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Was BFing hard for you ?
At 6 weeks

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#1 minidiamond

Posted 21 September 2012 - 09:51 PM

I know everyone is different but I am having a real struggle at the moment and fluctuate between 'fighting through' and giving up.

Last weekend I developed a really sore nipple (thread in this section on thrush) - which hasn't resolved despite treatment for thrush - even though two LCs have now looked at the nipple & said it isn't thrush.

Long story short, I can't get a definitive diagnosis on it - and both nipples are now absolutely killing me, red raw.  I can't really understand why this happened at 6 weeks, understand bub has his growth spurt etc - but it really feels like it's becoming too hard.

I guess this isn't necessarily the section to post a negative BFing question - but should I just give up ? How long did people persist with problems with feeding ?

I just fed DS, who is a bit out of sorts due to vaccs today, and he only wanted one side & has gone to sleep.  I expressed from the other side & got hardly any milk & now that's made me even more depressed ...

DS is 6 weeks old and doing really well.  DH took him to his parents alone tonight & DS was a bit upset when he got home so I gave him a feed that actually went ok on the better breast - and I lay there thinking how lovely it was for us both.  But the other 95% of the time, I dread feed time approaching.

Edited by Liltuss, 21 September 2012 - 10:14 PM.

#2 Feral Joules

Posted 21 September 2012 - 10:01 PM

I found bf really painful for the first 7-8 weeks, my nipples were badly cracked with open sores (sorry TMI).  So I have some understanding of how painful it can be.
I ended up pumping and using nipple shields for a couple of days, this seemed to give my nipples a break and I was able to continue bfing.

Could you try something similar?

Good luck

#3 lucky 2

Posted 21 September 2012 - 10:03 PM

I know you know we cant answer the "should I give up" question for you, so sorry.
I did have bfing difficulties with a baby with tongue tie, reflux/fussy feeding, but I didn't have your issues, I didn't have pain like you.
What is going on with your nipples? It's a mystery isn't it but something is not right.
Have you tried ? antibacterial cream (can get from GP), do they have a colour change ie go white?
Does baby have a tongue tie that isn't obvious/missed.
I wish I could help and make that pain go away.
Is expressing any better, could you do that instead while you sort through what you have to do?
All the best hheart.gif.

#4 minidiamond

Posted 21 September 2012 - 10:08 PM

Thanks guys.
I am getting different opinions from pretty much everyone I see on the nipples. I have a couple of white spots on the end, so have tried to treat for blebs/milk blisters (warm compress/olive oil/epsom salts & trying to 'extract' the blister) - eventually ending in using a sterile needle but nothing came out, just some bleeding.  One LC ruled out nipple vasospasm where they might change colour.  Two ruled out thrush after looking, GP doesn't really know.

It's been suggested I try airing / sunning and keeping them dry, it's also been suggested I use lansinoh which obviously keeps them moist.

I am trying all of these things !

I think one of the worst things is, this has only just come on - it's not like I've struggled from day one like I know some people may have - up until now I have been fine, so I'm just not sure why it's happened all of a sudden.  This is really dumb I know, but when I got no milk tonight from expressing one side, I thought maybe it's a 'sign'.

Have expressed for 24 hours earlier in the week, which did provide some relief, fed again yesterday but it's all gone pearshaped today again.  I bought some nipple shields, haven't tried them yet, maybe that's my last resort.

Edited by Liltuss, 21 September 2012 - 10:12 PM.

#5 Feral Grey Mare

Posted 21 September 2012 - 10:09 PM

I found it to be a nightmare. I battled to maintain a supply as I have really flat nipples and attachment was almost impossible. I persisted with both babies for about 2-3 months then switched to bottle feeding. They both survived to be robustly healthy. While I still believe BF is preferable it is not always possible so if it doesn't work for you don't beat yourself up about it.

#6 Acidulous Osprey

Posted 21 September 2012 - 10:10 PM

I had a hideous hideous time of it for the first 10 weeks.  Extreme pain in my nipples, no thrush, letdown that had me levitating with pain.

Then it all came right and we had a harmonious bfing relationship which was lovely until he self weaned at 2 years.  If you had told me that at 6 weeks I would have thought it was impossible.  Unfortunately I don't know what came right for us and how we fixed it except time.  The nipple stuff in particular.

I hope it comes right for you.  It really was an awful time for me.

Next baby FWIW was born, latched on, and we never looked back.  Absolutely no dramas at all ever.

#7 Moulla

Posted 21 September 2012 - 10:10 PM

BF was hard in the beginning in terms of him latching on properly etc. but my nipples have been okay maybe because I put Lansinoh on religiously throughout the day. I only use it occasionally now when he's had a super hungry day. Maybe do what a pp said and get some nipple shields for a rest and use Lansinoh once you start up again. Hang in there x

#8 minidiamond

Posted 21 September 2012 - 10:10 PM

QUOTE (FluffyOscar @ 21/09/2012, 10:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It was the hardest thing I'd ever done in my life OP. Having oversupply, massive boobs, a colicky baby - all these things conspired against me.

However it got much easier, and I would say that you should persevere if you are happy to.

Do you recall when it got easier?
QUOTE (FluffyOscar @ 21/09/2012, 10:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The things that helped me were that my DH would sit up with me for every overnight feed and that I looked at it as a day-by-day proposition. Like sobriety.

funny thing is, it's driving me to drink  biggrin.gif

#9 Born Three

Posted 21 September 2012 - 10:13 PM


With my first I had severely cracked and bleeding nipples. So much so that she was nicknamed the vampire baby as she always had blood trickling down the sides of her mouth. Her vomits were also blood. I was determined to keep going. I worked on attachment with an LC. I also wore a shield for a short time.  They got better, it got so much easier and I fed her for 16 months.

DS1 - I only had a four month break and was surprised I ended up with cracked nipples again. It wasn't as bad and lasted a week or two. I fed him for 22 months.

DS2 - One week in and I am in so much pain. Nipples are cracked and I am questioning how did I do it before. I am focusing on attachment however it's still toe curling right through the feed. I do have hydrogel pads I am wearing but not sure it helps.

Good luck!

Edited by 2 Bubbas, 21 September 2012 - 10:17 PM.

#10 Acidulous Osprey

Posted 21 September 2012 - 10:13 PM

Errrrrrrrrrrrrr have you had thrush treatment just in case?  Diflucan is safe for the baby so if one hcp thinks thrush and you have no other answers?

Do you actually have flat nipples or are you looking to protect your nipples?

#11 lucky 2

Posted 21 September 2012 - 10:13 PM

Argh, how tough for you.
You probably didn't let down with the pump, milk was probably still in there though.
I'm not much help.
But I feel for you.

#12 *maddierose*

Posted 21 September 2012 - 10:15 PM

Bfing is so hard to begin with but once established properly very rewarding.

DD1 i found easy but only fed for 6 weeks due to bad advice and i was stupid and young and listened to it.

DD2 i only fed a few weeks as i developed very severe cracked nipples and resented her every time she wanted to feed due to the pain. I had no real BFing support.

DS1 I researched as much as possible during pregnancy and joined ABA. easy to begin with but over the first 8 months i developed mastitis several times, had blocked milk ducts more times than i can count and several other issues. I battled through taking it day by day and made it until 18.5 months when ds self weaned.

DS2 was easy, no problems at all and self weaned 1 week before his 2nd birthday.

#13 minidiamond

Posted 21 September 2012 - 10:24 PM

QUOTE (smallwordsplease @ 21/09/2012, 10:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Errrrrrrrrrrrrr have you had thrush treatment just in case?  Diflucan is safe for the baby so if one hcp thinks thrush and you have no other answers?

