Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sometimes breastfeeding really sucks

I nursed Chicky for a full year. After delivering C.C., the nurses apparently took that information to mean that I was an old pro at this breastfeeding thing, which couldn't be farther from the truth, and only offered me minimal help and advice. To be fair, while in the hospital C.C. seemed to take to nursing like a fish to water but since being home she's gotten a little lazy. Her latch is good but her mouth seems too... Small? Not to downplay things but nursing is not going well.

Oh, the pain!

A couple of days ago it got so bad that I was literally screaming into pillows to muffle my cries. I bit into the pillows too. Anything to keep from punching my poor husband in the balls for putting me back into this position.

We're working through things but it's still very painful and if I read one more website that says if I'm nursing my baby properly it won't hurt I may very well start writing threatening emails to the La Leche League complete with pictures of my bleeding nipples (sorry, too much info? It had to be said. It's just not cool to find blood in your breast pads.).

And to add insult to injury we're going through a horrible heat wave in this part of the country and that always seems to bring about a raging case of mastitis when coupled with a less than perfect latch. I went through this a number of times with Chicky but it never gets easier to deal with, does it?

I just need to know one thing - If nursing is so natural then why is it so damn hard?

49 comments:

Shannon said...

OH you poor thing! You are soooo right! I had a very similar experience. I spent many, many hours crying with a baby attached to my boob, especially the first time around. "They" always say it shouldn't hurt if you are doing it right but that is simply not true. One feed with a bad latch can cause damage that can take a really long time to heal. And unfortunately, even if you are doing it "right" it can still hurt. I'm so sorry you have to deal with that. Really, I know how it feels and how hard it is on you both physically and emotionally. Nursing can be SO DAMN HARD. The only thing that made me feel better was a really great lactation consultant who checked to make sure everything was working right and then told me what a champ I was for hanging in there. Because there was nothing else that could really be done other than be patient, make sure you have a good latch from now on, and slather your nips with Lansinoh after every feed. The very best of luck to you, dear!

JJ_West said...

Oh ... so sorry. It hurts my boobs to read your post. :D I experienced the same difficulty with my second - he just seemed to have a really lazy latch and wouldn't open his mouth wide enough E.V.E.R! I actually, besides the lansinoh, had to buy nipple shields. The consultants will tell you not to use them - no way, no how. I figured that using them and dealing with the consequences was better than giving up the whole gig. Everything turned out fine. I tried to still get at least two feedings in without them and I tried to get rid of them a.s.a.p. Again, no problems after my nipples toughened up.

I wish you so much luck. It is probably worth a consult with a consultant. Our hospital consultants offer "phone consultations" to new mothers, but if you show up in distress and tears - they won't often turn you away. :D

Toast 2 Mom said...

Hi! I'm new to your blog and new to blogland. I had a 2nd baby girl in January. Congrats on your new Chicky! Adorable site, by the way. I can relate to your pain...and many posts. I have had more trouble nursing #2 - mastitis twice and constant clogged milk ducts - what the hell?! I call the pain from nursing, "kicking the couch!" And what's up w/ the blood - I know horrible. Have you tried cabbage leaves to soothe? They work. I hope it gets better soon...it will! I really enjoy your site - would like to add it to mine. Thanks for the great posts. Congrats again! Two girls rule! :)

Glennia said...

Oh my, you poor darling. I had the same problem, and I still remember how bad it hurt. Try warm compresses on the boobs after nursing to see if that helps heal. I cringed in sympathetic pain-memory just reading this.

Heather said...

Yeah, that's such bull that nursing doesn't hurt. It does, even if they're latched properly, for at least the first few weeks. It only hurts me when D first latches, then it's fine...and now at almost 3 weeks post partum that initial pain is starting to subside now that the girls are getting used to the abuse again.

I know what you mean about the little mouth. Ms. D was only 7 pounds and I have gigantic tatas...doesn't seem to fit. I'm afraid I'm going to shoot her across the room with the force of my let-down.

Denice said...

Oh, I had forgotten about the bleeding nipples…
I agree with jj_west - I used nipple shields, and they worked just fine for us.

kgirl said...

Oh god, I totally consider myself a bf'ing pro, and holy fucking hell, the first 3 weeks with Dove sucked big time (no pun intended). My boobs were totally mangled, and she was constantly breaking her latch. But it got better. It will get better with you too, I promise. Try not to stress; the nips will feel better soon. Cabbage helps. I swear it does.

margalit said...

