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 }

    Amanda June 2, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    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 ;)

    womaninawindow June 2, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    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!

    Heather June 2, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    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.

    canape June 2, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    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.

    Christina June 2, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    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!

    mamatulip June 2, 2008 at 10:12 pm

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

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

    xo

    Karen MEG June 2, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    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 ;)

    Mrs. Schmitty June 2, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    OUCH!

    Dana June 2, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    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.

    Anonymous June 2, 2008 at 11:50 pm

    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

    Carolyn Bahm June 3, 2008 at 12:43 am

    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.

    Lisa June 3, 2008 at 2:02 am

    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.

    manicmanicurist June 3, 2008 at 8:52 am

    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!

    that girl June 3, 2008 at 9:28 am

    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.)

    Anonymous June 3, 2008 at 9:29 am

    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.

    scharfhunter June 3, 2008 at 10:46 am

    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!

    Anonymous June 3, 2008 at 11:51 am

    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!

    kittenpie June 3, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    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.

    Mom101 June 3, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    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.

    Shannon June 3, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    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!

    justmylife June 3, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    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!!!

    Jessica June 3, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    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!

    Anonymous June 3, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    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.

    Marilyn June 3, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    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!

    ::::wifemothermaniac:::: June 3, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    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!

    A Mom Two Boys June 3, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    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.
    http://www.earthmamaangelbaby.com/breastfeeding.html

    em v June 3, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    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.

    Anonymous June 3, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    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!

    Deb June 4, 2008 at 12:44 am

    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.

    Anonymous June 4, 2008 at 1:55 am

    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.

    Lisalisa

    Anonymous June 4, 2008 at 2:00 am

    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:
    http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2403242
    Godsend.

    LisaLisa

    JLS June 4, 2008 at 6:32 am

    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.)

    Shipper Girl June 4, 2008 at 8:18 am

    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

    Anonymous June 4, 2008 at 9:05 am

    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!

    Tuesday Girl June 4, 2008 at 9:22 am

    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!

    Syko June 4, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    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.

    LD June 4, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    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.

    Kelly June 4, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    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:

    http://www.kellymom.com/newman/03b-treatments_sore_nipples_breasts.html

    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.

    Andrea June 4, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    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!!!

    Mom24 June 4, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    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)))

    Robin June 4, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    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.

    Jaelithe June 4, 2008 at 5:06 pm

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

    So I’ll just say . . . me too.

    Anonymous June 4, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    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.

    Monica June 5, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    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.

    Anonymous June 5, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    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,
    Rachel

    Tiaras & Tantrums June 6, 2008 at 10:59 am

    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!

    Caren June 6, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    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.

    Anonymous June 6, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    Nipple sheild. Lansinoh. Get them!

    markira June 7, 2008 at 8:06 am

    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.

    Dondi Tiples June 7, 2008 at 9:07 am

    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!

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