Do you actually have flat nipples or are you looking to protect your nipples?

Yeh, diflucan & daktarin for me, nilstat for DS.  Although DS had his 6 wk paed checkup this week and has absolutely no symptoms (I know it's possible he might not show any)

Looking to protect them as they're red raw.

Edited by Liltuss, 21 September 2012 - 10:27 PM.

#14 Le-a

Posted 21 September 2012 - 10:29 PM

Oh it's so bloody hard isn't it?

OP, I found the first ten weeks so tough, I remember willing my DH to say, "you know, this is just too hard, how about I go to the shops for some formula?", just so I could stop and not have it be my idea...

I used a nipple shield from about two days after my milk came in, to about week four. My boobs were so engorged my nipples were stretched flat and DS couldn't get a proper latch. Oh the pain, those full rock-hard boobies and super sore nipples! I am so grateful to the midwife who took one look at me and gave me the nipple shield.

I wish I had some advice to give you about your nipple situation, it sounds like you're having a really tough time. Please try using the nipple shield, they can be so helpful. Can I recommend the madela brand? I had a few and this one was really the only one I could use successfully. If the one you have isn't working for you please try another brand/size.

Like another pp said, if some one told me at three weeks in I could one day breastfeed with one arm, in the dark, half asleep, standing, I would never have believed them - and then one day it just worked.

Also please remember that early on it is relentless, I felt like I was feeding 24/7. It's not like this forever, it's amazing what a difference even a week makes in feeding time/frequency.

You are doing a great job. Congrats on your baby.

#15 ~spirited~

Posted 21 September 2012 - 10:34 PM

It was very hard. Cracked and bleeding nipples (can still see one crack 16 months on), nipple thrush, low supply (which led to FTT and then mix feeding).

I can't remember exactly when it got better. I saw a private LC at 7 weeks. I was still crying at every feed at that point. She corrected my positioning (my nipples point out and I didn't have DS far enough around), diagnosed my nipple thrush (told me to use nilstat and plenty of sunshine and fresh air), and told me to shorten feeding sessions (DS never took himself off, just gradually began comfort sucking, so I was still feeding him up to 45 mins per side).

And slowly, after all that, it got better. By 10 weeks (when he was diagnosed FTT) it was all good, which meant I kept it up after having to introduce a bottle.

At 6 months DS started refusing the bottle. I kept breast feeding until he self weaned at 12 months. I'm so glad I stuck with it, and I have never been prouder of myself.

I really think it was the fresh air and sunshine that helped the most, I just had to remind myself to do it. Before I got thrush I was using the gel breast pads, and although they helped with the dryness and cracking, I think they contributed to the thrush. Make sure you change breast pads, bra, clothing, bedding etc very regularly. That helped, too.

I didn't think I'd make it so far, I just kept trying to stick out for 2 weeks at a time, and then aimed to get through winter, and then to his 4 month shots.

I'm interested to see what my BF journey will be like this time.

#16 Le-a

Posted 21 September 2012 - 10:35 PM

Oh I also wanted to pass on some advice my SIL gave me re pumping and let-down. She told me to look at a photo of DS as I was pumping to get letdown happening. It worked for me, though I took it to the next level and would watch a film on my phone of DS crying his hungry cry. Sorry if youve heard this before...

#17 libbylu

Posted 21 September 2012 - 10:38 PM

BFing was hard for me until about 7 weeks!
It was hard from week one.  I had red raw painful nipples with open cracks and weeping blisters and the agony at each attachment was awful.
I also had vasospasm where the nipple goes white with shock and hurts for a while after.  Never had thrush fortunately.
Finally at 7 weeks the cracks healed up and the attachment got better.  Sore nipples are usually due to poor attachment - which can be really hard with a new born as their mouths are so tiny.  At 6 weeks your bub's mouth would be getting bigger so if you get the nipple right in there hopefully it will do less damage.
I fed my DS til he was almost two and after the initial problems we never had a hitch.  It was so worth all the agony, even though I wanted to give up so many times.  If you have come this far I reckon it's worth persisting for another couple of weeks to see if it improves.  Particularly since your bub (like mine too) is thriving on the feeds.
ETA I agree with lots of fresh air and sunshine on the nipples!
I would express after a shower when my breasts were warm and I was relaxed - worked best feeding on one side and pumping (I used a handpump) on the other.

