question 1: If LO's latch is good, my nips should heal, right? Both of my nipples have what started off as cracks and have turned into wounds... they look like craters. They were quite bad, then I started using Lansinoh Soothies gel pads to keep them from sticking/partly healing to my nursing pads, and they were getting better but have now reached a point where they are definitely not healed, but no longer seem to be improving, so I'm assuming this is a sign that something in our latch is continuously causing them to be irritated.

Question 2: Do you all have any tips/advice on how to get LO to open her mouth nice and wide? I suspect that this is the problem with our latch, as I do struggle to get a nice wide mouth and she tends to tuck her lips under. I try to "fishy" them out, but even when I do, when she comes off my breast there's a clear line where her lips were sucked in. I know all the books/websites say wait until she opens her mouth wide, but she doesn't have the patience for lots of attempts, and even when she's first showing hunger cues, putting her on and taking her off a few times while trying to get her to open wider usually ends with her screaming.

Lastly, I feel like we've run the gamut of breastfeeding experiences in the past month... I'm past the point where I was dreading every feeding and considering EPing, but I could still use any words of wisdom/advice/encouragement you have to offer.

kids with flags

Re: probably stupid questions + encouragement please

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    I would also use some pure lanolin to help heal your nipples.  Also try to let your nipples air dry after LO eats, if you cover them up right afterwards that could be part of why they are not healing. 

    I would say the Lactation consultant would be best to see if your LO isn't opening her mouth wide enough.  There might be some other issue there that the consultant would be able to see.

    You have made it a month, which is great!  It really does get much easier really soon.  I remember thinking how hard BF was and then one day it wasn't.

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    Mine took forever to heal also, they were so badly damaged.  I know a lot of people will argue about this, but my LC finally had me putting neosporin on mine to help them heal.  There are concerns of an antibiotic ointment resulting in thrush, and you also have to wash it off before feeding LO.  But in my case, the threat of a severe infection outweighed the risk of thrush.  I would put it on right after LO went to bed, and it was usually all rubbed off or soaked in by the time LO ate again.  But I would still rinse them off just in case.  I really think that was what jump started my stalled healing process.  I was also topless the majority of the time so they could dry out.  This was a sticky mess with the leaking and such, but I think it helped.

    Have you tried laid back nursing?  We had a shallow latch as well, and laid back nursing was the only thing that saved me.  Google it and watch the video.  It's awesome.  Also, you might want to try switching your hold.  If there is something wrong with the latch that is causing the same area to keep getting injured, switching say from cross cradle to football will allow that spot to get a break.

    You can do this mama!  The first few weeks are so hard.  But you're doing a great job and showing great perseverence.  It got better for me around 6 weeks.  This seems pretty typical.  So just hang in there.  I promise you it gets so much better, and you will be so glad you did it.  ((huge hugs))  I went through it all too, so many different issues.  You CAN make it through this.  And you will even begin to enjoy it.

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    The APNO mentioned above is great. It has antibacterial and antifungal agents to help ward off infections, especially if you have cracks or open wounds.

    If you have a lot of trouble with lips flanging out, have your LC take a look in your baby's mouth. Sometimes a tight upper frenulum [lip tie] can prevent fishy lips.

    My little man's lower lip curls back in often. I put slight pressure on his chin while nursing, essentially drawing back out his lower lip.

    I know it sounds cliche, but it does get better. :]

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    Most of the time our latch is good, but at first, OMG, was it painful! After much adjusting and fidgeting, and after talking to an LC, we found a position that worked for us. But sometimes once she latches I still have to press on her chin a bit, right below her lower lip, to get her to open a bit wider. 

    Also, get some lanolin. It's like chapstick for your nipples, and has helped me immensely. It keeps the nipple from sticking to the breast Pad and gets them pliable so it's easier for DD to latch on.  

    Dont give up! Once I got the hang of it, the best parts of my day became that binding time with DD. it was hard and tear-inducing at first, but so worth it. Good luck! 

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    I think you've probably already gotten some good advice here as to how to address your current issues.  I just want to offer encouragement to stick with it.  Assuming you can overcome the current issues, the experience can be incredibly rewarding.  And yes, there may be more issues down the road you didn't aniticipate.  But one thing I've heard on this board over and over:  don't quit on a bad day.  So give it some time and if you're lucky, before you know it you'll be blowing through the 6-month mark and going strong.  And if not, that's OK too.  You will do what is best for you and your precious little one.  Good luck Mama! 
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