Her Bad Mother

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Boobityville Horror

It's been two weeks since my little big boy blasted his way into our lives, and I'd had every intention, this weekend, of crafting some wonderfully mushy letter to him, welcoming him to the world and rhapsodizing over his wonderfulness: his beauty, his sweetness, his calm, his impossibly tiny little bum. But I can't. My boobs hurt too much.

It's not that I write or think with my boobs - although this might be a more interesting blog if either of those things were true - but it's impossible for me right now to write or think about anything but my boobs. They're that sore. I've gotten through the circle of hell that is Early Engorgement, only to find myself in the deeper circle that is Chomped Off Nips (chomped off nips that aren't healing efficiently, such that - TMI alert - one of them has a nasty tendency - TMI TMI - to ooze blood into the breast pump that I employ, sometimes, to give that particular boob a break from the tenderizing effect of Mr. Chompsalot's sturdy gums during his more enthusiastic boob frenzies.)

So it is that when I think about writing a touching letter to my infant son at this particular moment in time, the draft sounds something like this:

Dear Jasper,

Welcome to the world. I adore you. Please stop chomping* off my nipples.



(*Chomping is a bit misleading. Mr. Chompsalot isn't chomping so much as sucking voraciously, such that the scabbing from week one isn't fully healing and, um - TMI TMI TMI - pulling right off. But it feels like the boobies have been well and fully chomped to bits - not mention dragged over pavement - so I'm going with 'chomp' as my descriptive verb of choice.)

I've spoken with a lactation consultant. I will speak with her again tomorrow. I know that his latch was problematic in the first week because of the engorgement; we've rectified that, for the most part (it's still hard to get a good latch when either boob is so sore that I continually recoil from his hungry little mouth.) I resort to the pump and bottle only when the pain is intolerable, and I need to give one or the other nip a break. I'm doing, so far as I can tell - based upon my previous breastfeeding experience (which went spectacularly badly for the first few weeks and then turned around) and my consultation with lactation specialists - everything more or less correctly. So why is it all so difficult? And why does every single freaking breastfeeding resource in the world, everywhere, insist that breastfeeding doesn't hurt and that if it does you're doing it wrong so you really shouldn't have chewed off nips but if you do oh well you'll just have to get past that by, say, taking a Tylenol and biting down on a damp rag to muffle your screaming? ("Do not stop nursing! If your nipples are exquisitely tender try numbing them with an ice cube beforehand." Thank you, Dr. Sears! You forgot to mention putting tiny earmuffs on my infant's head so that he isn't deafened by my shrieks of pain, and, also, that I'll need four fingers of straight single malt to go with that ice if there's to be any kind of useful numbing. But whatever.)

I mean, am I missing something? Is breastfeeding really just blissfully straightforward for everybody but me? In which case, I'd like to have a word with the gods, because putting me through three weeks of labor, a terrifying delivery and shredded nethers only to condemn me, on top of all that, to severe boob pain seems perverse and unjust in the extreme. I feel like a fallen brood cow that somebody forgot to euthanize. I don't like it.

Anyone got any magic remedies for ravaged nipples and general boob-related malaise? Other than multiple shots of single malt scotch, that is, which I'm already considering.

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Blogger LisaDuvall said...

Man I wish I had some sage advice for you. I just remember the first few weeks being pure hell and then sometime in the 6th week things just clicked.

That helps you not at all right now and I'm sorry. But I am thinking of you and I hope the chomping and horridness ends soon!!!

12:07 AM  
Blogger Godless Sunday said...

OH GODDDDDDDDDD. I have SO been there. My lactation consultant told me that had I not called her, they (the nips) would have fallen off. But, once he starts latching on right, it will get better. My nipples are totally inverted right now just remembering those days.

Good Luck Honey.

12:14 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Noooooooooothing about breastfeeding was blissful for me. I scabbed, I bled, and I have scars now. I had to pump and bottle feed and that helped, thank god. But then my well ran dry anyway. So, really, nothing went right for me!

12:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure you've tried everything by now, but I found that if I used a football hold, the latch was completely different which helped them to heal. Also Lansinoh cream. I have friends who swear by putting a cabbage leaf inside their bras - it's supposed to be soothing and healing, though I've never tried it. I hope your poor, ravaged nips heal up soon!!

12:30 AM  
Blogger Janet said...

I had this issue with my first (to a lesser degree than what you're experiencing), and I think it's a great thing that god or mother nature or whoever makes newborns so cute, because otherwise we'd just kill them all. I will add that spending $1000 - $1500 on formula in the first year of life is a different kind of pain, so there's that...

Two thoughts.

1. I assume you're trying different positions? i.e., football, side-laying, etc, so that his mouth hits your breast at different angles? This can make a HUGE difference to alleviate some of the pain.

2. Tea bags. A Jamaican nurse told me (in a scrumptious accent) that something about the tannins in tea helped to "toughen up dee nipples". I put a cool, wet tea bag between my nipple and my cotton nursing pad in between feedings (other times I let them bad boys air dry) and I did find that it helped.

I know it doesn't help, but hang in there!

12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone told me my son was latching perfectly, but I scabbed and bled and hurt for weeks. The only thing that helped was lanolin. You should give it a shot.

12:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry... I can only echo first two comments: been there. My second two kids gnashed away at my nipples, with what felt like razor wire gums, leaving them raw, cracked and bloody. I was afraid babies would choke on the scabs!
It's been four years since the last and I honestly can't remember how long things took to turn. However, I do remember our nurse saying that because I was so well versed in nursing first child that I was a little lazy with second... just letting baby dangle from nip, masticating furiously, without taking time to ensure a proper latch!
Ack- I think I said that for real- yeah, right, lady!
Anyhoo. Despite it, I went on to be an enthusiastic breastfeeder for #2 and again for #3, and would go through it all over again!
Good luck. And really... this too shall pass.

12:37 AM  
Blogger hschinske said...

Once my kids were latching correctly, I still had one nipple that wouldn't completely heal for a while. Oral antibiotics didn't work, but topical ones *did*, just like magic.

Trouble is, you also have to watch out for thrush, which antibiotics can worsen. I think there might be a combo cream for both. Oh! and I just remembered there is a new product (not very new, just new since my breastfeeding days) called Soothies or something like that -- gel circles. Supposedly they help a lot. Ask your lactation consultant. Wait, I just checked, and Soothies is right, plus there is another brand called Maternimates.


12:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish I can give you a good advice but I can't. I have also gone through this. Looking at the horror of my own nipples sore and bleeding.

The only thing I can do is swallow the pain and get with it. The baby has to get milk and he's gonna get it! Which I eventually stopped at 6 months when I finally admitted to myself that I just have no enough milk to give. But I think it'll be very different when I have my second child. Experiences vary from each child that you have I guess.

12:59 AM  
Blogger Backpacking Dad said...

Well, if you think about it from a strictly statistical point of view, most people can't breastfeed successfully. Men can't breastfeed at all, so there's half the population right there. And not every woman can breastfeed, either because of medical, genetic, accidental, or pragmatic reasons. So you should never feel guilty if you are having a difficult, rather than breezy, time breastfeeding. That you can breastfeed at all puts you in a statistically special group.

Silver linings everywhere!

1:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think I had it as hard as you are, but it hurt a lot in the beginning. I did find that the teabags helped. Plain old orange pekoe Lipton type teabags, soaked with water and held on the nipples for a good long while. Good luck!

1:24 AM  
Blogger Lady M said...

You are totally not the only one. "Excruciating pain" is how I'd describe the early days of nursing.

Fortunately, it became comfortable much faster with the second baby. Six weeks of pain with the first, but two weeks of pain with the second. Whew. Good luck!

1:36 AM  
Blogger Christy said...

I feel your pain. I don't get the books saying it shouldn't hurt. With both girls, despite lactation consultants saying latch was fine, I had scabby, bloody, painful nips in the beginning. Lanolin did not help and seemed to cause extra redness. The only thing that seemed to help was rubbing a bit of breastmilk on my nips after a feed and ibuprofen. Hope it gets better soon!

1:39 AM  
Blogger Miscellaneous-Mum said...

I agree with the other commenter(s?) who've said pure lanolin. Worth its weight in gold.

I was lucky with my breastfeeding - 'lucky' in that I did it for so long, but I still had that formula in the cupboard, just in case, with baby #1. That was agony for 6 weeks. Then it came together.

I hope that didn't sound like 'assvice'?? :(

take care, I feel for you. xx

1:40 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

Delurking and putting my lactation counselor hat on for a moment -

1. Please don't use cabbage as a previous commenter suggested. There are some indications that it works well to reduce engorgement (no one knows exactly why, it's not been studied) but it is NOT for sore nipples and could very well compromise your supply.

2. Creams like pure lanolin can be very soothing. Just put a dab on the nipple itself (not on the areola, you don't want Mr. Chomper to slide around even more). They won't fix the problem though, especially if it's caused by his latch. All a cream can do is soothe the skin, if the reason for the damage is still happening, you won't heal until that underlying issue is solved.

3. Have you actually seen the LC face to face? She'd be able to see a lot more and help you more effectively if she can see what actually goes on when you're breastfeeding.

4. Whenever possible, expose your nipples to the air - either go topless, or if you need the support of a bra leave it on but open the flaps. Air will help you heal faster. Even better if you gently rub a bit of your own milk into your nipples. Breastmilk has many healing and anti-bacterial properties that will help heal you faster.

5. Have you had your baby evaluated for a tongue-tie? A tongue-tie, which isn't always immediately visible to the mom, is one cause of the type of problems you're having.

6. You might also want to consider craniosacral therapy (CST). CST performed by someone who is qualified and highly experienced in working with newborns and infants can often really help with the chomping by releasing some of the pressure that is causing him to clamp down so tightly.

Hang in there. There is every reason to believe that with time and some extra help from a trained LC that things WILL get better for you. E-mail me if you want any more information about any of this. My address is in my profile.

2:26 AM  
Blogger cbahm said...

Oh, you have my DEEPEST sympathies. Nursing my first child was tough at first until I learned what to do, but the second was misery for the first five weeks. Second was a preemie with the tiniest little rosebud of a mouth, weak sucking and surprisingly strong jaws -- which chewed my large nipples to glowing red nubs with bloody cracks. (TMI?) Tensing in anticipation of the pain also made it hard for me to relax enough for the milk to let down, too.

The best thing I did was rent a double breast pump (saves time) from the hospital for a couple of months and pump the milk. That, plus I stayed out of work for months and napped a lot with my boobs airing out from the slits in the front of my nursing gown, in an oh-so-not-sexy way. ;o) And I also used lanolin. OH - and wear your softest bras with no seams or scratchy lace in the cups -- ouch.

Pretty much, it was just sheer pigheadedness that kept me going. Good luck, and don't let naysayers discourage you if you keep trying or critics hurt you if you decide to bottlefeed.

2:28 AM  
Blogger OSarah said...

Yikes! Sounds like my similar experience with an equally voracious eater with a tight frenulum and one inverted nipple (me).

Two things helped immensely.

Dr. Jack Newman's Nipple Cream
(by prescription only)



Breast Shells (to keep everything away from them while not bf'ing)


When it was too much, I would pump for about 24 hrs to give the girls a break. Not ideal, but by six weeks it was definitely better and by three months we were pros.


2:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know where you are coming from. Not very reassuring, I know, but my right nipple still looks like someone has bitten a chunk out of it. We had the same latch problems as you at the beginning, but for the past 4 weeks, the midwife and LC assure me everything is ok. But the right nipple will not heal. It's not bleeding any more, but it's like a blister that popped, if you know what I mean. Hurts to buggery...

3:30 AM  
Blogger Crazed Nitwit said...

I was cracked and bleeding 8 weeks with first. Lacatation consultant(way back in 1988) had several suggestions. Take a warm shower pre nursing to get milk flowing and to hopefully relax from pain anticipation, drink a beer 15 minutes before nursing(I liked this one) and I had to resort to percocet for several days. I also put folded up cotton diapers in my tshirts and did not wear bras. Moisture is the enemy when attempting to heal. Good luck girl. I wish you the best!!!

3:38 AM  
Blogger Sass said...

Ouch. You are doing so well to keep persevering.

I'd think about two things - checking for tongue tie and positioning.

I used a lot of pillows to bring baby up to the right height so that I could feel comfortable... Laying down was also good.

Interesting to read the comments about a warm shower before hand - I remember now that I used to squeeze my boobs before a feed just to see for myself there was something there.

Man alive! I hope this all turns around for you soon.

4:23 AM  
Blogger TZT said...

I massaged my breasts in a hot shower to help with engorgement, and the lanolin definitely helped a lot with nipple pain (one or two of those free sample Lansinoh packs are about all you need). Also... lot of deep breathing exercises while nursing. It's hard to relax.

I also got one of those Breast Friend pillows which REALLY helped. You strap it around your waist, which creates a little shelf for the babe and it makes a lot of the position changing simple.

Good luck!

6:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LANSINOH LANSINOH LANSINOH!!!! They sell it everywhere including Shopper's Drug Mart. Take it everywhere you go, put on globs after you nurse each and every time. It is recommened by the LaLeche Nazis and as God is my witness it works!! If you haven't had a lactation consultant recommend this to you they're jerks.

I used to CRY when I saw that my baby was getting hungry... and the only way I could describe nursing for the first 4 weeks was that it felt like someone was pulling a rusty metal rod from the back of my shoulder first through my heart, then through my bleeding, cracked nipples.

Please someone buy the woman a tube of Lansinoh cream!!!

7:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure I'm not adding anything new here, but breastfeeding was horrible for me for about the first three weeks and then it suddenly got better. I did take breaks from breastfeeding (at least one or tow - maybe even three feedings a day) just so my nipple would heal. I pumped but that never hurt like you mentioned.

Hope things get better soon!

7:19 AM  
Blogger CaraBee said...

It took me two weeks to get my dumb ass to a lactation consultant and to discover that my little bean was tongue-tied which produced a lot of the misery-inducing symptoms that you're describing. It's a fairly easy and quick fix. Not sure if that's your problem or not, but certainly something to consider. I tried the Soothies and they helped a little but not the wonder product I had hoped for. Have you tried nipple shields?

I feel your pain and wish you the best!

7:27 AM  
Blogger Beck said...

Get that lactation consultant over TODAY. I had a painful latch with The Boy and it turned out that he was slightly turned away from me and stretching my nipples painfully - all I had to do was change how he was positioned SLIGHTLY and the pain cleared up instantly.
Than I had pain with The Baby and it didn't clear up and it turned out to be a massive case of thrush - get checked for that, too, because the two of you would need to be treated right away if so. And I would skip genetian violet right out of the gate and go for the real medicine, since that's what worked for us eventually.

7:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't get a chance to read the other comments, so it may have been mentioned, but Jack Newman's All Purpose Nipple oinment - WONDERFUL.

Must get a prescription (can even find it online somewhere, but your doctor should be able to help) and go to a compounding pharmacy, but it works well.

Good luck. You know it gets easier. You know it does!

7:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't use nipple shields, they only prolong the problem.
Apply plenty of pure lanolin.
See a lactation consultant for advice.
Give it a little more time and it will eventually become more straightforward.
Don't give up trying! Make sure you get plenty of help with housework and just sleep every chance you get. The first few weeks are the worst, after that it's plain sailing!

7:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hang in there! :)

My exp. w/ breastfeeding wasn't that bad (when my son would eat-he decided he liked bottles better around 10 wks). He was a strong latcher, also. And breastfeeding is great for your boy, however, you need your health also.

Have you considered switching him to formula (or stored b-milk) for a week or so, in order to give yourself a chance to heal? You could then switch back (a gradual process, I'm sure) to the breast.

Also, talk to your pharmacist. Most pharmacies offer compounding services and they may know of a nipple ointment they can make for you. My husband made some for me, and it worked wonderfully. I can't remember using the store-bought stuff for very long.

Mothering should be a good experience for both of you though. Best wishes.

7:41 AM  
Blogger Jess said...

Sorry, Catherine.
When the blood was turning the milk pink and I couldn't stand the thought anymore, we discovered he wasn't getting enough anyway...

so we stopped.

And it was the best thing I ever did, in terms of enjoying my baby, bonding (because who can bond with someone who causes you agony every time you try to do a good, nurturing thing for them?) and I was so much more at peace.

And this is NOT specifically aimed at the (way up there) past commenter, (because this is my beef) but that $1000 figure that keeps getting trotted out? May be after all is said and done accurate, but I think it's used as a scare tactic - the Baby Police do NOT come to your house and demand a check. I think at R's heaviest demand we were spending $15-$20 a week- much less scarier than the big number.

I wish you peace whatever you decide, C!

7:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

add me to the chorus for lanolin. I used Lansinoh brand and it was like a miracle cure.

8:16 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

I am from Canada and Dr. Jack Newman is the breastfeeding guru here. Here is a link to his miracle cream


You can also google him or email him directly for advice. I had a very challenging experience with my son who was nursing up to 21 times a day during 2 thrush infections and some bleeding, scream my head off when he latched nipples.

This cream contains things to heal but it also has a numbing cream to reduce the pain. You just take it to the pharmacist and they will make it up. WORKS WONDERS. In between I used the lan cream.


8:24 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Add me to the Lansinoh lanolin fan-group. It saved me with both my kids, but especially my first. I didn't use it with my first baby until my nipples were pretty far gone, so it took a couple of days to completely recover, but to was MUCH better!

I wish more lactation specialists would recommend it right away to more women from the start. When my friend had her first baby I bought her a little tube right away and told her that she would probably want this later. And she did!

8:43 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Add me to the Lansinoh lanolin fan-group. It saved me with both my kids, but especially my first. I didn't use it with my first baby until my nipples were pretty far gone, so it took a couple of days to completely recover, but to was MUCH better!

I wish more lactation specialists would recommend it right away to more women from the start. When my friend had her first baby I bought her a little tube right away and told her that she would probably want this later. And she did!

8:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's been almost five years, but when I read the description of your predicament, all that pain came flooding back in sympathy. I hope it gets better very soon because I remember when I, too, could think of nothing but the screaming pain in my nipples.

My baby had what appeared to be a textbook-perfect latch and nursing was still *agony* for three to four weeks. When you're not in the middle of this, three weeks sounds like a short time to endure, but when the flesh is coming off in little strips, there's blood in the milk and nursing is torture, three weeks is an eternity. I used to cringe and recoil in pain at the latch and would put off nursing her if it had been less than a few hours since the last time. I will forever feel guilt over this -- was she starving? -- but if she had just nursed an hour ago, I simply couldn't face it again.

However, I made it through somehow and nursing was easy and relaxed after that first month. Lots of Lansinoh and air-drying helped. If I had known about the numbing cream, I'd have been slathering that all over myself.

Best of luck and gentle hugs. A friend of mine said she thought nursing hurt more than labour.

8:44 AM  
Blogger iheartchocolate said...

I was like that too, it's not just you. It hurt like crazy. The only thing that kept me going for as long as I did was the price of formula! Holy Moly it is SO expensive.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Awesome Mom said...

My boobs are cringing in sympathy.

