Forum home Babies Breast & bottle feeding

Engorged, baby can't feed, feel like a failure

Hello ladies,
I had my daughter 4 days ago and at first, although painful on the nipples, bf was fine. 2 days later my milk came in and my breasts got so engorged that they went completely solid, lumpy and both nipples flattened and inverted. This meant my daughter couldn't latch on and when it happened (in the middle of the night) and she was screaming I ended up giving her formula. The next day I rang the midwife in tears, who said that I should hand express some milk to relieve them and use hot flannels. I tried both of these, but the flannels, although relieving the pain, didn't change how my breasts were and I completely failed to get any milk out when hand expressing.
I bought a breast pump and this at least pulled the nipple out on one side, so she fed on the breast during the day yesterday and I thought maybe this would be it. Then, last night she wouldn't latch on, even after I had got the nipple out using the pump, so again, it was formula feeding in the night.
This morning she fed on the breast again for one feed, but since then just refuses to latch on, she puts my nipple in her mouth and just shakes her head. So, I'm back to formula again....
I am so upset, it's making me cry as I badly wanted to breast feed and feel a complete failure. I'm worried that I don't know what I'm doing with the formula feeding and she'll end up with too much or get colic. I really don't know what to do and my midwife is so against anything other than bf that I'm terrified of telling her that I have used formula when she comes tomorrow.
Can anyone help?? :cry:


  • dnt feel bad hun and certainly dnt feel worried to tell your midwife.Shes your baby and its ur decision how to feed.Its so difficult in the early days but there is a light at the end of the tunnel!She could be shaking her head because maybe your letdown is taking a while therefore shes getting angry that your milk isnt flowing as soon as she latches on like the bottle does?If you really want to bf dnt give up,you could even combine so that shes getting breast and also bottle.Do you have a bf support line you could call or even get a bf consultant to come out and help you?please dnt feel a failure,u have done a brill job for just trying with bf,many dnt even give it a go,well done and big hugs.Merry xmas too by the way!! xxx
  • aww sweetie i know how hard it can be, hopefully your midwife will be able to help you.
    It took me a bit of time with my pump before i started to get any milk out so keep practicing with it during the day when your not stressed (as this can affect how much milk you pump) and get your midwife to check you are using it properly, even if you just get an ounce or so it will soften your breasts enough for your lo to latch on.
    If bf is something you really want to do then persevere it will be hard at first but trust me youl get there, remember its all new to your daughter too and if you are not at all a failure.
    Well done for trying and if you feel you cant continue dont let anyone make you feel bad, ff babies thrive too!
    If you have anymore problems feel free to email ive had quite a few problems along the way!

    [Modified by: rainbowshoes on December 20, 2008 09:13 PM]

  • Awww, sorry to hear you're having a tough time. I had the same problem with engorgement and found that hand expressing really helped. It does take a while to get the hang of it, though. The worst thing when something like this happens is that when you are stressed it is more difficult to get letdown. So if you tense up when you are about to feed or express it can make things even more difficult. Maybe try expressing a little when lo is asleep and you are as relaxed as possible. Like rainbowshoes said, ask your mw to help you with the expressing.

    I really hope things work out so that yo can continue bfing, but if it doesn't, don't feel guilty- you have tried hard, and your lo will be just fine on formula.
  • How did it go with your midwife hun?
  • Hi there, I havent had my baby yet but its part of my job to help BF mummies so will try to give you some advice.

    Firstly, dont be afraid to tell your MW! If she is so pro BF she will want to give you as much help as she can. Her advice about expressing and using hot flannels is great but after you have used the hot flannel, pop a cold one over your breast- this is what will draw out the nipple- we all know what happens when nips get cold!

    Try and relax with baby close to you at times other than feed times, just sit with your top off and have baby close- if she finds the breast great but if not the skin to skin will stimulate your breasts and also give you both a nice cuddle.

    With the expressing, try doing it in the bath or shower as you will be more relaxed and the warmth will help the milk flow.

    Hope that helps, anything else I think of I will post.

    Take care and try and enjoy your baby however you feed her.
  • The midwife came and saw me yesterday and said that she can see why I was having problems as my engorgement is so severe. She was really nice about it and recommended that I hire an electric breast pump as she said the manual ones would not be strong enough in my case.

    I hired a pump and on the midwife's recommendations have been expressing every 3 hours on it, however I am only getting 20-25ml between both breasts each time and have had hardly any sleep with having to express so often and also having to feed and look after my daughter. However, it has helped with the engorgement, but she won't latch on now as she doesn't get the instant gratification that the bottle gives her.

    Another midwife rang me today and recommended that I buy nipple shields as my daughter now associates the silicon with her food. She said to stop expressing and try and get on the breast during the day and use formula at night so that I don't get to stressed....

    I'll see how it goes I guess...

    Thanks for all your support. xx
  • hi there,

    I am glad you are having some success. For nipple shields I would recommended the Medela ones I have used these with my little boy and they have helped me to successfully breastfeed they have a gap bit that most makes don't have so the baby can smell our scent so when you try them off the nipple shield they recognize your smell. I order mine off the Internet and they tend to come really quick.

    here's the link for the place I have used

    hope this helps. What i did in the begin was put a bit of milk in to the shield before latching on so there was some milk straight away so he got less frustrated its a bit mess but worked.

  • hey,

    i've only just seen your post and everyone one else has already given great advice. I think that nipple shields are a great idea, what you could also do is let your lo have a ittle try without them after she has fed so that she will them also start to associate your nipples with food.

    Well done for getting this far, you should be really proud of yourelf for trying so hard

  • Hi .
    I joined this website today to share my experiance with another mum, but reading your post made me post here aswell. The advice is wonderful.
    I had terrible trouble feeding my month old daughter with the same difficulties as you. I have flat nipples, and latching on was a nightmare. Expressing and storing the milk is one option, but my mum recomended breast shells, and I havent looked back since. The ones I brought (Avent) have vented shells that I would wear whenever my nipples were particualy sore (I had VERY sore nipples for several weeks), and this gently stimulated my breasts to ease the engorgement and bring out my nipples. This allowed my daughter to latch on much easier, and really eased the pain. I did throw away the milk collected, but never felt guilty about it, as I was producing plenty once I starting expressing. There are also solid shells that I now wear on the opposite breast to the one I am expressing on to catch any leaked milk. This can then be added to the storage bottle.
    I really hope this helps, as stress really makes things worse. I almost gave up, and am so glad I perservered, as feeding is now on the most part really enjoyable. I also give my daughter a formula feed once a day, and don't feel guilty about this. Every mum and child is different and you must do what you feel is best for you both.
Sign In or Register to comment.

Featured Discussions