Nursing Woes - Vent & A Question

SweetPicklesSweetPickles Posts: 850Registered Users
Here's the vent...

I hate to admit this, but so far this with this baby, I hate breastfeeding. HATE. I seriously have moments where I just want to give up, as it's been nothing but one problem after another. I'm a month postpartum, but this entire time nursing has ranged from very painful to absolutely excruciating and agonizing. The tally so far: Vivi's latch is picture perfect, but my skin/nipples are so freakishly sensitive that they instantly became cracked and bleeding within days of birth. So then came the the mastitis. Got that cleared up, but as a result of the antibiotics, now we've both got thrush. Will it ever end??

I'm just not enjoying any of this and am really tired of being in constant pain. Of course, I know how good it is for her, so quitting isn't really an option. So I shall persevere. But, argh!

Here's the question...

Vivienne is the laziest nurser, ever. I cannot keep her awake, despite trying every trick I know. I seriously doubt this baby even knows the taste of hindmilk at this point, she's that lazy. I've even started single-side feedings, in hopes that she'll get all the milk, but it's not working. Does anyone have any other suggestions, besides the usual suspects (i.e. wet washcloth, compression, etc.)??? I am desperate for ideas!
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  • Brown_Eyed_GirlBrown_Eyed_Girl Posts: 1,353Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Hugs to you! Your daughter is so blessed to have such a determined mommy!

    I don't have any advice, but I was wondering if you've tried contacting the LLL in your area. At the meetings I've gone to, they've emphasized that anyone can call a leader at anytime. You don't have to be a member and you don't have to wait for a meeting to ask for help.

    Hopefully some of the other moms here will have some good advice for you too!
  • marielle448marielle448 Posts: 1,823Registered Users
    I'd definitely contact a well recommended LLL leader. Most are even willing to visit you in person or at the very least talk with you over the phone.

    Many hugs sent your way. I found nursing #2 to be surprisingly frustrating just because I was expecting it to finally be easier. It was such a rude awakening. BTW, are you taking a probiotic? I'd get some ASAP. Just to make sure the thrush doesn't keep coming back.

    You're doing great so far with the block feeding. How often is she nursing? Are you able to take a day and have a nursing retreat? Just you, baby skin to skin in bed nursing on demand. It might awaken her interest enough to get her more actively nursing even when not in bed with you.

    I might be tempted to offer the breast on an hourly basis for a while. Are you pumping? If so I'd set that aside for a while since you don't need the extra work right now and she needs to be on the breast all the time.
  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,259Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I found the first couple months of breastfeeding all of my kids to be kinda crappy. I had hamburger nipples, and a STRONG letdown sensation (OK, pain) that would make my toes curl for the first 5 minutes at each nursing session. It gets better. Some babies seem to wake up from their sleepiness at around 6 weeks-ish and become more efficient at the breast, and the letdown sensation eases up, and nursing gets much better after that.

    Hang in there. You're a great mom.

    I agree, call a LLL leader. They can talk you off the ledge when you need it.
  • subbrocksubbrock Posts: 8,212Registered Users
    I found the first couple months of breastfeeding all of my kids to be kinda crappy. I had hamburger nipples, and a STRONG letdown sensation (OK, pain) that would make my toes curl for the first 5 minutes at each nursing session. It gets better. Some babies seem to wake up from their sleepiness at around 6 weeks-ish and become more efficient at the breast, and the letdown sensation eases up, and nursing gets much better after that.

    Hang in there. You're a great mom.

    I agree, call a LLL leader. They can talk you off the ledge when you need it.

    i agree. i was determined to breastfeed, but the pain in the beginning was crazy. youre doing a great job by sticking with it! what a lucky baby.
  • curly_keltiecurly_keltie Posts: 791Registered Users
    I agree with PPs about contacting the LLL in your area.

    I too had cracked nipples - but just on one side. Everytime DS latched on, I thought I was going to die...especially because he was such an aggressive eater.

    Hang in there....you are doing a wonderful job.
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  • internetchickinternetchick Posts: 6,191Registered Users
    Is it possible the baby's position is off? It would cause me problems when the baby's position wasn't right, even if the latch was good.

    Also, Lansinoh makes a nipple cream that really helped when I dealt with cracked bleeding nipples.
  • mad scientistmad scientist Posts: 3,530Registered Users
    ((hugs)). Hopefully the magic 6 week mark will cure all.

