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Thread: Please tell me it gets easier!

  1. #1

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    Default Please tell me it gets easier!

    My little boy is just over three weeks old and we are struggling so hard with breastfeeding. I have had some wonderful support from numerous sources (the nurses at the hospital, the nurses at this "healthier babies" centre, the public health nurses who come to my house once a week to check up on us and weigh Cameron, and a wonderful lacation consultant who has seen me several times both in the hospital and at my home) but we just can't seem to get the proper latch. It seems to go ok while one of the nurses is watching and helping me, so I know it's possible, but as soon as they leave we can't seem to re-create the perfect latch no matter how many times I pop him off and try again.

    The LC said my positiong is right, but for some reason I just can't get enough breast tissue into the mouth (probably due to the fact that I have unfortunately large breasts)and as a result I have REALLY sore, red and cracked nipples 9i have some cream for them from my doctor but it only helps a little). I actually dread feeding time as it has gotten so painful on one side. The damage is from his toungue rubbing agisnt my nipple instead of the breast. I got some of those plastic sheilds to wear between feedings to keep your bra from aggrevating the nipple but I find them uncomfortable and they collect and then leak milk all over the place.

    I even tired pumping the other night to give my poor nipples a rest and pumped a whole bottle full......which was devoured in 10 seconds and I still had to put him on the breast afterwards. I tried to pump again last night as I was getting engored and leaking everywhere but now I can't even get a good latch on the pump and so i can't get enough suction to pump anything out.

    I am determined to keep at it despite the troubles we are having, but I am getting VERY discouraged. The worst is the middle of the night feeding which often leave me in tears. I have been told that it does get easier, please tell me this is true! I don't know what else I can do to make this work or how much more my nipples can handle.


  2. #2

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    Hi,

    It does get easier. The first few weeks can be so frustrating! There is not a mother alive who wouldn't consider chucking the whole thing is. (I weaned my baby most nights, but was too tired to think about the alternative, so would just say to myself "In the morning..." then the morning would come and I'd give it another bash!
    Tell me, how big was he at birth? Was he full term? How did the birth go? Have you watched a video, like Rebecca Glovers "Follow me mum" That has some great explanations and some great animated sequences that help you understand what is going on in the baby's mouth. Is he back over his birthweight yet?
    When you are giving a bottle, "pace" the feeding - make it a little more like breastfeeding. Make sure the teat is a newborn teat, or screw the bottletop on tight to reduce the flow so he has to work a bit harder. Stop him half way and give him a rest and a burp, then give the rest of the bottle. How much did he drink, by the way?

    Warm Regards
    Barb

  3. #3
    paradise lost Guest

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    It gets easier. I was a big-boobed mama too and was always jealous of those women who could feed without supporting their boob with one hand, but one thing you can be positive of with babies is that they grow and as they grow these things improve without anything different being done.

    There was a thread with big-boob-BFing tips, i'll see if i can find it.

    Meantime CONGRATULATIONS on your lovely little boy!! It seems like only yesterday i got my jewelry and box and here you are a mama already! Well done hun, i can't WAIT to hear how it all went

    Bx

    ETA - here is the thread with big-boobie tips, it's kind of old but still relevant.
    Last edited by paradise lost; December 13th, 2007 at 08:05 AM.

  4. #4

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    it does get better, the first few weeks are the toughest but once you get through them you'll be glad you stuck with it.
    It's not a long term solution but take a panadol every now and then (but not for longer than 24 hours). They're an effective form of pain relief for your poor boobs and since pain is so demoralising it's nice to get a bit of relief from it.

  5. #5

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    I think the most under-used piece of advice for new bfing mums is that it will get easier. It is so easy in those early weeks to picture yourself battling to get a baby to attach, to be in pain, to be feeding every couple of hours, indefinitely. But the reality is that it does start to settle down quite quickly, and most people find feeds get less frequent and much easier somewhere around the 8 - 12 week mark. The baby will be able to attach easily and by themselves, you'll feel less (and hopefully no) pain and you'll feel less full and uncomfortable. You will also feel more confident with feeding away from home and while moving around.

    Now looking back, 8 - 12 weeks is not a long time in the scheme of things, but at the time it can seem a lot longer. But it's worth it to perservere through it. Once it's all going well it is so rewarding. Keep up the good work, you'll get there.

