Painful Breastfeeding/need Advice

Updated on October 15, 2009
G.S. asks from Mountain Top, PA
24 answers

Hello. I have a 3 week old son zachary and i have been in pain since the onset of breastfeeding. It used to be just nipple soreness and feeling like needles going through the nipple but now it seems deeper. It is not only during feedings but between. I find myself dreading feedings and i want to breastfeed so bad. The latest is i have a white spot on my left nipple and i am concerned it is thrush.

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So What Happened?

So sorry to disappoint so many, but I stopped breastfeeding over the weekend. Thanks for all the support. It was making me a miserable basketcase and that wasn't fair to my son.

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A.A.

answers from Philadelphia on

Without a doubt, see a lactation consultant as soon as possible. They can work wonders. That said, I went through hellish pain with my first and try to hang in there. It does get better!

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J.G.

answers from York on

Sounds like what I went through when I had Thrush. I would contact a breast feeding consultant. It's reallly hard to get rid of.

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S.L.

answers from Philadelphia on

Hi! I had the same deep needle like pain. It went away after about a month into it. I don't know about the white spot. But my daughter is 3 mo old and I'm glad I hung in there. The first month was brutal; but now it's fine.

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J.H.

answers from Philadelphia on

Hi G.. You've already received a lot of great advise but I wanted to let you know that you've got a friend in this breastfeeding thing. My son is 2 weeks and 3 days old and we're having our own troubles with breastfeeding. I've been using Lansinoh cream after each feeding with nursing pads and I had some trouble with flat nipples. I found this wonderful invention by Lansinoh called Latch Assist. I bought it at WalMart in the baby section. It allows you to gently pull the nipple out and express just a little milk to help with the letdown. Plus it's very small and discreet, it fits in your pocket so you don't have to worry about fighting with the pump while you're trying to hold the baby in the middle of the night. I would recommend calling either your doctor or the La Leche League if you think you have a problem like thrush but I sometimes have very pale spots on my nipple after nursing and it seems to go away with the Lansinoh cream by the next feeding. I think it's just from the skin being pulled during nursing. I had a very rough time with latching on and still do sometimes but this week we've gotten so much better at it. Stick with it and message me if you want more "in the moment" support. I'm finding my way through this crazy world of nursing just like you so I might not have answers for you but it's nice to know you're not alone.

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A.B.

answers from Killeen on

Have you tried pumping? You might have an inverted nipple. There are things you can buy in the breast pump sections that you can put between your nipple and the pump itself. That should help. And I also had to use nipple cream, lanolin. You put it on after each feeding and that will help with any cracking. You can buy kind that you do not have to wash off. There are also pads that you can put on between feedings, and when you sleep (if at all!) but those you have to take off and rinse yourself before you feed.

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K.D.

answers from Dallas on

You probably have a clogged duct, look that up... it really should not cause you pain after 3 weeks of breastfeeding...is your nipple all the way to the back of his mouth?

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J.J.

answers from Allentown on

Hi G., I had thrush a few times with both kids. It felt axactly as you described. I had it for the first 4 months with my daughter befroe I couldn't take it anymore and went to the Dr. I had to tell them I thought it was thrush, but they put me a weeks worth of diflucan and it went away. It came back again after taking anti-biotics a few times and once I had to treat my dd for thrush in her mouth since we were apparently passing it back and forth. With my son, I knew what it was right away and got treatment. It really sounds like thrush. You described my symtoms exactly. I would contact your ob/gyn. I also tried other methods suggested by LLL to treat thrush with no success. But you can try to treat it with things like gentian violet and acidopholus. Email me if you want more info. Good Luck!

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E.N.

answers from Philadelphia on

Dear G.,
I am glad that you are determined. This take a little figuring out.
In the beginning I did not wear a bra, especially if it is only you and the baby at home. Therefore, I had not problems with sensitivity when the babies nursed. After cleaning your breast areas with the moist sterilized cotton balls, before and after the infant feeds. You must let that area dry naturally. In the beginning, a moisturizing cream, can be used (I got it from the nurses in the hospital) which will help the nipples heal, then you should be fine.
The deep feeling that you have in the breast is your baby sucking and trying to stimulate the breast to make more milk. Brewers Yeast will make great milk but you might have a pH imbalance, so you have to be very carelful. You need to drink more liquids, increase your protein levels and check with your pediatrician or ob/gyn re supplements while you are nursing. You need to relax and let your lusband know when you need help. The bonding that takes place is wonderful and know that you will nurse off and on all day when he is going through a growth spirt which happens at 1 mo. at 3 mos. Drink more fluids, more protein, keep up the nutrients. With my first I was anxious. By the time of my third, I sat down and ate 6 eggs and 1/2 loaf of bread...I never did that before and have not done it since. I only gained 6 lbs. during my nursing time. When I stopped, it came off. Enjoy your motherhood.
E. (Call the LaLeche League or ###-###-####)

