Breastfeeding trouble

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-17-2010
Breastfeeding trouble
9
Mon, 09-19-2011 - 6:33pm
I've been meaning to write this post for a while but have been too busy with baby to sit down long enough to post. I've had trouble breastfeeding from the very beginning... Namely it hurt like Hell! My nipples were so incredibly sore from the day after she was born, they weren't cracked or bleeding or anything. It felt like my underlying breast tissue was incredibly bruised. By day 2 I was crying through every feeding. I saw 2 lactation consultants in the hospital. The first was the morning after Haven was born, so only a few hours really, & the pain wasnt excruciating yet. That LC said her latch looked good & the pain should go away. The second LC saw us the morning we were going home & by then it was awful. She tried to show me a new latching technique & it seemed to make things a little better at first but it was really hard to do (very cumbersome) & after we got home it wasn't helping anymore. It got to the point where I couldn't latch the baby. It was SO painful. I ended up giving the baby some formula (I sobbed the whole time & felt like a terrible mother, it was 4 am & Haven had been screaming for 2 hours bc she was hungry... I'd tried pumping for half an hour & nothing came out). I kept pumping (I was still getting hardly anything) & giving her the expressed milk and formula for a couple of days to let my nipples heal a little. I nursed every once in a while when I could stand it. After her 1 week appointment, my nipples were feeling a little better & I was determined to get back to exclusive breastfeeding. For the next two days Haven nursed almost constantly. My nipples got sore again but then I guess they toughened up bc it became bareable at least. Her feedings spaced out over the next couple of days to every 2-3 hours with one 4-5 hour spam at night. But, she was SO fussy. When she wasnt eating or sleeping she was crying. I thought it was gas/colic but when we went for her 2 week appointment Haven had lost weight :-/ she weighed less then when we left the hospital. The pediatrician said we needed to start supplementing with formula to get her weight up & suggested I pump after every feeding bc she may just be an inefficient eater or it could be supply issues. At first it seemed like I was getting enough to just supplement her with expressed milk but it wasn't consistent. I'd get enough one pumping and hardly anything the next. Now she is eating a lot more & my supply is definitely not keeping up. I get enough from pumping after nursing to give her expressed milk maybe every third feeding & even then she usually eats a little formula after. So right now I nurse, feed formula, then pump. The whole process takes at least an hour & a half & we repeat it every 3-4 hours. I feel like I'm never going to be able to leave the house again. I really want to get back to just breastfeeding but I have no idea if that is possible now. I've called a lactation consultant & have an appointment for her to come see us tomorrow... It is SO expensive though ($150/hr... Is that the normal rate??). I'm worried that we'll shell out the money, which we don't really have, & then it won't really help in the long run :-/ I'm really discouraged & not sure what to do. I never imagined breastfeeding would be this hard.
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-02-2003
Mon, 09-19-2011 - 9:00pm
Sorry to hear Stormi. Does your pediatrician have a LC in house? Ours do and they charge their time like an 'office visit' so insurance covers it. I only went once and I think it was $47 for the visit. (It's charged as a nurse only visit). I recommend you look for a local La Leche League since they may be able to help you for less.

Good luck!

Melissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-04-2009
Mon, 09-19-2011 - 9:07pm
My LC cost more, but she also had a for to submit to insurance to get reimbursed.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-12-2006
Mon, 09-19-2011 - 9:26pm
In a super big hurry - kids just finished dinner and now I have to run them to bed!!

But GO TO THE BREASTFEEDING / LACTATION CONSULTANT BOARD!!
Here's the link: http://forums.ivillage.com/t5/Breastfeeding-Support-Ask-the/ct-p/iv-ppbreastfeed

The reality is that "in person" help really is the best kind of help for latch problems. And while the cost can be high, it's truly a drop in the bucket compared to the price of formula for a year.

