Desperate Request for Breastfeeding Resources

Our breastfeeding situation is deteriorating quickly. While the thrush is finally getting better (I started Diflucan on Friday), our latch seems to get worse every day. The pain is getting so intense that I am starting to get very anxious about feedings. I went to an appointment this morning and the LC basically said all our issues are due to my over-active let down; Monito is pulling away and clicking my nipple and readjusting his latch (making it more shallow) to deal with the spray. She said it will hopefully get better as he gets older and bigger and more able to handle my let down, but right now she has basically no advice to give me, except to try a nipple shield. (Isa and I tried a nipple shield and I remember being quite confounded by it. We ultimately abandoned the effort without it being much help. If anyone has anything to add about the pros and cons of nipple shields, please share them.)

So it looks like I have to find some advice elsewhere, which is why I’m writing this post. If you have any resources for improving one’s breastfeeding experience, like websites, books, your own stories, even DVDs (I know I had a DVD once but I have no idea where it is), please recommend/share them. I’m desperate to be proactive in improving this situation because I don’t know if I can keep this up and I really want to continue breastfeeding, at least for the three months that I’m home; I don’t see how we’ll survive cold and flu season without me sharing my immunities with Little Man. So if you have any tips or resources I’d be much obliged if you’d share them. Thanks!

26 responses

  1. Also, I don’t know if this is still the case, but 6 or so years ago soulcysters (a forum for women with PCOS) had a lot of great information on breastfeeding issues. There was a woman with a name like amarrah or something similar who answered all sorts of questions really helpfully.

  2. Ditto the previous poster’s recommendation of kellymom. I used them exclusively for BFing information.

    I used a nipple shield for the first month – 6 weeks of Owen’s life. (I have a flat nipple, and it took FOREVER to teach Owen to latch correctly on it.) It’s REALLY helpful for letdown issues and giving your nipples a break. The key is to get one that fits well (they have different sizes) and using a little bit of BM to suction it to your breast.

    My BFF also used a shield exclusively with her son and loved it.

  3. Second vote for kellymom. Great resource. My problems with breastfeeding were different, but I do remember that changing a latch is hard work. You have to be vigilant every time he latches to get it right, even in the middle of the night. I seriously struggled with the middle of the night bad latches and let them go too often.

    Try not to worry about the cold/flu season immunity stuff. It is true that immunity is improved through breastfeeding, but it’s not true that without exclusive breastmilk he is guaranteed to get colds or the flu because his immunity is compromised. My source for this advice: I had the exact same worries when baby #2 arrived because I had to supplement with formula way earlier than I would have liked and my first was in daycare (aka a full time germ factory). I worried endlessly about the second baby catching something because I had failed her. Turns out, she was fine. Usual colds and runny noses, the way most babies get, but no major events and no flu. Also, both babies were fed more or less the same way (as much breastfeeding as I could manage and some formula starting in the early weeks to supplement) because of my awful supply issues and my son is great at fighting off colds while my daughter gets every cold that she encounters. Breastmilk is awesome–amazing stuff–but it’s only one piece of a very complex puzzle and you’re doing the best you can.

  4. I’m sorry to hear this. I have no advice – we struggled with latch too and I had to just pump for a couple days to let it heal. I cried and screamed in pain when he’d latch. It was awful. I’m abiding with you, my friend.

    Sent from my Windows Phone ________________________________

  5. Thank you all for you recommendations. I have read quite a few articles on kellymom about over active letdown and it has been both validating and informative. I also realize that the LC has given me all the advice that she can, it’s just hard stuff to deal with. I also realize reading those article that it could be a lot worse.

    Mostly, reading all those articles just explains so much. This is why my daughter (and now son) never nursed for comfort and was so quick to wean. We nursed to eat, it was never about bonding or comfort. I always thought that was my own fault but now I know it was a consequence of my oversupply and over-active letdown. It makes me feel so much better to know that none of this is my fault AND understand why it’s happening. Thank you for the resources. I really appreciate it. And if anyone has any other resources, please share them. I want to learn as much about this as I can.

  6. It seems like I’ve read the suggestion to let the baby suck to stimulate the let down, then unlatch and actually let down into a towel or whatever, then put him back on after the flow’s calmed a bit..? I don’t know if that’s worth anything, but my only other idea was to pump and then latch him after the forceful part is past…then I remembered what a nightmare pumping and sterilizing parts is when thrush is present. This is probably not too helpful, but I hope your other readers have a genius suggestion or five for you! Hang in there…

    • I read this too! We kind of do this because he pulls off quite quickly after I let down but I love the idea of pulling him off myself before he can get frustrated and clamp down on my nipple (and I’m embarrassed I didn’t think of it myself!) Thanks for advice. I can’t wait to try it.

      • Hope it at least helps, even if it’s not a complete fix. Sometimes the simplest thing is both the best and least obvious, but obvious things are the last to come to mind when you have so much going on!

  7. I reread my old posts every now and then and today I came across this quote from a post written almost exactly a year ago. It’s so helpful to me now:

    If a painful sensation arises in the body, and you add to it a fearful anticipation of the future, or terrible self-judgement, then your painful physical sensation will change into great mental suffering… See the difference between experiencing the pain directly in this moment without adding the past… See the difference between experiencing it directly in this moment and adding a story. Can you open to the experience in the moment as it is, constantly changing?

    Insight Meditation by Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein

    I just wanted to share it here, because it seemed important.

    • I wrote a long comment on my phone and it disappeared? I love what you just quoted a out experiencing the pain in the moment versus the past pain. I am in the same boat as you. Oversupply leading to bad latch (it’s hard to latch into a swollen bowling ball boob) and then clicking/chomping once he’s on because of the over active let down. I’m trying the “feed on one breast per feeding” as recommended by LLL. I’m also going to a LLL mtg on Wed so we’ll see if it helps. I don’t have high hopes. Everything I read (including LLL and Kellymom) just seems to recommend pushing thru it. My LC also recommended nipple shields but I hated them and gave up when the nipple filled with blood. Ugh. I am in a bad bad place today. Keep me posted if anything helps.

      • God I am negative. Let me say one tiny thing that seems to help. The “laid back” position seems to help because gravity keeps the milk from spurting so much. Also, I’m going to go to the pharmacy today to get APNO cream to see if I can get some skin to grow back on my nipples 😦

      • APNO does help. I’ve been using it for thrush and it has helped my general nipple pain a bit too. I hope it helps you too.

      • You’re negative because THIS SUCKS BALLS! The one breast per session thing will help but it might take a week or two. I don’t have oversupply as much now (after doing that), mostly it’s just over active letdown but it still sucks. At least it’s not so uncomfortable in between feedings–I appreciate that.

        I hope you find some relief. Your situation sounds awful. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with all this.

  8. This sucks so much (no pun intended, ha!) I have read on other blogs about moms with oversupply who feed lying down with baby on top of them…not the most practical though. Can you order Dr. Jack Newman’s book on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307345580?ie=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=393185&creativeASIN=0307345580&linkCode=shr&tag=hypnobabies0d-20&qid=1384803411&sr=8-1&keywords=•+The+Ultimate+Breastfeeding+Book+of+Answers Or go to his website?? Good luck, this is so so difficult!

  9. You’ve gotten some great advice already, so I have nothing to add except empathy. BFing didn’t work out for me with B, and he’s OK. I BF L for 12 months after a REALLY challenging first 2 months. I never really had that “wonderful” experience that so many women have…so I get it.
    What helped me the most was having a private LC come to our house (I was so desperate she reduced rates for me and did two visits) and watch what was actually going on. She also ran a weekly support group at our pediatrician office, for $15/session. I went every week for most of my maternity leave. Again I got almost free advice from an excellent LC, commiseration for all kinds of problems from other women, and could do pre-post feed weighing to get an idea of how my supply was changing over time ( I went from under to over to regular supply. and then under when I went to work…but that’s a different story).

  10. so glad you have some great advice here already. I was going to suggest the lying back while nursing or pump til first let down, then nurse, or nurse, get the first let down in a towel, then, nurse again. I hope that some of these things help your nursing relationship get better. I have noticed that Kate eats off my right, but comfort nurses on my left. My right has oversupply issues, left is lazier. I really hope things get better from here and I can’t believe the LC was at a loss for suggestions for you! Hugs!

  11. All I can say is that not all LCs are the created equal 🙂 None could help me with my issues (and I met with 2 from the hospital and 3 more at breastfeeding help sessions) and nobody was able to help me. Then I met with one more by chance at a mothering group and she solved all my issues that day. Just make sure you try getting another opinion/consultation if it’s financially plausible. Maybe someone in your area has a recommendation. The one who helped me does phone consults and could possibly give advice on the oversupply (www.faithmcginn.com).

  12. Hi, Nicoleandmaggie sent me over to see if I had any advice.

    A great book for breastfeeding issues is: The Nursing Mother’s Companion. http://www.amazon.com/Nursing-Mothers-Companion-6th-ebook/dp/B006ORXI7U/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384833408&sr=1-1&keywords=breastfeeding+mothers+companion

    It helped me a lot when figuring out what was going on with my first baby. (It turned out she couldn’t tolerate milk in my diet.)

    I had a very strong letdown (milk would literally shoot ~4 feet away if there was no baby there to catch it), and my second kid in particular had trouble adjusting. We did nurse lying down for a few weeks. This is not as difficult as it sounds. I recline back on the sofa or on pillows on my bed, so that I was essentially at a 45 degree angle. I only had to do this until my baby was a little older and able to keep up- maybe about 6 weeks old? It is disappearing into the haze of early motherhood.

    We got things sorted out and nursed until past her second birthday- so don’t feel like you can’t have a successful nursing relationship even with this rough start.

    I was also taken by surprise by the pain while nursing at ~3 weeks post 2nd kid. I had apparently forgotten all about that, even though I’d had a really rough time getting nursing going with my first baby, and I’m sure there was a lot of pain that time, too.

  13. Hello! I followed Nicoleandmaggie’s link on Cloud’s blog.

    I concur with the recommendation for reading resources on Kellymom’s website.
    Dr. Jack Newman also has a number of videos that may be helpful. (http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/content.php?pagename=videos)
    I also concur with the recommendations to consult with a different LC (ideally, an IBCLC, and even then, not all IBCLCs are equal.) Quite frankly, I’ve never heard of using a nipple shield as a recommendation for oal or over-supply. Not that I’m an all-knowing expert, but I have spent a few years breastfeeding and supporting bf-ing moms. (I did have overactive supply but block feeding sufficed for us.) You *can* even nurse from the same side for multiple feedings, but I recommend that with caution.

    Regarding the thrush, you both need to be treated. I’ve known people to have success with gentian violet (careful, it does stain purple) and grapefruitseed extract. But you’ll read about that on the kellymom website/forums, I imagine. (Sidenote: While taking Diflucan, I recommend a probiotic to help maintain your digestive system.)

    Finally… it gets easier. I promise. The first six weeks are the hardest and the first three months next hardest. Keep seeking support and information, and whatever you decide to do, know you’re doing your best for your baby (even if it doesn’t look like the “best” you envisioned, or what other people think “best” is.) Also, don’t quit on the hardest day.

  14. I used a nipple shield with B when we tried nursing and I hated it. I had to use one for boy B for 6 weeks. His latch was awful and he was tongue and lip tied. It was a pain and it was always falling off and the damn thing was always lost but I wouldn’t have made if without it. We were finally able to Ditch it after 6 weeks. My friend has been nursing for 9 months with one. I think they are genius.

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