Trouble with Breastfeeding. Help?!

Updated on February 28, 2012
K.T. asks from Martinsville, IN
15 answers

Is it me? my baby girl and i started out good with breastfeeding at the hospital. then the day we brought her home she was so so. if she was extremely hungry she latched on and kept a good hold but now she acts if my nipple is took big for her mouth. she makes a gagging face or she just plays with it. and within minutes after that begins to get frustrated... my nipples have been sore from day 1 and keep getting worse. they are starting to crack already and ive heard thats from poor latch but the nurses at hospital said i was doing good.. we give her a paci and wonder if shes getting confused? but shes had it the whole time. its starting to upset me cause now she really doesnt want my nipple so ive been pumping and giving her a bottle. is pumping as good for both of us as her taking my nipple? i really wanted that bonding between us when she breastfeeds.. =( I dont know what to do...I just want to cry... pls help???

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answers from Des Moines on

La Leche League!!!!!!!!!!! You can find the group near you at you can call the leader NOW and then go to the next meeting-- they're TONS of help!!!!!!!!!!!!

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answers from Muncie on

First, take a deep breath. Relax. Once you do, she will.

Now, you are not a bad mother. You are NOT a failure. If you are in true pain then, yes, pumping is the best for you and for her. What she needs is your milk, how she get's it is secondary.

If you truly want to breastfeed, find a lactation consultant. My hospital had one on hand. You might be able to find information for them at your local Planned Parenthood or other local Woman's Free Health clinic.

If you are not able to get her to latch again, remember you are not a bad mother, you are not harming your daughter.

Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

sore or cracked nipples is a bad latch... most Nurses are NOT trained in breastfeeding troubleshooting and can't tell a good from bad latch. Try to get in contact with an IBCLC to ask about tongue tie and for her to check the latch. In the hospital, your milk was just coming in... after you get home, it's full blast and maybe you have a strong let down - pump a few minutes before you go to latch her on, see if that helps. As for the nipple being too big for her mouth, do a nipple sandwich - you flatter your areola between 2 fingers and help her take in as much as possible. - has actual VIDEOS with sound to help Moms with latching issues.

You can do this!! Don't doubt yourself, because self doubt, pumping to only bottle feed, not letting baby latch and feed on the breast as much as possible are only sabotaging your efforts.

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answers from Minneapolis on

If you plan to breastfeed exclusively, you CAN NOT use pacifiers or bottles....EVER. It causes something called "nipple confusion."

No matter how much she fusses, only give her the breast from here on out. Co-sleep, comfort her, as well as feed her as much as possible.

She may fuss terribly now that she's experienced the ease and gratification of getting fed fast and full from a bottle. But she'll soon get over it after a few days if you don't give in by handing her a bottle or paci to soothe her. Do not let her fussiness (it may get bad) make you throw in the towel. Hang in there. She will soon get back on track if you can stay strong.

To help with the pain, use lanolin cream/oil. Lansinoh and Medela both have this and I believe you can get it at Target in the breastfeeding supplies area. You can use this before feeding her as a shield. It is safe for them unlike lotions (which have alcohol and make it worse) or Vaseline (which she should not ingest) or other ointments. You can also purchase something called "nipple guards" if she gums them up too much. They're like a rubber shield that protects you. But wait on these until you reestablish her feeding habits.

When not feeding you can also moisturize with your own collostrum which has some healing properties in it, if you don't want to keep applying lanolin all the time (which has a different smell and can stain clothes so wear those throw away bra liners) and be sure let your breasts air dry completely (avoid towels because this may irritate) before putting on a bra and/or shirt. If they don't dry off completely after feedings, you'll worsen the chapped skin.

For more info on "nipple confusion," tips, or help, go to the La Leche League web page at You can even find local support groups and volunteers who can help answer questions and meet with you if you have trouble with latch or other things.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

A nipple shield really helped for us. I thought we'd maybe only use it to get through the first few weeks, but bc of the attachment to that "nipple", he ended up using for over a year! Thing is, it wasn't so bad - it was almost a blessing in disguise) because I could give him a bottle of pumped milk with no problem, others could help feed him that way, and it saved my nipples (and love life - ha!). When I had to go back to work full time when he was 10 mos, he took a bottle of pumped milk with no problem at all, so it saved some stress there, too.

The most important thing to me was that I was able to give him breast milk exclusively for the first 6 mos, then on up until we weaned at 2. When I was tempted to feel like a bit of a failure because my nursing required an "apparatus" of sorts, my husband reminded me that it was well worth it for our son. We still bonded's about the time you have together and the way you spend it, not how you're feeding.

Good luck and hang in there! Things can be VERY hard until about 6 weeks and then it's like a switch flips...I have many friends with NIGHTMARE nursing stories who were able to stick it out to that point and then things got much, much better.


ETA: Our son used a paci also - no problem!

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answers from Los Angeles on

I had serious troubles with both my babies. Failed to BF with one and succeeded with the other. The difference was proper professional help and support at home. Go to a lactation consultant. Find one with many years of experience. Don't mess around. These woman have seen it all and can help you navigate the troubles. If you trouble shoot on your own you are not nearly as likely to succeed. This is not the time to experiment with some random persons advice here or anywhere else. You need someone who can pinpoint your troubles and help you work through it. I've been through hell and back with BF troubles. Its not as easy as it looks. Best of luck.
In the mean time, is a helpful sight.