I did not get to nurse my #1 son thanks to his heart defect, but I did develope a good rapport with the breast pump. I thought that would prepare me somewhat for nursing #2 son but boy howdy was I wrong. He had an abysmal latch and had to have his frenulum clipped but not before my nipples were savaged and bleeding. I ended up giving up nursing, I just could nto go on and he was frustrated with the whole expirence too prefering the instant gratification of the bottle which was introduced to him only hours after his birth thanks to low blood sugar.

I was sad but got over it pretty quickly and did other things to bond with him. I never let him (and he never wanted to) hold his own bottle and I think that gave us plenty of great bonding time. He would not even let his father feed him unles he was starving, so I think it turned out pretty well.

Good luck!!!!

10:16 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

backpacking dad - the fact that my husband can't do this, and that he gets to spend the nursing hours quaffing that aforementioned scotch instead of having his bits torn off somehow doesn't make me feel better. But it's the thought that counts, so, thanks!


10:18 AM  
Blogger chaipo said...

Have you ever heard of nipple shields? They are little silicone "sombrero" looking things and not the ones that are open at the top of the hat. Anyways, I have found using them really helped cut down on the pain of sore nipples. It may not work for you (and the lactation gestapo might poo-poo the idea), but it may be worth a shot.

Good luck!

10:20 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

oh, so sorry. I had a few rough weeks with my first & second. I actually get goosebumps just thinking about it. The most helpful thing I found was just regular vitamin E ointment. It healed things up quite quickly and stayed on for long periods of time because it wasn't water soluble (sore nipples in shower, yuck!!). Otherwise, I have no advice, sounds like you are right, you just have to wait for the healing and nurse as you can until it comes. I'm a big fan of giving yourself a break when you need one, so good job you!

10:24 AM  
Blogger Don Mills Diva said...


No advice, just HUGS!

10:29 AM  
Blogger Hannah said...

I'm in week seven of breastfeeding # 2 right now and it only just started feeling better in the last week or so.

Lansinoh did help in the first week, as did sitting on the deck in the sun with my poor chewed nipples hanging out (and my neighbour liked it, too, ha ha).

I was told my babe had a perfect latch right from day one, and it still hurt. LCs can say what they like, having a strong suction like that on tender parts every two hours, 24 / 7, is going to cause some pain.

Hang in there if you want to. And if you decide it's just not worth it, don't beat yourself up. The important thing is a well-fed baby - and a happy mommy.

10:37 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...


I second whomever above that said the football hold helped them a lot. That was the magic bullet for me, I think because I couldn't keep her in the right position any other way.

And I am 100thing the lanisol.

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

catherine i can't offer more advice then whats been given.lanolin based creams, lots of air on the boobage,and different positions.i hope the lactation consultant can you help you out.my nipples ache and cringe yes cringe at the thought of those early weeks of nursing.i hope things get easier and painfree quickly for you.big hugs LAVANDULA

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm really fair, so both times we went through the raw-bleed-scab-repeat routine for the first 3 weeks or so. Three tricks that helped me:

1. just before feeding, put on some lanolin and then express some milk by hand - so you are at the not so squirty stage. Someone told me that when the milk comes out so fast, the kid doesn't need to work as hard getting a good latch - any old method is rewarding. I know, he's screaming and you just want it to stop, but this makes a big difference. An old fashioned hand pump by Medela is GREAT for this. Slap it on, 5 or 6 good pumps and you're ready to go. By the time you're done, the lanolin will have softened up the scabs/sore bits, so they are less likely to pull off when you child begins chomping.

2. After you finish feeding him, express a bit more milk and gently rub it in. The creamier stuff works better than the front stuff. Let it dry and then apply lanolin on TOP of the dry nips. The milk helps things heal, the lanolin protect. Also a good thing to do before and after you shower (assuming the little man gives you TIME to shower).

3. PUMP AND USE THE DAMN BOTTLE ALREADY. I know, I know. It's sacrilege. You might further mess up the latch, you might end up with an early weaner, blah blah blah. Screw it. You are not doing ANYONE any favors if you are so stressed out and in so much pain that all you can focus on is your boobs. You know, if this were your first kid, maybe it would be worth toughing it out. But you have a lot of people to take care of/be loving towards besides Sir Chompy. He won't starve, and he won't grow up with anxiety issues because during a 2 week period you used the bottle to give him breastmilk a bit more often than the lactation consultant would like. (Sorry, that was more shout-y than I meant it to be, but I think we are all so prone to putting ourselves dead last when there is a newborn around, and it upsets me when I see another woman doing it, because I am still kicking myself over stuff I did.)

Lastly, I don't drink scotch, but I can't imagine a good belt after a lengthy feed would hurt anyone. Take care of yourself, and the rest will follow.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Backpacking Dad said...

Your husband needs to earn tha scotch. Attach alligator clips to his nipples.


Then let him have some scotch. And some bandages.

Also, My Breast Friend is a great nursing pillow. I don't know if it will help with the nipple-destroying aspect of the feeding, since your baby probably isn't wrecking you because he's too far away or something. But if you are otherwise looking for a pillow and you're going to get a Boppy then I'd get the MBF pillow instead.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I know there are greater injustices in the world, there is NOTHING that makes me angrier than a so-called expert telling me that breastfeeding doesn't hurt if you do it right. Seriously, it makes me feel violent. Breastfeeding has hurt with all three of my babies, and my second baby was the worst. Bleeding, twisting, chomping... OF COURSE it hurts.

Is there such a thing as Shaken Expert Syndrome? Maybe there should be.

Anyway, it's not because you are doing something wrong, or that there's something wrong with you or the baby. You can do everything right and still have pain. I've seen five different "experts" over the course of nursing three babies, and even when I was doing things "right," I had pain for the first few weeks.

And I always appreciated this post from Lindsay on the subject.

11:12 AM  
Blogger Miss Britt said...

Oh my God my nipples are CRINGING reading this.

My advice all ended in "take this breast milk from a bottle".

BUT, my sister in law got these nipple shields from the hospital and she used them the entire time she nursed. Never had ANY problems. I think they are supposed to be to help with latching or some other such thing, but I thought the salvation of the nipples was a pretty fabulous side effect.

If I ever had to breastfeed again, I would definitely go that route.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nipple shields saved us. We had problems with our little bean latching which left her and I in tears. Our wonderful LC suggested using them and they worked and allowed me to be successful. She warned that bean might get used to them and never latch on without it but it is amazing what a hungry child will do. After only a couple weeks using the shields she latched on right and without pain.

Good luck!

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just have sympathy and the fact that BFing hurt with all three of my kids. And for some reason I was just remembering that this morning during my commute. It did get better and go away with all three, but it hurt - toe curling, bleeding pain - every. single. time.

good luck.

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure by now that you have heard just about everything under the sun, but i thought that I would come out of lurkdom to put in my two cents.
My girlfriend and I both went through the kind of excrutiating pain that you are describing but for very different reasons. Her problem was a very fast let down, that caused her son to chomp in an attempt to keep from drowning, she found the solution to be to lean backward at about a 45 degree angle when nursing, so that he didn't get flooded.
For me we found that I had almost no supply, and baby girl was killing me to get anything she could. We ended up going through this hellacious round of supply increasing drugs, and an exhausting nurse, supplement, pump 2 hour cycle, 24 hours a day for the first 6 weeks. I slept in the living room recliner for those 6 weeks to be able to get through the middles of the night.
I am sorry that I can't give any advice to make them hurt less, but I will say that you are doing a great thing continuing to try and that you should not in any way feel bad if it doesn't work. YOU TRIED, that is the most important thing. :)

11:44 AM  
Blogger ScientistMother said...

Hugs, hugs and more hugs to you. You are amazing whether you choose to continue BFing or not. Either way, Sir Chompsalot will have lots of love. My SIL used the nipple shield and it was the only thing that got her through 6months of feeding. Good luck, we are all sending you tons and tons of love.

11:50 AM  
Blogger Kyla said...

If you find an answer let me know. I had terrible pain with breastfeeding, it eventually stopped feeling like imminent death, but I am so jealous of those than do it without so much as a blip. I used to stick BubTar's binky in my mouth and bite the hell out of it when he latched on. You know, to keep from screaming "Oh my holy hell, kill me now!" every time.

11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would drink a glass of dark beer before nursing - tremendous!

12:04 PM  
Blogger Mel said...

I'm sure by now you've received countless "You are NOT alone" breastfeeding stories, so I won't add the full story of mine. But just know that I was a chickenhearted lily-livered sissy of the first order and quit with the first child after two months (Thrush! Yay, us!) and quit with the second after a month (Dried up! Yay us!).
I harbor a little bitterness and resentment toward the lactation ladies who 'helped' me; they made me feel stupid and inadequate and unworthy because of my problems and subsequent choices.
There definitely needs to be a shift in the service ethic of the folks giving lactation advice to women in the most emotionally vulnerable time of their lives.

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no advice to share as I did not breastfeed my son. All I can say is that I hope it all works out, however it works out, for you soon.

So you can start enjoying your son.

Perhaps you should have named him Crunch after all?

12:07 PM  
Blogger The Herrells said...

Sorry, with two toddlers running around, I don't have time to read through all the previous comments so I don't know if this was mentioned or not...

I had terrific pain with breastfeeding my third. Turns out she 'chomped' down just the wrong way and it was a landslide of pain from then on out. What I did was hand express the breast that was giving me the most difficulty and let her breastfeed on the side that was ok. This way the hand expressed side got a little rest without drying up, I got expressed milk for a bottle, and my baby got a full feeding off my better side. I found that the hand expressing was a lot easier on my system than a breast pump and I was on the road to recovery in a very short time.

Hope that helps. Sorry for your woes. :(

12:08 PM  
Blogger Amy Jo said...

Others mentioned this above but please ask the LC to check you for thrush. I had this on one breast and it was absolute torture. I would have rather gone through labor a dozen times over than suffer through that again.

If you do have it, you'll get a cream and honestly will start feeling better within 24 hours.

