Breastfeeding Problems - San Marcos,TX

Updated on January 02, 2011
M.M. asks from San Marcos, TX
20 answers

My daughter is now 4 weeks old and we are still having breastfeeding problems. I started out with a round of antibiotics for mastitis. That resolved itself. I also have flat nipples so I use a pump for about 3 minutes before I nurse her on each side- per a lactation consultant. I have been seeing this consultant almost twice a week since my daughter was born. I have had cracked and sometimes bleeding nipples and the consultant has suggested triple antibiotic cream which doesn't seem to be working. We found out that my daughter likes to raise her tongue in the back of her mouth when she nurses which causes all of the rubbing on my nipples (which is causing them to be raw). The consultant said to have her suck my finger when she is awake and rub her tongue down and out to train her to nurse correctly. This doesn't seem to be working. I also mentioned that I hear her tongue "click" when she nurses and the consultant said this is also her raising it and not latching correctly. She really is at a loss and doesn't know how else to help me. I was just wondering if anyone had any suggestions to correcting this issue. I am really determined to nurse at least six months but am not going to be able to continue if it is this painful! I do know she is not getting a deep enough latch but we can't get her to do that. I can get a good latch and then after about 3 sucks she has pulled herself to the tip and therefore my nipple comes out looking "smashed" when she is done.

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much for all the help! I have been using the lanolin since day one and it helps because I can tell when I forget to put it on. Thankfully she is not tongue-tied...we had that checked at the hospital. I think she may just not be getting on deep enough, so I will just continue to try to get as much as I can in her mouth every time. Thanks again!

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answers from Minneapolis on

Hang in there. You've got some good suggestions here--Lanolin, breast shields, consulting with a different lactation consultant, pumping and bottle feeding (or using a cup, spoon, eye dropper, etc.). My experience with flat nipples and a baby who couldn't latch was that eventually he got it and then things were so much easier. It was like it just clicked into place one day. For my son, it happened at about 6 weeks. I've had friends whose babies haven't gotten it for a couple of months (they opted to pump and bottle feed), but they stuck with it and eventually the babies got it.

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answers from Houston on

Try using lanolin cream in the purple tube. I coated myself before and after each nursing time. It is safe for the baby and helped add a barrier of protection. I have a name of a GREAT lacatation nurse who helped me with both my kids if you live close to the woodlands. I also pumped for a long while for a few months to get my nipples used to being sucked on and come out and be not so sensitive. Best of luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Killeen on

I agree you should try nipple shields. Also, apply lanolin cream to your nipples after every feeding. That should get rid of the cracked, dry nipples. Good luck!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I used a Medela Nipple shield all through my nursing with two of my 4 children. My 4th is only 5 weeks and he is the only baby I haven't used a shield with at all. I have very flat nipples as well, and I am very large chested so it makes getting a good latch difficult.

They sell them at Babies R Us.

The shield protects your nipple from being rubbed sore. It helps baby have something to hold on to when you have flat or inverted nipples. Most importantly it helps difficult breastfeeding situations that might have lead to a Mom switching to formula. My lactation consultant was the one that gave it to me originally. It might be worth looking in to.

Good luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I had the same issue with my daughter, and it was not caused by short frenulum. I had the cracked and bleeding nipples, too. Lanolin helped, breast shields helped, silicone pads worn in between sessions helped. The excercises did not help in our case, my daughter never did put her tongue down. I chose to pump several times a day and bottle feed. I only nursed twice a day, which is all the pain I could tolerate. I was able to pump in this fashion for about 8.5 months. She still got breastmilk, but I did have to supplement with about 50% formula at times. To maintain your milk supply you must be willing to pump several times a day. I really hope you can work this out. Find a support group and you might find someone who has been through this and can offer some better ideas. I just wanted to let you know that it will get better, and your nipples will heal. Also, my LC had me make little cloth bags filled with rice (thin socks tied off at the top). I put them in the microwave dry for I think 30 sec to warm and then put the bags on my nipples after nursing to help the pain. Very soothing, I would put them inside my bra after every session. You want the bags warm, not too hot, like little heating pads. Hang in there.



answers from New York on

Have you considered lancing her frenulum? Tongue tie is a common cause for newborns to not latch correctly - many times it is obvious the child has one, and many times it is occult. It may be worth finding a good pediatrician or ENT to lance it a little, to loosen the tongue from the frenulum and allow it to move more freely. I have heard many times that this works wonders. That would be my first and main recommendation.

