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Today was a hard day, but I've put a plan of action in place, but would like some opinions.
Brief history: I successfully started nursing Poppet when she was born. Shortly after coming home from the hospital, I developed 2 life threatening infections. I spent two days in the hospital on antibiotics that were not safe for me to continue nursing. So I pumped and dumped to keep up my supply. After being discharged I spent another week on the antibiotics,... and recovering from the infections. I wanted to resume nursing after we completed the course of antibiotics. As of Saturday morning the antibiotics course had been completed and was now out of my system for me to safely resume nursing. (Poppet is 3 weeks old as of yesterday, Wednesday)
I knew switching her back to the breast was going to be a challenge. She'd been on formula for 12 days. The first attempt to relatch and attempt to nurse was an effort in futility at 4 in the morning, landing both of us in frustrated tears and milk pouring from both breast. I had my SO go ahead and make a bottle of formula and I sat down with my trusted double electric pump. Only this time I wasn't dumping the fruit of my labor.. I was saving it for my daughter's benefit.
Since Saturday, I've made several attempts to get her back on the breast. The problem is, she got lazy with the bottle. She literally pinches my nipple.. No matter how hard I try to get her to latch properly, she pulls back and will only latch on the tip. This has caused some bruising.. thankfully, my nipples haven't cracked or split... only because I have continued to pump so she's still getting Momma's milk, even if she is getting it from a bottle. I've actually got a bit of a stock pile now that I'm getting ahead of her.
It's 1 am now and I'll be back at my pump in a few minutes.. I've decided to call my lactation consultant tomorrow. I'm thinking that maybe a nipple shield may help with the latch issues we're having. Mom and I went out looking for shields, however couldn't find the right size for me. (I can't use the standard size.. my nipples and areola's are larger than the standard size allows for comfortable use). We're hoping that the lactation consultant may be able to help us find shields that fit me properly. Has anyone else had success correcting latch issues with nipple shields? I have no issue resigning myself to pumping and serving if that's what has to happen to ensure my daughter gets the best stuff available to her.. I just really would like that physical bond with her too.
I have had success using nipple shields, they are an extra step / thing to maintain but I have accepted that they will just be a part of my life and it is still less work than pumping for every feed. My issue was that I have flat nipples and the consultants in the hospital taught me how to "sandwich"my breast to create a big enough protrusion for him to latch on to, but it didn't seem to work consistently for some reason. Sometimes he latched on great other times he'd just get so puzzled and upset. It got worse oncewe got home, For example I saw a consultant a week later and it took us twenty minutes of him screaming to get him to take the breast. Nobody that I saw suggested shields, they just kept telling to keep trying since it worked sometimes even though it was seriously heartbreaking!? Seeing him turn red and cry and be so hungry until he figured it out. My pediatrician just told me to pump and feed him from a bottle. I did that for a few days and I found out about nipple shields on my own. I love the shields because he latches on to them like a pro and I will be ok with using these permanently if need be. I do think my nipples are drawing out though so maybe I will not need them permanently but I do love them and recommend them as an alternative to having to pump around the clock. Before I discovered the shields I was pumping every two hours, now I can feed him on demand! And I get the bonding experience, which I feel like I wouldn't get to have if it weren't for the shields.
I am using shields because of latching issues. He will sometimes latch without but not consistently. He is almost always fine with the shield though. The only annoying thing about the shield is if it loosens during the feeding I'll suddenly get a milk spill down my chest.
The nipple shields are amazing!! I used one for my first daughter (flat nipples). We used them until she was about 4 weeks old then weaned her off of them. This baby hasnt needed them thankfully
Went to the lactation consultant. Poppet was latching too shallowly. We worked on her latching and checked to make sure she was feeding well when she finally latched properly. She did great.
This morning at our 4 am feeding my Mom helped me get her latched and she did awesome. She went back to sleep about 530. When she woke up this morning about 930 we tried again. Unfortunately she didn't latch very well and ended up splitting my left nipple. The right is still cracked and healing. Looks like right now I need to pump and let the crack and split heal up before we do any more damage and retry again later.
I won't lie. I'm feeling pretty defeated right now, but I haven't given up hope yet.
Lurking from another DDC. I use to be a breastfeeding peer counselor before I graduated so I hope this helps. Something that may help is start your letdown first and then try to latch her when the milk is spraying. If she latches shallow, de-latch her and latch her again. I worked with a lot of moms in the clinic dribbling formula from a bottle over moms breast until baby latched down and started sucking. That will teach her milk comes from the breast, and if you massage your breast while shes latched it will force her to keep sucking and swallowing instead of getting annoyed and de-latching because the flow isn't the way she likes it. If she is going to choke she has the ability to de-latch herself, but keeping her active will help you in the long run. When I was nursing my son, I had larger nipples like you described so I would place the bottom of my areola on his bottom lip and use my thumb to hold back my nipple and the rest of my breast and wait till he opened wide and then flip the rest of my breast in his mouth forcing him to get a deeper latch. Just keep working on it mom, my son didn't latch till he was 9 weeks, and he breastfed for 18months. Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions!