I want it to be over....

Breastfeeding does not always work out, this is a place to discuss your situation and feelings
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I want it to be over....

Post by abba12 » Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:39 am

I tried to breastfeed my first child. But it hurt, a LOT. Crying and writhing level of pain. We now know that there were two issues at play, firstly I have some nerve damage on my nipples from sexual abuse in my past, secondly, even though LC after LC told me her latch was perfect, she would run her tongue back and forth with each suck, grazing the nipple. I saw 4 different LCs and essentially they all said the same thing, she is getting the milk, that's the important thing, hopefully your pain will go away in time. I now know nipple shields would have helped, but of course, no one ever even mentions them anymore. I couldn't take it, we stopped at 2 weeks.

This time I was ready, I had nipple shields, I knew what went wrong last time. It hurt like hell again, but the shields took the edge off. A month in and the pain began to die off a bit, though now, at 8 weeks, I've accepted that breastfeeding will probably just always be painful for me.

But then baby began fussing for no reason I could identify. I went to see another LC, who seems to not believe comfort sucking exists. This baby is a huge comfort sucker, so to limit my pain I detach her when she finishes eating and give her a dummy. But this LC insists that whenever a baby is on the breast suckling it is with the purpose of building up supply and getting more milk. She gave me the most horrid look when I said I used a dummy to stop her sucking constantly because of the pain, it seemed to me to say 'well why did you have another child then, what did you expect to happen'. I'm now calmer and can recognize that my particular baby will suck no matter what, for as long as I let her or until she falls asleep (I've tested this, she simply does not detach herself, ever. The opposite of my first who spent as little time sucking as possible). But her answer is that baby is fussing because she can't get enough milk. She began blaming me for being stressed even though I'm not, but finally, when she couldn't make baby suck properly again after baby finished eating, decided it was because her tongue is in the wrong position so she's getting too tired to suck.

My opinion? She was full, she knows when she's had enough, and she knows that sucking that way means she can suck without milk coming out, because the odd time milk DOES come out, she detaches herself. But try telling that to this LC. This LC is telling me to eat more lactation cookies, even though I'm still, at 8 weeks, becoming engorged between some feeds, not to mention the feeds where baby is gulping so quickly that her stomach begins gurgling (I think she eats a LOT more in the mornings)

The problem is, baby is on the very low end of the weight gain scale, at an average of 120g a week, that seems to have steadily decreased as she's gotten older. The last 2.5 weeks was a 200g gain total. On top of that, when we did a weighted feed she only took 60ml. Now I'm thinking she's just not a hungry girl, she's small, my first wasn't either. But I'm too scared to cancel the appointment I now have with a speech therapist to assess her suck, just in case something is wrong.

She has me supplementing with one bottle a day, which makes me feel like a failure. I thought it would all be good if I got through the pain, I didn't want to be back here supplementing and pumping and eating weird stuff.

And when the speech therapist tells me there's nothing wrong, as I suspect she will, I still have a baby who fusses for no understandable reason, who also appears to be gaining 'too little' weight, and I've given up on LCs altogether at ths point. I've seen 4 LCs and called the ABA line twice and never gotten any infomation that's been any help.

And to top it off I got my period back this morning. I guess that means I'm doing it wrong somewhere, somehow. It shouldn't be back so soon...

It's just, I got through the pain, I did the hard bit, it's tollerable now, but now it's other issues. Why can't it just work.

Part of me thinks that, baby is gaining within a normal range even if it's lower than normal, and she is definitely getting food in, maybe I should just ignore everybody and keep going how I was going. maybe she's not eating as much as she could but she is by no means starving, maybe it'd sort itself out, she shows no signs of hunger except the fussing that I believe is more about comfort sucking than food. But LCs are awfully good at scaring you and destroying your confidence, at least the ones I've seen. What if she is actually starving, the LC should know more than me right?

I don't want to keep going, I haven't wanted to for weeks now. At this point I don't want to even try to breastfeed next time. Yet I'm still feeling this urge to keep trying. I just don't know where to go anymore. LCs and the ABA are great for your general generic problems caused by common issues and ignorance. But I don't have those problems, and I don't fit into normal either. I felt so confident about everything until last week. I went to the LC just wanting to find out if I could stop the fussing because it made my pain worse, and I left with lactation cookie recipes, a piece of paper with something written on it which is supposed to thin the milk which is supposed to help something, instructions to supplement and a specialist appointment. It seems like a lot when I didn't think anything was wrong in the first place.