My second recommendation would be to find another lactation consultant. Not to say your LC isn't doing her best, but at times it helps to get a second set of eyes to look at things from a fresh perspective.



answers from Austin on

my daughter had a difficult time latching as well, and i would get the 'smashed' nipple, too. then i learned a trick from the lactation consultant. when you get her to latch on, point your nipple to the back of her palate. try it at a 45 degree angle. and shove her mouth into your breast. after that, it no longer hurt to nurse her. i struggled for 6 weeks before i consulted the lactation specialist. because of the cracked and bleeding nipples, it took awhile before i was completely healed. she was 3 months old when i finally had healthy nipples again. please keep trying!! i know it's tough, but you sound determined, and it's soooo worth it! good luck!



answers from Houston on

find a LLL group nearby


answers from St. Louis on

When my nipples were dry and cracked I used a lot of medicated chapstick on them. I also use this on my nose when it is red from blowing it too much. I always apply it right after nursing so it would be worn off by the next feeding. I'm sorry to hear that you are having so many problems. I would def check with a second consultant to see if they may have any other ideas to help you out.

Good luck and I wish you the very best!

Merry Christmas!



answers from Flagstaff on

I would definately use the Lanolin nipple cream. I didn't have this with my first child at all, but it was a livesaver for the rest of my boys. After every feed, air dry your nipples then apply the cream, especially in the cracks. After showering, use the cream. Also, never use soap to wash your breasts, it inhibits the natural oils that moisturize your nipple area.

It's been awhile, but Medela used to sell these shells that helped with flat nipples. You might want to look at that.

You have a lot good information from these ladies. I just wanted to add, Great Job! It is especially difficult to keep breastfeeding when you've had such troubles. I wasn't really able to breastfeed successfully until my last boy. #1 was tongue tied and refused to latch, #2 never latched on properly, then refused to at all, #3 I didn't have enough milk.

It is the attitude and the feelings we bring I believe that help most in breastfeeding. With #4, I was bound and determined to make a go of it. I was well versed in all the information, but what really helped was relaxing, imaging a sucessful feed, and just enjoying my child. I wish you well.



answers from Indianapolis on

Ouch! Sounds like both of my boys. I agree with a lot of the previous ought to try a nipple shield. They are supposed to be for temporary use, but I ended up using it for the full year I breastfed my first son and am on the same track with my second (8 months old). You can find them at babies r us, Target (I've heard), plus, or you can just google "nipple shield" and find a ton of online stores that carry them. Since I used the shields for an extended time, I also bought Shield Shells to store each of my shields in. They are great - I keep one in my diaper bag at ALL TIMES and have a couple around the house where I nurse most often. They keep my shields clean between feedings, plus they are safe from my dog and two-year-old. They are available online at

Good Luck!


answers from Austin on

In the beginning, when my nipples were raw, I occassionally took one Tylonal to mitigate the pain. After she turned 6 weeks, nursing wasn't painful... And yes, my baby's latch isn't 100% correct--if it doesn't hurt and she's gaining weight, I'm not stressing about it.

The problem with the nipple creams is that they leave oil stains on your clothing...



answers from Atlanta on

Get a nipple shield. It did wonders with my latch and flat nipples (i eventually ws able to nurse without it too). it will also help tremendously with the bleeding nipples.



answers from Austin on

I had a very similar situation as you and I know how extremely painful nursing can be!!!!! Check to see if your baby has a short frenulum. That is the band of tissue directly under the tongue. If it comes close to the tip of her tongue, she does have a short one and you should see a pediatric ENT to have it clipped. My child had one but we decided not to have it clipped (I now regret that decision because it created some minor speech issues). Another thing to look for, is when she cries, her tongue may dent in at the tip (or a heart shape). They can also have short frenulums under their upper lip that can cause latch problems too. These are very common problems but many lactation consultants miss it!! I went through 4 lactation consultants before one discovered the frenulum problem.

