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Thread: Nipples too sore, can't bf, getting depressed

  1. #1

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    Default Nipples too sore, can't bf, getting depressed

    Just felt I needed to post this.



    Bub was born 2 weeks early on the 14th of Feb, and it's been really tough. He had problems attaching and in the process, my nipples got really sore to the point that each time bub latched on, it was so painful that it made my cry.
    At the end of the hospital stay, I was expressing to get milk, still very little at 20ml, and then topping up with formula. I could no longer have bub at my breast. When we left the hospital, the lactation consultant suggested trying a nipple shield.

    The whole process at home was expressing every 3 hrs, taking 40mins, then feeding with breastmilk and then topping up with formula, then sterilising everything. Everything was so focused on feeding bub and I hardly had any sleep, most 1 hr, 1.5 hrs. DH was helping with the feeding but he was getting tired too. And my depression was getting to him. The whole problem is that my nipples are really sore and painful. Bub wasnt attaching properly and chomping on them. I thought it would be better and tried on Thursday with a nipple shield. At first it was good, bub was better at attaching so I was really happy. I tried again later in the day and it just got so painful that when bub latched on, it made me cry.
    Anyway, constant expressing didnt increase my milk flow and having bub on was so painful. The whole process was really making me depressed. I was sinking into depression and resentment that he had come early. Seeing all the posts in my belly buddies about getting ready for bub, and the excitement and still having time to do stuff made me feel worse. I wasnt ready for bub, and I want/wanted time to myself. I feel cheated.
    I went to the hospital for bub's follow up visit today and the lactation consultant was very worried that I was getting depressed. She said there's nothing wrong with switching to formula. She said that it's better for the baby to have formula than a mother who's depressed and that it's going to affect him.
    She said we could try molitium (i think) to try to increase the prolactin levels to increase the milk. It's been reducing the last couple of days, probably because I've been dreading the pump more and more and the whole process was making me really tired and upset. I've been crying and crying so, my milk has been reducing too.
    So anyway, we decided that I'll stop expressing for the next few days and put bub on formula. Early next week, we'll go see my GP and discuss getting molitium, the side-effects.
    I just still feel guilty about not being able to bf and giving bub the best. But it's become so painful.. I still feel it's my fault. I feel upset and angry and resentful that I lost time to myself. I had plans and now everything's changed forever. I keep crying and telling DH it's not fair and that I cant do this feeding thing. Even when I went to hossy, and the midwife said I was 1cm dilated, I was like it can't be, I don't want to have bub yet, I'm not ready.
    But as the lactation consultant said it's better to have formula than a depressed mother. I still havent developed a maternal feeling towards bub, I know this is a child that I have to look after, but I dont have that bond or attachment yet.

    I hope someone can share their experience with me, I feel guilty for not being able to bf, and I feel guilty for not having a bond with my baby, I feel guilty for resenting the fact that he came early (not him tho) and I feel guilty for feeling guilty. I feel it's all my fault.
    I feel horrid for feeling this way.

  2. #2
    ~Belinda~ Guest

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    Last edited by sushee; February 26th, 2008 at 05:47 PM.

  3. #3

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    Thanks so much Bindy. You made me feel better.
    I guess I had really wonderful pregnancy, I really enjoyed it and didnt quite want it to end just yet. And I guess in a way it's all come crashing down, it's the hormones too...

    I will try to get a good night's sleep. At least with formula you can sleep and someone else can do the feeding.

    Thanks again, it means a lot to me. And I'm really glad everything worked out for you and Madeline. I know, formula isnt the end of the world, I was fed on formula too, and I turned out ok.
    xoxoxoxxo

  4. #4
    ~Belinda~ Guest

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    Last edited by ~Belinda~; February 26th, 2008 at 05:37 PM.

  5. #5

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    Thanks again.
    A quick question. I'm not expressing today, should I do anything or just let the milk supply die down. I dont want to get mastitis....

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    I'm not going to repeat what Bindy has said, as her words are very wise indeed. But, I just wanted to say, it doesn't matter if you formula feed or breast feed, you're still going to raise, a happy, healthy baby who will thrive on your love!

    Huge hugs!!!

    Celsie. xoxox

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  8. #8

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    OMG hun congrats on the birth of bubs!!!

    Im not going to tell you not to breastfeed and formula feed vice versa but I just wanted to say I had the same problem as you and DD ended up being formula feed. She is a healthy 14 month old & while I would have liked to BF her I know the best decision I could at the time.

