Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hubris, and asking help from my readers

Hu*bris- noun: excessive pride or self confidence

As our mothers have always said, pride becomes before a fall, and boy, did I fall hard. After my post about breastfeeding, and talking about how successful I have been this time around, life decided to knock me back down a few pegs. That night (I mean really, that night) feeding started to be a bit painful on one side. By the next morning, the nipple had started to chafe, and by the following evening, it had cracked. It was so painful, I was sobbing as I was feeding Irini. After a quick call to the breastfeeding counsellor at the Australian Breastfeeding Association, I stopped feeding from that side, and expressed milk instead which is still painful, but nowhere near as bad as Irini feeding. However, I have never been able to express as much milk as she needs, so Irini was feeding much more often on the other side. Now, that side has got a nasty graze on it, is even more painful than the cracked nipple, and I can't feed from either side, so I will have to resort to formula as a supplement tonight.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with a lactation consultant, but I am asking all of my readers: if you have been through this, how did you get through it, and do you have any tips for me?

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Fe said...

Hi Sarah... my oldest is now 11, but I had horrendous problems with cracked nipples when feeding him- the memory of which can still bring tears to my eyes.

I persevered with the agony of expressing, while using Lucas' Papaw Ointment on the cracked nipples (ok for the baby to ingest and very very very healing).

We went on to successfully breastfeed for 10 more months, but I very very nearly gave up when I was going through all of that agony.

I had to supplement all of his feeds with the expressed milk..... it was time consuming and agonising..... but it DID work.


Polly said...

Aw Sarah, I"m so sorry you're dealing with this. Is it just on one side?
I know that for myself, even mothers who are well seasoned can relax about positioning. It might help to go back to the beginning, make sure baby is opening wide and you're getting plenty of breast in the mouth. Pull down the lower lip to see if tongue is properly cupped under the breast.
Is there any chance you might have thrush? It can cause awfully sore nipples. I would suspect that if Irina had a red bottom that wasn't clearing up, or if you had shooting pains in your breast in between feedings.
It might help to try nursing baby in a different position - perhaps lying on the bed on her back while you are on your hands and knees over her. It would help prevent a plugged duct and take some pressure off the sore spot.
Take it easy and rest on the couch. Wishing you comfort!

Anonymous said...

Oh Sarah, that's awful. I'm so sorry I can't help with that, but I did want to say what helped me with my milk supply was an herb called Fenugreek. It's used in Indian cooking (I took it in capsule form) and it smells a little like maple syrup. Good Luck and Hang in there!

Courtney said...

I know what you are going through. I have a 2 month old, and had cracking and bleeding for the first 3 weeks nursing him. I had no problems with my daughter 5 years ago, so this really stressed me out. Finally after many calls/visits to the lactation nurse, trying the football hold and other various positions, lots of tears and guilt I decided to pump. Well, I couldn't pump enough and had to suppliment with formula. That lasted one night and I went back to gritting my teeth and nursing him. Miraculously, it wasn't as painful that night and it only got better. I guess it was a combination of giving my breasts a break to heal, really paying attention to how he was latching on, letting air get to my nipples(yes, I walked around the house topless), and breast shields. Not the kind you nurse with, but you wear them in your bra when you aren't nursing. They are like little cups with holes in them, so air gets to your breasts and they heal quicker. These are great and I keep them handy just in case I need them again (hopefully not!). Hope this helps. I know how terrible it can be.

Chic Mummy said...

I just wanted to say a quick thankyou to all of you for your advice. I implemented just about all of it, and things are now on the mend. I'm still pumping exclusively to let them heal, but I will hopefully be back to nursing tomorrow.

Polly, the doc agreed with you that it might be thrush. even though Irini didn't have any symptoms, I did have the pain between feeds. She gave me a cream, and combined with the Paw Paw ointment that Fe recommended, it seems to be doing the trick. Courtney, I didn't try the nipple shields - instead, i've spent most of the last week walking around the house topless!!

Thanks again!!

Teri said...

Just came to your blog randomly, but I feel your pain. I have nursed four kiddos, and I have had similar problems every time. Sounds like you have the situation under control, but here is my suggestion should the problem recur: nipple shields and breast shields. The nipple shields are silicone and go right on the breast; they don't get rid of the pain completely, but they do act as a barrier while the baby nurses. Then use the breast shields, as described above. They allow your nipples to air dry, so you don't have to go around topless. Unless you like that sort of thing ;-).

Good luck!!!

Anonymous said...

It looks like you've already found a solution, but I agree with the silicone shields. I arrived home from hospital with completely trashed nipples, expressed exclusively for 3 weeks until they healed, then used the shields for another 6 weeks until I managed to get her attached without wanting to scream!
They do get bad press, but we never had an issue and went on to feed until SW at 16.5 months.

Best of luck!

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