It really DOES have to do with the child. One of my twins was a champion nurser and it never hurt at all when he was on the tit. The other one. OMG, the pain the agony the horror! Two babies, at the same time, and one was easy as pie and the other one was like having count dracula at your boob.

Cabbage. It works. I do not know why. But it does. And it's not THAT weird to walk around with a salad in your bra. OK, it is, but then again, it helps.

Crazed Mom said...

Got me. Took my oldest and I 8 loooooooooooong weeks to be pain and blood,blister free.

Best of Luck!!!

Miscellaneous-Mum said...

Oh, I wish you good luck. It's no fun. :( hang in there.

Whirlwind said...

Hang in there! Those days were by far the worst. I remember dreading nursing and crying the whole time I did it with Einey.

kittenpie said...

you're not alone - have you been reading HBM? She's in the same spot exactly, abut starting to come out of it, so I suppose there is light at the end of the tunnel. Still, makes me think I got off easy with the pumping last time and now I am very worried about september! And ouch, mastitis is no fun at all. I hope it all gets better soon, honey.

Vicki said...

I had sooo many problems with this. Make sure you are not taking too much calcium. A multivitamin is great but don't add to it. I had literal calcium crystals in my milk ducts that were like sand coming out of my nipples because the damn lactation consultant told me I needed to be on as additional calcium supplement. If your milk ducts feel hard and are getting clogged that may be part of the problem. Just wanted to suggest you check that since I don't know of very many people who knew about it already. Best wishes!!!

SciFi Dad said...

carefully tiptoeing into a place I'm not even sure I'm welcome, what with the testicle punching and all...

re: small mouth... my wife had similar issues with our daughter, and she found that manually expressing some before she fed made the breast more pliable and enabled a better latch

I hope things get better for you.

Mandy said...

I hear you about the, "breastfeeding doesn't hurt" issue. I don't know one woman who hasn't experienced some level of discomfort or downright pain.

I hope you feel better soon!

cooler*doula said...

Call your OB NOW.
DEMAND a script for some Triple Nipple Cream. Start putting it on. Unlike lanolin, this stuff actually allows ealing AND will help keep the mastitis away.
Love
Me and my newly healed nipples

cooler*doula said...

Just read the previous comments (excuse typos, am nursing and typing one-handed here.) Cabbage IS very good (there's even a study) but for engorgment. Overuse can diminish supply. Also... You will smell like cooked cabbage. As will your bra... Please get the cream. After two days, I could feel a difference with it. A week on and there are no cracks any more.

Also send spouse out for some Soothies. They'll give you some temporary relief.

Her little mouth, btw, is most likely the culprit... So sorry.

Rusti said...

after reading HBM's breatfeeding post, and now yours - I'm not certain I want to try this whole thing... I think I'm actually terrified now... I hope things get better quickly and you're pain free soon!! I'll be thinking of you and trying to send good thoughts your way :)

mothergoosemouse said...

I think the anecdotal evidence out there has fully debunked the bullshit claim that nursing doesn't hurt if you're doing it right. Just one more way to make new moms feel guilty.

Elleoz said...

Good for you for stickiing it out. I couldn't do it for either one of mine. DD (child #1) had jaundice so I had to give her formula from a bottle (I didn't know I could use a syringe until my milk came in). After that she would latch but refused to draw the milk down. I ended up pumping for a month until I gave up. WIth DS (child #2) he was a champion latcher and tore me to shreads and wanted to suck on my ALL day. Long story short- with a 14 month old and moving I just couldn't keep up with him and had to stop with weeks. (I dried up completely within 3 days- not enough milk eh?)

I concur that BF hurts even when it is done correctly. After awhile I only hurt at the very beginning. Please don't beat yourself up about it. I would suggest meeting with a LLL contact so that she can see what is going on and make suggestions.

Of course, I stay away from the "breast Nazi's" at all cost because they scare the hell outta me. (But that is a post all in itself) :)

Pgoodness said...

i wish i had an answer for you, but i only have sympathy.

my son would literally SCREAM bloody murder every time i tried to get him to latch on. i'm sure i gave up too easily, but i pumped and he took to the bottle with no problem at all. but yeah, not easy at all. (and then i had a huge allergic reaction to my antibiotics...needless to say, bf'ing ended pretty damn quick for this mama!)

i hope it gets better fast for you!

motherbumper said...