    If all else is normal then I would just put up with the lazy nursing for now. She'll become more alert soon enough. Its a PITA to have a sleepy nursling on the breast all day and night.... both mine were like that.

    If she's not getting enough milk (not gaining weight, not enough wet diapers) then you might consider pumping and topping her up with a bottle after her feed. I needed to do that with my DD for a few weeks because her sleepiness was impacting my supply and she wasn't getting enough milk.
  • PixieCurlPixieCurl Posts: 5,656Registered Users
    I too had cracked nipples - but just on one side. Everytime DS latched on, I thought I was going to die...especially because he was such an aggressive eater.

    I had this too. Someone at my local LLL suggested NOT nursing on that side for a full 24 hours (and just pumping that side every time DS nursed on the good side. It worked! I guess my nipple just needed some time to heal.
    Faith, 3Aish redhead
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  • SweetPicklesSweetPickles Posts: 850Registered Users
    Thanks so much for all the suggestions and support - I could really use it. I don't know why it never occured to me to call a LLL leader (duh!), but there's a chapter not too far away and I'll give them a call. I am very encouraged to hear that other people felt this way at the beginning too, and that there's an improvement likely, I just have to be patient. It's just frustrating to have no positive feelings about nursing right now. I actually dread feedings. But, I called the OB and the pediatrician and now we're both being treated for the thrush. This sounds like quite a PITA to treat and prevent reinfection. It doesn't seem like either of us has a severe case though.

    I'm quite certain that the issue isn't V's latch so much as it is that she has a powerful, aggressive suck, and my poor nipples just aren't handling it well. And she is really enthusiastic about it, at least for the first 5 minutes or so :wink: She's gaining weight fine so I guess I shouldn't worry too much, but I think the excess of the lactose-heavy milk isn't doing her tummy any favors.

    Marielle, thanks too for the suggestion about the probiotics - hopefully I can make a few calls and actually find someone in this middle-of-nowhere place who carries such things!
    Hair type: Completely confused: mostly 3a, some 3b parts, and even 2 in places; very fine and thin.
    Products: Elucence clarifying & MBC; CK, F/X Curl Booster Fixative Gel (when I can find it)
  • wavezncurlzwavezncurlz Posts: 1,814Registered Users
    I had a very difficult time with #2 as well. I was totally surprised because I had nursed #1 until 18 months and saw myself as a champion nurser and pumper. I was ready to give up. #2 was a LAZY nurser and we had thrush back and forth for at least a month. Very trying times. I ended up pumping and giving the bottle when I was worried about her not getting enough.

    I just kept offering the boob though (like hourly). I had a lactation consultant work with me too - she showed me how to squeeze my nipple into her lazy mouth and compress my breast so she had to drink my milk.

    Eventually, she got it.It all worked out though. It was so good that when I needed her to take a bottle right before going back to work, she refused.

    You are doing a good job by sticking it out. Trust me, this too shall pass :nike:
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  • marielle448marielle448 Posts: 1,823Registered Users
    SP - if you don't find the probiotic locally www.vitacost.com has the best prices and ships pretty quickly. In the meantime you can down live culture yogurt or if you can find it kefir.
  • geekygeeky Posts: 4,995Registered Users
    I ditto the LLL suggestion. You might get concrete help and also lots of moral support. If you go to the meetings it's a good place to meet some women that are maybe a bit more progressive in your area too.

    I think Nadia was easier in some respects and tougher in others. She latched great from the start, but made hamburger of my nipples the first week. Then the overactive letdown and the projectile spitup started. Just recently we got it all more or less under control.

    So hang in there. It does get easier and easier.
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  • marielle448marielle448 Posts: 1,823Registered Users
    okay so now this has me wondering if my MW's comment is true. She has 9 kids and has been a midwife for 15 years in the area. She mentioned that girls tend to have a very aggressive latch just in her experience over the years. That it was a good latch but that girls would mutilate mothers' nipples much more so than the boys. Hmmmm.
  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,259Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    okay so now this has me wondering if my MW's comment is true. She has 9 kids and has been a midwife for 15 years in the area. She mentioned that girls tend to have a very aggressive latch just in her experience over the years. That it was a good latch but that girls would mutilate mothers' nipples much more so than the boys. Hmmmm.


