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Does it ever get easier/less stressful? :(

I've been exclusively breastfeeding my seven-week-old so far, and I end up crying after every feeding because it stresses me out so much. She falls asleep no matter what I do (I've even resorted to wet washrags before, stopped because they didn't work), squirms around and clamps down on my nipples, and I have to use a nipple shield due to problems with overabundant let-down--she chokes on my milk if I don't use it. Recently she has also been crying for food every hour almost all day and well into the night (for about a week now). She's also a reflux baby and spits up quite a bit, and sometimes I have to put her back on my breast right after feeding her because she spits it all back up, and it just takes the strength out of me :(. Everybody kept saying that at six weeks it would get better, it would get to where it wasn't so stressful, but so far I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. Help :(

 
Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 10:59 PM on Dec. 10, 2009 in Babies (0-12 months)

This question is closed.
Answers (11)
  • I'd talk to her doctor at the next appointment or a le leche coach if you have one. Breastfeeding can be very difficult, somehow it's painted as rainbows and lolipops, but it's far from that. My daughter had reflux and I'd have to sit up holding her very awkward to feed her to keep her from spitting up. I also put her in a chair after so she'd be sitting up as much as possible for as long as I thought it'd take.  Eventually that got better and breastfeeding was so easy I'd fall asleep doing it. If your commited keep trying, but many babies get along fine with a bottle.

    camiam81

    Answer by camiam81 at 11:07 PM on Dec. 10, 2009

  • Honey, if breastfeeding is so hard for you maybe you should consider formula. If you are resentful about it your baby will sense that.
    justluvinmyson

    Answer by justluvinmyson at 11:02 PM on Dec. 10, 2009

  • Have you talked with a lactation consultant or someone at LLL in your area? Especially because you are using nipple shields. Have you tried nursing lying down -- without nipple shields it is supposed to make managing powerful flow easier. Does she get enough fatty hindmilk -- that is does she stay on one breast long enough? As for the constant feeding, that's growth spurt behavior usually. You definitely need some support. Start with these two resources:

    http://www.drjacknewman.com
    http://www.kellymom.com

    There's info on sleepy babies, nursing lying down, and videos. You know you could even pump or express some milk and give it to her for a break now and then with an eyedropper, spoon, or cup.
    amileegirl

    Answer by amileegirl at 11:39 PM on Dec. 10, 2009

  • It will get easier. For some the first 3 months is hard. First of all you need to relax. Easier said than done I know. She shouldn't be able to clamp down on your breast if you have enough of your areola in her mouth. Have you tried undressing her completely to wake her up during feedings? Sounds like you have, but I thought I would ask.
    I have to agree with the PP about looking to getting some help. Most breastfeeding issues can be solved with a little time and help.
    I am sorry you are having such a hard time. Trust me you can do this! HUGE HUGS!
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:06 AM on Dec. 11, 2009

  • You, my dear, have an overactive letdown. Get it under control and things will get easier. First, dump the shield... it will only cause a nipple preference. Next, nurse until letdown (when milk leaks out your other boob and she starts choking), pull her off, let it leak into a towel and relatch her once it has slowed. Then, feed her from that same breast for the next couple of feedings (4 hours per breast is typical). This will prevent her from choking, clamping down, getting air and spitting up later (though, some spit-up is unavoidable) and it will get your supply under control so that you no longer have this issue.

    Next thing... falling asleep at the breast is normal. Nothing to do about that but go with it. Nursing every hour, also normal... do you have a sling yet? That is next on your list of priorities to obtain... con't..
    LeanneC

    Answer by LeanneC at 12:42 AM on Dec. 11, 2009

  • Most important: Stop watching the clock. Cover them, if you have to. Knowing how often she eats is meaningless and will only drive you crazy (believe me, I've been there). Get the sling for when you have to be up/out and get some good books or magazines for when you are at home. Look forward to the time spent nursing to take a break and know that nursing every hour is NORMAL and healthy.

    Co-sleep for the nightime if she wants to nurse frequently. It's a total lifesaver.

    You're doing a great job, so hang in there. It's rough to adjust the first time, but it does most certainly get easier. You're not used to having someone relying on you for everything 24 hours a day and that's HARD to adjust to.
    LeanneC

    Answer by LeanneC at 12:48 AM on Dec. 11, 2009

  • Don't feel bad if you want to stop breast feeding. Your baby needs a happy mommy!
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:23 AM on Dec. 11, 2009

  • I always pumped into a bottle! WAY easier...
    chowmom199

    Answer by chowmom199 at 2:04 AM on Dec. 11, 2009

  • Jeez ladies... way to be supportive. Do you always quit things when the going gets hard? I was always taught to see my endeavours through and I learned that the best rewards in life come from doing just that.

    If the OP gets her supply under control and when she gets adjusted to being a new mom and what that entails, she will be rewarded. Not only will nursing then be 100x easier than formula or pumping (and pumping *is*, much, much more work... double the work, in fact), but she will also get all the bonding and the pride of having been through a rough patch and come out the other end. I've never known anyone to regret breastfeeding and sticking it out, but I know many who regret giving up early on.
    LeanneC

    Answer by LeanneC at 1:16 PM on Dec. 11, 2009

  • LeanneC gave some great advice!

    Big extra emphasis on getting help and finding support even if online. In the beginning my baby was a "nipple chomper" ; she would open wide then before I could shove in enough areola she'd chomp down. The pain was excrutiating. My nipples were getting bruised and bleeding from small cracks. it got to the point where I dreaded the next feed. It was really hard, but I wanted to succeed more than dreading the pain. I was willing to stand on my head if necessary.

    The real key was support and advice. I tossed the nipple shield away, though. I knew that would be a problem.
    amileegirl

    Answer by amileegirl at 1:36 PM on Dec. 11, 2009