View Full Version : 7 day old baby and sore nipples/BF? (long)
03-13-2004, 02:59 AM
My baby Forrest is a week old today, and we've had some BF problems. He had some problems latching in the hospital (I had a C/S so we were in for 3 days), then seemed to do well. Then my milk came in and he refused to latch on to the new, hard, boobies. After 4 or 5 hours of crying and trying, I pumped an ounce and my DH finger fed him. This was the morning we were going home, and he still wouldn't latch, so the hospital LC gave me a nipple shield, which he latched on to no problem. I have a fear of nipple sheilds, so I used it for about 36hrs, and had an LC come to my house, and she helped me get him latched without it. Now we're 2 days with no sheild, but my nipples are still sore, and sometimes very painful right at the beginning of a feed. One is a little damaged, and that one hurts more, but even the undamaged one is sore. For instance, anything brushing against them feels like fire. Anyone else experience this when their baby was a newborn? I am also worried because DS only nurses about 5-10 minutes per breast at each feeding. Not that I want to feed him for 45min or anything, but anyone else have a fast eater at this age? I seem to have lots of milk, I leak all the time, and DS has plenty of yellow stools and wet diapers. He eats every 2-3 hrs, usually. At his 6day checkup yesterday he weighed his birthweight. I am just worried about the soreness. I also wondered when BF gets easier, ie, less worrying, latch on is effortless, don't need 5 pillows, etc. I am very committed and I know I have less to complain about than many new moms, but I am still overwhelmed. Any advice, reassurance, or experience would be much appreciated.
03-13-2004, 03:39 AM
Have you tried Lasinoh? Also just stand under a hot shower and massage yourself.
Congratulations on your new baby :)
03-13-2004, 03:56 AM
Tarah, there are people here much more qualified to answer this than me, but I remember all too well not that long ago being up at all hours thinking when was the misery going to end wishing there was someone besides DH (he was very supportive) to help me get through it. It definitely does get easier. After being given bad advice by some hospital LC's (one said if my nipples continued to hurt after a day, I was doing something wrong), I finally got one to admit that even her and her DS took a few weeks to get into the groove of things. It all does become effortless. You just have to keep trying. I know it's completely miserable when you are sleep-deprived on top of it.
Things that helped me:
1. My Brest Friend pillow (I could never get all those darn pillows lined up the same way each time - the LC at the Ped (who was a godsend) loaned it to me and then we bought one at Baby Depot). The Boppy and other pillows didn't work for me. After awhile you won't need props anymore!
2. Lansinoh on the nipples and lots of air drying time (my nipples were ravaged for the first 2 weeks because DD would nurse for over an hour every 2 hours - pure agony!)
3. Switching off breasts at each feeding for awhile. That way one gets a chance to recover. (if it's REALLY bad and you're seriously thinking about giving up, pump and give a bottle)
I am not sure showering under hot water (w/ breasts facing water) is a good idea (I couldn't do it). It can hurt already sensitive nipples. Also it can cause your milk supply to increase and it sounds like you have enough. If DS isn't emptying your breasts and you feel really full for long periods of time, you might want to pump some so that you don't get engorged. Obviously him emptying them is the best option.
If DS is gaining weight and has lots of poopy and wet diapers then he is probably getting enough, especially if he is eating every few hours. I know when I pump I get huge amounts out very quickly and then it slows down.
If you have a really great LC, talk to them often. Our local hospitals and our Ped have LC's that consult with women on the phone for free.
I am going to post this and probably edit it, because I don't want you to logoff before reading it. Check back here tomorrow where I am sure those more qualified will have wise words for you.
Hang in there. It really does get better. I was so ready to give up and I am glad I didn't (I had a c/s too and really bad recovery from it - so I know that doesn't help either). You are doing an amazing thing for your baby.
ETA: W/ short nursing times, your DS might not be getting enough of the fatty hind milk (although it is a good sign that he is gaining weight). Having him nurse longer on one breast (they say start with the least sore one first) will insure that he is getting the hind milk. Then maybe you can give the other one a rest!
