Thursday, March 27, 2014

Breastfeeding troubles

On Leo's 1 month birthday he slept for almost 5 hours straight.  It was a much needed miracle after the past few days we had.
It started Saturday night/Sunday morning.  Leo slept for 4 hours and I laid in bed wide awake for the entire time.  Four hours! It was painful.  I wanted to sleep so bad.  Of course once I was able to fall asleep he decided to get up every 2 hours... and then my breasts became insanely sore.
So sore that I wanted to cry.  I think it was a combination of tiredness on my part and not getting a good latch in the middle of the night and Leo learning that it was fun to twist his head around while eating.  OUCH!
After a month of success this happened.

Sunday morning we still managed to make it to church (early even!) and he was an angel all through service, only grunting loudly a few times :)  He is a celebrity at church... ok actually anywhere we go.  Babies are people magnets!  After service I went into a Sunday School room with couches and fed him and we then went to Target to buy a nipple shield (I hate the word nipple, but we have been using it multiple times per day for the past month. haha. something to get used to I guess!)
Anyway, the nipple shield basically saved both me and Leo's life on Sunday.
It was about $10 at Target and comes in different sizes depending on the size of your nipple.  It's a really thin silicone shield.  I got the contact shield because it has a cutout on one side rather than being a full circle so Leo's nose could touch my skin rather than the silicone.

The downside of the shield though is that it took him FOREVER to eat.  He wanted to nurse for like 45 minutes every 2 hours, so I really was only getting about an hour and 15 minutes in-between.  Sunday and Monday were long stressful days.
In between feedings I was trying to do all the little remedies for cracked/sore nipples that I read on the internet.
Word of advice.  NEVER, ever, ever, in your whole entire life do a "saltwater soak" regardless of what you read on any other blog.
Oh my goodness I have never experienced that type of intense pain.  Even in childbirth.
Do not do it.  I don't know if it would have helped but the instant that I touched that water I had to rinse under clean water to avoid passing out in pain.  For reals.

I also tried pumping for the first time to give myself a break and to make sure that this baby was actually getting food!  He was acting like he was starving and was quite fussy, which was unlike himself.
I don't have an electric pump, just a manual that someone had given me because I hadn't really planned on pumping and/or bottle feeding.  They had never used it btw.
It's the Medela Harmony pump and I definitely recommend it to anyone to have on hand as a backup for situations like this or to pump like every once in a while.  It's really simple to put together, use, and clean.  It's so strange to see the milk coming out for the first time and filling up a bottle feels like a great accomplishment!
Thankfully Leo took the bottle instantly and chugged down the milk without issue.  He was definitely hungry which made me feel even worse about the situation!  It's so sad to see your baby hungry and yet cringing at the thought of feeding him.

I called and made an appointment with the lactation consultant at the hospital but they couldn't get me in until Wednesday (today! yay!) but I talked with her and she gave me some tips over the phone to get me through.  Like using a warm compress before feeding, pumping, and trying some different positions.

Lee decided I should try the football hold, which before I had thought looked awkward and had never attempted it, but it seriously changed the course of events on Tuesday.  Leo latched on perfectly (while still using the shield!) and ate for about 15-20 minutes and looked totally satisfied and full.  Praise the Lord!
I was able to catch a break and stop feeling like a failure of a mother for not being able to properly feed my baby.

So today we had our appointment with the lactation consultant which actually turned out to be an appointment with a pediatrician specializing in breastfeeding, a resident, and the LC who is a nurse.  I am SO glad that I made this appointment. It was very helpful.

First of all, after having a baby you get desensitized to being naked... haha.  I literally sat down in a chair, popped my boobs out and had 3 women inspecting the "damage" that had been done.  And Lee was in the room.  Have you ever been topless in front of 4 people at once?  Weird, but it's like whatever at this point.

The doctor determined that I have a yeast infection on my nipple, which is why it isn't healing.  Awesome.  Anyone remember when I got the fungus on my skin in Grenada?  Just lucky I guess. (sidenote, surprisingly I've never had any other type of yeast infection before... maybe I am lucky?)
So they prescribed me an anitfungal medication and a medication for Leo that I have to swab around his mouth after each feeding.  And I have a cream - Newman's Nipple Cream that I apply topically.  We also have to wash any towels after 1 use, boil the shield and breast pump stuff once a day, and they recommended I cut back on sugar.  Just when I got an addiction to Sprite I was told that sugar, especially in pop, can be related to yeast/fungus growth.  Lee disagreed saying that there wasn't concrete evidence of this unless you're diabetic... but at this point I'm willing to do ANYTHING to make this go away and make my baby happy.  And no more sprite means I'll hopefully lose these last couple of pregnancy pounds and get ready for Hawaii, which is in 6 weeks?!

