I'm absolutely determined to breastfeed but I'm having so many issues and I'm only 1 week PP.
First of all... cracked and bleeding nipples - like, how do you ladies deal with it? I'm already using a nipple shield and they're getting worse. Clearly my attachment is wrong but I don't know how to get him to latch any other way... I'm using lanolin cream but to no avail. I'm literally bleeding so much that my son is being covered in blood.
Second - I have a rash that's just broken out around one of my nipples. It's incredibly itchy and red. I don't think my son has thrush so I'm not sure it's that but don't know what to do to help it. Any ideas...
Lastly - I'm not sure if my son is getting enough, I feel as if my supply has dropped... before he'd happily sleep 3-4 hour blocks after a feed. Now, however is a different story and he wants to feed pretty much constantly and is up crying and showing signs of hunger. I tried to express but I only got 20mL each side - when I was getting 100+ mL each side. Is my body making the decision for me?
OK lets take it one issue at a time:
SUPPLY - Your baby is now 1 week old. His tummy has changed by growing in size but also has developed the ability to stretch. 1 week is a classic time for the very first growth spurt, as now that he can take more milk in one go he needs to stimulate your body to make it. He does this by feeding VERY frequently or constantly. How much you can pump does not tell you how much your baby can drink. However growth spurts and cluster feeding can be much harder to cope with and go on much longer if you don't have a decent latch - because the stimulation just isn't as effective, so the constant feeding has to happen more often to keep the supply up. So on to the latch...
DAMAGE - Nipple damage to the extent you describe is not a normal part of breastfeeding (although many do experience it). It means something is not right and you need proper help to tackle it. Incorrect nipple shield size or positioning and incorrect pump flange size or too strong suction can also cause or make damage worse. A lactation consultant (International Board Certified only!) can help you by looking at your attachment, shield use and pump use. Your baby could have a tongue tie, or could be clamping on because he cant cope with a fast flow of milk, or he could just find it really difficult to get a nice big mouthful of breast. Without seeing you feed, no-one on here can really say what is happening.
RASH - there are a few different things that can cause a rash on your nipple. You could be allergic to the nipple cream, you could be allergic to or being rubbed by the shield or a pump flange, it could be breastfeeding eczema. Again, you need an expert to diagnose this.
Don't give up hope - 1 week is very early days and there are people who can help you. I don't know what organisations are available in Australia but here in the UK I'd be calling La Leche League or NCT. These both have volunteers who can visit you, observe a full feed start to finish and help you try to find a way forward.
I second everything the first poster said really. With the rash and maybe even the damaged nipples I would definitely get some different size nipple shields and maybe a different brand? It was a pain in the arse but took me a while to get a good fit.
If you can get some face to face support and have baby checked for tongue tie that could help a lot, my little girl had lots of issues and some were definitely due to tongue tie
Breastfeeding can be really tough at the start but you can get there! Get as much support as you can, good luck and congrats on your little one! You're doing an amazing job x
I'm just coming out the other end of a bad rash on both nipples and the only thing that has helped me is hydrocortisone cream and really working on a deeper latch with my LO (she's 11 weeks old). An NCT bf counsellor said that I could have got the rash because her latch wasn't deep enough and was constantly rubbing at the end of my nipples. Feeding was agony but it's pretty much pain free again now.
Definitely try and get someone qualified to watch your feed and let you know how you can get past this! Hang in there mama you're doing amazing xx
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