Monday, September 15, 2008

Love Hurts

We interrupt this birth story with news of cracked, bleeding nipples requiring use of a nipple shield. Tell me I am not a shitty mother already, because I know, I KNOW- if we were doing this right, it wouldn't hurt. It would be like taking a trip to Disney World or visiting my favorite spa multiple times a day, right?

At least, if that's what your experience with breastfeeding was, I don't want to know. I just can't understand how having a small person sucking on your breasts for hours a day wouldn't hurt after a while, since said breasts were previously used to a quiet, peaceful existence. Especially when the owner of said breasts has very pale, sensitive skin?

I soldier on, don't you worry- no one is starving in this house. Supply is fine, it's just the hose that's a bit busted. But I can't really bear the thought of seeing a lactation consultant and practicing latching on again, as I am doing everything that two lactation consultants told me to do in the hospital.

Insider tip- buy stock in Lansinoh lanolin. When you retire early you'll have me and my bloody nipples to thank.

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Blogger R U Serious?? said...

OK, I'm all caught up! I'm sorry I missed so much...

Your baby is BEAUTIFUL!!!! Great job Mama!!! Congratulations!

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Betsy said...

Oh, my. I've heard toughening them up by rubbing a dry washcloth on them sometimes works. But if they're already cracked.... I don't know.

Sorry I can't be of more help on this one! Well, not that sorry...

4:50 PM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

I didn't have bloody nipples. But I would give my right arm, maybe even my un-sore nipples, in order to get 8 hours consecutive sleep. Also to get him to stop crying.

6:36 PM  
Blogger His suzy said...

Having no personal experience in this, all I can say is...


Did that help? :)

6:38 PM  
Blogger Roxanne said...

I was going to suggest the lanolin until I read the last line. I think you're just saying it in jest, but just in case you're not don't blame yourself. Instead you need to give yourself about a million pats on the back for sticking it out. :)

8:36 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Yeah, so I'm never going off the pill. Or having sex again. Just in case.


9:45 PM  
Blogger Caro said...

They heal eventually but it hurts A LOT at first. I think mine are still the consitency of shoe leather.

11:25 PM  
Anonymous Frema said...

I only breastfed/pumped for one month and the area around my nipples stayed white for MONTHS.

(Holy crap, I almost pulled down my blouse at work to see if they're still white. The things I do for the Internet.)

Sounds like you're doing a terrific job. One thing that helped me was just letting the girls hang out free form in between feeding/pumping sessions. Also, some of those gel pads you can chill in the refrigerator.

Lastly, I never tried a nipple shield. You'll have to let us know whether or not it helps long-term.

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're doing fine - really! Lanolin is key as you already know. Try waving a hair dryer around in the vicinity of your breasts on lowest heat setting after each feeding. oouchie, I can still remember how much those teeny cracks hurt - but they do get better, I promise.


10:13 AM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

What Frema said. Definitely let them hang out free form after feeding and pumping. That's what I do and I have not been sore or bloody at all. (Don't hate me, I have other problems ;)

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, you have no idea who I am, and I hope that the fact that some stranger is posting breastfeeding advice on your site doesn't totally creep you out, but as a fellow librarian (actually, I must confess I'm a former librarian), a lover of books, and a doula (well, actually I'm *almost* a doula--I have my first birth in about a month), I just have to make a really quick comment. You have probably read a gazillion books on breastfeeding, but I'm reading one right now that makes sense without requiring breast gymnastics. It's called _Breastfeeding Made Simple_ by Nancy Mohrbacher and Kathleen Kendall-Tackett. The book also has a website ( which promises, according to the book, "some animation created to show you good breastfeeding techniques in action."
I really, really, really would encourage you to talk to a lactation consultant, but if you don't want to try that route, I am absolutely positive that a mama from your local La Leche League would be more than glad to help you out.

10:27 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Serious- thanks!

Betsy- I'd heard about toughening them up, too, but then read that you're not supposed to do that. Conflicting information everywhere!

Bearette- it's okay, I don't hate you. ;)

Suzy- yes, that helped immensely. :D

Roxanne- thank you.

Lisa- there are positives, too... I just haven't had time to post about those. ;)

frema- now that is true dedication! hope you and your white boobies are doing well.

Ann- thank you. Every time an experienced woman has told me that things would get better, she was right. I believe you.

mychiaroscuro- congrats on your new career! our doula was great and has continued to be a wonderful support following the birth. It takes a special person to make a good doula, I think. And thanks for the book reco- I'll put it on reserve at the library.

12:28 PM  

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