Okay, so, here's a question. With my first son, I had a horrible breast feeding experience. Cracked, sore and bleeding nipples for a full seven months before I gave up the ghost. I figured I'd given what I could. And watching him spit up and realizing that there was blood in it from my nipples was horrific. I was done. So, on to my second son. Not wanting a repeat, I had a LLL consultant and a CLC over to my house everyday for a week to make sure I was latching properly and such. Come to find out, my first difficulties were likely due to thrush and/or yeast. So. I had a much better experience, but after about 3 months, my milk production dropped like a stone. My boy lost weight between his 2nd and 4th months. That was scary too. Was I not eating enough? I tried herbal tea, I tried slowing down and nursing round the clock. It just seemed like he would rather sleep than eat. I switched to formula with sadness. I heard in a holistic nutrition class that malnutrition can cause a drop in milk production because the body will sacrifice quantity for quality of milk. Any thoughts for next time? I want to go at least a full year, if not longer.

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Ohhh, that sounds really challenging! I'm sorry you had to struggle for so long. Kudos to you for giving your babies your milk for as long as you could!

Are either of your children tongue-tied?

Cracked and bleeding nipples are not normal for 7 months. Usually the culprit is a baby not latching on well. Most likely that wouldn't last 7 months unless there was a physical reason why babe couldn't latch properly. Thrush rarely causes cracks and bleeding, although it can be really painful. A crack is a perfect breeding ground for infection, which can be hard to get rid of if not treated.

Milk supply plummeting after 6-8 weeks is also a common symptom of tongue-tie. Was there anything else that changed? Medications? Baby starting sleeping through the night? Go back to work and more pumping than nursing? Anything else? You said he would rather sleep than eat, how many times was he nursing in 24 hours? What was his feeding behavior like right before the time period in which he started sleeping so much? Was he sleeping more because he started 'shutting down' because he wasn't getting enough calories?

A momma has to be really malnourshied before her body stops making milk. There are many chubby, fat, healthy babies in developing countries even though their mamas don't have enough to eat.

These are both pretty serious situations, and I'm really sorry you didn't get the help and support you needed. If you have problems with your next child it might be worth it to get a full evaluation by an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant). you can find one near you at www.ilca.org

Peace,
Emily
I actually did check my first out for being tongue tied, there's no problem there. I honestly think it was a continuous cycle of crappy things happening. I mean, I had normal soreness for a week, just getting the hang of it all, then I think some bad latches happened and I got super sore. Then not knowing what to do, it got worse and worse and that's when the cracks happened.
I equate the rest of the cracking and bleeding to yeast (aka thrush) because I noticed it again with my second after six weeks of perfect breast-feeding. He had a thrushy butt too at the time. So I did a little research in my handy-dandy herbal books and found some good remedies, like a vinegar rinse on my nipples and a little yogurt and baking soda in his mouth. All in all, it worked.
It was really the drop in nursing that I hated. I think I just didn't realize how little he was eating until it was too late. He was sleeping through the night, and taking four hour naps in the day. I thought I had an easy baby, and didn't realize what a drop in calories he had had. In some ways I'm grateful, I learned a lot, and maybe I can help somebody pay attention to those little things that add up to big things in breastfeeding.

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