Don't even get me started... I winced reading this. I'm so sorry Mrs. Chicky - bleeding nips is akin to torture techniques. And to use them while in that state is ... oh man, my eyes just welled up for you.

Velma said...

Oh, you poor mama! Because Pepper was early, she had no suck reflex AND such a tiny mouth that she couldn't even take a tube syringe from one of her dad's fingers - only my pinky finger would fit! We never did get the hang of breastfeeding, although I did pump for a couple months. And yes, the PAIN was another reason I couldn't stick it out.

I admire you and other committed breast feeders, and I wish I'd had a successful experience just so I'd have some advice to give.

Mac and Cheese said...

No useful advice, but I really hope things get better soon. If my memory holds correctly, I only felt pain for 3 weeks or so with my first. What happens with my second remains to be seen.

twithhoney said...

Great question! If you get the answer let us know.

Breastfeeding was torture! And it is NOT more convenient than bottle feeding because you really can't just whip it out and feed your baby whenever, where ever she gets hungry. But for the cracked, bleeding nipples the Triple Nipple Cream was my life saver. Really, have your OB call in a script for the miracle stuff ASAP.

The Estrogen Files said...

Oh sweetie, I'm so sorry!! I hope you won't send me (as LLL Leader) pix of your nipples, but keep sticking to it! Don't be afraid to contact them for help with latch or other problems, either. We really can help!

Yes, breastfeeding is natural but for every baby it's a learning process, too. Babies are born knowing how to suck, not how to nurse. And each mom is on that same learning curve because it's a new baby.

I've heard that Soothies Gel Pads are a lifesaver! http://www.birthandbeyond.com/soothies.html

Hang in there!!

heather in the `shwa said...

Oh boy. Any chance you have a health unit down there that will send out a lactation consultant to help you? If not, it might be worth it to hire one to help out. I'm only 7 mos preggo with our first so I'm no expert but have had friends who said having someone come and help with feeding times at home made all the difference in the world for them.

And since I read you through bloglines I don't think I've formally said how beautiful your little one is and how thrilled I am for you all. I'm sure Chicky will be an awesome big sister. :)

catnip said...

I have no advice - just oh so much empathy. I hope it gets better soon.

Heather said...

Hi-
I just found your blog and this post hit the spot! I "sort of" breastfed my first and am currently breastfeeding our second child. I don't remember the pain with the first, but boy do I remember how bad it hurt with our second. It hurt for 2 weeks and 1 day. My husband thinks it's funny that I remember it to the date. Trust me-it hurt so bad I will never forget it!

Do you know if baby has a high palette? I know that can contribute to the pain. Hope it gets better! Good luck!

ewe are here said...

I have no advice, as breastfeeding turned out not to be an option the first time around. I pumped to supplement the formula, got just enough out to help bump up immunity, for a few months. Went so well, I did it for my second that way, too.

I hope it gets easier for both of you quickly!

Anonymous said...

I didn't breastfeed my first baby long enough to get bloody nipples, but a friend of mine warned me that it could happen. She gave me some Kendall Wound Dressings just in case. She said they worked like a charm on the cracked nipples.

I plan to breastfeed the next one longer. I'll keep this post in mind.

Good luck!!!

Fairly Odd Mother said...

OH! Do I remember those days---that whole 'it shouldn't hurt' speech made me want to scream. I'm not sure if this is an old wives' tale, but someone told me that it tends to hurt more if you have fairer skin. Maybe we're just more delicate? Hang in there!

Kyla said...

Childbirth is natural, but that's no picnic either. ;)

I know your pain, and the only comfort I can offer is that it does eventually pass. Not nearly soon enough, though.

The Domesticator said...

Oh Mrs C....

I am so sorry you are in pain. That sounds just awful.I have never experienced the horrors of breastfeeding, as I bottle fed my three. Hey, what can I say? I was a wimp *LOL*

But, I was a nurse for many years (infants) and we used to recommend a cream called "bag balm"...farmers used to use it on their cows for similar problems. I know....ewwww...but the new Moms who tried it swore it worked.

www.restlesshousewife.com said...

Is it possible you have thrush?

I suffered from both thrush and eczema for the full 11 months I breastfed my daughter - in complete P.A.I.N. - with no diagnosis from the docs. They don't know everything. F.Y.I. both thrush and nipple eczema can be invisible therefore difficult to diagnose. Complete nightmare situation.

mrsmogul said...

I'm going to try to nurse this time. It hurt so bad the first time I gave up.

Mom101 said...

Oh Mrs Chicky. I am sending positive thoughts towards your nipples right now.

Yvie said...

Ouch...I'm so sorry to hear that. My nipples bled too when it was my first time to breastfeed my baby.

I can feel your pain and I understand how painful it is. It's such a mystery right? Why should it be so painful?

megan said...

Ok, seriously, triple nipple ointment is the CURE. Loved it! Helped heal those cracked blistery bloody nips, not within minutes unfortunately, but this stuff is awesome!! Get it. Now. Seriously.

And soothies, they're from heaven.

Hannah said...

Breastfeeding hurt me, too - I really and truly was expecting that it wouldn't with the second baby, but here we are.

Two months in and everything's fine - but that first three weeks I would have rather stuck my nips in a rat trap than in that tiny rosebud mouth.

Hang in, try Lansinoh on the nips, be well.

mamatulip said...

(((((hugs))))))

Cabbage leaves really helped with my swollen breasts.

Alex Elliot said...

Ouch! Yeah, I don't think I know anyone who didn't find it uncomfortable at the very least at some point. I know that one of my friends had to soak her nipples in room temperature water first to loosen up the scabs and allow the milk to start following in the water (after a few squeezes). It made her feel much better and her baby was able to nurse better. Hence the cycle of pain and scabbing was broken. This is definitely the strangest comment I've ever left a blogger! I know there are a ton of LCs. I met with one at my house from the hospital who was very helpful.

Kelly said...

What Cooler Doula said...the Triple Nipple Cream is awesome. It saved my sanity. The good news is her mouth will get bigger really really soon. And I second her thoughts on the cabbage. It's meant for severe engorgement and not nipple trauma.

Another thing you may be able to try is the nipple sandwich technique, where you quite literally squeeze your areola to make it more like the shape of baby's mouth prior to latch. LC's compare it to squeezing down a big sandwich to make it fit into our own mouths better. It might get more boob in her mouth, as opposed to her getting mostly nipple.

It'll get better, I swear. But I know, the meantime blows. I can't say enough about the triple nipple cream. Dr. Jack Newman created it, and I adore him forever because of it.

Amanda said...

Oh, you! So sorry, the repetitive pain of it all makes childbirth pale by comparison. I am at the six week mark and went through the same excruciating bleeding and pain as with my first 2 daughters. It did stop sooner (3 weeks ago), but honestly, the whole perfect latch, we've never achieved it as per the LC's. I think if you can bite those pillows long enough, it will start to get better. Lansinoh really did help the bleeding for me this time...

Good Luck!

Kelley said...

Oh sweetie. I nursed my first until she weaned herself. Not a problem, no soreness. It was a dream! But numbers 2 and 3 were nightmares. Both I ended up having to give up because of the pain at 8 weeks. All kids are different and it doesn't matter if it is your first or 11th. See if you can get some help babe, nothing worse than dreading feeding time.

JMC said...

I know what you mean. The only one of mine that nursed without pain to me was my first, who I nursed until she got teeth at 6 months. My second I nursed for four months, and it never stopped hurting. My third I barely nursed at all, after rushing her to the ER at five days old for spitting up BLOOD. Turned out it was MY BLOOD. My fourth was nursed for a very short time as well, and it hurt every time.

Jess in MA said...

Oh man, I have no advice whatsoever, but my entire sympathies to you.

Do you read 'Her Bad Mother'? She did a great post about this; http://badladies.blogspot.com/2008/06/boobityville-horror.html. The fact that it's called Bobbityville Horror is so awesome. She's fearless to share the pain and the good. And today she wrote an update, sort of, saying that it's going betterish. If it doesn't help in the practical sense, at least you know that you aren't alone!

Queen of Shake-Shake said...

I don't know why places like LLL continue to spew how bf'ing doesn't it.

It frackin' does!

I've known a lot of nursing moms and we've all gone through that painful stage at the beginning. It happened with both of my boys, and my second was a perfect nurser. It just happens and it sucks those bf advocate places don't acknowledge it.

kristi said...

The first time I saw scabs on my nipples I was DONE. That was with my first child.

With my second, he never could latch on right so I pumped. He still got the milk and I got no pain.