There are a lot of things that jump out at me that went wrong here, but the biggest thing is that clearly her latch ISN'T ok. The pain is the big indicator of that. A poor latch can inhibit milk transfer which will affect both weight gain and supply. Also - if you were giving formula for a week and not pumping much - you likely didn't have enough supply to jump to exclusive breastfeeding ... you have to wean down from the formula / pumping.

When you post - you can largely copy this post to the breastfeeding / lc board - also include a full weight history (indicating those weights that were taken on the same scale). Include your nursing / pumping schedule. What kind of pump you have (all pumps are NOT created equally - and some are basically worthless).

And your baby is STILL quite young so its really not too late to fix the problems if you really want to breastfeed, but you will have to work with lactation experts (pediatricians don't qualify and very frequently give advice that does nothing to help / protect / or salvage the breastfeeding relationship.

If you find you need more help than one session with the LC - see if she accepts insurance. See if the hospital LCs will still see you since your baby was born there (ours do for a few weeks). And look for a La Leche League group near you. The leaders are pretty well trained and very frequently very helpful ... and they're free!!

Sorry if this seems "short" in tone. But really got to run!! Hang in there mama!!
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2004
Mon, 09-19-2011 - 10:53pm
Yes, you CAN get back to EBFing, even if you have to supplement in the meantime. One important question I have is: was the pain excruciating the entire time Haven was nursing, or was it just when she latched (<1min)? I had excruciating pain when my ODS and this LO latched, but the pain went away as he continued nursing. This is normal for some "lucky" women and it does not mean there is a bad latch--this LO gained 2.5lbs in 4wks! My pain abruptly went away at 3wks this time, and I can't remember when it went away last time. I kept thinking he must have a horrible latch, but he really didn't. He latches the exact same way now and there is no pain; my nipples just had to get used to nursing again. If this is the type of pain you're having, just know that it will go away with time.

If it hurts the whole time, then I would agree her latch is bad and you're definitely on the right track scheduling an appt with an LC! I do agree with the ped that you should be pumping after every feeding, but I know that's very time-consuming and difficult if you're home alone with the baby. Ideally you would nurse as long as she wants to nurse, then pump 20 minutes or for 2-5min after the last drop of milk. This will alert your breasts to make more milk, and after a few days you should see an increase in your supply. Have you tried any galactogogues such as fenugreek, blessed thistle, etc.? Some women also see an increase when they eat oatmeal, and you should also make sure you're drinking enough water.