    Two of my boys turned me into mince-meat...very aggressive. My girl was very gentle.
  • cosmicflycosmicfly Posts: 1,814Registered Users
    okay so now this has me wondering if my MW's comment is true. She has 9 kids and has been a midwife for 15 years in the area. She mentioned that girls tend to have a very aggressive latch just in her experience over the years. That it was a good latch but that girls would mutilate mothers' nipples much more so than the boys. Hmmmm.


    Two of my boys turned me into mince-meat...very aggressive. My girl was very gentle.

    My girl was also my most gentle nurser, though she was also my laziest. My first boy was by far the most aggressive, and this new guy seems to be right in between.
  • AmnerisAmneris Posts: 15,117Registered Users
    My boy is an aggressive nurser so not sure about that theory either. I can't imagine why gender would affect nursing personality.

    Sweet Pickles, I think you've already been given great advice, but hang in there - you are doing a great job for your little one and you are a great mom. I hope things get better soon and you start to enjoy nursing more - I remember how tough it can be in the beginning.
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  • medussamedussa Posts: 12,993Registered Users
    How are you doing SP?
  • SweetPicklesSweetPickles Posts: 850Registered Users
    medussa wrote: »
    How are you doing SP?
    Ah, well, not terribly much better, unfortunately. The thrush seems to clearing up, but now I'm dealing with a whole new set of fissures that have appeared (maybe as a result of the thrush - I have no clue why I'd get several new cracks on each side). It seems to at least be improving in that it's most painful with the initial latch-on and is almost *tolerable* for the rest of the feeding. So I guess that's something positive at least :)
    Hair type: Completely confused: mostly 3a, some 3b parts, and even 2 in places; very fine and thin.
    Products: Elucence clarifying & MBC; CK, F/X Curl Booster Fixative Gel (when I can find it)
  • medussamedussa Posts: 12,993Registered Users
    It seems to at least be improving in that it's most painful with the initial latch-on and is almost *tolerable* for the rest of the feeding. So I guess that's something positive at least :)

    I agree. I'm glad you're able to get through the feedings. I really hope the cracks heal and that your nipples toughen up as a result.

    ETA: I had a really hard time with my son. He was my first and I suspect he didn't have a good latch. He nursed every hour, for 5 minutes, on only one side. At night he nursed every 2 hours. This went on for almost a year.

    For the thrush, we used Gentian Violet. It was messy as hell, but it worked. I also used Lansinoh so much, my son had a greasy face all the time. It did help to give my nipples a rest. I'd pump one side, while feeding with the other. I also used these dome shaped, vented shields over my nipples. It prevented my nursing bra from rubbing against my nipples. If you can, just walk around topless.
  • PixieCurlPixieCurl Posts: 5,656Registered Users
    I know I mentioned earlier about when I had pain on one side only, it worked to give that side a 24 break from nursing. Do you think it might work to try that with each side for you? Like, for 24 hours nurse only on left and pump on right, then the next day do the opposite? Would be a huge pain but might help.
    Faith, 3Aish redhead
    Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy :love5:
  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,259Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    medussa wrote: »
    How are you doing SP?
    Ah, well, not terribly much better, unfortunately. The thrush seems to clearing up, but now I'm dealing with a whole new set of fissures that have appeared (maybe as a result of the thrush - I have no clue why I'd get several new cracks on each side). It seems to at least be improving in that it's most painful with the initial latch-on and is almost *tolerable* for the rest of the feeding. So I guess that's something positive at least :)



    When I was in hamburger mode, I found that changing nursing positions at each feeding really helped me to avoid further injury while I healed. I went "around the clock" with nursing positions...meaning that I would position his chin at different points around the nipple, because the chin usually points to the worst skin breakdown and where the suck motion is the strongest. If you vary that position, the strong suction isn't constantly in the same spot. Sometimes that necessitated me getting into some awkward positions. But it does work to give those broken-down areas a chance to heal. One position that really gave me relief was what I call reverse-side-lying in bed, lying facing each other, but with the baby's head towards my feet, and my head towards his. I would vary that position at each feeding, using pillows for propping when necessary.
  • PixieCurlPixieCurl Posts: 5,656Registered Users
    YES I agree with RCW about changing positions also. I didn't get quite as creative as her but I found alternating between cradle hold, football hold, and side-lying helped a lot.
    Faith, 3Aish redhead
    Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy :love5:
  • marielle448marielle448 Posts: 1,823Registered Users
    I'm glad to see your update, just sorry you're having pain still. Here's hoping that with the tips you're able to get relief soon.

