Breastfeeding Help!

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-26-2008
Breastfeeding Help!
18
Sat, 08-21-2010 - 3:31pm

Hey ladies, I need some help. I have a few questions about Breastfeeding.

My milk came in around day 3 and my breasts are super large and feel so heavy and uncomfortable. I have pumped a ton out of them to try to get them to lessen, but nothing. my left breast is so full most of the time that she can't latch on, so I am not sure what to do about. My nipple tends to be really flat when it's so full and she can't get a good latch at all. So I have been only able to get her to feed on the right side

My nipples are really starting to crack and I have been putting on the lanisohl but it doesn't seem to be helping, so I am not sure if any of you have any tips

She is feeding well when she does decide to feed, but we have been going through these cluster feedings. She will feed for a good 5 to 8 minutes and then she will fall asleep no matter how much I try to keep her awake, so I burp her and start again and she will then take a few minutes to latch on again and we start all over. this goes on for awhile and then she won't wake up. I change her diaper (because usually it needs it) and then she wants to feed again. So we do this and then she fusses like she is still hungry. Last night it went on for 2 hours, but she wasn't latching at all last night. so I finally put an 1oz of breast milk in a bottle and she ate about 1/2 of it.

I just want to make sure she is getting fed and I know she is, she was 6lbs 15oz when we left the hospital Thursday and she was 7lbs 3oz yesterday at the peds office, so I know she is getting food and she has plenty of diapers, I am just getting frustrated and trying to calm down about it, but it's tough....

Any advice I appreciate it!









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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-03-2004
Sat, 08-21-2010 - 3:48pm
The only advice I have to give is to try to pump a little off of your left breast before attempting to feed her. This might make it a little easier to latch on. (((HUGS))) Your milk production will level out eventually, it will just take a little time for your body to adjust. I hope someone can give you some advice on the other issues.








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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-04-2007
Sat, 08-21-2010 - 4:22pm

Hey hon! I just want to say that all of this sounds super normal. I know it's not that fun, but if she needs to cluster feed now, just go ahead a let her, it's not going to last forever, and in these early days it's best to let her feed on demand, even if her feeding patterns don't always make a lot of sense.

Keep putting the lanisoh on your nipples, once she stops cluster feeding and things even out (and they will!) it will get a lot better. In the mean time, you might have to put up with it for a little while, but I promise it gets better. My sore nipple days are such a long ago memory, and seem like such a tiny part of our bfing relationship by now. There are some gel pads you can get at target or walmart by the other breasfeeding stuff that can be soothing if you get a break from nursing, I don't remember what they're called, maybe soothies or something like that.

If you keep feeding her on demand, she'll get plenty. If you need to use the pump to relieve engorgement, just do it till you're no longer in pain, if you pump too much, you're signaling your body to produce more milk, and the cycle will continue. I suffered through the engorgement for one or two days, only hand expressing a little bit when it got really bad, and then it was gone. I've heard a lot of stories from BTDT's about pumping exacerbating the problem.

If you feel like you have latch problems, definitely try to see a lactation consultant asap, as a good latch it really key in these early days.

It sounds like you're doing great, if you just keep nursing on demand, things will start to improve and before you know it you'll be forgetting you had any troubles at all. You're little girl is gaining weight fine, so you really don't need to worry. I remember thinking that my son would never make it 2 months, but he did, and it went by so fast. Try not to stress, and just keep following Gabriella's cues. Good luck!!

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Avatar for berry81
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-27-2008
Sat, 08-21-2010 - 9:39pm

Jess -- Grace gave you some great advice. I second the gel soothies recommendation; keep them in the fridge and they feel really good to ease sore nips. I had a crack in my nipple at first and OMIGOSH it hurt so bad. Those gel soothies make it a lot better.

Everything you are describing sounds really really normal! The first few weeks of BFing are not easy, but it will get so so so much better. It sounds like you and she are just trying to figure out your BFing relationship - she's learning and so are you.

I also have flat nipples, which definitely makes the latch tricky - baby can have trouble finding the nipple because and needs to suck harder. It's a lot easier for baby when you aren't engorged (as you know!), so definitely try to pump or hand express a little bit out at first, but Grace is right, don't rely too much on the pump during these first few days, it will only tell your body to make more milk.

My best advice is to keep offering her the breast as much as possible - she does a much better job than the pump ever will. I know how hard it is just sitting there and doing nothing but nursing, but it's only for a very short time period -- in a few weeks things will be so much different. Just let her nurse as much and as often as she will/can for right now. She is gaining so you are doing a great job! Try not to worry too much - it's clear that she is getting your milk.