One thing I learned recently that I never knew is that hand expression after pumping can yield up to 2x the amt of milk that you get from pumping alone! I can always get more with hand expression after I've pumped (and I pump for 10-15min). This can help you get more of the fatty hindmilk that will go further in putting weight on the baby. Here's a video I found about hand expressing and pumping that I found helpful: http://newborns.stanford.edu/Breastfeeding/MaxProduction.html It's geared toward moms of NICU babies but it can apply to any pumping mom.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-14-2007
Wed, 09-21-2011 - 11:43am
Just wanted to give you a virtual hug :) You already got some good advice- and I agree that it sounds like a latch issue... It WILL get better one way or another. My little guy had a rotten latch and it was painful for the first four weeks or so. Then he grew a little bigger and we are ok right now :) Hang in there- you are a great mom & you will make it through! There are also facebook pages called "HM4HB" or human milk for human babies in most states that you can get donor milk for your baby if you ever want that option. I really hope the LC can help you... you could also ask about tongue tie which can lead to a bad latch. Keep us posted & good luck!
~Andrea~ IMG_1563
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-19-1999
Wed, 09-21-2011 - 2:28pm
I am one of the queens of breastfeeding troubles, lol. I know what you mean, you can never imagine how hard breastfeeding can be. It's true, you basically spend your entire day and night feeding the baby those first few weeks. It definitely gets better, even though it doesn't seem like it at the time. I've dealt with the not gaining enough weight the first weeks every single kid, except this one. A couple of my kids it was so bad, you might as well been cutting my nipple off, the pain would probably be the same! My personal opinion is to feed on only the one side per feed. (or stay on that one side for a few hours if they keep "snacking" during that time instead of getting in a good feed. That way the baby gets enough of the fatty hindmilk...which should help reduce the fussiness a lot! I know most are against a nipple sheild but some women use one long enough for the nipples to heal up and not be so sore. Also you can try using lanolin if you haven't yet. as for latching, one good pointer I've gotten before , is to sort of point the nipple up towards the roof of their mouth, lightly try to pull her chin down (to help her get her mouth open bigger) and quickly bring her forward to latch on as soon as she has her mouth open big enough....getting as much of the "boob" into her mouth as possible. That way she won't be latching onto the end of the nipple, which is painful! Sometimes I've even kind of tried to flatten the aerola nipple area with my thumb and finger to help get it to a managable size for her to latch onto....at the same time trying to help by gently pulling her chin down to open her mouth bigger. The reason to make sure the nipple is headed towards the roof of her mouth is so that her tongue is grabbing more of the aerola while sucking than just the tip of the nipple down there. These are all just suggestions, as one thing works for one baby that won't work at all with another baby. And sometimes it seems like absolutely nothing works with a baby ( as in my kids ) Even when it seems like there is no way the breastfeeding will work , ever....it can! I was sure this baby wouldn't breastfeed at first, but she is now...and it isn't painful at all anymore. And yes you will beable to leave the house.....someday, lol. no it won't really be this difficult to leave the house, forever :) My older kids were always complaining about how I spent all my time bf'ing the new baby at first! Let her bf as long as she is willing to ( as frustrating as it may seem at first) because it will help keep your supply up. I always let my babies suck for comfort even when they might not be that hungry because it signals the body to make more milk. Sorry for the novel....I hope you find something that works for you two and things are getting better now!

luvmy4kids Made with My Cool Signs.Net

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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-17-2010
Fri, 09-23-2011 - 4:14pm
The nipple pain has subsided for the most part. It still hurts when she initially latches, but then usually goes away in a minute or so unless she has gotten a really terrible latch. I think her latch is generally getting better. I ended up finding & going to a free bfing clinic run by lc's that is put on by a local hospital. There were 2 lc's & 1 intern there and only 3 other mom's besides myself so, while it wasnt as nice as an induvidual house call,we each got some pretty good individual attention. I swear Haven latches beautifully whenever I do it in front if someone! At home though, it's a different story. I never feel like her latch is great at home... It's ok at best. I did get a "my breast friend" nursing pillow bc I tried one at the clinic and it worked so much better for me than the boppy (which didn't really work at all) so at least I'm more comfortable now when nursing. Since her latch is improving, the big issue now is supply. She's getting almost half her daily feedings in formula right now. The lc's recommended getting a hospital grade pump since apparently they are really the only ones that can help increase supply. So I'm hopefully picking that up on Monday & can really start concentrating on getting my supply up. I'll be happy if we can just get to a point where we can stop the formula, even if I have to keep pumping & giving her bottles.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-14-2007
Fri, 09-23-2011 - 6:24pm
awesome news!
~Andrea~ IMG_1563
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-02-2003
Sun, 09-25-2011 - 9:57pm
Glad to hear it's going better. One of my books describes 4 types of latchers. Needless to say, my little guy is a 'barracuda' type. He latches hard and fast and it's quite painful most times at the very beginning (the LC's said he can stretch my nipple up to 50% during that time-ouch!). Once that's over though it's painless to feed him. I never like it when he decides to de-latch mid-feed though, I don't need to be going through the 'stretch' multiple times!! :)

I can see why your LC's are so expensive if they're coming to your house. Ours are at the pediatrician's office (although the LC offices are set-up more like a living room, they have you nursing on a big couch, using a boppy/my breast friend, stool, etc). So nice you found a local clinic!

Melissa