Good luck!

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Feeling your pain Catherine. Oh the memories.

My lifesaving assvice: NIPPLE SHIELDS.

But NOT the kind you wear while actually nursing. The kind you wear in your bra to keep the fabric off your nips.

I have no idea why they help but TRUST ME THEY DO.

Didn't wear them with #1 or #2 and my left nip was bloody and painful for the first ten weeks. Discovered them when I started having the same issue with #3 and OH THE RELIEF. Used them from the beginning with #4 and never had cracking/bleeding even though she nursed pretty much 20 hours a day (night).

Good luck mama.

1:14 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

It gets easier as their mouths get bigger. Unfortunately, that just takes time.

Hang in there.

Amy @ http://prettybabies.blogspot.com

1:15 PM  
Blogger scharfhunter said...

olive oil is good for some people--only marginally good for me, but fantastic for my best friend. supposedly has some kind of healing properties while also being less icky on your body and inside baby's mouth. it's worth a try for sure, and you might already have some in the cupboard, which would save you or HBF a trip to the store! good luck, and really, i feel (felt) your pain--babygirl gave me such bad wounds that i got mastitis and nearly lost my milk altogether. we're all praying for you and thinking good milking and healing thoughts!

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yikes! I remember once looking down and seeing blood on my little guy's face when he had sucked off a scab. I cried.

The shower idea really did help me but you can't shower 10 times daily, right? I used to soak a face cloth in piping hot water and hold that over my breast for a few minutes before feeding. Dabbing with breast milk after feeding, then air drying, then Lansinoh seemed to help too.

I went to the breast feeding clinic at Toronto East General Hospital (Coxwell and Mortimer) and found them quite helpful. It's free, no referral necessary, doesn't matter where you delivered. I've heard a couple of mixed reviews of the clinic but it was good for me.

1:20 PM  
Blogger Mandy said...

Every single breastfeeding expert says, "When done right it shouldn't hurt."

I don't know ONE mother who didn't have some range of discomfort to pain.

It sounds like you're on the worst end of the pain scale. I feel for you. With my first child, after multiple trips to doctors, La Leche League and the Breastfeeding Clinic, they discovered that I had "breast migraines" and that oh, they guessed that some women have this kind of pain, and it's nothing I'm doing wrong. And not preventable, and I would just have to keep going through the pain.

Eventually it lessened, and with my second I didn't get it at all. But after months of people telling me I must just be doing it "incorrectly" because it shouldn't hurt, at least I was finally vindicated.

So you're probably not doing anything wrong. You just need to decide if you want to ride it out until it does turn around, or opt for something else (pump, formula, etc). Best luck. I hope you feel better soon

1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a barracuda baby:

They gave me something called Triple Paste (I think it had an antibiotic, a pain med, and lanolin in it?) that cured the hamburger like magic.

Until then, I screamed a little EVERY TIME he latched on. I am so sorry you're having to go through it.

1:25 PM  
Blogger VDog said...

Lansinoh BEFORE you start nursing, and after.

Lansinoh - COPIOUS amounts BEFORE pumping.

MaterniMates hydrogel breastfeeding pads. You MUST get these. Both my girls were ALL torn up when I was EP'ing for the boy while he was in the NICU. The LC there (who gave me the above advice as well) gave me some AND THEY WORKED MIRACLES. You wear them in your bra (I would put a regular bf pad outside it, closest to the fabric so that the bra doesn't get wet) and in a few days, there is significant improvement. In one week, the girls were totally healed.
These are a bit hard to find, but I googled a place to buy them here.
It's based on wet burn therapy (i.e., keeping the injured area moist to heal faster).

Maybe ask your hospital or a local LC. This is seriously what you need.

Also MEDELA NIPPLE SHIELDS. They were a lifesaver for me. Make sure you get the right size -- they come in sizes from XS-XL, based on nipple diameter. (Sexy, right?)
We used the Nip. Shield exclusively for the first three months and I had no problem weaning him off of it by four months. (These were also given to me by the LC.)

Make sure you either use a very gentle soap on the nips or no soap at all when you shower, and then rub your milk into the nips and then air dry them. Don't wear a bra when possible (unless you can get hydrogel thingies). (Also advice from LC.)

I would also suggest the let down thing -- I got it so that my son just had to gulp, basically, and it helped a lot.

Good luck!

1:48 PM  
Blogger The Estrogen Files said...

I'm a La Leche League Leader and a mom and I can tell you that I have the same problems every time! It takes a few weeks to toughen up enough to not hurt.

Do your best to relax (nice advice, huh?), try different positions for nursing, latch him onto the less sore nipple first, try using Lansinoh cream, air dry the nipples, and try to get into see that LC face to face! Or a LLL leader.

I hope it gets better for you VERY SOON.

1:49 PM  
Blogger SP said...

I don't have any advice for you. However, I am fully aware that there are some very scary breastfeeding NAZI's out there. Do not let them frighten you. Your child will not grow horns if you must use the bottle on occassion. Heck, I've even met some completely hornless totally formula fed children. Crazy, right?

Anyway, I'm having sympathy breast pains for you. I hope it gets better, QUICKLY.

1:50 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

The idea that nursing will not hurt if you're doing it right is complete and total bullshit. I have a friend who is a LC and she told me that every woman she has ever worked with has had at least some pain when they firt start breastfeeding. I spent the first three weeks of my daughter's life almost crying every time she would latch on. I was so sure that I must be doing something wrong that I went to see a LC who got right in there and helped my girl latch on and then comfirmed that we were doing it right and guess what? It still hurt like a son of a bitch.

Hang in there hon, it will get better soon. You're doing awesome!

1:54 PM  
Blogger MommyTime said...

You are describing precisely what happened to me with my son. Gruesome to find YOUR blood trickling out of their mouths with that little dribble of the last bit of milk when they de-latch, isn't it? The only thing that kept me nursing at all after two weeks was these:
Medela Nipple Sheilds
YOU MUST GET SOME. Seriously. They are magical in the buffer the create between chomper and chompee. My only other advice is to go for broke and spend the whole $9.99 it costs for a new pair rather than taking the $5.99 used option Amazon has going...

Good luck!

Buy some today. Truly.

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one tells you to save all that lamaze breathing and visualizing and hypnobirthing carp for the first few weeks of bf'ing. So sorry! All of mine were hoovers and pulled out the sinuses which bled, scabbed over and the like. It got better around week three-ish, but pretty much just lanolin, swearing under my breath and um, yeah, swearing under my breath.

1:58 PM  
Blogger Sandra said...

Nothing new to add but seconding/thirding the Lansinoh recommendations - copious amounts.

By four weeks it was getting much better after many tears and literal rag/towel biting when the girl latched on. Ended up nursing for 17 months.

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used these to help with inverted nipples:


They also helped to let my poor shredded nipples air dry and half- assed heal before the next battle... um.. feeding.
If you use them? Make sure the holes in the top layer are upright. Otherwise? You create a puddle in the middle of the floor when the babe cries in the other room. Nursing pads couldn't touch that shis.

It did get better for me about the third week. Before that? I cried every time I fed her. She wouldn't take a bottle, so I fed her pumped milk with an eyedropper when I just couldn't stand it anymore.

I almost cried when I read this- I still remember, and oh- it sucked. Are you still doing a sitz bath for the shredded nethers? And the squirt bottle of warm water and iodine?

Above all, don't get the bright idea to get a mirror and look. NOT A GOOD IDEA. (please tell me I am not the only dumbass that looked, right?)

2:08 PM  
Blogger Maureen Fitzgerald said...

Wow - as soon as I started reading your post the vivid memories came flooding back. People say that you forget the pain of childbirth (I beg to differ) but no one has ever been so bold as to suggest that you forget the pain of those early days of brestfeeding.

I have no great advice...I just know that bursting into tears everytime I heard Little J stir in the night, fearful he would want to nurse, did not help.

I do remember it eventually getting better, that is until he cut his first tooth.

2:10 PM  
Blogger Lori at Spinning Yellow said...

I didn't read all the comments but I'll put in my 2 cents:

1. Boys nurse more efficiently and strongly than girls (I know, a stereotype, but true for many people I know) so make sure you are not letting him suck for longer than he needs to. My son would nurse from one side only for a max of 10 minutes by the time he was a few weeks old.

2. ONLY nurse from one side at a feeding. This truly works, I sear, I nursed both my kids for a year each this way. This gives each nipple more time to heal b/c they don't get as much "face time".

3. Use the lansinoh cream after each feeding. Every time. The best stuff EVER.

4. I had these breast cup things that fit over your nipples inside your bra so that the nipple could air dry and wasn't chafing against your shirt or a breast pad. Can't remember exactly what they were but the lactation consultant recommended them. Make you look a little like you have "torpedo tits" but who cares?

5. Lots of moms find breastfeeding horribly painful for a LONG time, so do not consider yourself alone. I hate the "nursing natzis" who make you feel that it is all your fault. No way!!

Hang in there! I hope you heal up soon and get relief from the little chomper.

2:21 PM  
Blogger Candace April said...

I forget--I am guessing/sorta hoping you didn't nurse first time because, even though we had a fairly easy time the first go 'round I am hoping #2 is easier for me.

Wish I had advice, meaningful or funny...but I don't so I wil just say I hope it gets easier soon for you & the LC can help!

I never had the "transcendent bliss" some others have described...but I did have some "happy, sweet, tender" moments and the rest was tolerable (again, we had a fairly easy time with nursing) knowing how much she enjoyed it and how well she was thriving.

Hope it works out for you.

2:29 PM  
Blogger floating in space said...

I constantly slathered on Lansinoh and used hobbit shells, which I believe are now called TheraShells. They are little plastic domes with holes all over the place that fit right over your nipples. The shells hold your clothing away from your nips and allow air to circulate to promote healing. Best invention ever.