  6. #6

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    I totally agree with everyone else! The first weeks are sooooo hard!
    I found when Natalie was about 7 weeks old I was feeding her one afternoon and after a few minutes I thought to myself, 'hey, this doesn't hurt anymore!' It was the most glorious moment.
    Hang in there

  7. #7

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    i have a 4 week old and even though BFing for us this time as been "fairly" smooth sailing with DD1 we had no end of problems. My biggest tip (may not work for everyone but it is for me) is to air your BB as much as possible. I found this quite hard so even though i am leaking i have put a towel on my bed and i sleep topless. If i have a bad feed and feel slightly sore it often feels 100% better after a night of airing. I think the reason this helps me so much is because when i wear a bra and nursing pads my bb never seem dry so they dont get a chance to heal iykwim.
    Oh it also means i have to wash my sheets more but it doesnt bother me i think my BB need fresh air i hope it gets easier for you

  8. #8

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    Thanks so much. All of your comments have made me feel a lot better. Knowing their is a light at the end of the tunnel makes me feel much better. We will persist.

    Barb - OMG sounds just like me. In the middle of the night I get frustrated and find myslef thinking "this is it, I can't do it anymore, i'm giving this up" but by morning I'm ready to give it another try.

    He was 8lbs 8oz at birth and he was born on his due date. The birth was horrific - 58 hours of contractions, two hours of pushing as he was "sunny side up" and his head was tilted back, and 3rd degree tearing which is still tender. I haven't watched any videos but i will see if i can find that one. He is putting on weight well and passed his birth weight by 2 weeks. He's 3.5 weeks now and weighed in at 10lbs 1 oz just yesterday. When I gave him the botle he drank 100mL and still wanted more. I tried to slow him down a little but he was pretty aggressive with the bottle and I couldn't get it out of his mouth until it was empty (it does have a newborn nipple on it)

    Hoobley - heh heh I hope you are still wearing your jewellery. thanks so much for that link, i'm off to read it now.

    Hoody - ok i'm going ot try that. I was just given a nice soaker pad so if I sleep topless on that my bed should hopefully stay dry. I find my bra rubs the nippel and distorts it a litle so sleeping topless should help with that as well.

    Dachlostar - thanks I will try the panodol. Any bit of pain relief will be most welcome.

    Snacks - did you do anything different when it finally worked? Or did it just finally miraculousy stop hurting? And it was easy from then on?

    Mantaray - thanks. It's so frustrating right now but you are right, 8 - 12 weeks is not a long time in the scheme of things, and we're already a third to halfway there so we'll keep struggling away. I'm glad to hear it will be easier to feed away form home as I kind of panic when we go out and he starts indicating he is hungry. I keep all of my outings as short as possible, it will be nice not to have to rush them so much.

  9. #9

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    Twin Sis - a big big - and yes it gets easier! He will grow fast and one day his mouth will *suddenly* be big enough to match your breast and finally it will be comfortable for you. Hang in there, it sounds as if you are doing a wonderful job - don't forget to give yourself a bit of time out and don't be afraid to air the girls out, take some pain relief, and look after yourself in other ways too. xxx

  10. #10

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    Hi again Twin Sister. Sadly for us it was just a case of waiting out the bad times and then finding the good times were to follow. Like Marydean said, I think it was to do with her mouth growing a bit bigger (though my boobs are not large... Except when they were engorged, then OMG! I wished they didn't hurt so much cause I was thrilled with their size, LOL!) and both of us getting used to it (waiting for her to not be so lazy and keep her mouth properly open, and waiting for my nipples to become less sensitive). We've had our share of mishaps over the months, so I won't say it was always easy (including her refusing the breast about a month ago. Broke my heart.) But, up til that point, I am SO SO SO glad we persevered. Feeding when we went out was easy, feeding overnight was easy, settling her when I just didn't know what else to do was easy, and it was a lovely way to be close with my baby. Good on you for keeping it up. It really is hard those first weeks, but you will get there.

  11. #11

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    It definitely gets easier so don't give up! You're doing a great job.

    I remember when I was having an AWFUL time feeding DD my best friend came to visit me with her 3 month old twins and she breastfed them both at the same time and it just all looked so easy I wanted to cry.