Edited by libbylu, 21 September 2012 - 10:41 PM.

#18 Amica

Posted 21 September 2012 - 10:40 PM

I never found breastfeeding easy with any of mine. It was not settled by 6 weeks. I persisted though because I am too strong willed and pig headed to give in; I went 22 months with my first, 29 months with my second and 9 months and counting with my third. The second and third have not had formula.

6 weeks is growth spurt time anyway and probably the hardest of all the hurdles. Because they drink so much you start to doubt your supply but stick with it. I doubt you will be sorry.  original.gif

#19 Not Escapin Xmas

Posted 21 September 2012 - 10:44 PM

Yep, it was pretty horrible for me at 6 weeks too. And DD is now 17mo and still 3 feeds a day original.gif My nipples were bleeding and cracked and every time I saw all the blood I'd start having a panic attack. God it was awful. Anyway, we used nipple shields and that helped a lot. I'd definitely give them a go. We used them until DD was about 4 months old I think. And I agree re sunshine and fresh air. Do that first, and then put on the lanisoh before stuffing them back in your bra original.gif

And I would really ask about tongue-tie too. It's left undiagnosed ALL THE TIME, and makes things really bl**dy difficult.

Good luck with whatever you decide OP. And remember, the most important thing is that you have a gorgeous baby that you love and in just a few years, no one will ask (or care!) if he was breastfed or bottle fed or a combo.

#20 F.E.B.E

Posted 21 September 2012 - 10:44 PM

Oh your poor thing, it is hard enough being in pain, let alone not knowing why.

Breastfeeding was very difficult for me with #1 (poor suck reflex) and very painful for me with #2 but I managed to comp feed DS for 6 months and bf DD for 22 months.

For very sore nipples I would sometimes use a shield just to get a break, as well as lanisoh. Expressing worked with DS but not DD, she refused the bottle.

#21 minidiamond

Posted 21 September 2012 - 10:48 PM

QUOTE (libbylu @ 21/09/2012, 10:38 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Sore nipples are usually due to poor attachment - which can be really hard with a new born as their mouths are so tiny.  At 6 weeks your bub's mouth would be getting bigger so if you get the nipple right in there hopefully it will do less damage.
I fed my DS til he was almost two and after the initial problems we never had a hitch.  It was so worth all the agony, even though I wanted to give up so many times.  If you have come this far I reckon it's worth persisting for another couple of weeks to see if it improves.  Particularly since your bub (like mine too) is thriving on the feeds.
ETA I agree with lots of fresh air and sunshine on the nipples!
I would express after a shower when my breasts were warm and I was relaxed - worked best feeding on one side and pumping (I used a handpump) on the other.

Thanks libbylu - if it's attachment it's only just gone 'bad' - that's the thing, he was fine up until the past week or so.

Have been sitting outside no doubt amusing the neighbours if they happen to look out the top of their window, also doing the shower / express thing wherever I can.  Then when one LC thought it might be vasospasm, I was told NOT to expose them to the air.  Oh boy ....

I bought 'bossom buddy' silicone boob warmers/coolers to help ease things as well.  Tried olive oil under warm compresses etc etc

As I said, DH is thriving, he loves his milk, my supply is actually spot on - enough for him, but not spurting everywhere etc - I want to be able to keep that going, but just so hard ....