ETA: I just reread your post and you said when you pumped you only got an ounce. I don't know what pump you are using, but when I started with the Avent ISIS that's all I could get too. I didn't understand why it wasn't working. I think it was just me. I was too tense. I needed to relax. When I stopped worrying about how much I was getting, I ended up with more! Also - my Ped's LC suggested rubbing EBM on my nipples to help them heal faster.
I hope some of this helpful to you!!!
Mom to Lilabeth (9-03)
03-13-2004, 04:41 AM
Congratulations on your new baby boy!!!! Good advice from everyone...do get some Lanishoh!
I know it doesn't work for everyone, but I LOVE MY Boppy pillow! I swear it is the single best baby accessory I own. The pillows are reasonably priced (and on sale at BRU/TRU right now)--ask your husband to run out and get you one ASAP! It will improve the nursing experience. The Boppy freed my hands so I could do other things, like read & eat (LOL, I eat while I nurse all of the time...I try to avoid getting crumbs on her!).
I remember when I was in the hospital the LC said that if a woman can get past the first week or two, she's home free. And that helped sustain me. It's true--you will get it down and then BF will be easier, I guarantee it!
You are doing so amazingly well! It is clear (based on what you said about weight, diapers) that everything is going as it should. Don't worry about the time he spends, and yes, it might give your breasts a break to alernate one at each feeding.
I remember at the one-week mark my nipples were bleeding and sore and I was like: how did this happen, OUUUUUUUCCCHHH?!!!! But they healed very quickly!
Don't get discouraged--you are doing the very best for little Forrest! Also look at BF as a way for you to sit down, relax with your son, and tune out the world! Good luck!
PS--do not hesitate to post questions/concerns on BF here--there are so many knowledgeable, supportive women who want you to succeed! Hugs!
03-13-2004, 09:44 AM
I went through about 2 1/2 weeks of very sore, cracked nipples with our second. My advice - after each feeding, rub some breastmilk into your nipples and let them air dry and then rub some nipple cream into them.
Shea was a very fast eater at that age too. As long as Forrest continues to have wet diapers, I wouldn't be worried about his quick feedings. His sisters preferred to nurse for 45 mins. each time :)
I would suggest that once you're up and about to find a local breastfeeding support group.
Hang in there,
03-13-2004, 10:46 AM
Congratulations!!! BF does get easier. It's just as new to him as it is to you. For the sore nipples, I also recommend Lansinoh. Lansinoh does not have to be washed off prior to feeding, so don't worry about that. One of the things that helped with DD in the beginning was hand expressing some milk so that my breast was not rock-hard for the latch. I also brought out the breast pump in between feedings to alleviate the engorgement when I was truly uncomfortable. If you are worried about how long her nurses on each side - and each baby is different - start him on the same side he finished, so that he has a better chance of getting the hind milk.
DD born 7/03
03-13-2004, 11:08 AM
First of all, congratulations on your baby! Sounds like you're dong great, even if it doesn't feel that way yet. I had the same soreness you describe, I had similar problems to you and I think some of the soreness for me was from his incorrect latch before I had an LC help me. The pain went away by about the two week mark. What helped most was using a lot of Lanisoh--after almost every feeding. I also liked the Gerber "soothing gel patches" when the pain got bad--I wouldn't use them all the time, as they do keep the nipples kind of moist, but they did give a lot of relief for a few hours when the pain got bad. Also the Gerber warm/cool packs, put in the freezer and then put in my bra for a few minutes right before bed, were helpful even though they don't cover the nipple. Send your DH or a friend out to the drugstore (Target usually carries both of those products) if you want to try those.
It gets easier gradually as you go--for me I think it was easy enough by about 6 weeks that I could actually even breastfeed outside my own house, without the boppy, etc. I didn't have a fast eater at that age, but if he's back to his birthweight and has plenty of wet and soiled diapers it should be fine.
