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When breast feeding doesn’t come easy – part 2

by Kerryn on October 14th, 2010

This is a continuation of a previous post – read Part 1 here.

So after months of struggling with pain during breastfeeding I had finally taken myself off to the lactation consultant.  She evaluated Georgie’s latch and told me that it wasn’t as deep as she would like.  Apparently she seemed to be a “lazy latcher”; very possibly due to how much she loved her dummy! She examined my boobs and said that the white spots looked like milk blebs. She thought that the whitening of my nipples after feeding was Raynaud’s phenomenon. She also didn’t want to rule out thrush and/or a bacterial infection as part of the problem.

There are a lot of potential causes of  Raynaud’s – thrush, bacterial infection, cold and excessive compression during the latch. Milk blebs can also either be little blisters that form through friction (from a bad latch) or a bits of dried milk that block a milk duct and form a little plug.

The lactation consultant suggested a multi-pronged approach. I was going to treat myself for the possibility that I had thrush, an infection, Raynaud’s caused by cold and/or bad latch and milk blebs caused by a bad latch and/or blocked ducts.

So this was my suggested treatment:

Latch – I had to work on getting Georgie to latch more deeply using the techniques that we were shown.

Thrush – I had to take a probiotic, cut out sugar, boil all dummies and apply an “All Purpose Nipple Ointment (APNO)”

Infection – Apply APNO cream

Raynauds – Apply APNO cream, cover my nipples immediately after feeding, massage olive oil into my nipples, put warm compress onto my boob after feeding and wear a sock in my bra for extra warmth.

Milk blebs – put cotton wool soaked in olive oil onto nipple and leave it between feeds. Then twice a day have a warm bath just before feeding, massage my boob to get the milk flowing, gently exfoliate the nipple and then feed as soon as possible.

I did most of these things, but some were just too difficult. [Who has time to bath twice a day before feeding with a 12 week old baby?] Anyway after about a week one of the milk blebs disappeared and along with it the Raynaud’s on that side also stopped! The milk bleb and Raynaud’s on the other side cleared up about two weeks after starting treatment. I don’t know for sure what caused the problem or made it clear up, but it was such a relief to be feeding pain-free. I have a feeling that a shallow latch caused milk blebs (very painful in themselves) and that the Raynaud’s was due to a combination of compression from the shallow latch and the cold (it was winter). I have had milk blebs on and off since then, but if I focus on Georgie’s latch for a couple of days we manage to get rid of them quickly.

My advice to anyone struggling with breastfeeding is to see a certified lactation consultant, as soon as you have problems, as she definitely had the most holisitic view of breastfeeding issues compared with all the other people I had seen.

Here are the link’s (again) that I found useful on Raynaud’s phenomenon:

Raynaud’s phenomenon and vasospasms

From → Breastfeeding