    Glad to hear the gender difference in suction isn't so prevalent either. :D
  • webjockeywebjockey Posts: 2,786Registered Users
    I just saw this article on mothering.com about using sea shells to help cracked/sore nipples:

    http://mothering.com/articles/new_baby/breastfeeding/seashells.html
    hello.world.
  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,259Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    webjockey wrote: »
    I just saw this article on mothering.com about using sea shells to help cracked/sore nipples:

    http://mothering.com/articles/new_baby/breastfeeding/seashells.html


    Seashells would work to keep nipples from chafing from clothing between nursings. Inland moms can use nipple shields:
    21P8EY0KQNL._SL500_AA250_.jpg
  • webjockeywebjockey Posts: 2,786Registered Users
    yeah, but you dont get the benefits from the composition of the material as mentioned in the article:

    Most seashells are made of calcite or calcium carbonate (CaCO3), also the primary mineral component in cave formations. Metaphysical uses for calcite, determined by its color variations, include recuperation, relaxation, energy enhancement, and emotional uplift. Calcite is credited with calming fears by soothing the psyche, as well as with helping a person to let go of emotional stress. It is said to expand our capacity to freely give and receive love, aid during transition, integrate the new into the physical plane, and ensure that power is properly used. Fortunately, most shells contain a rainbow spectrum of calcite, and although I was an amateur mom, intuitively I just knew that all of these qualities would be beneficial to mothering.

    I can't personally vouch for if seashells makes a difference or not. YMMV.
    hello.world.
  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,259Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    webjockey wrote: »
    yeah, but you dont get the benefits from the composition of the material as mentioned in the article:

    Most seashells are made of calcite or calcium carbonate (CaCO3), also the primary mineral component in cave formations. Metaphysical uses for calcite, determined by its color variations, include recuperation, relaxation, energy enhancement, and emotional uplift. Calcite is credited with calming fears by soothing the psyche, as well as with helping a person to let go of emotional stress. It is said to expand our capacity to freely give and receive love, aid during transition, integrate the new into the physical plane, and ensure that power is properly used. Fortunately, most shells contain a rainbow spectrum of calcite, and although I was an amateur mom, intuitively I just knew that all of these qualities would be beneficial to mothering.

    I can't personally vouch for if seashells makes a difference or not. YMMV.


    I sometimes wear shell jewelry (not on my nipples ;)) and I can't say I've noticed shells integrating anything into any physical plane or ensuring my power is properly used.
  • curlymelcurlymel Posts: 359Registered Users
    I just wanted to send hugs your way.

    Audrey was a very lazy nurser, when she did nurse. She didn't latch on for the first 2 weeks because of severe jaundice. But when she eventually did latch on, she had to sit there forever. She was so lazy, she would just wait for me to letdown before really doing any serious sucking. It meant hours of trying to feed her. She went on multiple strikes, we had thrush right out of the gate, which went on for a couple of months and I had several cases of mastitis. When she finally got into a kind of grove, she was still lazy, but breastfed for 2 months straight. She was very fussy, though, and had trouble with my right breast which had a weaker letdown. My LC suggested I try block feeding so that the right side would have more milk for her, and just let her sit on the breast all the time. I tried it, but it turned out she wasn't eating as much as she should have been and my supply crashed. She never touched the breast again and I pumped until she was 16 months. Even after getting my supply back up, I couldn't interest her at all. It was an incredibly depressing time for me. It still brings tears to my eyes after all this time.

    So, I feel for you. See a LC and just try to nurse frequently. Keep an eye on your supply!! And I think switching positions frequently as someone else suggested will help you heal, too.
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  • medussamedussa Posts: 12,993Registered Users
    curlymel wrote: »
    she wasn't eating as much as she should have been and my supply crashed. She never touched the breast again and I pumped until she was 16 months. Even after getting my supply back up, I couldn't interest her at all. It was an incredibly depressing time for me. It still brings tears to my eyes after all this time.

    :(
  • wavezncurlzwavezncurlz Posts: 1,814Registered Users
    medussa wrote: »
    curlymel wrote: »
    she wasn't eating as much as she should have been and my supply crashed. She never touched the breast again and I pumped until she was 16 months. Even after getting my supply back up, I couldn't interest her at all. It was an incredibly depressing time for me. It still brings tears to my eyes after all this time.

    :(

    CurlyMel,
    While this story is sad, I commend you on pumping until 16 months! You are a great mom. Good job despite all the problems you had!
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