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answers from Dayton on

You might contact La Leche League for support:

Or go see if the hospital has lactation consultants--most hospitals do, and you should be able to see them even once you are home. Generally, nursing is better than pumping, I think, as far as the whole thing--simpler, the baby might get more milk nursing, and it's less stress, plus there's the bonding.

For nipple soreness, try this, because it's great. Lansinoh ointment, you can buy it lots of places:

You might also see a chiropractor who is good at helping babies--Dr. April Dunnington in Centerville is one, and it might be the baby needs a gentle, post-birth adjustment. This can really help!

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Breastfeeding is really hard, and it's OK to go back for help. See if your hospital or birthing center has a breastfeeding clinic or lactation consultant program. Also, try a nipple shield for as long as your nipples are sore and cracked. Major OUCH! I used a nipple shield with my son for about a month because of a bad latch, and with my daughter because she bruised me before my milk came in. My hospital had a breast feeding clinic that cost $40 for a 1 hour private session with a lactation consultant/RN. It was well worth it.
Also, not to be a commercial, but with my 2nd, I bought a "brest friend" nursing pillow, and a medela nursing foot rest. these 2 items really helped me position my daughter perfectly for a PERFECT, comfortable latch. I was shocked at how helpful these products were.
I disagree with the poster who said you can't give a paci or a bottle because of nipple confusion. I pumped every day so my husband could take one of the nighttime feedings, and we exclusively breastfed until she was 9 months and she gave it up.

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answers from Washington DC on

I would talk to a certified LC. You can also get information from on how to get her back to nursing.

I had to use a nipple shield for a little while because I had overactive letdown. My baby was drinking from a fire hose. Hormones can make you feel worse than it really is. Pumping is good, too, but it is frankly easier to nurse than have to pump, mix bottles, etc. (and huge kudos to the moms who do it long term, 100% - I only pumped for work and that was enough).

Cry if you need to, but then put on your momma pants and get help for both of you.

Also, don't suffer. Cracked nipples? Try some of your own milk or lanolin. They make products to help you. Get through the first month or so and it will be easier. You can also take a limited amount of tylenol if you need to, but take as little as you can.

It's a learning process for both of you. Don't lose hope.

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answers from New York on

Ok, so first, the poster below said you "can not" use a pacifier if you want to exclusively breastfeed. NOT TRUE. My son will be 7 months on Friday and has used a pacifier sense he came home from the hospital and drank from a bottle at 3 weeks. Same with my older son. The bottle I can see them being confused and/or preferring to breast this early because its giving them milk and much easier than the breast- put not the paci.

That said. When my son was born my nipples were extremely sore and painful. In fact they cracked, scabbed and came off- gross I know. No matter what I tried or how I tried to get him to latch on, it hurt. But I suffered through a few days and then they were better. So, it may be beneficial to talk to a lactation consultant, there may not be anything you can do about the pain- other than Lansanoh!! (sp)

So as for your case, I think the nipple shield sounds like it may be helpful, then you can try to switch over to just you. Or, just keep at it. I wouldn't use a bottle until a good connection and routine has been established with the breast. But if you want to use a paci, then I think that is fine. She isn't going to get full from a paci.

Either way- good for you for trying. Don't give up. Breastfeeding is very hard to do. Even at 7 months later, I have days I have issues with supply and pumping and everything. So hang in there.


answers from Rochester on

Sounds like a bad latch to me. You can find a lactation specialist, or watch about a million videos online, and try to teach yourself. I recommend sticking with it, ditching the pacifier and the bottles, and really going for will be so worth it.

You CAN handle the pain until it gets better...I fought a severe infection (extremely severe) in both breasts for five months with excruciating pain (months 3-7) and now, my daughter is 22 months and I am still nursing and loving it!! Not that I'm recommending ignoring the pain...try to improve her latch immediately. In order to do that, I honestly think the pacis and the bottles need to go.

It's not that she doesn't want your's that a nipple is work and a bottle isn't. It takes them a little while to become expert nurses (which they do) and you've made it easy on her, so why should she work? :) I honestly believe if you are still producing lots of milk and it's early days, you can go back to exclusively nursing...but I would do it RIGHT AWAY. It really sounds like you want to nurse her, so really go for it with all you've got!!

I did use a nipple shield from day 4 through about 3 months. It was necessary because of a very slight tongue tie coupled with my sort of flattish nipples. Continued use of the nipple shield allowed her to latch properly and broke the adhesions in my nipples so that they could be fully extracted, and I was able to quit using it entirely around 3 months. Like I said...22 months and still nursing!!



answers from Columbus on

Hi K.,

I was in the same position as you with my daughter. She didn't have a good latch but the lactation consultant I saw in the hospital told me she was on correctly and basically said I needed to toughen up. (I had a drug free delivery so I didn't think pain tolerance was my issue, but whatever!) When I got home for the next three weeks the pain was so bad in getting her latched that I literally had to put my toes under the coffee table to brace myself against the pain, I'm guessing my nipples just went numb after that. I ended up with mastitis and my OB telling me I had a bad latch. By the time I saw another lactation consultant they told me there was so much damage to my nipples that I would never heal if we didn't get her off immediately. From that day on, I pumped exclusively. For 18 months. I tried breastfeeding my son but because of the tissue damage I ended up with blood blisters on both nipples within 24 hours and the lactation consultants were afraid I wouldn't heal again. He is now seven months old and I have been exclusively pumping with him as well.

