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715930 tn?1338722436

Traumatic BF'ing; pumping as solution?

Hi All,

My son is 11 days old.  BF'ing has been one challenge after another.  Sore, cracked nipples, excruciating pain on latch-on, and DS who is so maniacal at feeding time that it can take 15+ minutes to get him latched (screaming, calming, screaming again, throwing wild punches and arching his back, etc.).  Every time I feed I cry from the pain and the emotional trauma of DS's tantrums.  an LC has been helping me and tells me his latch is OK (though I can see sometimes he doesn't get enough into his mouth, but not sure how to fix this since DS is usually so out of control).  I've tried syringe-feeding, nipple shields, lanolin, and even have prescriptions for antibiotic and antifungal creams.  The nipple soreness had begun to improve and I don't want to quit on an upswing.  But, all of this has led to some serious feelings of hopelessness about my situation.  I need to find a solution!  

I have been able to pump some, but am sometimes disappointed with the output.  I just don't think the pump works as well as DS.  If I manage to build a little supply, Can I introduce a bottle now for some daily feedings?  This would take some pressure off me to exclusively feed, maybe DH can take a feeding or two so I am not so completely tied down.  Is he too young?  Why does the pumping output taper off during the day?  Should I use a higher setting?

Thanks so much for any advice...

-Lynne
8 Responses
171768 tn?1324230099
i'm sorry you're having so much trouble.

my dd did many of the behaviors you describe. believe it or not, reflux meds helped tremendously. she'll still do it if it's close to when her next dose is due. she gets so frantic to eat to soothe her throat, she thrashes and screams. although, she does this half way through those feeds and not at the beginning. feeding her upright helped a lot, as did frequent burping, smaller more frequent meals, etc... but it wasn't enough. you may want to try some of these techniques- if you see some improvement then you may get an idea if that is contributing to the problem.

i introduced 1 bottle/day at 2 weeks. they generally advise waiting longer, but i had too many dr's appointments and such. also, because of all of the problems caused by the reflux, i couldn't nurse while out and about. she now gets 1 bottle of pumped milk a night so that i can sleep a 3-4 hour stretch. if i have an appointment or errand to run, she may get an extra bottle during the day. i try to make sure she doesn't get any more during the day. she does ok now, but when i first introduced the bottle, i did notice that i had to be more persistant at some feeds to get her to stay on the breast.

milk output normally does taper off during the evenings. with my first, i pumped exclusively and i definitely noticed this pattern. turning the pump up won't help and may actually decrease output. i did find making sure i ate healthy meals with lean protein and drinking plenty helped a little. right now milk supply is hormone driven, and they fluctuate during the day. later on, it will even out more. what kind of pump are you using? is it comfortable? the right sized horn can make a difference. also, be sure to do compressions while you pump.

glad to hear the nipple soreness is improving. my didn't start to improve until after 2 weeks, so your ahead of the game. i'm now 5 weeks post partum and have no pain- haven't for about 2 weeks. interestingly, i still have a sore on each boob- they just don't hurt anymore.
490183 tn?1361213953
I experienced EVERYTHING you're going thru, and my DD is 4mo old now, and I love breast feeding! Buy a box of Second Skin and you'll never use lanolin again.  My DD's pediatrician gave me some and their awesome! You'll find them in the band aid section, and there for burns or scrapes.  You keep them in the fridge and put them on your nipples when you need them, and it heals them.  Don't worry, they don't stick.  I wore them all day long, and when I was breast feeding, I laid them on an ice pack to keep them cold, then put them right back on the nipple.  Their good for about 24hrs.  

I also started pumping when Ireland was about 2wks old, and gave her a bottle whenever my boobs were sore, used Dr. Browns, and they were great.  Don't worry about your supply.  At 2wks I was lucky to get 3oz's, and eventually my supply got better and better.  Our lamaze teacher told us not to pump for 3wks, but our next baby I plan on pumping ASAP, to get my supply going.  

Once you get to the 2mo mark, you'll see it'll be all downhill, and so worth it.  It's such a convenience to be able to whip that boob out, when needed.  I also still pump for about 10-15min AFTER I breast feed, just an extra lil measure I take to keep the supply up, and it works.  A lact spec gave me that advice.  If my supply seems a little low, I'll do a SUPERPUMP for about 20 min and that gets the supply going as well.  