Hang in there!

3:00 PM  
Blogger Blooming said...

I was so engorged at one point, that my daughter wasn't latching onto my nipple. She was latching onto the blisters and scabs she had created on my once gorgeous nipples. And I felt a sick sort of relief through the pain, because it made her stop crying for the first time all night...at 5 am.

A lot of breastfeeding sucks, no pun intended. Everyone told me to walk around topless so my nipples could "air out" except I don't think I ever stopped leaking. You would have seen a trail from the bed to the fridge to the bathroom back to the bed. The cats might have liked it, but I was stuck with nursing pads. Changing them often helped.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Candygirlflies said...

Breast feeding IS hard, and a whole new experience with every child. Go easy on yourself, Catherine-- it sounds like you are doing your very best!!

I, too, am one of "those mums" who had a dificult experience, and when the milk was finally running "pink", and my hormones turned against me, I turned to bottle feeding. While I am 100% behind the "Breast Is Best" movement, it is not for all mothers and babies. Whatever YOU choose to do will be what is right.

I hope things get easier for you and Sir Chompsalot soon. Warm compresses work wonders with engorgement, as does the lovely cream that others have recommended.

Thinking of you!! Hang in there, sweetie. Rest as best you can.

xoxo CGF

ps. Can I just TELL you how much I loved Backpacking Dad's first comment up there?? He just won himself another new fan...

3:22 PM  
Blogger Jenni said...

First, just let me say you are doing everything right and you should already be proud of yourself.

If your son's latch is pretty good, have you considered exclusively pumping and feeding him expressed milk for a few days until your girls heal up? And after they've healed, you could try using a nipple shield while nursing. Three friends of mine used them for the first six months because their little ones were barracudas.

3:23 PM  
Blogger Miss Awesome said...

Ugh, it's been 7 years since I had a newborn and I can still feel the breast pain. The only advice I have is to stick it out a little longer. Those nipples will heal and start to be numb to the pain...until the little sucker starts teething at least.

3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It has been 4 years since my breast feeding/pumping days and all of it has just come rushing back! Another Mom in the maternity ward brought in nipple guards! YES... nipple guards. They helped with the latching on and with the pain. Talk to your lactation consultant about them to see if they will help!

3:35 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I've said on my blog before that those people who say that breastfeeding doesn't hurt are liars. For about 3 weeks after my son was born (my first child and I were never successful with nursing together) my nipples hurt when he latched on. After he'd be nursing for a bit, the pain would stop, but it was painful every time he latched on. And the nurses told me we had a textbook latch...

My third child is 11 days old and I am once again in the midst of the painful latch. My nipples have pieces of skin hanging from them at random times.

I feel your pain, literally.

But I do know that it will subside, although the pain is not fun in the meantime. I do find it helps to pump a little in between feedings to lessen the fullness and let baby latch on easier. Otherwise I express a little in the shower to have the same effect. Not a lot because the more you stimulate, the more milk you'll produce which will just compound engorgement if baby isn't nursing that much.

Also, what another commenter said, use your own milk and let it dry on the nipples. Helps more than I thought it could.

And, whatever you decide to do...continue nursing through the pain or switching to bottle...doesn't really matter that much. Although I know I felt like a failure for being unable to nurse my first daughter. She's turned out just fine, and actually healthier than her brother.

3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had the same problem. I feel for ya! I tried something called Sootheeze or something like that. They are glycerin pads that are cool and supposedly healing. I think it helped a little. Then there's the lansinoh lanolin cream which didn't help too much, but its worth a shot. Good for chapped lips too. But I think another good idea is to shift positions, like football hold one feeding, then laying down the next, etc. That's what they told me. And above all, make sure he's latched on right. Make sure you can see his bottom lip and if not, pull on his chin a bit to pull it out.

Good luck!

4:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone mentioned the Toronto East General Hospital LC's and I agree, they were good. The best feeling of all was having an LC shed a few tears watching me suffer through a feeding.


You are NOT a bad mother/person/human if you switch to bottle feeding. You will not go to hell & your son will still love you & still get into Harvard (if he chooses). Millions of happy, healthy babies are bottle fed. Some women & babies (it's his fault too) just can't do it, and that's ok. It will give HBF a chance to bond with baby while you sleep.....

4:33 PM  
Blogger Suburban Turmoil said...

Oh, I so remember your pain. I'm glad you're writing about it, because there's not enough out there letting women know that it DOES INDEED HURT LIKE HELL for the first few weeks, and that they WILL get through it. I swear, I know so many women who just gave up after a couple of weeks, and I think it's because no one was around to tell them the pain would eventually subside.

Hang in there! I know you will!

4:34 PM  
Blogger Julie Marsh said...

Does it help to tell you that your words were what got me through the first six weeks with Oliver?

Probably not. But it's still true.

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The second time around has been spectacularly more crappy for me too - which is saying something as the first time was also hell.

Two words: nipple shields. They really work. Your consultant should have a line on them.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Brandy said...

I know you've had many comments but I just wanted to also say that I was with you. Aiden's first couple of weeks were HARD. I don't care what anyone says, breastfeeding hurts at first and I was lucky enough to have a childbirth educator that was very honest about that. Also, I too had a severe third degree tear and that absolutely makes things harder. You're body is trying to heal and recuperate and your boobs are being ripped apart. The only thing I can say is that is does get better and more than likely it will be sooner rather than later. I'll be thinking about you until then! Good luck!

4:53 PM  
Blogger DivaDunn said...

You aren't missing anything! You are probably doing everything right - I've yet to meet anyone who had the nerve to say "oh it never hurt!"

One thing I'm convinced of is "nipple/mouth incompatibility". Don't look for that in a book - I made it up.

This may be TMI but my nipples were MUCH bigger than what could possibly fit into my baby's mouth without choking her. So there was no way to get her off the aereola until her body caught up (about 10-12 weeks old). Until then (and several weeks later) it hurt like hell! My favorite expression was "being continually stabbed with shards of glass".

5:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my, darling girl, I have nothing but big love and sympathy for you, since this was my experience, too. The improved latch via breast consultant coaching was the thing that did it for me, along with the lanolin. It felt like my boobs were being trapped in a spiky iron maiden torture device everytime he latched on. My mom started to cry once watching me breastfeed my son, out of sympathy. Am sending you magical boob-healing thoughts.

6:16 PM  
Blogger MeganZ said...

Oh man, I'm so so sorry! I had all sorts of problems like this too, and I wanted to kill all those people who write about how it doesn't hurt if you do it right. Yes it does!

I found some relief with liberal applications of bag balm, as well as by using these things called Second Skin bandages (which are moist bandages used for burns) between feedings - but use those with care because if you leave them on too long you can get thrush from the damp environment. Which is a whole other bag of worms. But they helped a ton used in moderation!

6:37 PM  
Blogger Bea said...

So much breastfeeding advice focuses on what you're not allowed to do - no soothers, no nipple shields, no formula... I say you're allowed to try ANYTHING that might help. Lansinoh is all very well, but - just guessing here - I bet you're already using it and it's NOT ENOUGH. You don't have to keep going on like this. Try the nipple shields. Try supplementing to give yourself a break if that helps. You're allowed.

7:11 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

You poor thing. With both of my kids, I had very sore boobs the first few weeks of nursing, to the point where I was in tears every time they needed to nurse. I didn't read all the comments above me but I know this has been said many times.....if you can just get through the first 6 weeks, it's a breeze from there. And, you know that, since you've been through this with Wonderbaby. Hang in there, girl.

7:12 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Bea - I have been using Lansinoh, and although it helps some, it doesn't stop the screaming. Another difficulty I'm facing is that I can't get to an LC face-to-face this week or next - I'm still somewhat immobilized by the 4th degree tear and HBF is pulling long hours away from home, so I'm unable to get any real distance away from home.

Tried football hold on one boob this afternoon - that definitely helped a bit. Am ordering nip shields right now...

7:18 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

Just in case this helps... I went through some excruciating pain with my daughter *after* she had a week or so of bad latching when her gums were sore. It hurt so bad when she latched, I would scream and cry through the feeding. Turned out I had a blood blister on my nipple. I thought it was just swollen. I sterilized a needle and popped that mother f-er. It was a bloody mess, but the pressure relief was instant. -- Good luck with your titties. We all feel your pain.

7:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just reading that made my boobs hurt all over again.

It's totally hard and wasn't at all straightforward for me. Everyone told me at 6 or 8 weeks it'd become smooth sailing. It took me until my boy was 6 months. I figure I was a late bloomer, and maybe that means I'm a late breastfeeding bloomer, too. Oh, and we used the nipple shield for a good five months because of latch difficulties. I heard all the horror stories about supply issues blah blah blah, but if it weren't for that little piece of plastic, my boy wouldn't have been nursing past the second week.

7:37 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I have three words for you...Lanolin, lanolin, lanolin!!!! I finally figured this out with my third child, after the first two caused me some major discomfort and six weeks of pure misery! We nicknamed my son "the vampire" because I swore he ingested more of my blood than breastmilk for the first three weeks of his life. I broke out the lanolin in the very beginning with my third child, used it before and after nursing, and in between sessions, and it wasn't nearly as painful (and no bleeding!). The pediatrician assured me it wasn't harming the baby, thank goodness, especially in the quantities that I used! Really, give it a try. I feel your pain, and I hope for the best for you!

8:09 PM  
Blogger carrie said...

I had exactly one infection during the years of breastfeeding three kids and I'm telling you - it hurt more than anything (well, maybe not more than trying to turn a breech baby before delivery, but damn, it hurt). I would not wish that pain on my worst enemy.

Cabbage leaves, I've heard - but someone surely already said that.

Hang (not literally - support) in there.