I tell you this not to discourage you from trying to get her latched on but as encouragement that if you want your baby to have breastmilk, she can it's just plan B. It does take more time but we both get the benefits so it's worth it to me. I wanted the bond too from breastfeeding, but you can get a bond with your baby in other ways. I had to make peace with plan B, and exclusively pumping does have benefits too. I agree with Dana, the most important thing is that she's getting your breastmilk not how it's being delivered. Good luck!!



answers from Cincinnati on

My son is now 8 weeks and we had similar problems.

At the hospital he would only latch on the right side and refused to take the left side and it was very frustrating for me. I decided then that I would pump and give it to him that way but after the first few days of 0 sleep and a fussy baby I decided to give breastfeeding a try again.

The 0 sleep was because I would try and wake up about a half hour before I thought Gabe would wake up so I could pump and he wouldn't have to wait for the bottle but that never worked out the way I thought it would work.

One thing that has helped me ALOT with breastfeeding is having a boppy. If you don't have one, get one. It puts my son at my level and it makes it easier to feed him. If I don't have a boppy and I try to feed him-well it's just ugly and in the end I end up giving him a bottle.

Other things you can try is pumping for about 5 minutes before you feed her. Your breasts may be too enlarged for her and so it is hard for her to get a good grip. Also try putting some of your milk on your nipples. I did that with my son at first to get him to latch. He would smell the milk and seek out the source. And the pumping before does help.

Have you tried other positions? That might help. I am only comfortable with the cross cradle position. My sister does the football hold with her daughter and I tried that, but I wasn't comfortable with it at all.

Another thought-if you are uncomfortable feeding your daughter, she might be uncomfortable because she is feeling your discomfort. try to be more at ease.

With sore and cracked nipples, put lansinoh lotion on them. It's wonderful stuff.

With the paci-I don't know if that makes a difference. Doctors and books will say that it does but my son can switch between the paci and nipple without any problems, or the bottle to the nipple. So it might seem to depend on the child.

You can just pump and feed that to your daughter. Again I started out doing that but decided to give breastfeeding a chance. But if you do pump you might start to over produce and make more milk than she is taking so you will need to look into freezing it.

But I wouldn't give up, try a few weeks longer. My son will often seek my nipple out for comfort and it soothes him and I must say I enjoy that.

One last question. What kind of paci are you using? Maybe that makes a difference. We tried something and my son did not like it at all so we switch to what the hospital used and he loves it. It's a soothie pacifier. Philips AVENT makes them if you want to look it up.

I've seen comments about mastisis. I also had that. I don't know if it was caused by over pumping or the fact that my son had thrush and then I got it and a week went by before I was treated for it. But I was also given bad information. I was told when I went home to continue to pump after I had fed my son. So I was over pumping-not a good thing. You don't want to feed your child an then pump afterwards (unless you didn't feed off a boob and you are starting to leak) for at least a month. But I was producing too much milk that I got mastisis and then an absess in my right breast. It was very painful that I couldn't feed my son (he could latch but where the absess was, it was just too painful) and I could barely pump. But I had to see a specialist and get the absess lanced. Not a fun experience at all.

I don't mean to scare you with my story but just don't over pump. I learned my lesson.
Good luck.



answers from Rochester on

I breast fed all 3 of my baby's and it took the 3rd to finaly get it right. So here is what I learned. I walked around the house with out a shirt until baby and I got it down. It is true once you both get it right it does not hurt at all!!! I had to use a bottle besause I had to go back to work right away after having baby. I used a bottle called brestflow. I got it at target and it immitates the breast to there is not as much confution. In fact it help my 3rd learn to beter breast feed. Also try different positions. Nothing the the nurses told me to do worked. I had to make up my own pasition that worked for me and baby. We really liked to be laying down as this way I could nap and she could eat. it was a win win! Can you feel when you have a let down (milk comes out)? when it does not hurt and you can feel the let down you should be good to go. good luck! Also I ended pumping for my first. We just could not get it right and I still wanted him to have the breast milk. So I pumped. Just know that what ever you end up doing for your child will be ok.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Irregardless of latch, breastfeeding hurt like heck for me the first week or so both times around no matter what. It just did.

Lansinoh ointment will help with the cracking.

The breast might be more work for her than a bottle (a bottle flows a lot faster and is less work).

I agree that you should consult a lactation specialist. Check with your county, the hospital where you delivered or Le Leche League for a referral.

You can do this! Breastfeeding is not always as 'natural' as you think it might be. Perserve and the rewards are great. Hang in there!

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