Friday, February 25, 2011

In love & BF help?

I know, I'm biased. But - isn't she great?

The only troubles I've been having are some issues with breastfeeding. I thought going in that it's natural and how hard can it be? I had the firm belief that it would be easy. HA! Everyone told me it was hard and they were right.

She is two weeks old tomorrow (wow!) and I am exclusively breastfeeding. She's gaining very well, no trouble with supply - but my nipples are so freaking sore. She's on 5-6 hours a day. They're cracked and just super, super sensitive. I've got an inversion on one side and engorgement on the other (which I have also had surgery on to remove a lump; it's not clear whether the milk ducts were affected by that). Maybe this is way TMI for a blog post?

I've had a public health nurse come by and spoken with two others on the phone... they're recommending baby-led latching, cold - NOT warm - compresses, cabbage leaves, air-drying. My midwife recommends NO cabbage leaves, warm and cold compresses, latching by popping the nip in when baby opens wide.

Of course, baby rarely seems to open wide enough and constantly has her hands up at her mouth when I'm trying to get her to latch (once she's on, we're good). When she is latched, she's grabbing and scratching at my breasts and her own face. Wearing mitts keeps the scratches down but her hands are still in the way. Argh!

Advice welcome, I've had so much contradicting advice so far a little more won't do any harm!


  1. Ohhh, I feel your pain. I was in major pain for the first month with both of my girls.
    For the cracked sore nipples I found Lansinoh (just pure lanolin) really helped my nipples. They have it at walmart- and it saved me.
    My lactation nurse said use "expressed milk" but I found that just made it way worse. Also keep in mind they will toughen up a lot soon- they wont hurt your whole time nursing.
    Also I found some nurses/midwives "latch Obsessed". Not every baby has a perfect latch. I learned that with my first daughter and finally stopped stressing about her latch. Sometimes latches can be a problem, but if she is chubby, happy, and is getting milk her latch is ok in my opinion. If you are anything like me, you just have very sensitive nipples that get sore/cracked/raw from nursing - but they will toughen up soon.
    For the blocked duct- hot showers and drop feeding really helped me. Hanging or drop feeding is awkward at best, but it really helped. To do it you lay baby on the bed...then hover over her so your breast is hanging in the air and nurse that way...kinda careful that your not smothering - hehe. I used pillows to make it less uncomfortable. Sounds weird I know. Also I fed like crazy on the blocked duct side...every 20-30 minutes for days. ( I had blocked ducts 4 times last time?? not sure why)
    As for the busy scratchy hands have you swaddled? Snug those arms in tight and that should help.
    Haha- lots of advice. Hope you dont mind :)
    Good luck and enjoy your new sweetie.

  2. first of all, she's so cute!!!!

    ok, now seriously.....
    NO cabbage leaves!!! they are to dry up your supply. As far as I've known the only time you should minimize your supply is when you are weaning only. Your supply will naturally take care of itself and level out in a few weeks. IF you need to take the edge off you can pump for a little to take care of the engorgement.

    Second, the cracking is more than likely caused by bad latch. Yes, you should only let her latch until she opens WIDE and make her latch fast. If she doesn't latch deep enough, use your finger and insert it in the corner of her mouth to break it (this will keep you from being so sore) and keep doing it until she latches DEEP! The best videos ever demonstrating this is on Dr. Jack Newman's website. Google it and it will come up. Excellent videos showing latching and other issues.

    Ethan not only kept his hand by his face but screamed bloody murder! For the first few days husband was home and I had him hold his hands down until I could get him to latch properly. She should stop doing it pretty soon for you.

    Keep nipple cream on it. Do you have any? Next let air get to your nipples at all times. Nursing gowns are great for this because you can leave your breasts exposed and the rest of your back/body is covered so you don't freeze ;-) Air and sun are very important to healing your nipples. I think I mentioned the breast shells in a previous post of yours?? They are a life saver if you have to put on a bra to go somewhere and let air get to the nipples.

  3. There were times that my nipples were sore just from frequency, not necessarily a bad latch. Good, soft breast pads and a nice nipple cream {not all are created equal!}
    Not much help, I know!

    You should look into a nursing necklace. She may be a little young but it's a special necklace that is made to not break, be free of toxins if they put it in their mouth and the purpose is to keep little hands busy and occupied while nursing. I didn't have one when my littles were teeny but I won one when John was a little older and he enjoyed it.

  4. Yikes.. I remember having cracked, incredibly sore nipples during the first couple of weeks, too, when my boy seemed to be constantly feeding. I tried warm/cold compresses, tea bags.. Nothing seemed to help. And then I discovered the Medela lanolin nipple cream (for some reason I had not been aware of lanolin creams at all up until that point). I think I got mine from either No Frills or Walmart. Once I started using that, my nipples healed quite fast. Perhaps the boy wasn't feeding quite as often by then, too..

    As for cabbage leaves, I've heard that they help with engorgement, but have no idea if they are any good for sore nipples.