    I hope BF does work out for you but if not dont feel guilty hun XX

  9. #9

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    Prama, I know how you feel, so hugs to you I also had a wonderful pregnancy and even though I knew life would be changed forever, the reality of it all hit me hard in hospital. The pressure from midwives, family and the wider community to breastfeed made me feel like a failure when I couldn't get it to work right away. Cracked, bleeding nipples and feeding all the time didn't feel good and when DS did go to sleep I freaked out everytime he stirred and wished like crazy that he wouldn't wake up because I dreaded feeding... that led to the guilt you know about. 10 weeks later things are getting better and I have a formula contingency plan for if I get a third bout of mastitis - because personal sanity and being happy and healthy mean I can look after my boy and that's so much more important than meeting anyone else's expectations and standards. My mum also reminded me that noone can make me feel guilty without my permission. Find what works for you - If breastfeeding is something really important to you, then do what you can to try and make it work, but remember that you are NOT a failure if you decide it's not for you. You carried this baby and brought him into the world - that's the start of a success story!

  10. #10

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    Prama...you ARE giving your baby the best!

    You are way more than milk to your little one...you are love, comfort, cuddles, security, nurturing...and most importantly...you are mummy!

    Hang in there...it will get sorted out, whether it's BF-ing or formula...

    Just give yourself the break you need and know that it WILL BE OKAY!

  11. #11

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    Prama, the other ladies have written some wonderful posts, so I don't feel there is much to add. I personally hate all the bullsh$t pressure that is put upon us women to "give our children the best" meaning to breastfeed. Surely if we have a roof over our children's heads, blankets to keep them warm at night, a loving and affectionate home, and a full belly - then it shouldn't matter where the food comes from. Honey, I only fed DS for 2.5 days, and then switched to formula because I started HATING him for causing me such pain - pain that nobody ever told me about. Sure some people said, oh its not easy, but not one person ever told me it was PAINFUL. My son is thriving and I don't regret - not even for one damn second - the fact that I switched to formula. I fully believe that women should do what is best for themselves AND their baby - not what society "thinks" they should be doing.
    Don't be so hard on yourself, you are doing a GREAT job. Give yourself a lot of pats on the back for surviving the most difficult week (and a bit!) of your life!!! Take care

  12. #12

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    thanks so much girls.... it does make a difference knowing someone else has gone thru the same.
    lewis's mummy - how did you get back into bf?
    linz - thanks! great belly shot.
    celsie, monnie - thank you
    Aricyn's mum - thats exactly what i thought, everyone talks abt how wonderful it is. no one told me the pain, sore and cracked nipples


    my breasts are getting really painful fr not expressing, should I express a little to ease the pain?
    Last edited by prama; February 23rd, 2008 at 09:58 PM.

  13. #13

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    Hi,

    It sounds like the last week or so have been very overwhelming for you. It's a tough time having a new baby, and especially when things have been going so well during the pregnancy, and then the feeding is not going so well.
    the first rule is "feed the baby" Your little one needs to be fed, and it sounds as if breastfeeding was just so, so difficult for you. Would you want to share a bit about the birth with us? Coming 2 weeks ealy had thrown up a whole new set of challeges for you - it wouldn't have been the case (prob) if he was full term. But, you had no control over that. It is plain from your e-mail that you have done everything you can for your little one, including the decision to put him on formula. Guilt is such a wasted emotion. You have to know you are a great mum.
    Breastfeeding often affords a little flexibility - if you want to give it another go, you could consider getting a thorough assessment from an independant LC. But, if in the morning, your heart tells you you have made the right decision, go with that. Time will reveal a lot about what happened with your little one. No-one can help the circumstances that surrounded his arrival
    Look after yourself
    Barb

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  15. #15

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    prama,

    I just wanted to share with you my experience, and it's not pro-BFing but very much pro-mum, okay?

    When I had Charlie I honestly believe BFing would be a breeze for me because I'd BFed all my older (now teenaged) kids successfully. But the reality was quite different. His mouth was small and my nipples too big and my experience at the hospital saw the midwives telling me to squeeze more of my nipple into his mouth, which made him gag or detach and made me miserable. In the end, whenever no one was looking, I let him suck as he felt like, and as a result, he fed well and gained weight, but by the 3rd day my nipples were cracked and bleeding and I was in the most excruciating pain. Everytime Charlie latched on, I cried and cried in agony.