It definitely sounds like you might benefit from a visit with a lactation consultant -- over the internet it's difficult to give advice about baby's latch and getting a proper latch, etc. It never hurts to get some extra help at the very beginning from LCs. Do you know how to contact an LC from your hospital? You can usually call the maternity floor and ask a nurse how to get in touch with an LC and make an appointment.

Hang in there, mama! You are doing a great job - what you are going through is totally normal. It will get better - I can tell you want to make BFing work, and with that motivation, you will.




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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-05-2006
Sat, 08-21-2010 - 10:06pm
I didn't realize it pre-breastfeeding, but I also had very flat nipples.

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Avatar for berry81
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-27-2008
Sat, 08-21-2010 - 11:27pm

Jess -- I also wanted to recommend these: http://www.amazon.com/Philips-Avent-Comfort-Breast-Shells/dp/B000058DQJ

They are called breast shells. Different than a nipple shield because you don't wear them when you are BFing (though a nipple shield might also be something that could help, as Kim suggested), they are good for helping flat nipples stand out in preparation for baby to latch. It's hard to explain how they work, so hopefully the product photo I linked to will help... but you wear them inside your bra (or nursing tank) and then remove them when you are ready to BF. You'll find that your previously flat nipples now stand out (like, they get crazy big, lol!) and thus make it easier for baby to latch. I found that a couple other side benefits of these things are 1) they collect BM when you leak, and 2) they keep your (sore!) nipples from touching the fabric of your bra/clothing. I remember how much I appreciated that because at first I didn't want ANYTHING touching my super sore nips!!!




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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-01-2005
Sat, 08-21-2010 - 11:28pm

All normal! It takes awhile to get a groove going, you're doing great! After going thru it and learning, I firmly believe that breast milk is a natural food but that breast feeding is not a natural behavior at first...it really takes a lot of learning by you and the baby and its always changing.

One thing that worked for me to heal sore nipples was block feeding which is feeding on one side for a few feedings, pumping the sore/full side for 20 minutes and then switching for the next few feeds. The Medela Hydrogel pads and the Medela Tender Care lanolin was also a lifesaver.

Flat nipples are also an issue for me and I used the shield for about a week before tossing it out. Try to get her mouth as open as possible...one thing that worked for me was to drag my nipple down his nose in the motion like "eating a hamburger" instead of tickling his nose with well...nothing really stuck out since it was flat. The hamburger approach worked a lot better. Also try to keep in the back of your mind that its breast feeding, not nipple feeding! The latch takes practice for you and baby. Also keep in mind that because you had various fluids during your labor that your body may be hanging onto some of it....my boobs were just so full of extra fluid like every other body part (feet, hands, legs) for about 2 weeks PP.

I have no advice for the cluster feedings because those were super frustrating for me. Just hang in there is all I can say and try to remind yourself that she wont be little and cuddly for long...that thought was the only thing that kept me sane during those long hours.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-11-2010
Sun, 08-22-2010 - 10:10am

Jess--I agree you have gotten a lot of great advice. I would definitely suggest only pumping enough so that you aren't painfully full, and to soften your breast before she latches. The rest of the time you can try cold cabbage leaves (right on the breast/nipple), they can naturally help to regulate milk supply.

Also definitely let her eat whenever she wants--that way your body will know exactly how much to make, and she will gain fine. It sounds like she is definitely eating enough, so no worries.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2007
Sun, 08-22-2010 - 2:27pm
You've gotten lots of great advice already. One additional trick that worked for me was to put ice packs on my chest (over my bra, under my tank top) when I was so engorged that it hurt (which was like all the time for 3 or 4 days). Sending you lots of hugs - you are doing great, and breastfeeding will get much easier and more comfortable in the next few weeks!
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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2005
Sun, 08-22-2010 - 3:28pm
Jess, you already had great advice! They only thing I can think of right now is to BF in a comfortable chair, with many "entertaiment" sources handy. Like, the remote, a book, the computer, so you can help the boredom during those cluster feedings.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-25-2006
Sun, 08-22-2010 - 5:01pm
You have gotten some great advise. The engorgement/milk regulation only lasts a few days. The baby starts out trying to learn to latch on a nice soft breast, they finally catch on, and then we end up getting our milk supply and not they have this hard breast to try to figure out how to latch. Z was lazy nurser in the beginning. He would just put his lips to my breast, wait for it to leak and then open his mouth so it would drain in. I have pretty large breasts, so what helped for me while getting him to work on his latch was I would hold my breast, pull his mouth open at his chin with the other hand and Jon would guide his head to my nipple. Within a few days he was doing much much better. Also remember that her stomach is really small, so if she's only nursing for 5-8 minutes that's probably all she needs. Can you feel let down? Both boys were quick nursers and rarely nurse for more than 10 minutes. It does get better.
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