    Anyway, I'm sorry I can't be of more help.. I hope you find something that works! And yes, Mia is totally adorable! :)

  5. Warm compresses help with the let down, while cold compresses soothe the soreness (maybe why you've had advice for each) :-) Some mamas like to use warm just prior to nursing and cool right after. Typically speaking, if your nipples are sore/sensitive, there is something that can be improved upon with baby's latch (even if it seems like everything is fine once she's on). One thing I've definitely learned after nursing 4 little ones is that when you have a perfect latch there is ZERO pain. Feel free to shoot me an email, Em, if you want more of my 2 cents :-) BTW, she's gorgeous...congrats!! Jen

    (I have a new email:

  6. What a beautiful little girl! I found your blog right before you had her as I was searching for things since I am due TOMORROW!!! HA I'll be passing that date by :)

    Anyway-I don't have much help as far as latching since I nursed my daughter 12 yrs ago and don't remember much. My Aunt gave me some pointers for this time around and said to express a little breast milk and rub on the nipples (then air dry) to help with cracking. She also used breast milk to clear up an eye infection for her little guy-It worked for both- It's "Liquid Gold"... As far as her hands being in the way-swaddle her so she can't get them out and in the way. If you are having trouble with her falling asleep and need to keep her uncovered while you nurse just wrap her arms up and leave the rest of her uncovered. Hope this is a bit of help- best wishes ;)

  7. I struggled with early breastfeeding with my son (my first born) and found the hospital nurses and public health nurses all seemed to give me conflicting info. Instead of being a beautiful time of bonding, it became stressful, full of tears and frustration. We finally visited a lactation consultant who was awesome. We all (my hubby, son and I) spent almost 3 hours in her office on her day off and we never had problems after that. It was certainly the best decision we'd made!

  8. Ah, I was going to suggest swaddling, but Jacqualine just did. Quiet, darkened room with no distractions (so she can concentrate on eating, with little other stimuli). And I'd suggest pumping on the engorged side - you can always freeze the extra milk to use later. You do not want to add infection to the mix, so get those ducts clear and flowing again.

    It will get better, I promise. Just hang in there. She's just beautiful!!

  9. I gave up and pumped for 6 months with the first and 8 with the second.

    The only advice I can give you is that this doesnt last forever :)
    Lots and Lots of HUGS

  10. The beginning is rough, but it will get so much easier once you get passed this hump!!

    Are you giving your nipples 'air time'? Put breast milk on them and DON'T cover them until completely dry. I swear, during the first six weeks of my kids life, I walked around in just a nursing bra with the flaps down. o_0 But, I think that's also why my nipples healed so fast during our 'beginners hurdles'. has great info! Cabbage leaves will dry your supply and won't do anything for your nipples..

    Stick to it, Mama! You're doing great so far! Just a few more weeks and you'll be on Breastfeeding Easy Street. :)

  11. She is beautiful!!!

    I'm not too far ahead of you but thought I'd share my two cents as well. :-) Breastmilk dried on nipples helps wonderfully! So does the Lanish, purple tube, ointment! THAT was my lifesaver the first week! Also, make sure her face is close enough to your breast so she is not pulling your nipple out as she eats. The LC in the hospital said to have her nose touching or cheek or chin based on which position using. That helped, and still does, me a ton! I was also given these cool gel pads which were fantastic between nursing sessions!

    Try to nurse her before she gets overly hungry, really watch her feeding cues. This will help with the hands all over probably from being over anxious to eat. If you catch them before they reach "starving mode" they also don't suck as hard and thus not as quick of a let down. I have an oversupply and this has helped me as I too was going thru cloth pads like crazy! Supply does regulate too...

    The growth spurts are awful too!!! Just a heads up. Keep something handy to occupy yourself as you sit on the couch or comfy place during them. :-)

    Please e-mail me if you want to chat anytime!!! You're doing great mama!!!!

  12. Okay, it's probably too late to chime in but here is what I've got:
    1) That baby is SO cute!!
    2) Breast feeding is hard work. It was so easy with my first that I didn't realize it would be hard. With baby 2 it's been a struggle.
    3) Go to a lactation consultant. I've been to ours three times and she is amazing! I found that everyone had different advice but the only advice that made sense is the LC's!
    4) I did cabbage leaves when my milk came and it totally helped and made me feel so much more comfortable.
    5) Little Bear scratches himself too and pulls at my nipple, breaking the latch. I often shove his arm under my bra which seems to help lol. You could also try swaddling her before you nurse?
    6) If she is nursing every hour and you are that sore it most defiantly means you don't have a proper latch. Honestly, the LC is amazing and will help you with that. Don't listen to anyone else!

    The first 6 weeks are SO hard but then life gets so much easier. Little Bear is 3 months now and he's a dream. You're almost home free :))

  13. i think everyone before me already hit the things i would- just wanted to add that you'll get it down by week 6 =) then suddenly, it'll be so easy and natural.
    lilypadz helped me some when my nipples were so sore even having cloth pads against them hurt. nipple butter is also a must. try putting a toy or lovey for her to grab while nursing. or if necessary, you could try swaddling just her arms! i think i had to do that a little with my son.
    anyways, just came back to use your filled roll recipe and realized i had forgotten your baby was coming!(and already came!) belated congrats on your beautiful girl =)


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