May 6, 2011

My boobs are my own worst frenemy

From day one Spencer has been breast fed. Rich and I both feel this is very important for his development and growth, and we've both been on the same side since the day we got pregnant. Plus, Spencer's dramatic weight gain already goes to show how well he's responding to the breast milk.

Also since day one, breastfeeding for me has been a challenge. Spencer is three weeks and two days old. My issues first began with my nipples not being groomed for the task. Day two of his life, my nipples began to crack, burn and blister. This continued through the first week. Also that week, my breasts decided to fill up, engorge and my milk ducts became clogged. Spencer even refused to nurse from one of them for a few days. Let me just tell you that this does not feel good... any of it! Your son won't latch on AND you have these large, hard breasts that you have to aggressively massage, ice and pump. Ugh, what a pain! Because of this, we decided to meet with a Lactation Consultant through Winnie Palmer Hospital. Our first visit was very helpful and knowledgeable. She watched Spencer eat to ensure he was latching on properly, which luckily he was. She was mighty impressed with how fast and frequent he eats, as well as his quick weight gain. We walked away that day with remedies to help heal my nipps and to work out the engorgement and clogged ducts. After a few days, the girls were jiggly again. I had worked out the kinks. It wasn't easy, but we got 'er dunn. Spencer was latching on to both breasts again. However, I still had the nipp pain. The initial latch was toe curling, but after about a minute the pain subsided.
The bonding time I get with Spence during each feeding is indescribable. I love every moment of it, minus the pain. Even though at times I feel like ALL I do is feed him, it's still all worth it.

Fast forward to week three. I've done a great job keeping my breasts soft, free of clogging, but my nipples have gotten worse. To the point where I don't even want him near my breasts. This week, my right one was baaad so I stopped nursing him on that one. Each time he fed, I would just pump the right one. After about a day and a half of this, cue up the left nipple pain now. Gaaah, I can't catch a break. So, for the last three days I have been strictly pumping and I hate it. Not only am I missing out on my Spencie time, but I'm having to deal with this pumping every couple to few hours thing. AND... what do ya know, my hardening is back. That's right, I'm engorged and clogged again.

As much as I don't want to, I'm feeling like I could just give up. Spencer's appetite is so ferocious that I can't really keep up with the pumping. I don't want to throw in the towel, neither does Rich, but I'm at a loss here. Rich reached out to our consultant again and as weird as this may sound, she suggested I may have yeast, like a yeast infection, within my milk ducts. Thus, causing my unbearable nipple pain. I've never heard of this before, but at this point I'm willing to take the information and run with it. I had my Ob doctor call in an rx for yeast infection medication. A pill form that I take for two days. I took my first dose last night.          PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE work for me!!!
This entire week I've been married to the pump and everything else that goes with my "treatment". Even if I wanted to, or had somewhere to go, I can't be away from home for more than two hours. My days have been consisting of constantly pumping, making bottles, putting three different creams on my nips, wiping it off to pump, ice, massage, pop Motrin for anti-inflammatory, repeat. Oooof, I'm tired just writing it all out.

I've been told and have also been reading that breastfeeding should not be painful, and if it is, it's usually only for the first week and it gets better. Well, what the heck is wrong with me then?!?!
I read that the yeast can be from a recent dose of antibiotics, which Spencer and I both had during and after delivery since I had a fever at first, then followed by a c-section. Women who have c's are more likely to deal with this yeast. Lucky me!

So, I just had to share, and kinda vent, what I've been dealing with the past few weeks. Maybe you guys can throw in an extra prayer for my girls. They sure need all the help they can get right about now. I'm also all ears for any suggestions. Thanks for listening ;o) Now off to pump away.

On a lighter note, here's some pics of my sweet, sweet angel. He seems to make everything better.

1st Easter and all smiles

Poolside loungin'

my little charmer

a sneak peak of Spencer's 12 day old photo shoot with


  1. Jenn--I feel your pain! I can remember getting so engorged I wanted to die! The milk would just not let down and it was killing me. As we talked about nursing that frequently was unheard of back then, thus I had my problems. That said, DO NOT feel like any less of a mother if the nursing doesn't work out. Yes, it is the ideal, however, my three bottle fed babies (after about the time you're dealing with) turned out just fine!!!

    I do so hope the pain will subside VERY soon!!! I'm heading out to set up the show just now, however before I left I was going to post something and saw your entry. Yeah! Once again, what Spenser can't do without is love, and you are giving it to him in spades!!!! Bottle fed or breast fed they all grow up and do great. xoxo

  2. Gail, Thank you so much for the encouragement. This whole speed bump has been a rough time for me. I just want to be able to nurse, but instead I'm being faced with challenge after challenge. I'm going to keep on truckin'. I'll be sure to update either way. Hope your show is a great success! xo

  3. I had the worst pain at first. I would be in tears knowing I had to feed the baby.

    My baby will be 7 weeks on Friday and nursing is a breeze now. All pain and discomfort went completely away between week 5-6.

    Here is what helped me...

    Get a nipple shield - most lactation consultants are against them and I have no idea why. It saved my nipples and allowed me to continue breast feeding.

    Put tea bags on your nipples. Steep caffeinated tea bags in warm water for a few minutes, squeeze out the excess liquid and put them directly on your nips. Make sure to put a breast pad over so you don't stain your clothes.

    I had a c-section and to help avoid the yeast issue I was told to use sea salt and warm water on the nips. A little pinch of salt in a shot glass with warm water and the just put your nipple in the shot glass. Soak them for a few minutes and then rinse them off. It helps with infection as well.

    Fresh air is also really good for them. If you aren't feeding or pumping and in the house then just let them air out.

    I also pump into a bottle over night to rest my nips.

    I pump over night and one other time through out the day, because I over produce and have to watch out for engorgement as well.