They helped me find ways to get Leo to latch, that will reduce the damage that's already been done and help my nipples heal.   One of our problems was that Leo is a very mobile baby.  He loves to move and stretch out so he easily gets uncomfortable being in one spot and so they suggested as soon as he starts to move take him off my breast and burp him and possibly switch sides.  They said to switch sides back and forth as many times as necessary.  During the appointment we switched 4 times.

I was glad to hear the doctor and nurse agree with me that Leo is quite the handful because he is so strong! He kicked the nurse a couple of times and tried to wiggle out of her arms.  She said geeze this boy will be crawling by 5 months! haha  So I'm not crazy when I feel like this baby is stronger than me....

Oh!  but the good news we received was that he is definitely getting nourishment and is growing like a weed!  He already weighs 10lbs!!  A gain of 2 lbs in a month, so even though we ran into some issues this week my body is doing it's job.  Thank you Jesus!

So... that was yesterday.
It takes me  forever anymore to do a blog post!  haha I think I talk too much is why.
And we're getting visitors this weekend and next week so I've been sneaking in some cleaning in between photo shoots and feeding sessions with Leo.

Anyway, today is a much better day.  Things are going so much better and I am starting to get some relief.  The medication should kick in really fast and start to get rid of the yeast, which will improve my life significantly.  Last night was a pretty good night Leo slept another 5 hours+ and then decided to stay up for the next 3.... so after staying up with him for an hour I woke Lee up to take his shift and after a couple hours he fed Leo a bottle that I had pumped yesterday and so I was able to sleep for another 5 hours!  I woke up feeling  great and was already up and had breakfast before Leo woke up for his next feeding.  I really liked that schedule.  I think I'll convince Lee that this is something we should do every night while I still have him home work-free!!  And then hopefully by the time Lee goes to work Leo will be on a nice long sleep schedule for his mommy... think so?  One can hope!


So overall my suggestion to anyone with any type of struggle with breastfeeding is to NOT wait and just make an appointment with a lactation consultant as soon as possible.  It isn't worth it to hurt yourself or to prevent your baby from getting the nourishment they need.  Looking back there were some signs that I could have used a few pointers earlier and maybe prevented some of this pain.


And now I need to do Leo's 1 month post before he's 2 months!!  Yikes he's growing up fast!

4 comments:

Catching Up With The Connolly's said...

My nipples were so sore for months! Like bloody, cracking and everything it was awful. Glad you figured it out. I used a shield and the football pose too! And that salt water remedy sounds horrible!!!!!

Jessie said...

Easton was a slllloooowwww eater for the first 2 month. Slow as in, took an hour to eat and was eating every 2 hours!! And, I had some supply issues, so the first month I was feeding him (for an hour) then giving him an oz of formula, then pumping! Left about 30 mins before repeating! Thankfully, he has sped up these days!

I've said this several times, for breastfeeding to be the natural way, it sure is tough!! But all the struggle is definitely worth it!

Lizzy and Dallas said...

I am so so sorry. I know your PAIN!!! No one understands the pain of yeast until they have experienced it. I got it with both boys. I only made it 4 months with my first cause I had no idea what was going on and could not heal. Finally gave up cause the pain was AWFUL. I did the salt water many times..ouch! So with my 2nd I really researched it out. Did everything in my power to avoid getting yeast. Well, I got it again. The 14 day cycle of meds didn't help me.. it only helped for a week or so... so this is why I am writing you. I used Gentian Violet 1%. This is the ONLY thing that kicked it gone. It's amazing how easy breastfeeding is and how pain free it is when you don't have yeast. So keep going. once its gone.. you will feel like a new women. I am so so so sorry you have had to go through this. There are so many emotions as being a new mother and not wanting to feed them on top of the pain is just awful. I actually recently just got yeast again. My baby is now 10 months. Thankfully my mom is coming this week so I can get going on some meds and Gentian Violet. Please, please message me if you have any questions at all. Also, be aware that is can come back and at that moment.. get on some meds as quickly as you can. Mine started up again in January and it took me a while to figure what was going on.. baby got teeth and I was wondering if it was a new latch etc... So anyway.. sorry to leave a huge comment.. but I feel your pain. Its awful and to keep pushing through. Let me know if you need any help. Also.. stay on a good Pro biotic and get Leo on one too. They have them at Good Earth. It helps him so he won't get thrush if he doesn't already.

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