The Boobityville Horror

June 2, 2008

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.

Love,

Mommy

(*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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    { 158 comments }

    LisaDuvall June 2, 2008 at 12:07 am

    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!!!

    Godless Sunday June 2, 2008 at 12:14 am

    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.

    Heather June 2, 2008 at 12:23 am

    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!

    Walking With Scissors June 2, 2008 at 12:30 am

    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!!

    Janet June 2, 2008 at 12:31 am

    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!

    Rachel June 2, 2008 at 12:35 am

    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.

    tracy June 2, 2008 at 12:37 am

    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.

    hschinske June 2, 2008 at 12:54 am

    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.

    Helen

    Yvie June 2, 2008 at 12:59 am

    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.

    Backpacking Dad June 2, 2008 at 1:07 am

    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!

    Anonymous June 2, 2008 at 1:24 am

    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!

    Lady M June 2, 2008 at 1:36 am

    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!

    Christy June 2, 2008 at 1:39 am

    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!

    Miscellaneous-Mum June 2, 2008 at 1:40 am

    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

    Robin June 2, 2008 at 2:26 am

    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.

    cbahm June 2, 2008 at 2:28 am

    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.

    OSarah June 2, 2008 at 2:49 am

    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)

    http://www.thenewparentsguide.com/breastfeeding-treating-problems2-drnewman.htm

    and

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

    http://www.toysrus.ca/product/index.jsp;jsessionid=LDWX3PdPJtt2jbh2sKpQJTJkh1MY3TJpwD4y8CGynxvpsYJWhdsv!7134041?productId=2688887

    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.

    hth.

    strawberriesandwhine June 2, 2008 at 3:30 am

    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…

    Crazed Mom June 2, 2008 at 3:38 am

    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!!!

    Sass E-mum June 2, 2008 at 4:23 am

    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.

    TZT June 2, 2008 at 6:09 am

    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!

    Anonymous June 2, 2008 at 7:04 am

    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!!!

    wright June 2, 2008 at 7:19 am

    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!

    Land of Bean June 2, 2008 at 7:27 am

    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!

    Beck June 2, 2008 at 7:34 am

    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.

    Naomi (Urban Mummy) June 2, 2008 at 7:35 am

    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!

    Anonymous June 2, 2008 at 7:38 am

    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!

    desirae June 2, 2008 at 7:41 am

    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.

    daysgoby June 2, 2008 at 7:43 am

    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!

    kdiddy June 2, 2008 at 8:16 am

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

    Don't Taste The Cat & Other Fine Mommy Moments June 2, 2008 at 8:24 am

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

    http://mamadearest.ca/en/info/newman/treat-sore-nipples.htm

    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.

    Wendy

    Sarah June 2, 2008 at 8:43 am

    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!

    Linda Rosborough June 2, 2008 at 8:44 am

    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.

    iheartchocolate June 2, 2008 at 10:14 am

    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.

    Awesome Mom June 2, 2008 at 10:16 am

    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!!!!

    Her Bad Mother June 2, 2008 at 10:18 am

    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!

    ;)

    chaipo June 2, 2008 at 10:20 am

    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!

    Karen June 2, 2008 at 10:24 am

    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!

    Don Mills Diva June 2, 2008 at 10:29 am

    OUCH!

    No advice, just HUGS!

    Hannah June 2, 2008 at 10:37 am

    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.

    Anyabeth June 2, 2008 at 10:42 am

    Oh OWWWWWWWWWW

    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.

    Anonymous June 2, 2008 at 10:56 am

    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

    lizneust June 2, 2008 at 11:00 am

    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.

    Backpacking Dad June 2, 2008 at 11:10 am

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

    Twist.

    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.

    Veronica Mitchell June 2, 2008 at 11:12 am

    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.

    Miss Britt June 2, 2008 at 11:24 am

    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.

    jennifer June 2, 2008 at 11:24 am

    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!

    MLB June 2, 2008 at 11:35 am

    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.

    Jennifer June 2, 2008 at 11:44 am

    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. :)

    ScientistMother June 2, 2008 at 11:50 am

    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.

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