Tarah, I can so empathize with you! It's becoming a blur now, but my healing took a few weeks because I got pretty damaged. The advice you're getting is exactly what helped me in the end-- rubbing EBM on the damaged portion, air drying, then putting some Lansinoh on. The more airing out, the better, since everything that touched my skin drove me up a wall. With all my healing, I finished one tube of Lansinoh, and have 3/4 of one left (that we now use when DS gets a chapped chin).
The leaking slowed down after a month, and seemed to be mostly gone for me after 4 months-- but just last night I leaked a little when DS slept longer than usual (yay!).
Some of my friends felt good about BF'ing after a week or two, I felt really good about it at seven weeks. You'll hear people say there's a 'magic' 6-8 week window where you both seem to have it down. My first goal was six weeks, then it was 4 months, then it was 6 months, now it's 9 months with a stretch goal of a year :) Someone here posted last fall about setting little goals for herself, and how it helped. I fully agree with that theory!
Congratulations on your new baby!!! It sounds like he's getting just what he needs from you, and I know you'll have things worked out very soon! We're here when you need it.
03-13-2004, 11:14 AM
On your damaged nipple try putting some neosporin on it. Make sure you wipe it off before you nurse your ds. I had a horrible cracked nipple and this is what my local lacatation nurse told me to. It cleared up in two days. I also used the sore nipple shields from Medela and it helped to keep airflow to the nipple.
Before he latches on, try to express a little milk before hand so they won't be so hard.
Proud Mommy to Martie 4/6/03
03-13-2004, 11:58 AM
Tarah, everything you are describing sounds normal.
Here is an excellent resource that will probably put your mind at ease:
- You can try expressing some milk before latching baby on.. or creating a nipple 'sandwich'. The engorgement will not last forever.. once your milk supply gets adjusted to what the baby needs, your breasts will become soft again. So you will leak for a while.
- Baby will get better at latching on after a couple of weeks. He could be a fast eater or some babies just eat for 5-10mins and then fall asleep.. they are very sleepy in the beginning... and it is hard to keep them awake!
- In the beginning it did hurt like CRAZY. I used to take a DEEP breath and count to 20 slowly in my mind. And concentrate on relaxing my shoulders so that they were not in my ears. I also used to bite down on a towel or my husband's hand. The pain gradually decreased and at around 6-8 weeks it did not hurt anymore.
-My nipples were bleeding around day 4. This scared me because i did not want to feed the baby my blood. The ped said that it will not affect the baby at all so i soldiered on.
- Definitely put Lanisoh, and air dry and let the milk dry on your nipples. If you can, go topless! I know exactly what you mean about it burning when something brushed them.. i could not go near a bra for weeks!
- I could not stand to have the shower hit my nipples (hot or cold) in the first 2 weeks. I used to put my hands in front to deflect the water. And try not to let soap/shampoo get on there.. it dries out the nipples.
- Get the My Brest Friend Pillow. I found it helped me tremendously. I could focus on getting the baby to latch on and not worry about rearranging pillows.
Most of all, just hang in there! I PROMISE it will get better. For some it takes less time than others. For me it was around 8 weeks. I am so glad i did not give up though i wanted to many many many times. Oh, and it is completely normal to break down into tears, get angry at your spouse during those feedings! You are tired, your body is still recovering and you are learning a new, very important task. When you are not feeding, let your dh know exactly what you want him to do when it comes to feeding time (arrange pillows, bring baby, rub shoulders, don't offer advice etc etc!!! i found that when we established a routine, things improved and i HATED hearing advice from anyone but an LC.. just pissed me off!)
Anyhoo... if you need someone to talk to, email me. I feel like i was you 5 months ago!
PS: Tarah, my baby also used to be done eating in 5-10mins (and still is). But she would also be gagging and choking a lot. I had an over-active letdown.. the milk would spray all over the place. If that is what is happening to you... after the milk lets down..let it spray into a towel.. once it starts coming out at a steady flow...then latch the baby on.