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T.P.

answers from Philadelphia on

Please go to www.lalecheleague.org and find your nearest chapter and phone number. They helped me with every single breastfeeding concern I had, and my issues resolved within days. Plus, going to their meetings and seeing other moms dealing with similar issues was incredibly helpful!

Good luck, Mama!! Hang in there, and take advantage of every type of support you can find.

Best,
T.
www.onefitmama.com

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E.H.

answers from Philadelphia on

G.,
I highly recommend getting in touch with La Leche. With my first child, I had a lot of pain breast feeding, but was determined to "tough it out". Silly me, I didn't get in touch with La Leche until she was almost six months old...one conversation (on the phone!) with the chapter leader of my local LLL, and I knew how to fix the problem - bad latch. Oh, if only I had called LLL earlier! A bad latch can contribute to mastitis, nursing blisters, and all sorts of other discomforts that it sounds like you are experiencing.

Hang in there, with the right support, I know you will figure this all out.

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J.S.

answers from Philadelphia on

Week 3 was the worst week for me breastfeeding. It all got better after that (until I got mastitis). Stick to it. You can do this. It'll get easier. I ended up breastfeeding til about a month ago, when my daughter was 20 months old.

All the other advice you got is excellent. Talk to your local La Leche leader, talk to your doctor if you suspect thrush. Take care of yourself. You can do this.

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B.W.

answers from Erie on

Do you have a fever ? If so, call your doctor for an antibiotic.

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J.E.

answers from Philadelphia on

Its thrush hopeflly by now someone else has told you,the same thing happened to me and the pain is horrible good luck.Make sure you get the pill not the cream, it will be better overnight.

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B.A.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi G.,

I breastfed my daughter for 14.5 months (she self-weaned). It hurt like crazy for the first 6 weeks, then the pain lessened and then disappeared. After that it was smooth sailing, but it was HORRIBLE at first. It just hurt so bad! I would dread feeding time, and feeding time is so frequent in the beginning, but I was determined to BF, so I made an appointment with a lactation expert at the hospital where my daughter was born. She watched me feed her and told me I was doing everything right, so it was just something my nipples needed to get used to. You should definitely make sure you don't have thrush (which your baby would also have in his mouth and is visible to the eye) or some sort of infection and see a lactation consultant just to make sure everything is going well, and if it is and you truly want to BF, you just have to hang in there. It will get better! Another thing I did was religiously put Lansinoh (spelling?) cream on after every feeding. Let your nipples dry (leave the milk on them) and then rub it all over. That really helped.

Good luck!! You're doing great! Hang in there!

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C.B.

answers from Pittsburgh on

You need to go to a doctor who knows about breastfeeding right away because it sounds like thrush which can be passed from you to your baby and your baby to you. Both of you will need to be treated if you do have thrush. You may have mastitis. Your pediatrician or ob/gyn should have good recommendations if they themselves aren't knowledgeable. Hot compresses between feedings. Very warm showers while you massage your breasts help relieve a bit of the symptoms. The pain you are experiencing is not normal. For the first month or so there is some pain with let down because your breasts are so full but it shouldn't extend so deeply into your breasts. There is a science to breastfeeding and the first 6 months are the absolute hardest. It does get easier!
I strongly urge you to see a lactation consultant as well. I just moved to this area but I know a woman in State College who would talk to you over the phone. There are numerous websites as well that have contact information. I would go with a certified lactation consultant over a family doctor, ob/gyn or midwife because of the pain you say you are having. Plus a lc can answer any of your other questions more thoroughly. Most insurance companies will accept the claim as well.

