Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Biological Nurturing, cracked nipples and breast pains!

I've been breastfeeding for 7 weeks. My baby is putting on lots of weight and produces an awful lot of poo so I know I'm doing something right!

I had help from the midwives to learn how to get my baby to latch on and have had Eight midwives, two health visitors, a breastfeeding councillor and a home care nurse all tell me that baby latches on perfectly and my positioning is spot on - and yet I am not bragging!

If all the above is right - then how come, 7 weeks on, I still have cracked nipples and ten mins into a feed I get toe curling deep pains? Nobody has been able to tell me what these pains are and I've been checked to make sure it's not thrush or anything.

It was suggested that maybe my nipples just need to toughen up or that I should experiment with different positions. I also bought some nipple guards (although these are not recommended as they can reduce your milk supply) but weirdly they were too big - not only was there lots of shield above where my nipple ends but they are too long to fit in my baby's mouth without choking baby meaning baby is sucking on the very tip of nipple (ouch!)

I'm treating my sore nipples to lansinoh cream, lots and lots of washing in plain water and a little bit of air (cover said nips with tea strainers inside your bra to allow air to circulate!)

Whilst in a state of desperation (almost daily I come close to giving up with breastfeeding) I came across something called Biological Nurturing - believe it or not, there are other positions available besides the three shown to you by the NHS. I got myself into a very comfortable reclined position on the sofa with my feet up and let my baby find my nipple, attach and suckle, there was lots of head bobbing and lifting but once nipple was located, latching on happened at the first attempt!

There was no one arm balancing/ wrestling / repeated attempts before baby settled for a feed for once! (not shown in the NHS guide by the way, but I'm pretty sure the wrestling happens to most of us!)

Although the weird 10 min in pain still occurred, my nipples got a break as there was no pressure on the sore bits!

I'm wondering if the pain I get is because I'm "empty" baby usually suckles on one breast for 45 mins and sometimes a further 15 mins on the other and then goes 2 hours ( sometimes 3 hours!)before next feed... is baby just suckling an empty breast and using me for comfort (a human dummy) and that's what the pain is?

I would recommend reading about Biological Nurturing to other breastfeeding mums who may want to experiment with other positions!

Emma in Bromley

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Emma x