Congratulations! I could have written your post 7 months ago (except for the C/S).
I agree with Rashmi... it sounds like you may have an overactive letdown, which I also had. Does Forrest sometimes thrash around/ cough/ choke while nursing? My DD did, and never nursed for longer than 7-8 minutes but did regain birthweight by 6 days also. I went to see an LC when DD was 5 days old because of the pain (I actually made the appointment before I knew I had problems because I felt so strongly about seeing an LC) and found out that despite a good initial latch, DD would "back off" because of the fast flow and end up with much less of the nipple in her mouth, causing more trauma, especially on the left side, which ended up all scraped up. In addition to doing the other things to help heal the nipples (air, breastmilk, Lansinoh), I would make DD re-latch if I noticed her slipping down (usually 2-3 times a feeding) and burp her twice during the feeding (so feedings ended up being closer to 15 minutes, though actual nursing time was unchanged). I never quite got the hang of "letting spray" into a towel after letdown but it did seem to help the few times I was able to do it. Ask your LC if you think this will help.
Also, a friend fed-exed me some "soothies" 'gel pads which I thought were great for part-time wear (I think the gerber ones are similar). I could not stand to have anything brush up against me, so when I was done "air drying", I went around the house in one of those stretchy lingerie tanks from Target (the shelf bra holds the soothies or nursing pads in place) and the slight pressure helped with leaking and the pain.
It will get better... I remember thinking that it was incredible that something so comforting for the baby could be so horrible for me. And DD was a biter, so DH would pop his finger in her mouth and wonder if we could get some sort of shield to protect me! Use as many pillows as you need, it DOES DOES DOES get easier as you and DS both adjust. That, and more sleep helps, too!
03-13-2004, 03:06 PM
((((TARAH)))) Hang in there! You're experiencing what many, many new mothers do. Your commitment to nursing your baby is wonderful. I promise that the soreness will pass. If he's latching well now, I'd bet that in another week you feel notably better. There are several things you can do to help. One is to get breast shells (different from nipple shields) to wear inside your bra. They make you look like Madonna in her pointy days, but they hold your clothing off your nipples, which allows air to circulate to help them heal. You can try lansinoh, although if they hurt to touch, that might not be the best choice since it's so thick. Olive oil will work equally well and will be easier to apply (and still safe for your baby to ingest). If you're using nursing pads, be sure they don't have any plastic inside them or on the backs of them. Most disposable pads do, so you might try washable pads for a while. The plastic holds moisture next to your nipples and will cause them to stay irritated. Also, when you finish nursing, express a little milk onto your nipples and let it air dry there before you put your bra or clothes back on. Breastmilk has wonderful healing properties for mamas too.
There's no timeline about how long it takes to really get the hang of things-- it depends on you and your baby and a million factors about the way you learn to nurse together. But it WILL happen. I promise you won't be lugging five pillows around forever. Every week will be much easier than the last.
Let us know if we can support you further!
Mom to Abigail Rose
03-13-2004, 03:40 PM
COngratulations on your new baby! As everyone else has said, this is really common. DS also was a quick eater, and would never latch to the second breast. I would let him finish on one side then offer the other. If he didn't take it or only took it a few minutes I would pump the second side (per my LC, mainly to prevent engorgement and ensure I established a good supply). I Continued to nurse one side and pump the other for the first month then I stopped worrying about pumping as I figured my supply was well established. I HATED HATED HATED Lansinoh and any other type of lanolin. I found them too thick and sticky (as Rachel said) and it was excrutiating to put on. Also DS refused to nurse and would scream if I had it on (taste, smell something turned him off) so then I wound up having to wash it off with a washcloth, which only hurt worse. There are some nice herbal niple salves that you could probably find at your local health food store (Motherlove has one) or olive oil but what was a godsend for me were Soothies breastpads
I kept one pair in the fridge while I wore one. I used them pretty constantly for about a week and things were much better. I would put some BM on the nipple and let air dry, then put the cold soothies on - magic! These also prevented things from rubbing on my nipples (I used them inside regular cotten breastpads to catch leaks, BTW) I tried the gerber ones, but they weren't as cushy and dried out quickly. These lasted about a week with just rinsing them between uses.
It will get MUCH easier for you!! DS and I are still nursing at 12 mos despite cracked, bruised and bleeding nipples in the beginning.
Mommy to Caleb 3/3/03
03-13-2004, 04:28 PM
It sounds to me that you have a typical beginning nursing relationship. There are certainly things you can do to improve it -- and the ladies above have given you GREAT advice!!
I'd only like to add that you nipples can be sore in the beginning, but if they really HURT then it may be that you need to work on a better latch. Take a look at this website for more information: http://www.breastfeedingonline.com/31.html
I also found that certain positions (ie. the "football"/"clutch" position) worked better at first to be sure I was getting things line up correctly and my baby wasn't actually nursing on my nipple.
(P.S. An ounce of breastmilk is about the right amount for pumping at the newborn stage -- your baby is more efficient than the pump and from this article you can see that a newborn who weighs about 7 lbs and eats 10 times a day only eats about 1 3/4 ounces each feeding! http://breastfeeding.com/helpme/helpme_tips_pump7.html )
03-13-2004, 05:43 PM
i haven't read the other responses so maybe i am repeating something...
VERY normal to be sore. i think people who don't get sore are weird!! i endured sheer pain for four full weeks and did not fully recover until 6 weeks. but don't expect that to happen to you!!! just know that even if it takes a while, it WILL eventually be easy.
i think 6 weeks is a pretty good average for when it gets easy. (no more stack of pillows, no more pain, easy to nurse in public...)
HANG IN THERE! you can do it! you will be glad you toughed it out, and it IS tough.
keep us posted.
03-13-2004, 06:24 PM
You guys are great, thank you so much! Lots of good advice, and I'm just taking it one feeding at a time. Oddly enough, my nips are much better today. I'm feeling encouraged by all of your time spent on responses, the amazing support of my DH. I've also come to terms with the fact that we are cosleeping, and that its not gonna suffocate DS or make me a bad mom, just a better-rested one. I was thinking of using a bassinet, but he sleeps so much better on me or DH, or next to me in bed. My ped said, "mammals like to sleep in heaps". Just rambling at this point, but today is a hopeful day!
Thank you all again, and in advance, because I'm sure I'll have more questions.
(BTW, having this little guy really taught me how much they don't teach you in med school or pediatric residency. We come out of training with very little practical training in these issues. I hadn't assumed that I knew any more than any other new mom, and I sure don't, but I took care of lots of new moms, knowing very little)
03-13-2004, 07:48 PM
Congrats on the birth of your baby boy! My ds is almost 7 weeks old, and we recently went thru a lot of the pain & difficulty w/ latching problems you describe. The best advice I received was from these boards-- (including having read the nursing mother's companion & sears' breastfeeding book) was to make a "nipple sandwich"-- squeeze your nipple (right above the nipple) between your thumb & forefinger before presenting it to baby-- it helps my son get more of the nipple in his mouth, and also makes it much easier to latch on (esp. when I am engorged). After I got the "sandwich" down, I didn't have him freaking out @ the breast like befor (he couldn't get on, and would scream...) I still have to do this (sandwich), but I don't have to squish it as much to make sure he gets a latch on. (Incidentally, he will only take those "orthodontic" shaped nipples when I give him ebm, the flatter type. Still won't take much, but they're the only ones he'll even try). My proper latch really helped w/our bf'ing & keeping my nipples from being sore, & we don't have any nipple problems now.
