Or how Triple Nipple Cream saved my nursing relationship.
Or how I should have listened to my instincts and to others.
About a month and a half ago I noticed that my left nipple was starting to hurt a bit. It felt sort of like thrush, but wasn’t quite the same, and the right side was getting sore too. So I made an appointment with the Birthing Center to get it all checked out. They confirmed that it wasn’t yeast or bacterial. The lactation consultant (who was also our post-partum midwife) was there. She agreed with me that it could be because I’d switched horns on my pump to the Pumpin Pals about a month before and the smallest ones they have are too big for me. I should have guessed this myself when they wouldn’t hold suction so I had to turn my pump up and hold them on (I can usually pump hands-free). But I was stubborn and really liked how they were ergonomic, even when they were damaging me. (Anyone want a set of Pumpin Pals horns? I know a lot of people who say they’re great.) So I switched back to the regular horns and started coating them in lanolin to help with the friction.
While the left started to feel somewhat better, the right started getting worse and worse. I started getting vasospasms on both sides. I mentioned it at my La Leche League meeting and my friend recommended I get this Triple Nipple Cream. Someone else mentioned “Soothies” breast pads. But I sort of ignored them thinking things were under control.
At the same time as all of this, I noticed that my Little Prince looked like he did, in fact, have a tongue-tie. So when we were at his nine month check-up, I asked his pediatrician to confirm it. Yup, he had minor tongue-tie alright. This got me a big “I told you so” from Darius and a recommendation for an ENT doctor from our pediatrician, who I made an appointment with for the next week. I also found this article on tongue-ties and realized that LP had over 20 of the listed symptoms at one point or another.
The last week things went from bad to worse. The left was sore and wrinkly. The areola on the right has this shiny blotchy part and when I pumped or nursed, skin was actually pealing off and I could see deep cracks all over my nipple. I starts wearing nursing pads again, but I was sticking to them and when I took them off, there was some skin and a bit of blood on them. On Tuesday of last week I got some Soothies and while they helped a bit with the vasospasms and the rubbing, it was still bad. On Friday morning when LP latched on the right, it hurt so much I actually started crying.
That Friday was also the day of my Little Prince’s ENT appointment. The doctor took one look and confirmed the tie. He said it was minor so we really didn’t need to do anything about it. But he gave me the option of snipping it right then. I took it.
The procedure was very quick. They numbed under LP’s tongue, then got him crying (poor thing) and took a thin pair of scissors and snipped it super fast. He cried until I got him on my breast (all of 5 seconds, because I was already holding him). Then he nursed for about five minutes and was perfectly happy after that. No blood or anything. It was so simple. I wish I’d had it done right after he was born. I bet it would have helped with our early latching problems.
After I dropped LP back of at daycare, I called my doctor and asked them to call in a prescription of the Triple Nipple Cream. I picked it up after work and started using it right away. I also tried using the nipple shields again, but LP refused to nurse with them, so I just grinned and bore it. I also started to once again refuse a latch that felt super painful or uncomfortable.
What a difference a week can make. My nipples are healing. Pumping doesn’t hurt anymore. The red shiny spots on my right areola are gone. Today I’m wearing regular breast pads instead of Soothies and I’m not sticking to them at all. And best of all, nursing on the left almost doesn’t hurt at all and nursing on the left is hurting less and less every day. And even though the cracks in my nipple are still there, they are on their way to healing.
Finally, LP loves sticking out his tongue now. He’s exploring a whole range of motion with it that he never had before. And I’m pretty sure his suction has gotten better and his nursing more efficient.