8:37 PM  
Blogger AnnetteK said...

I don't have any advice, just empathy. Been there, gave up, no regrets. Good for you for still trying. I hope the LC can help, soon!

8:51 PM  
Blogger Jenifer said...

I have only scanned the comments, so I am sure these are here, but the PureLan and Lanisoh sort of saved me. In the end I could nurse or pump the pain and I mean real pain was causing me migraines. The worst was the pink milk I pumped it just about did me in.

I hope it gets better and if it doesn't, please don't be too hard on yourself. I can honestly say I tried my very best and it just wasn't meant to be for no reason anyone could find. It just happened and we switched to formula and she was fine and I was fine and even if it my biggest regret there were no other options.

8:54 PM  
Blogger josetteplank.com said...

"And why does every single freaking breastfeeding resource in the world, everywhere, insist that breastfeeding doesn't hurt and that if it does you're doing it wrong..."

If I had one more lactation consultant tell me this, I was going to scream. More. When my pediatrician told me that yes sometimes it just hurts even when you're doing everything right, I kissed her on the mouth.

1. Lansinoh

2. Ice

3. Pump the sore nip and give it a rest.

4. When baby latches on, count backwards from 10. It's like self-hypnosis. Tell yourself that 10 will hurt like hell, by 8 it's getting a bit better, by 5 just a hint of pain, by 1 the pain is all gone.

5. Try different holds (football hold) so that pressure is put on different parts of the nipple.

6. In five more days, the pain will get less. In another five more days, less still. In another five days, all good.

Nipple nerves. Oy. God is a mean-spirited stinker at times, isn't he?

9:23 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

With all three of mine it has gotten mercifully better by week three and painless by the fourth.

I 52nd the Lansinoh...hubs rubbing your shoulders is great to help you not tense as he latches on...um, th elittle one, not hubby ;)

9:26 PM  
Blogger Woman in a Window said...

OMG Ask for boob info and you shall receive! 100+ suggestions. Oh, mine sucks. I don't reccomend it. Just, when I coudn't take it anymore...I didn't. We turned to the bottle. Listen to everyone else!

9:54 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Lanolin was an answer from God when my nips were chomped to bits. The Lansinoh lanolin was what I used.

I pink, puffy heart lanolin.

Good luck. I hope the sore nips feel better soon.

9:58 PM  
Blogger Marty, a.k.a. canape said...

Please buy the Medela hydrogel pads. They are so soothing anf will heal the broken skin. Or send me your address and I'll send you the ones I have left. They kept me trying for sure.

10:00 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Like others have said, Lansinoh helped me a lot. But I'll also say that for the first few weeks, for both children, breastfeeding was torture at times.

You mentioned biting into a wet rag - I actually did bite into a clean burp cloth more than once to keep from screaming. Everything seemed to get better around the 3 week mark, from what I remember.

Hope you get some kind of relief soon!

10:10 PM  
Blogger mamatulip said...

Oh, C. I'm so sorry. Hang in, love.

PureLan 100 was my fave. And cabbage leaves. That really helped with pain and swelling.


10:12 PM  
Blogger Karen MEG said...

Can't say I feel your pain as I didn't have the same problem, but that sounds so excruciating, just wanted to wish you well over what is hopefully just a bump in the road.

My issue was with supply, not nearly as painful, but frustrating for sure.

That scotch does sound good, maybe if you time it right ;)

10:27 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Schmitty said...


10:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are not alone. This is exactly how I felt when I nursed Dawson. It hurt like hell. And the nurses who tried to help me, only made me feel worse, by saying it was my flat nipples causing the problem. I remember crying the entire time I nursed, using Lansinoh (or whatever it's called) daily, and biting my bottom lip tightly when the baby would latch on.

I wish I had good advice for you. I used those boobie ice packs that you can insert in the nursing bra, but they sorta leak every once in awhile. I think Gerber made them.

10:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For all to sore boobies out there, here's my input:
My baby girl had no problem latching, she did however have a delayed “clamp” reflex. Had nothing to do with how I or she manipulated the latch. That latent “snap” broke my breasts every feed, no matter what I did. It was agony. Oh, correction, football hold did help a little.

Thank the boobie angels above that I found a good bf consultant who saw it and believed me. She called it right away saying “she’s a ‘tight’ baby”.

She said that the baby will learn to stop clamping down, it takes time and to try three things to get through it. My problem was compounded by incredible forceful letdown that choked my baby with so much milk, probably encouraging her clamping. It all got better by 6 weeks.

1)before nursing, allow the baby to latch onto your thumb and turn it side to side as the baby sucks, it helps the baby “relax” their reflex a bit

2)while the baby is then latching on you massage the baby’s cheeks/jaw muscle to coax it to slacken, also taking a deep conscious breath yourself and try to lower your kinked up shoulders from the pain, sometimes my relaxing helped her relax her bite.

3)Get a prescripton for Dr. Jack Newman’s nipple ointment, it contains a mild antibiotic, an antifungal and topical pain reliever (ibuprofen powder). I have skin as thin as an onion, but I assure you this cream was the thing that really promoted healing of my breasts, I used it and lanolin but it was easier to tolerate because the nipple ointment is so soft and the lanolin made me scream to get it spread on. Any GP can prescribe it and you need a pharmacy which carries all the compounds to make it.

These are the percentages:
mupirocin 2% ointment (not cream): 15 grams
betamethasone 0.1% ointment (not cream): 15 grams.
If betamethasone ointment is unavailable, mometasone ointment (15 grams) can be used instead. It is better not to mix creams and ointments.
To which is added miconazole powder so that the final concentration is 2% miconazole. Sometimes it is helpful to add ibuprofen powder as well, so that the final concentration of ibuprofen is 2%.

I also dosed huge doses of ibuprofen and used a heating pad (my husband’s small electrical pad he used to use ) and the heat on my breasts helped ease the ache when my let down was unbearably stinging and during cluster feeding days when baby had perma-latch for hours.

Good luck to you I hope something here helps I don't believe that nipples "toughen up", I think both mom and baby make the learning curve and it gets better.

6 weeks seems to be the magic number.
Luck to all moms out there trying to get through it

11:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, for what it's worth, I just saw a post on a blog I respect (SkepChick) warning about a nipple cream with potentially dangerous ingredients -- Mommy's Bliss Nipple Cream. With so many other options out there, I'd avoid this one until there's some final ruling on its safety.

See details at the article they linked to.

12:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ouch. Poor you.

I feel your pain, or at least remember feeling your pain. Is there no lactation consultant who can make a home visit? How about a La Leche League Leader? I retired from LLL about 10 years ago, but when I was still a Leader I sometimes would go to a mom's house when she couldn't get out.

Can you tell if his tongue is extended when he's nursing? Often a baby who has dealt with a lot of engorgement learns to pull his tongue back, so instead of squeezing the breast between tongue and upper palate, he's chomping down with both jaws. If that's the problem there are little exercises you can do to teach him to extend his tongue, and take the pressure off your nipples. The lactation consultant should be able to talk you through doing them if that's the case.

And I second the advice of getting your milk to let down if possible before latching him on, and having him suck on your thumb or finger (nail clipped short, nail side down) before feeding and between feedings. Not only does that train him in how to hold his tongue correctly, but you might be able to figure out what he's doing with his latch by feeling what he's doing on your finger.

One thing that can help, no matter what's causing the pain, is to rotate positions: Cradle hold, cradle hold with slide-over (While sitting, hold baby as if going to nurse him on left breast but slide him to the right breast,) football hold, side-lying, side-lying with baby's head toward your feet, and any other position you can think of. That changes up which part of you nipple is getting the worst of the chomp.

I hope the LC is able to help you, and you're not just the unlucky winner of the sore nipple lottery.

2:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok I did not read all 113 comments..so my advice may have already been mentioned.
Wet a tea bag...put it on your nipple. ahhhh.. I think it is the tanic acid in the tea that helps it heal. Worked for me.
My kids are now 21,18,17 but lawd almighty that is something you NEVER forget..the pain of a sore nip.
Good luck!

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so sorry! Besides actually pushing one of mine out w/ out drugs - engorgement and nipple issues were the worst pain I've ever experienced. Just thinking about it makes my stomach churn and turn.

If you can't get past it - and if it's not getting better..would it really be the end of the world (close your eyes all you LC's our there) to use formula? (Gasp! there I said it..Don't hate me.)

9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was too lazy to read through the bazillion comments to see if this one was put out there: Express some milk after each feeding & rub it onto your nipples. Then let it air dry before putting a bra back on. I think it really does work.

Oh yeah - not like you are washing them that vigorously or anything, but no soap on them in the shower, either.

9:29 AM  
Blogger scharfhunter said...

DOH! i'm so glad other people remembered the nipple shields! i totally forgot about them! they saved my life and my boobies as well. we weaned off of them after about 4 weeks so that i could heal and babygirl could latch on like a pro. i woke up in the middle of the night remembering the shields and only just now got the chance to put my 2 cents in as a shield supporter! good luck, HBM, and i'm thinking good thoughts for you, your boy, and your poor boobies!

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have felt your pain - and I mean that literally! :)
My son actually bit a HOLE in my nipple! I dealt with the excrutiating pain during nursing for a while, but then my friend suggested using Calendula ointment on the wound as it would be safe for the baby ( I don't know if that is absolutely true or not, but it did not affect my little one). I used the ointment on the affected nipple and it healed very quickly. I should have tried it a lot sooner. Hope this helps!

11:51 AM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

OH, honey. I wish I had some sage words, but as you know, I haven't been a grand success myself, either, and am a bit worried abou the whole thing. My friend, too, found it painful the first few weeks. I can only hope it will turn around for you REALLY SOON.

12:10 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Oh lord Catherine. I love you (which is why I wont' overwhelm you with assvice here) but I do not envy you right now. Godspeed.

4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From my experience (breastfeeding two babies for one year each) that whole "it shouldn't hurt" line is BS. Even with a good latch and a baby who is catching on easily (as in my second) it was still a bit sore. Lansinoh is your friend! But the real truth is that the damage done from one feeding with a bad latch can take FOREVAH to heal. I was so confused with my first because the lactation consultants (who were really great, despite my whining) told me that it shouldn't hurt but it did hurt. And it continued to hurt. Because the GIANT CRATER IN MY NIPPLE wouldn't have healed quickly even if I hadn't been nursing 8307347293 times a day. But with all the nursing it took a long time. Hopefully that won't be your experience.

My assvice is that if they tell you the latch is looking fine but it still hurts, it's likely from the past bad latch or two and you really just have to be patient and slather LOTS of Lansinoh on there after every feeding.

Hang in there!

4:28 PM  
Blogger justmylife said...

No words of advice, but you have my sympathy. I was told breast feeding was a breeze, I soon learned I was lied to!!! It is painful to breastfeed, atleast the first few weeks and months if you have no alternative but the breast. My darling refused a bottle! Good Luck!!!

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You MUST use the healing patches. Dr. Brown's brand may offer them. They are gel-like, cool upon application (so soothing) and they help the tenderest of skin heal expeditiously. My son, too, had a crooked latch and left me with (TMI) painful, oozing, blood-blisters. The patches were the only saving grace to keep me from giving up nursing. (My discharge nurse sent me home from the hospital with them and now I can't remember the actual brand. I've seen them at Babies R Us, though.) Magical and blessed they are!

6:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have time to read all the comments but have you tried Lasonoh ointment? I had what I called "Horror movie nipples" when I was in the hospital and this was a miracle. I swear they never would have healed if it weren't for this (lanolin ointment). It promotes moist healing so the scabs don't get all dry and gross.

7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure I'm not telling you something that everyone else hasn't already said, but I wanted to throw in my support and some sympathy hugs. Evie chomped the heck out of my nips too and yes.. pink milk is just ..*gag*.

I used Lansinoh religiously on the side she was being most evil to and pumped it instead of nursing her on that side. Luckily, that was before she decided the bottle was the devil. It worked and in about a week that side was healed up and she could nurse off it again. Haven't looked back since.

Hope things get better for you SOON because boy howdy, have you ever paid your dues!

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've gotten so many tips here, wow! Not sure mine can offer anything not said here already but hell. here goes. Nother vote for Lanisoh, also airing them out, ideally by a sunny window when you can (lucky neighbors, lol!) and for me with my first, nursing just hurt for the first 3 months, then we began to enjoy it. Hope it's quicker than that for you!

9:10 PM  
Blogger A Mom Two Boys said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:36 PM  
Blogger A Mom Two Boys said...

Duh...I forgot the link! Here's the original comment, with the link!:

I'm late to the party and assume somebody has already recommended this...but I'll throw my two cents in.

We don't know each other, but I totally know how your nipples feel. In a figurative sense, of course.

Go here and order the Nipple Butter & Bosom Buddies. STAT. Don't delay. Seriously. Do it. It's well worth it. From someone who TOTALLY knows how your nipples feel.
I'm late to the party and assume somebody has already recommended this...but I'll throw my two cents in.

We don't know each other, but I totally know how your nipples feel. In a figurative sense, of course.

Go here and order the Nipple Butter & Bosom Buddies. STAT. Don't delay. Seriously. Do it. It's well worth it. From someone who TOTALLY knows how your nipples feel.

9:39 PM  
Blogger em v said...

I second the Dr. Jack Newman all purpose nipple ointment (APNO)-- it was the magic bullet for me (Lansinoh did nothing for me except make my clothes greasy, but I have friends for whom it worked). If you want to avoid the expensive APNO prescription (about $50), you can make up your own from generic ointments from the drugstore, as you need it (my midwife recommended this to me and I found it worked ok); It's equal parts Nystatin, Antibiotic ointment (a.k.a. polysporin), and hydrocortizone 1%. Apply the mixture sparingly to those nips after every feed, and it's safe to just latch again next time, no wiping off is necessary. Relief was rapid for me (about 2 days)-- I hope it is for you too.

10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh... I'm hunching over my little (well, big) boobies just remembering the agony. I finally had one breast-feeding resource (can't remember which one) admit that fair, sensitive skinned folks actually do just get chewed up no matter how good the latch is. I got blood blisters along with the regular scabbing with my first, and let me tell you--that's really not fun. Air-drying (hang 'em out all day if you can) and LANOLIN ointments were the only momentary relief. The lanolin stains really badly, though, so prepare to ruin your nursing bras, wear pads, or even better--hang 'em out. Hope they heal soon!

10:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I breast fed my two girls. With the first girl, my second child, I thought it would happen naturally. It didn't. I ended up seeing a lactation consultant and we finally got things working properly. With my second daughter, I thought, this will be a walk in the park. Not such luck. It was just as hard with my second daughter and to awhile to get it working, then she wouldn't get off my breast until she was 15 months.

So, although it is natural, it's not always easy. Good luck.

12:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember thinking that I would nurse her Just One More Time. Just this next time was the only time I had to get through it. And I did, and then again, Just One More Time. It took about two weeks of that. And I ended up nursing both of them for a year each. But there was that painful phase.

With my second girl, a lactation consultant said just to dump her face right on top of the boob, none of this politely introducing her to it, and don't worry about her being able to breath, she'll figure it out. That did seem to help.

Good luck.


1:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh also. Best product ever is the shells -- because you can't walk around naked all the time. Medela calls them TheraShells or Softshells. You put them in your bra and they keep your nipple from touching anything. I'm sure there are other brands. Here are some:


2:00 AM  
Blogger JLS said...

If your nipples are bleeding (hello! I've been there!) you might have a case of thrush on your breasts. This was at least my cause, and there is an incredibly simple solution (that actually feels quite nice even if you don't have thrush): gynelotrimin. Pick up your average 7-day treatment tube of gynelotrimin, and rub the stuff on your nipples after each feeding. If it's thrush, you'll feel the difference - and stop bleeding - in 24 hours or less. And yes, it's totally safe for baby. (Both my OB and my pediatrician recommended it for me, when I was nursing my twins.)

6:32 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Ok, I bottle fed my first, and I was considering attempting breast feeding for the second... hmmm perhaps bottle isn't so bad... i am not really good with pain

8:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

True, Lansinoh is greasy. I used to put GLOBS on each nipple immediately after nursing, & put nursing pads on to protect my bra - worked wonders, after about a week.

The football hold feels awkward at first but it is a nice change for everyone.

Big hug!

9:05 AM  
Blogger Tuesday Girl said...

I had to use nipple shields because the pain was so bad. IT is a habit that was hard to break and 11 weeks later I am still using them, but who cares? he gets the milk and I am not in pain. Nipple shields-- the best $5 you will ever spend!

9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm just here to offer sympathy, I have no tips at all, because I tried nursing my first, a bouncing 8 lb. girl, and never could satisfy her. After two weeks of sitting miserably nursing first one side and then the other for hours at a time, and her still shrieking her head off, we decided to go out for the evening and I fixed a bottle of formula to take with me. I was abysmally dumb, had no guidance at all...and I made a full 9 oz bottle, having no clue that a two week old baby should probably have 2-3 ounces. She drank it all and slept 7 hours. I never looked back. Called my doctor the next day and got instructions on how to bind my breasts while the milk dried up, and bought a case of Similac. I never even tried to nurse the other two.

12:36 PM  
Blogger LD said...

I have no advice.
Just wanted to say I know where you're coming from and OUCH. This time I took the oxy codone from my c-section to heal with the nursing pain and the nursing pain was worse than the c-section.
Have you got the prescription from Jack Newman (the breastfeeding doctor)? It helps.
But, really - it gets better. My problem has always been that I flinch because I know the pain is coming and then screw up the latch.
Not that that helps.
But, I'm sorry. it will get better, but don't feel like you need to nurse.

1:14 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

I'm so sorry you're having this trouble. My theory is that breastfeeding generally takes a whole lot of hard work in the beginning, and that work to get a good latch can be exceedingly painful.

I am currently in training to become a breastfeeding hotline counselor. Ravaged nipples can be hell to heal. Can I tell you what saved my life? It's called Dr. Jack Newman's All-Purpose nipple ointment. It will help your nipples heal and kill some of the pain. A little goes a long way and it doesn't need to be wiped off. Here is a KellyMom link:


It SAVED me. In the early weeks, I went through thrush, vasospasms, cracked nipples, etc. I thoroughly cursed breastfeeding. This ointment made it all go away. If I ever meet Dr. Newman, I will make out with him.

You're not alone. It took me a good 5 weeks to start to enjoy breastfeeding, and to get a latch that didn't make me scrunch my face in pain and want to shriek.

2:01 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...

I second or third the Lansinoh, but to be honest it really didn't feel like it worked for me. There was a lot of pain , so I guess I wasn't doing it right. But the only thing that actually helped was a breast shield (Medela makes them) which allowed baby girl to nurse w/o actually touching my boob, which helped me get over the scabbing of one incident...it took about 4 weeks to get to a non-painful state...geez...no thanks for the reminders on this one though!!!

2:24 PM  
Blogger Mom24 said...

I would definitely use Lansinoh, every single instant. It helped me a lot. Also, have the lactation consultant check his latch-on. That cured a lot for me. You said you had talked to one, but I wasn't sure if one had seen you or not.

I am so sorry for what you are going through. One way or another, it will get easier. I think we forget how HARD those first few weeks are--especially when we have another little person that we want to be our best for. (((Hugs)))

4:02 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

Me again. Catherine, there are LC's out there who make home visits (I'm one of them, but sadly I'm an ocean away). Perhaps there's someone who could come to you if you can't get out of the house right now?

My heart really goes out to you. You've gotten a lot of advice here, some excellent, some less helpful, but on top of everything else you shouldn't have to take on the burden of sorting through them and figuring out what to listen to and what not. You need help now, not next week. Please, call a local girlfriend and let her do the legwork and try to find you some help sooner.

4:46 PM  
Blogger Jaelithe said...

You know, I tried to read all these comments, but my breasts started shrinking in remembrance.

So I'll just say . . . me too.

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as i recall, "Mt Cracktop" (my right nipple) only got better after a trip to the ocean. i think getting in the salt water helped it to finally heal, where all the other standard remedies and creams did nothing.

5:10 PM  
Blogger monica said...

Liberal applications of Lansinoh lanolin + breast shells to keep anything from touching the nipples when not nursing helped me tremendously. I used them for at least the first 4 or 5 weeks, and finally things resolved. But I remember all too clearly how hard it was at first. It's hard. I remember crying hysterically to my husband, "Why can't I be a cow? Nursing is so easy for cows!"
Hang in there.

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just another voice saying 'I've been there'. And I know you asked for advice, but I suspect you're probably already doing all of the things you're expected to (the lansinoh, the holds, the air-drying, the LC, etc). For some people, myself included, it just ain't easy no matter what you do. I pumped round-the-clock with my son for 9 agonizing months because our latch never got right. If I could do it again, I would try to find a way to live through those first god-awful weeks without pumping, and see if that would help at all with the latch. If there's one thing I learnt from my awful experience, it's that babies with latch problems learn to prefer a bottle to breast, so I wish I hadn't started off with those "escape" bottles, which seemed so much easier at the beginning.
Anyway, what I wanted to say is that if you can find any reserves to get through this - go for it! It takes a lot of bravery, a lot of strength, and a supportive crew around you. If I were you, I would hire help for the next month or so. Pamper yourself in any spare time you have. Get a helping hand with the newborn, and get someone else to look after your daughter (as much as she will allow it!). I'd pay whatever it takes, personally, budget be damned. These are some of the toughest weeks of your life, so get whatever help you can, and don't regret it. And don't worry about what other mothers of newborns can do -- they have different babies, different situations, and you have to simply find something that works best for you and your family.
A hug from a regular reader,

6:53 PM  
Blogger tiarastantrums said...

oh, the pain of it all! What we do for our precious babies! I had exactly the same thing! Why do we continue - because WE ARE MOTHERS!
Keep the faith girl, stay positive, keep trying and try not to scream in bloody ass pain!
It WILL get better!

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I have not read the other comments, so this may have already been suggested. My mom told me this and it really seemed to help. You know how the saliva in your mouth starts to breakdown the food that you are eating? Apparently that goes for nipples too. If you leave the saliva on your nipples affter breastfeeding, it will keep breaking down the skin. Try rinsing your nips after each feeding. I know it is a pain, but it really helps. I would just cup my hand under the faucet and hold a towel under "the girls" and just pour the water over them. I couldn't stand to touch them. Also, put the Lansinoh (or whatever you are using) directly on the pads not on your nips. And repeat: "This too shall pass."
I don't care what anyone says. My daughter had a great latch. Fabulous, even. And it still HURT LIKE HELL for 6 weeks. But then it was absolutely fine. No pain at all. Seriously. NONE.
One more tip: try to do something besides focus on breastfeeding. Read a book, pray (that it stops hurting, haha!), etc. Something that requires thinking. Not just staring at the tv.

12:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nipple sheild. Lansinoh. Get them!

4:17 PM  
Blogger markira said...

My son is turning 13 in two weeks and I still remember the horror that was breastfeeding. I've always had horrifically sensitive breasts anyway, and whenever he latched...oyGOD it was awful. I gave it several weeks to see if it improved, but finally decided that I was probably going to give my son some kind of eating disorder if I continued to scream every time he ate.

Never even attempted with my daughter. Straight to bottle. Do not pass GO, do not collect the admiration of the masses. But both of my kids are extremely healthy and strong, and we have a very solid bonding.

Reading all this advice, though, I SO wish I had had access to this while it was happening! I felt like a miserable failure because I thought it was just me.

8:06 AM  
Blogger Dondi Tiples said...

Just got back to reading your blog again after so long (been so busy), and I just have to tell you that I've had the same exact experience as you with both my boys (now 6 and 23 months). I've had nipple scabs sucked off and into their hungry mouths, exposing raw skin underneath, and the pain....oh Lordy, the pain! I tried using silicone nipple shields, took to using the breastpump (which worked none too well after the first baby, and hubby had to constantly repair it - electric breastpumps not so abundant here in the Philippines, mine was sent from an aunt in Kansas)... I actually started to dread each every-two-hour breastfeeding demand. There aren't any lactation specialists here, so I'd had to rely on old wives' tales and advice from other moms (who, not surprisingly, never had any problems breastfeeding).
It took an average of a month or so per baby for the wounds to heal and the discomfort to go away. But by that time, I was back at work (and actually relieved *hits myself over the head for such a thought* that the worse was over and I could safely express milk for their savagely hungry mouths back at home). Peace, sweet nipple peace.
I really feel your pain, and pray and hope you can get over your PPD safely. For both your sake and your children's. God bless you!

9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Catherine,
I'm sorry, I havent read the 152 comments before this so I hope not to repeat this suggestion. I gave birth in November 2007 and struggled BADLY with breastfeeding. After an afternoon of having my nipples pulled and twisted by a nurse named Jeanne d'Arc (i kid you not) the night shift gave me silicone nipple shields. Nearly 7 months later I'm still bf'ing thanks to daily use of the shields.
Bon courage,
Rachel, Montréal

10:34 PM  
Blogger Rusti said...

Wow... I'm only 9 weeks preggers and a friend asked the other day if I'm planning to breastfeed... my answer was that I was planning to try... but holy shit - I think I'm now terrified by all the comments and your post itself...

I really hope that the nips heal quickly and that your pain goes away soon... I'm praying for ya!

11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally weighing in on this, but I've had a great excuse -- I've been busy having a baby and going through the first few days of nursing for myself. I'm inclined to believe, based on this experience (excruciating!) and the last, that a certain amount of pain, and even bleeding, is inevitable. But, last time, I toughed it out and lasted 9 months -- it got a LOT better. So, this time, I'll do the same.

BTW, in case no one else posted this, the one thing I did find helpful for bloody nipples was mixing together three over-the-counter creams (this was the advice of a LC): antibiotic cream, hydrocortisone cream and an anti-fungal cream. I don't know which one did the trick, or if it was just the combination, but it helped before.

Catherine, I just also wanted to add how great it's been following along behind you in this amazing journey. Your post from today, with the poem and picture, was so beautiful, and I'm right there with you, sentimentality-wise. (I cried the other day while watching a Verizon commercial that showed a women in labor going to the hospital.) Isn't it wonderful?

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Early on in nursing my daughter I found it painful so I read a book about breastfeeding. I wish I could remember the title because that way I could warn you to NEVER READ THAT BOOK. It went on and on about how you should never "distort" your nipple by compressing it in any way to get the baby to latch. You could support your breast, but the nipple should always stay round. I learned eventually, after much pain and learning of bad habits by my daughter, that this is contrary to what pretty much every lactation consultant would tell you, which is that you should use a C or U hold on the boob to stuff as much areola into the baby's mouth as possible.

Fortunately my week-old son seems to be getting the hang of opening wider right from the beginning so this hasn't been as bad. Sore yes, blistered yes, but bleeding and dark purple bruising? Well, not the former and not a lot of the latter anyway.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Thea said...

I can absolutely sympathize - my daughter is almost five weeks old and we are just rounding the bend into "proper latch/less painful nursing" territory. Those first weeks, though? They were brutal.

With the help of a nipple shield and some ointment prescribed by a home nurse (it was called "triple nipple cream", if I remember right), I was able to heal up and keep going, but getting myself and baby used to nursing without the nipple shield again was tough. I finally just had to throw it away and cope, because I really, really wanted to nurse skin-to-skin.

Since then we've been working on getting a better latch. And lo! We are getting there.

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

been through it, twice.

it really doesn't help when the 'experts' and the books all say it doesn't hurt unless you're doing it wrong.

i did it right and both times it hurt like hell for the first week or two (i can identify with the pavement analogy). with the first i'd be in tears with terror at the prospect of another feed and with the second the loud gasp i gave every time he latched on made him jump right off and then develop a habit of on-off-on-off that wasn't fun.

BUT it soon became sooooooooooo easy that i actually laughed out loud to myself about how ridiculously easy it was and thought incredulously of the poor women dragging their exhausted bodies down to the kitchen, sterilising, preparing, buying, lugging stuff around with them.

long term vision, that's what got me through and copious amounts of lansinoh, which i still use as lip balm. wonderful stuff.

good luck!!!!!!!

7:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had a really tough time with BF. DS was a preemie and I spent the first month and a half pumping 10-12x per day. I relied on a nipple shield and lots and lots of lanolin helped. I put lanolin on both nips after every feeding and pumping and eventually the girls toughened up and it became much much easier.
Good luck!!

10:34 PM  
Anonymous Katie said...

So, I just came across this post from awhile back. I wish I had read this about 4 months ago when my son was 3 weeks old and I was wondering when, if ever, the breastfeeding was supposed to get better. I was so tired of hearing that it doesn't hurt if you do it correctly. I was tired of the lactation consultant telling me I was doing it wrong. I was tired of my husband asking me to please talk to the lactation consultant again because we needed some peace in our house. You know, it took almost three months before it actually got painless. But, here we are and it all works very well now.

12:24 PM  

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