It gets better-- once you start seeing him pack on the lbs you stop worrying about how much they're getting (keeping an eye on the diapers really is a good way, even though I didn't believe it til Kai starter visibly gaining-- he lost the 10% @ birth, which was scary! But has reaaly gained well since...) Latch still has not been effortless yet (still sandwiching at start & using 2 hands at least @ the begining of each feed, & he's started to discover hands and pushing me away now while trying to grab the nipple!) but you'll gain so much confidence as it goes on. DS also just stopped nursing every 1 1/2-2 hrs (plus comfort nursing! he loved nursing frequently early on...) & now it's stretching to 3+ hours (yay!). He also was a quick eater-- 5-10 @ each side, & sometimes only one side for 5-10 before passing out! You'll soon notice the diff btw actual drinking (long, drawing sucks) & when they just suck reflexively (short, shallow non-swallows)-- DS would do many long drawing sucks for a while-- an efficient eater I suppose. Perhaps your son is similar?
I never used 5 pillows (though I bought them!) since I used my boppy at almost every feed-- just recently stopped using it every time (may be a good investment if the pillows are a pain). It's one of the few items I'm glad to have & use every day, but everyone's different.
Best of luck to you, it's amazing what you've already accomplished, and can only get better from here on in! :)
Aija y Kai 1/25/04, nursing @ keyboard~!
03-13-2004, 10:12 PM
I can't help you with the soreness issue, but just wanted to let you know that my baby also only eats for about 10 minutes TOTAL per feeding. This is the way he has eaten since birth. He just gets down to business and finishes quickly!
03-13-2004, 11:13 PM
I so understand what you're going through! My baby will be 4 weeks old tomorrow, and at first breastfeeding was absolute torture because my nipples hurt so badly. It seemed that every book/breastfeeding pamphlet I consulted said that sore nipples just meant that the latch wasn't correct and I was doing something wrong. Nobody mentioned that it was natural for them to hurt and that they need to toughen up! So I was a neurotic mess, worrying that he was geting enough to eat (he lost almost 11% of his birthweight in the first few days, but is past it now) and that I was doing something wrong. Plus, I had a c section and my belly was hurting almostb as much as my nipples!
The long and short of it is that the nipple pain went away after a while. It actually still hurts for the first second or two but then goes away. It still isn't altogether easy, but is a lot easier. I use a boppy--seems to make things easier. My baby also only goes for about 10 minutes on each breast at a feeding, but I think is only really sucking with purpose for about 5. I think he uses me as a pacifier.
Anyway, I don't know if I helped, but do know that at least one person out there (me!) went through/is going through the same things you are.
03-15-2004, 04:58 PM
Congratulations on your son!
My DS turned 2 months old yesterday, but I too can remember the soreness issues. I also had a C/S, and am large breasted, so the only position that worked well for us early on was the football hold. Unfortunately, I only used that hold and my son really damaged one nipple. At 3 weeks I had an infection, was on antibiotics and pain killers, and was only nursing on one side and pumping on the other. The Boppy helped give us another position to use, and I liked it better than My brest friend (I have both). Luckily, as he gained head strength, we gain the coordination to nurse in multiple positions, and everything is all healed and better.
My recommendations to you are:
1. Apply Lanisoh after every feeding, and before every shower.
2. Use multiple positions to avoid nipple wear in the same spot.
3. Use soft nursing pads to minimize friction from your bra (but change them frequently if they get soaked)
4. Use a saline soak if you continue to have bleeding or soreness. You can find the recipe on kellymom site.
5. See your OB at the first sign of infection (but don't stop BF'ing)
Best of luck. It does get better!
I had the same problem with sore nipples. When my baby was two weeks old, I went to see a lactation consultant (LC) and discoverd that she was not latching on properly. She was not taking my nipple in as far as the areola when nursing.
It was amazing... the LC, gave me a couple of techniques to use and it made such a difference. Two immediate clues as to whether your baby is latching on correctly are if your nipple is mis-shapen when she finishes nursing and if you are feeling any pain while she is nursing, I had gotten used to the discomfort/pain during nursing and thought it was usual.
Here is a link with some of the techniques illustrated.
It does get better! :-) Good luck!
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