Posts Tagged With: breastfeeding

Wanna see my nipple?

I have a photo of each of my nipples at their worst.

I’m not going to post them online, of course.  But if you go to this link – that’s pretty much what my bad nipple looked like.

Yeah, really.

Luckily, my “good” nipple wasn’t quite that bad.  And yes, I continued to breastfeed.  Did it hurt?  Not nearly as much as you might expect.  As I told my husband, it didn’t hurt any more when I was breastfeeding than when I wasn’t.  Not really sure that’s a good thing…

I had several people look at it, and tried to search everything I could online.  The possibility of it being thrush kept coming up, but neither I nor Baby J exhibited any symptoms.  Other than, you know, the torn up nipple.

I think I know how my nipple got so bad, and it’s something I haven’t found anywhere online.  So I thought I’d share it here.  Maybe it will help someone.

At one point, I had this white dot on my nipple (the bad one), and I thought it might be a milk bleb.  I read that you could try scrubbing it lightly with a washcloth to loosen it up.  I think in the scrubbing, I ended up taking off the scabbing that had formed over my nipple, leaving fresh new raw skin exposed.  And it never scabbed over again.  And never fully healed because of it.

Baby J’s nurse suggested Bepanthon cream – it contains Vitamin B to aid healing, and is normally used for diaper rash.  It didn’t help.

I tried to find the ingredients for DIY APNO, but couldn’t get Polysporin here.  I asked my mother-in-law to bring some when she came, and I feel like I did see a bit of improvement in my “good” nipple after four days of use.

I made an appointment to get tested for thrush, but I had to wait three weeks to see the doctor.  When I finally went in (on day 4 of using a Polysporin/Hydrocortizone cream), she said it wasn’t thrush, and prescribed an uber-cortizone cream and some sort of liquid for liquid bandages.  She said if it wasn’t better in a week to come back in.

This past Monday morning I was begging for an appointment.  A week of the prescribed cream (and using the DIY cream) and the “good” nipple was fully healed (which was wonderful!), but I didn’t see much difference in the “bad” nipple.  I saw another doctor, who agreed it wasn’t thrush and prescribed a super-cortizone cream for me to use for a week – stronger than hydrocortizone, weaker than the first prescription I was given.  “It should spontaneously heal,” he said.  You know, because it’s had about five weeks to do so at this point…. (bitter?  me?  noooooo…..)

I don’t know.  I’ve been using this new cream for four days now, and sometimes I think the nipple looks better, and other times I think it looks the same.  Like I said, it normally doesn’t hurt (too much) to breastfeed, but there are times when it’s all I can do to psych myself up to latching Baby J on.  I think about quitting every couple of days.

I posted previously about my breastfeeding issues.  That was July 25th, and nursing has become easier, as I thought it would.  Mostly, it’s better because Baby J has more control and coordination, so he’s not just dive-bombing my chest and hoping to get lucky.  He knows what he’s looking for now, and is pretty good at finding it.  I’ve started using the My Brest Friend pillow again, occasionally, rotating it with the Doomoo, random pillows, and no support at all.  I found that the advice I read online, to put the MBF pillow just below your boobs, was NOT working for me, so I put it around my waist, at my belly button, as I think it was intended, and it works better.  Now that the one nipple is healed, I’m able to do laid-back nursing and side-lying nursing, which is great, but I don’t want to subject my bad nipple to that.

In that first link I posted, the one with the picture of the nipple – the author asks if breastfeeding helps with bonding if your nipple is this torn up.  Honestly…I don’t feel like breastfeeding has helped me bond with Baby J any more than I would have.  It’s certainly caused a fair share of anxiety and both mental and physical anguish, starting in the hospital and up until today.  I realize it would be easy enough to still give Baby J breast milk, without actually risking the loss of my nipples.  But I like the ability to feed him anywhere and any time he becomes hungry.  Especially since where we live, certain stores aren’t just up the road a few minutes like in the US, but an hour or more away.  You can’t really plan around feeds (or pumping schedules) in that case.

One day, I hope to not have a bad nipple…

(can’t wait to see the hits that title brings…)

Categories: Baby J | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Breastfeeding sucks

TMI warning – talk of boobs and nipples and other things, I’m sure.  Might be some graphic language.  Read at your own risk.

Baby J and I had some breastfeeding issues early on.  I had some minor complications after birth (I’ll post on that soon), so although we got some immediate skin to skin contact and he did breastfeed right after birth, we were separated for several hours afterwards.  I can’t help but wonder if that hindered our progress, or if we would have had issues, regardless.  I know some women/babies simply don’t take to it, so maybe that was the case here.

While in the hospital, we had a really rough time latching.  Baby J would come on and off the breast multiple times – it seemed we just couldn’t get him to stay on.  The nurses would come in and help, and we would get a great latch, but then a couple of minutes after they left, Baby J would come off and we’d be back to square one.  It was so frustrating, especially at night when Stephen wasn’t around to help. To make matters worse, Baby J had to be put on blue lights for jaundice, so we had to start bottle feeding him, because I couldn’t feed him in the allotted time he was allowed to be off the lights.  Luckily I was able to pump, and I was told by multiple nurses that I had “beautiful milk.”  So at least I had that going for me…

After we left the hospital, we continued to have some issues, but it got better.  Or so I thought.  Yes, Baby J was latching on, but he wasn’t latching well, and my nipples were paying the price.  It got to the point where I was crying before each feeding session, just from anticipation of the pain.  He would latch on, and I would feel nauseous, my toes would curl in pain (I would actually need to brace my feet against the coffee table), and I would lose my breath, sometimes for a full minute.  It was excruciating.

Then I watched a video that changed everything.  Bam, just like that, Baby J was latching, and I felt no pain.  It was wonderful.  Except, I had a hard time doing it myself.  The technique involves holding the baby’s head right at the ears and pushing the baby’s back with the heel of your hand, causing the head to tilt back.  But I couldn’t hold the head and push the back at the same time with one hand, my hand just wasn’t long enough.  So Stephen would position Baby J while I did the nipple sandwich, and it worked great – except that Stephen is gone 10 hours a day, five days a week.  So then I started using both hands on Baby J and just aiming my nipple in the right place, and that seemed to work out okay, for a while.  But then Baby J’s neck got strong enough to fight the head tilt.

In addition to the nipple pain, I had a lot of back pain, mainly in the space between my shoulder blades, and I know it’s from my breastfeeding position.  I have a doomoo pillow, which is kind of like a boppy but longer.  So long that it’s really cumbersome sometimes, and it, like the boppy, gaps at times.  I finally broke down and ordered the My Brest Friend (worst product name ever) from Amazon.uk, then waited a month for delivery (thanks so much, customs).  I was so excited when I finally received it, and my back was instantly happier.  But my nipples didn’t like it.  I’m not sure why.  I haven’t heard of anyone else having a problem, but when I started using the pillow, my nipples took a definite turn for the worse.  My bad nipple stopped healing, and my “good” nipple got bad.  And to be honest, I find the MBF pillow to be difficult to maneuver – it’s hard to burp Baby J, and hard to switch sides (mostly the covering and uncovering of the boob part).  I keep trying the pillow, but I’m back to using the doomoo most of the time.

So we’re back to, if not excruciating nipple pain, at least unpleasant nipple pain.  Yesterday morning I was on the verge of giving up, throwing in the towel and going the expressed breast milk route.  My nipples hurt, my boobs hurt, and although we’re better at latching, we still don’t do it well very often. I’ve tried Lanolin, I walk around the house topless most of the day, I’ve rubbed expressed milk on my nipples.  I’ve seen the LLL leader in my “area” (an hour away), and she said the latch looks good and Baby J isn’t tongue tied.  “Just keep working on it,” she said.  To my knowledge (based on online reading) I don’t have a blocked milk duct or mastitis or thrush.  I just have tender, raw, flat nipples and Baby J has no coordination.

But I continue to persevere.  Some days are better than others.  Baby J is 7 weeks now, and I’ve read that the 6-8 week mark is the turnaround, the time when things start getting better.  So I’m crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.  And in the meantime, I’ll survive.  I’m lucky in that I have plenty of milk and am able to feed my baby.  Despite anything else, Baby J is thriving – up 3.5 pounds since birth to 11 pounds at his six week checkup.  He got a clean bill of health, has perfect skin, and is growing well.  When the nurse measured him at 57cm, she did a double take and remeasured, because she didn’t think it was right that he had grown that much.

I don’t plan to stop breastfeeding at this time.  I just wish it was easier.

(While writing this, I stumbled across this post and thought it was great.  I can certainly relate to the inability to move my hand/arm fast enough to shove Baby onto the boob while his mouth is open wide enough!  And I did find some new advice that I plan on trying.)

Categories: Baby J | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

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