    But after all the hard times and a lot of help and support, I realised one day that it was now that easy for us too! I went on to feed her till 16 months and I am grateful every day that I didn't give up in those first few weeks.

    Hang in there!

  12. #12

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    Thanks so much for your replies, I feel so much better after I come here.

    I'm feelign REALLY frustrated today. The lactation consultant came out to see me yesteray and we had a really great session. So far we've only been working on football hold and modified cradle hold as those I guess are the easiest. Since I have been having such a hard time wih them though we worked on the regular cradle hold. Despite it's awkwardness I was pleasantly surprised to do it perfectly on the first try and we had a long pain free feed. I was actually looking forward to the next feed since I'd had such success, but of course once I was on my own I just fumbled like crazy, milk was spraying everywhere, and of course I could not get him on without it hurting. I don't get why I can do it so well with her watching me but as soon as I'm on my own it's awful again!

  13. #13

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    Oh, I'm so sorry! Do you think you're getting a bit tense before the feeds because you're on your own? (I know you said you were looking forward to it, but maybe even on a subconscious level?) Do you think you and Cameron may be more relaxed in a warm bath, or lying down in bed? Is the LC helping to position Cameron, or is she letting you do it all yourself when she's there?
    I'm sorry I don't have anything else to suggest... You're doing so well.

  14. #14

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    At first the LC was putting him on (we've had several sessions) to show me what to do and then we moved to her just coaching me while I put him on. I put him on myself yesterday when we had our pain free feed. I didn't think I was tensing up but maybe I am. I guess the milk spraying and leaking all over the place and his little arms flailing everywhere do make me tense up a bit. Wrapping him helps with the arms but not the milk fountain, and expressing some milk before I feed him doesn't help, I just get another let down and continue to get it everywhere. I've tried lying down in bed but it's even more awkward than the regular cradle hold and I just can't seem to get my hands in the right position.

  15. #15

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    I know it's easier said than done but try not to worry about the milk flying everywhere. It's a great sign that you have an ample supply.
    I used to feed with a cloth nappy or hand towel handy to mop up all the excess milk. I used it to wipe of bubs and my boobs occasionally too because it can all get a bit slippery.
    Sometimes someone who is watching us can see better what we need to do. Can you get your DH to help? If he knows how it's meant to look he can help you achieve that.
    Congratulations on a pain-free feed. If you've done it once you can do it again (and again and again and again....)

  16. #16

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    Congratulations on a pain-free feed. If you've done it once you can do it again (and again and again and again....)
    Absolutely. You can! Keep popping in and telling us how you're getting on. xx

  17. #17
    CatherineL Guest

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    I just wanted to say it DOES get so much easier... It was not long ago I was the one writting a post similar to yours... Initially I also found attachment hard because I have breast implants as well as engorgement and I just couldn't seem to catch her with her mouth wide enough and even when I did get her on it still bloody hurt. In hindsight, I now know it was because my breasts were too full and too tight for her to get it all in her mouth. For a few weeks now, since my milk has settled a bit and breasts have become softer (most of the time - they still get quite engorged), we are bf'ing pain free and like pros! I even am more than comfortable to flop the ol' booby out in public and put her on without even having the think about it. She can even attach herself now which was great when she was waking for her night feed and I could just pop her on in the dark. Seriously, I can barely remember the frustration I had and it was pretty bad because I was always reduced to tears. As a pp said, airing them did wonder for my nipples healing too - I ditched the lanolin cream (felt like it was aggrivating my thrush) and just went top free for a week! Also the LC I saw actually told me to express for 24 hours to give my nipples a bit of a break and chance to heal - definately helped me. It feels so good when you get to the part where you don't have these difficulties anymore... the look of your baby satisfied on the breast is priceless!

    One more thing - Just thought i'd add - If your finding the pump a PITA, maybe try hand expressing. I only discovered it this week and have ditched my electric pump. I can get much more milk quicker by hand expressing and it doesn't hurt like the pump does (I found it really painfull when my nipples were cracked and blistered!).

  18. #18

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    Catherine, thanks for sharing. I still remember one of your first posts! It's is wonderful to hear that you are feeling so comfortable and confident with breastfeeding - and even breastfeeding in publice. These are the stories other women need to hear. Good on you
    Regards
    Barb

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