The Breastfeeding Center of Pittsburgh
4070 Beechwood Boulevard 850 Clairton Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15217 Pittsburgh, f PA 15236
Tel: ###-###-####
Website: www.breastfeedingcenterofpittsburgh.com

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E.B.

answers from Philadelphia on

I know exactly what you are talking about. It felt like daggers stabbing my nipple and into my breast every time my baby would start nursing. It would only hurt for the first 3-5 minutes, and then it would be fine. Sadly, I never really figured out the problem while he was still nursing, but now I believe that he was a lazy latcher. I think he started sucking the minute my nipple hit his mouth and as he continued sucking, he got into a deeper latch (this is when it would stop hurting on my side). You should talk to a lactation consultant who can teach you how to help your baby latch deeply at the very beginning of each nursing session. I feel for you. I used to dread the beginning of our nursing sessions when it really should have been a wonderful time for us to be bonding. I also thought it was thrush, but I was really just desperately looking for an answer, and I ended up needlessly being on antibiotics (luckily the pediatrician wouldn’t treat the baby because he didn’t see any spots). See if your pediatrician’s office works with a lactation consultant. Mine does and they actually billed insurance as regular office visits, so the lactation consultant’s services were totally covered. Feel free to message me if you need more advice, but I totally feel for you.

D.S.

answers from Allentown on

Hi G.,

Contact your local breast feeding consultant at La Leche League

www.llli.org

Hope this helps. D.

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A.C.

answers from Pittsburgh on

it is normal, i got that way with my daughter and i was determined to continue breastfeeding, u may want to call your doctor and make sure you dont have mastetitis or a yeast infection. it does get better i promise, but the first 4 weeks are the worst! good luck

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N.O.

answers from Philadelphia on

Check his mouth also for any white spots. Are you on any antibiotics? Did they give you any during delivery? Antibiotics are a major trigger for thrush. Your doc can determine if it is or not. They can also give you a script to help with it. Or if you want to go a more natural route, Gentian violet also works. But it does stain the mouth and your nipples for a few days.

The spot could also be a nursing blister. I got a couple of them early on. The best thing for that would be expressing a little milk on to the nipple after every feeding. Let it air dry, and then put lansolin lotion on your nipple. If your nipples are so sore that it hurts to put the lansolin directly on them, it also works to put it on your breast pads.

The 'needles' feeling is likely you feeling your letdown. It is most intense in the first 4-6 weeks, and will get better, and many women do not feel it at all after a while. When mine was really bad, my doc gave me motrin to help. The soreness is because your breasts are getting used to the milk ducts being used, and from you being full while your supply is getting established. Same with the needles feeling, this will ease after a few weeks.

Hang in there, you are almost thru the hardest part. Instead of thinking of getting thru one day at a time, think of getting thru one session at a time. 'If I get thru this feeding, it will get better.' One feeding after another, and before long you will have a great nursing relationship.

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B.D.

answers from Lancaster on

It does sound like more is going on than just sore nipples - make an appt to see your doctor to rule out possible infection.

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C.J.

answers from Harrisburg on

Contact your local le leche lady. Get some pro biotic, cause if it is thrush, this will help you. Avoid alot of bread/wheat. Breastfeeding moms can nost of the time eat whatever they want, but in rare instances things should be avoided. I was a master at breast feeding, and would love to help you:) I will send you a private message also. Use lanolin on your breast. This is still new to you, and your breast will develop almost like caluses, so that it is not painful. See a doctor if you are concerned.
Added~ Yes nipple shields are fantstic! They are to be used when breastfeeding. They will also help with sore nipples, cause they are not latching onto you, but the sheild itself.

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L.M.

answers from Philadelphia on

it could be thrush you should limit your intake of sugar. it could also be a milk blister. I have a really forcefull let down and it feels like pins and needles. I hope it gets better for you. Don't give up

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C.D.

answers from Scranton on

Call your OB asap, sounds like mastitis. You'll be able to nurse pain free once it's resolved.

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K.B.

answers from Philadelphia on

Hopefully you got the help you need by now. Don't give up, you'll regret it later. Once you stop, there's no going back. I started out great, then had issues with the excruciating pain. I always used the cream and tried the silicone nipple guard when I was raw. That did help it to heal. My son had underlying health issues that prevented him from continuing to be a strong nurser and ended up having to need extra calories. I had to give it up due to his health. I do regret not continuing to pump. I found out, after the fact, that there is something to add to human milk that would've given him the extra calories he needed. Instead we just went to formula (which we had to use extra powder to give him extra calories).
Again, hopefully you get/got the help you needed.

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