    My DH asked me to stop, to move him on to formula, he couldn't bear to see me in so much pain. But what made me persist was that I remembered and have experienced what it's like to BF into my baby's toddlerhood. It was different for me because I knew if I stood the pain, if I persisted, if I just get past the initial problems, there was going to be this incredible payoff - an amazing, fulfilling BFing relationship. I can't imagine if I was a new mum, and if I had faced that first time. I'm pretty sure I would have given up, because I wouldn't have known that if I got past it, it would be wonderful.

    I'm not going to blather on about Breast is Best because we all know all that. But what I will say is that the pain did subside a little after 3 or 4 days, and to a bearable level in a few weeks, and while there was still discomfort, we both got better at it. In fact I continued to have problems on and off (and I'm sure there are threads I've posted about in somewhere on BB) eg Mastitis, cracked nipples (again) and a blister, but in the end, it was the amazing experience I knew it would eventually be. When I did wean, I mourned for a very long time because the good memories of BFing so far outweighed the bad it wasn't funny.

    You will find women on BB who are passionate about BFing. And that's because BFing is not easy, it hurts and it's tiring and you never get enough support. And no one tells you that before baby comes. But for those who do end up sticking it out, it feels like an achievement, and they want to let other women know that they aren't alone in their pain and their sleep deprivation and their helplessness. You aren't alone.

    And if in the end, the only thing that will save your sanity is FFing, then do it and don't feel guilty for making the best, most informed decision for you and your baby. But whatever your decision, know you'll have people there who have been through it and know how hard it is, and how hard you're trying, and who know you're a good mother no matter what.

  16. #16

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    Owwweee Prama, I remember, putting off feeds because I knew the feed would hurt, oh the soreness! I remember dreading each feed for awhile there. And we didn't even have the issues of bub coming early, bet that knocked you for six!

    Can't really add to what the others have said. I know my mum loves me, and that's because of a whole lifetime of her actions, I can't even remember being breastfed.

    I just wondered, if you express, as is comfortable, to keep a bit of supply, then that could give you a bit of time to give it another shot once you're in the right headspace? No pressure, it's just a thought.

  17. #17

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    Prama - I really feel for you, I went through the exact same thing. It was awful but I managed to get through it.

    DS was born on his due date but his mouth was small and my nipples are large and we just couldn't seem to get enough in his mouth. I was in agony and dreaded every feed. I saw so many differnt LC and nurses and while BF seemed to go ok while they were there to help, as soon as they were gone it was excruciating again.

    My Dr gave me tyleonl 3 which helped a lot and my husband gave me tons of encouragement, which also helped a lot. I didn't want to FF as I felt I was letting him down but the pain of BF was driving me insane and I was crying all the time too.

    My first experience with pumping was with a crummy electric pump and it just didn't work. I started supplementing with formula to give my poor nipples a break, but I kept at the BF as much as I could stand and then topped up with formula.

    Then someone lent me an Advent manual pump. It was so easy and pain free that I pumped (with a bit of FF) for 4 days to allow my nipples to heal, then I gradually started adding back in BF. Slowly I cut back on FF and then dropped the FF altogether and alternated bewteen BF and pumping. Eventually I was able to stop pumping as well.

    It took 3 months but we are finally at the point where DS is 100% BF and I only pump if I go out and leave DH to babysit. My nipples are no longer read and sore and I am so glad I perservered. If it wasn't for a supportive husband, support from people here, ( ha ha and looking at the price of formula) I would never have made it.

    If you can hang in there I promise it will get easier. If you really can't though it's not the end of the world. FF is definately better than being depressed and it's really not that big of a deal. You need to do what's best for you and baby and not worry about pressure from anyone. I was a FF baby and I think I turned out just fine. I hope it gets easier for you really soon!!

  18. #18

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    Prama, I can totally relate to your feelings about bub coming early. My second DS arrived 3 1/2 weeks early, totally unexpectedly and with just a 3 hour labour. His early arrival threw everything into chaos - DH's leave plans had to change, our plans for DS1 while I was in hossy couldn't happen, nothing was ready etc. I felt totally out of control and TBH with such a quick labour I hadn't had time to get my head around the fact that he was coming early. But what I can tell you is that over time, you will get over it, and you will feel less resentment. But it will take time.

    WRT the feeding, I haven't been in your situation, but I agree that whatever you do is the right thing. You need to do what you need to do, and as hard as it is, try not to feel guilt over it. Feeding definitely does get easier, so if you get past this you will likely enjoy bfing, but if the formula is working better for you, then so be it. Please look after yourself. Mother guilt is a horrible thing and it doesn't matter what you do, you will feel it from time to time. It is important that you are doing well, so do take care of you. Best of luck to you, I think things will seem a lot better soon.

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