I was told by many to tough it out and the pain would subside. They were right. At about 6 weeks of age, the cracking and bleeding started to heal and the pain quickly subsided. I went on to nurse well over a year. My second child didn't have the short frenulum but we did work through latching problems (also about 6 weeks). The pain was unbearable at times, so I would use a nipple shield a couple of times a day to give them a break. However, I still let the baby nurse naturally so she wouldn't get too used to the nipple shield. The clicking you hear is a big indicator that this is being caused by a latch problem. I know what you mean about the "smashed" look. I had the same thing happen with both of my babies. Neither of my kids ever had fantastic latches but we still nursed successfully. Try not to stress about this too much, it will resolve itself in time; you are almost there. Just make sure your baby is gaining weight properly, then you'll know she's getting enough milk. Lastly, if you find it a pain to pump before every feeding, as weird as this sounds, twisting them and pulling on them (or cold temperatures) will help; and a lot easier than pumping. Don't get discouraged. I know it probably feels like nursing is for the birds and it shouldn't be this hard. However, it is this hard (but only for the first 2 months). I think too many women think it should come naturally and give up because it just "didn't work for them." If this is really important to you, just don't feel like it's not going to work. Keep pressing through the pain and I promise it will go away. Just monitor her weight gain to be certain she's getting what she needs.



answers from Houston on

you need some Lansinoh!! It's 100% lanolin cream and you don't have to wipe it off before nursing. Put it on immediately after nursing or in between, this will heal the cracking and keep it from further irritation and cracking! You can find it at most stores in the baby section. I think I got it at Walmart, or maybe it was Walgreens. I used the store brand and it works just as good. One tube lasted forever, I never needed to get more. A few more weeks and your body should get used to nursing and it will be less painful, but you definitely need the Lansinoh to help heal the cracked irritated skin!

Good for you for hanging in there!



answers from Dallas on

I hate to say it, but find a different lactation consultant. My first never latched properly despite going to a lactation consultant (I ended up pumping and bottle feeding which was a big hassle, but worth it). When I had my 2nd it was amazing. The woman knew just what I was doing wrong b/c of my flat nipple and was able to correct it. I nursed for 15 months (just wanted to get to 6 like you but it was SO easy!). Anyway, every child is different, every pregnancy different but a new consultant might have a new perspective. Good luck!

ROFL - ok I was reading over my answer and it just struck me - here we are total strangers sharing about our flat nipples . . . life really IS never the same again after a child!


answers from San Francisco on

Hi Mama
I also agree using a nipple shield.I breastfed also and know how difficult it can be. Also, I know this is hard but try to keep your body relaxed and sit in upright position. Clenching your body will make the process more painful.
My problem was that my son got thrush in his month and passed it to my nipples and boy it was painful feeding !!!
Nipple shields did help.
PLEASE don't put so much pressure on yourself. I also thought that I would feed him myself for at least 6mths but had to finally give up after 3 mths as the thrush was continuing to be passed to both of us.
At the time it was difficult to stop but now looking back I feel proud that I manage to last for that time considering how painful it was.
Best of luck and remember to be kind to yourself.


answers from Tampa on

Check your daughter (with a pediatrician) about if she is tongue tied. If she is, it's a simple procedure where they snip the tight tip of the frenulum under her tongue to enable normal movement of the tongue. This definitely sounds like this is the issue rather than a lazy latch.

Look into nipple shields

Try to get a different LC - try to find an IBCLC!

With your determination, you will definitely succeed!



answers from New York on

There';s very good advice here - and I really have nothing to add other than - don't make yourself crazy with this. Try to breast feed - it is the best for your child. BUT - if it doesn't work it's not worth your sanity or your baby's health - then go to formula. We live in the 21st century - you have options for feeding your baby. A stressed out nursing mom may not be better than a relaxed mom with formula.

When you nurse try to calm yourself - use relaxation techniques - feel how tight your neck, shoulders and arms are when you're trying to get this right. Focus on those muscles and try to relax them - it may help with your let down - at which point a good latch or flat nipples won't matter as much since the milk will flow on it's own.

But bottom line - if it's not working and you're making youself crazy give yourself permission to go to formula. There are so many other things in parenting that we don't get exactly perfect - allow yourself non-perfection in this - it will be practice for the teen years!!!!


answers from New York on

I just wanted to offer some support - good for you for trying to stick with it! I didn't have nearly the problems you're describing and still I was about ready to give up nursing after 3 weeks. It got a lot better after about 2 months - now it seems like all those problems were so long ago (my son is 5 months now), but at the time it felt like it would always be a struggle. Anyway I don't have any helpful solutions, just a virtual hug :)

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