Good luck to you and congrats on your baby!
715930 tn?1338722436
Thanks for your comments.  @tired: I have a Medela Pump n style, and yes it is fairly comfortable.  I notice that one breast has better output with the pump than the other.  I will try compressions too to see if that helps.

My pain now is less related to the skin breaking on my nipples than the way DS latches on.  Now DH has to basically hold him down and open his mouth so I can latch him, he is so frantic.  About once a day I get a latch that's comfortable, if all the stars align (lips flanged, lower jaw nice and low, tongue in right place etc.).  All the other times, I end up crying from the pain.  The pain does get better as the feeding goes on.

Everyone says it gets better.  but the 2 month mark is so far away for me, I can barely get through the next three hours let alone 2 months.  I get so depressed just thinking about it.
171768 tn?1324230099
have you tried feeding him before he appears to be hungry? i'm trying to figure out why he's so frantic.

another thing you can try is to pump a little before trying to latch him so the milk is flowing. if he is frustrated before a let-down, that may help. it can also help draw out the nipple, making it easier to latch.

last night dd again did everything you described- she would scream, arch her back, thrash at the nipple (ouch!!!) and literally punch my boob. i'd calm her down, burp her, out her back on, and it would start again.  Yesterday she didn't get her full dose of meds because she spit some out. this terrible feed was an hour before her next dose was due. we stopped the feed, gave her her meds, and tried again once they kicked in. she was a new baby. if this continues, you may want to consult your ped.
715930 tn?1338722436
Today we are trying more frequent nursing.  I am trying to view feedings as opportunities to learn rather than a painful chore.  It's hard but maybe we can get into a better rhythm to overcome the franticness.  The last feeding was less frantic and we got a slightly better (if still painful) latch.  

I will ask my ped about reflux.  How did you & yours diagnose your DD?  Was she spitting up a lot?

also, at what point did your pain stop?
171768 tn?1324230099
pain started getting better at 2 weeks, and was completely gone shortly after 3 weeks.

dd doesn't spit up at all. that's part of the problem- she swallows everything back down so it burns both ways. He actually dianosed based on our anecdotal evidence, which surprised me. he said it can't hurt to try the meds because it has no known side effects. Anecdotal evidence- we could tell she was constantly bringing stuff up and swallowing it back down. We saw the pain on her face, saw/heard swallowing followed by screams. the fact that there was some improvement when i fed her completely upright and did smaller more frequent feeds was an indicator. On her worst days she would start out ok, but get worse as the feed progressed. As she got fuller, she refluxed more, started to scream, and would frantically eat more to soothe it, which cycled all over again. the only way we could stop that cycle was by basically forcing her to fall asleep (a huge challenge). She woke up happy and feeling better, but we started all over again with the next feed. She would scream after burping (we could hear her swallow it back down) and hiccups triggered it as well.
715930 tn?1338722436
tired, thanks for describing this problem.  DS doesn't seem to do that but I will keep an eye out.

the franticness SEEMS to be subsiding with frequent feedings today (offered every 1.5-2 hours).  and we are learning more about latch, trying to fix problems along the way.

as for pumping, i will continue to pump but i think rather than using it as a solution to my bf'ing issues, i need to work through the latch problems.  i will keep trying.  thanks for everyone's help.

good to hear that I could be at the end of my pain...2 weeks on Tuesday.

he does still do this strange reflex, where when i tickle his lips with the nipple, he jerks his head WAY over to one side and gives a beautiful, wide open mouth that I have no hope of getting anything into.  it's odd since he is always facing me during feedings.  he needs to learn to do this straight ahead, i wonder how I can teach him?


-Lynne (LMC)
223237 tn?1302188391
Does your son act that way at the beginning of the feed?  My son arches his back and pulls off the nipple in the beginning, and gasps for air.  I think my let-down is too forceful for him.  Eventually he relaxes and it's all good, except for the subsequent gas and reflux.  My son also does better when he is hungry, but not starving.  If I wait too long, my nipples sure are sorry.  Have you tried different positions?  The football hold might make your son feel more secure and less squirmy.  Also swaddling him might help.  
I understand pumping to build up your supply and to have a little on hand in case you want to give a bottle now and then.  But doing both may be adding to the feelings of being overwhelmed.  Good luck, it will get better.  

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