I just can't keep doing this. I hate breastfeeding, and now I'm supplementing again she will probably refuse me, or I'll lose my milk, or whatever else everyone keeps telling me will go wrong. She will probably be bottlefed by next month, and even if she's not, I'm looking forward to weaning her at this point (I had wanted to go to two years, now I doubt I'll go beyond 6 months)

And through all of this, IT STILL HURTS. Did the LC care about that? no. Did any of her instructions include anything to help with the pain? no. Because as far as they're concerned I'm just a milk machine and as long as baby is getting food who cares about me, not a single LC ever has, not with my first and not now. Please don't tell me to find a new LC, at this point even if she was good I wouldn't trust her. I've had enough of it. At this point, if I'm going to do this, it will be by myself. I'm seeing the speech therapist and unless they come up with something concrete, that will be it.

Someone tell me my baby isn't going to die if I do this alone and she doesn't get quite as much milk as she could, as long as she's gaining (her pee is clear, she poops regularly, she has great alert periods, she doesn't cry all day, other than this breastfeeding stuff she's a perfect baby). I feel like it needs to be perfect otherwise I'm going to harm her. If I thought it could be less than perfect and still safe perhaps I'd be braver to keep going, but right now, if she's missing out on 60ml a day, I feel like that will harm her. If she's gaining 100g instead of 120g a week I feel like that will permenantly harm her. Will it?

Im sorry for rambling, I don't even know what I'm saying anymore, I'm just so upset over this whole thing... I got through the worst of the pain, it was supposed to work now! It was supposed to be fine once I got through it...

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Post by Nedsmum » Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:35 am

Hugs... !@~@~!group hug

You've definitely had a complex experience, and I think you deserve a cheer for hanging in there this far...for most mums, getting to the 6 week mark is a massive milestone and it does seem to get gradually easier from there on...

Basically, if the baby is allowed to feed as much as they like, then they learn to recognise their hunger and fill their tummy. At the beginning, it's all survival instinct...

Here are some questions I can suggest (you don't have to answer these necessarily, just think about it)...

How often are you feeding in 24 hours ? What are the nappies like ? Was bubs born early/late/on time/induced ? Is she really fussing ? Are you still using the nipple shields ?

The fussiness would be normal around 6-8 weeks. This is when your baby comes out of the 'newborn' phase and starts to become more demanding. If you didn't have the complex problem of nipple pain and being uncomfortable with the sensation of the baby 'comfort sucking' at the breast, then you'd probably be just whinging that it feels like your baby is at the breast almost constantly, and not sleeping so much, and screaming in between :wink:

Dummies are a big issue for carers of small babies. But if you offer the breast regularly, the baby should be taking enough. 100-150g a week at this age is about right, but less than 100g would probably start to raise alarm bells, but could be explained by illness, your periods coming back, or just normal variation... I guess the LC just assumed that you want the baby to put on weight faster, which is what LC's normally are asked to do - if you're not sure about the health of your baby, then I'd check with my GP or get a referral to a Paediatrician...

I think I agree with you that some babies don't de-latch automatically when 'full' - although if your habit/routine has become de-latching them after a certain period of time, or when the feed reaches a particular point, then your baby may have already learnt to 'expect' this. Which to my mind is absolutely fine, if that's what works for you.

120g a week is not bad, but in the early days some breastfeed babies do make enormous weight gains (500g in a week). There might also be ways to 'supplement' the breastfeeding that doesn't include giving whole bottles. Have you also considered expressing your milk (hand expressing doesn't involve touching the nipples very much, and pumps are often less traumatic to the nipples)... ?

There are other ways to supplement that don't interfere with breastfeeding quite so much (I'm not an expert, but my own personal feeling is that if the advice is to give a single bottle in the evening as a 'supplement' then it's not really a 'supplement' - all you've done is swapped out a feed.

To build up supply, lots of short times at the breast over 24 hours is more effective than having a few long feeds. If you are getting engorged between feeds it might be a sign that it's too long between feeds, rather than 'too much milk'.

Oh and 'that sucks' on the period thing, although please don't blame yourself. Something that happened about 3-4 weeks ago set that cycle off - and I have 100% breastfeeding mums that I know whose periods returned straight away (and unless you're planning another baby straight away, make sure you have really good contraception) - I also know someone who 100% breastfed and has two children 13 months apart...and another whose two are 11 months apart...

On the 'up' side, I agree, she's definitely getting food in. Something I learnt about with my third baby, that was 'new' is called 'breast compressions' - it's a gentle massage technique that can help transfer more of the fatty part of the milk to the baby. If you are cutting the feeds off 'short' then the baby might not be getting maximum of the fattier milk (but the fatty milk is there throughout the feed, just the balance changes slightly).