#22 Cheesy Sanga

Posted 21 September 2012 - 10:55 PM

Definitely try the nipple shields! They saved my BF relationship with DD1. I was ready to give up after only a few days or 2 weeks at most. Due to bad attachment my nipples were sore and cracked. I felt ill and terrified at every feed. A child health nurse gave me a nipple shield and OMG I could feed without pain. They gave me a chance to heal and get the attachment issues worked out.

Not sure if you've considered that your bub may have some sort of muscle tightness/pain that means they can't get comfortable and attached properly. I had this with DD1 and it didn't happen until about 6 weeks. I saw a baby chiro but a baby physio might also help.

You need to do what works for you. Breastmilk is great but a happy stressfree mom is better. Good luck original.gif

#23 Sockergris

Posted 21 September 2012 - 11:00 PM

I had a similar thing where everything was going fine and I suddenly got cracked nipples that wouldn't heal.  The Dr diagnosed thrush and DD and I were both treated.  It didn't work.   sad.gif  Not long after that I got an illness that required antibiotics and my nipples magicially healed!  It has happened three times now that I have had awfully cracked nipples and nothing fixed it but antibiotics.  I think it's worth a try if it is the last resort before weaning - not sure how you would convince your Dr of that though?  Every time it happened to me I had another infection that needed treating so the ABs were not for my boobs.

Best of luck.

#24 Fairey

Posted 21 September 2012 - 11:09 PM

Hi Lil...
I'm hating breast feeding. I've had mastitis, cracked and bleeding nipples and am now being treated for thrush. I've had to use nipple shields from the get go and the thrush side still freaking kills whenever dd is feeding on that side. She feeds, I cover my face and cry. It's horrid.
She also gets bottle fed expressed milk and has the occasional top up of formula.

You're not alone with this xx

#25 Georgette47

Posted 21 September 2012 - 11:26 PM

Hard? God, yes! So emotionally and physically difficult.

We had no skin-to-skin contact, separated after a few hours, bubs had major surgery at a different hospital and was nil by mouth for a week or so. All this contributed to supply issues for me. I expressed 8 times a day (beside bub's hospital cot during the day; alone at night at home), took motilium, ate lactation cookies, gobbled fenugreek, drank fennel tea, and bubs was fed EBM down her nasogastric tube (along with formula top-ups - she was always comp fed).

Then I started actual breastfeeding! Just for 5 minutes a feed, so not to wear her out. Issues with latch and suck, plus little interest on bub's part. Started with nipple shields to keep her on. Kept expressing. (Topped bub up each time with EBM and formula via bottle and then nasal tube, then expressed - process took 2 hours).

After a month, tube came out and bub came home. Breastfeed, bottle feed, then express. Repeat again in an hour. After a week, I tried breast only for two glorious and fantastic days. A few days later, weigh-in showed bubs had dropped from 50th percentile  (birth) to 1st percentile (8 weeks  old). Reality crashes in. Keep expressing, bring back top-ups after breastfeed.

Blocked ducts.

More lactation consultants.

Get mild tongue tie cut.

Try a supply line. Try everything.

Express, express, express.

Then at 9 weeks, bub rejects breast completely. Screams at the sight of it. Just wants a bottle.

I lose it. I am bereft. Lactation consultant admits that we will never have a normal BF relationship but that I could express for bub's first 12 months. I think to myself: shoot me now, please.

I make a decision. I go off motilium and fenugreek etc etc and cut down to expessing at just every second feed (4 times a day). We leave the house on outings, and I start to feel like a mum and a person again. At 3 months, supply has all but gone. I stop expressing.

Bubs grows stronger and stronger.

Hard? Yes. But the hardest part was giving it up - honestly, for bub's own good I probably should have given up earlier. Yes, I could have kept expressing - but I wanted a life, with my child, not pumping beside her as we both cried.

But if you just mean was it painful, then no, it wasn't painful. I don't think bubs had a strong enough suck.

Sorry for the essay. The best of luck with your BF journey and choices. I hope it gets better

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