My final though (and where I am in the world it's almost midnight so sorry if I'm rambling a bit)...is to reassure you with the 'comfort sucking' thing. I totally agree that the 'butterfly' sucking that babies do when they are not really serious about feeding, or half asleep at the breast, is on my top 10 list of 'most annoying things in the world'. I also wanted to let you know that breastfeeding aversions are absolutely real. I had very little problems breastfeeding my three children (and breastfed them all for over 2 years each) - but I could not breastfeed when pregnant. I developed something called 'D-MER' - they call it 'dysmorphic milk ejection reflex' - basically, I got horrid nipple pain, a sensation like I was crawling out of my own skin, and tears rolling down my face, stomach churning and feeling like I was going to vomit (and I don't vomit easily).... all related to the hormones of pregnancy and breastfeeding. I weaned my daughter very quickly at somewhere around 20 weeks of pregnancy because I simply couldn't handle it any more...it was horrid...lucky I knew it was just because of the pregnancy...

I suspect that there might be someone who can help you more with the nipple pain who is aware of the complexities of child abuse as related to breastfeeding...but I don't know if you want to open that can of worms, or if you would be happy to just persist and know that you *have* gone through the worst of it and it *will* get easier as the baby learns too, and you also get to understanding her better.

Either way, honestly, I think you've done a fantastic job to get this far despite your complex issues and I have absolute respect for women who struggle to breastfeed the first child, and still give it another go the second time around...

I'm not sure that breastfeeding stops 'hurting' - it certainly should not be 'toe curling' pain, and you probably are not be getting cracks or grazes by now... but if you don't like the sensation of a baby sucking on the nipple, I don't know that that will really go away. There is a conflict of mind/body/hormones/instinct going on, and I can tell you that even when I was 100% convinced, very happy I'd breastfed for an absolutely long time, and with the 100% support of my husband, I still felt unsure and crappy and teary in the first month after weaning - I think our bodies call us to breastfeed, even when our minds don't really think we want to any more - and the hormones jump around like crazy when you go from breastfeeding to not breastfeeding any more... and that is normal and Ok.

It sounds like you've had lost of conflicting advice, and mostly aimed at the baby, rather than the mother. Simple answer is 'no' it's not going to harm your baby to gain 120g vs 100g, and normally a baby will follow their own growth pattern, if we trust them, and feed them when they are hungry. Some babies can be quite 'under-demanding'...sometimes we can find a reason for this, and underlying illness or birth issues, and sometimes it's just the way it is, their laid back personality, or whatever...

Anyway, those are my thoughts (I'm not an ABA breastfeeding counsellor, though)...

Oh, and I can say my sister had an absolutely crappy experience with a hospital-based LC, who wrote her off because she was going home on the early discharge programme, and basically told her she'd only succeed if she stayed in the hospital for longer...so my sister left the hospital, phoned the ABA helpline a few times, skyped her big sister lots of times

:oops: and persisted, and saw a GP a couple of times to check the bub, and now she's got through that first tricky stage, baby is 4 plus months, and it's going great...
Breastmilk - the ultimate 'brain food'!!!

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Post by 3 Little Woody's » Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:11 pm


Lots of hugs. When you say you're in pain, what sort of pain is it? Has anyone suggested nipple thrush causing the pain? I had this when my baby was 1 week old. The fear of him latching on was horrible, and thankfully the treatment only takes bout 36 hours to kick in. But emotionally I was a mess for about a week after it went away.
I would go to the speech appointment, maybe your answer is there. She is gaining weight, so that's positive. My oldest only gained small amounts, my daughter put on heaps of weight and now my youngest is smack bang average! It's so hard to ignore other people's comments and opinions, but if she is happy, content and alert then maybe just keep doing what you're doing?
Do you think maybe she has been a bit fussy because your period came back, so your hormones are changing? I know my two both fussed around that time, then it settled.
I hope someone can help you with your journey. Please keep posting here, there are lots of women who had rough starts. xx

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Post by Esther » Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:33 pm

A very quick reply to say that there's no 'normal' as to when your period will return. Whenever it returns is normal for you and completely unrelated to breastfeeding.

Good luck, sorry gotta run....
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Post by JMc » Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:51 pm

You have done an amazing job to persist this long. I think it is fine to take her off when she has finished feeding and is just sucking. It sounds like she is going along just fine. If you hadn't weighed her you wouldn't be worried, right? Maybe try feeding her more often in 24hrs and see if it makes a difference to her weight gain. But otherwise, it seems like she is doing well.

You sound really frustrated and angry and a bit disappointed. I think you are doing a great job. Things didn't start well with my feeding DD. I remember well the feeling that I was doing the wrong thing, doubting myself and worried I would damage her somehow because of lack of weight gain. I remember the feeling of dreading every feed. I hope that you find the support you need (here and in real life) to continue with your breast feeding journey, or to stop if that's what you decide. Let us know how you get on at the speech therapist.
DD - November 2009 (Breastfed 19 months)
DS1 - August 2011 (Breastfed 2 years and 8 months)
DS2 - November 2014 (Breastfeeding happily)

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Post by 3 Little Woody's » Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:24 pm

How are you going?

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