Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Nipple Vasospasm: An Update on my Nursing Journey

Some time ago now, I WROTE ABOUT A CONDITION CALLED NIPPLE VASOSPASM. It had affected terribly each of my attempts with breastfeeding my babies. No matter how I tried, the pain was agonizing and for months and months and months.
So during Ezekiel's pregnancy, I tried so many things. I put calendular cream on every day, sometimes twice a day. I took tissue salts daily, saw a specialist about taking a prescription drug called Nifedipine (which I ended up using for less than a week because the migranes I got were too strong). I bought and used woollen breastpads daily for months (which I attribute much of the change this time round to!), joined my local ABA group, bought nipple herbal washes (which I didn't end up needing to use!!!) and talked and read lots of other people's stories.
And I prayed. I prayed and prayed.
I cried out to Yah and pleaded with Him to allow me to have a different experience this time round.
I wanted to just once what it was like to feed like other women I saw around me did. I would see their baby show hunger signs and they would bring their baby close to their chest, lift their top, feed their baby and continue on in conversation with others around them.
This was SO completely opposite to what I'd experienced in the past.
My experience went something along the lines of the baby shows hunger signs. My heartrate would increase dramatically as I grimmaced just thinking about the pain that would shoot through my nipple and the rest of my nervous system as the baby would try and latch on. If we were at home, the whole room would basically stop what was going on, people (Brett, my folks if they were here, the kids) would come and hold my hand so I could squeeze the goodness out of it. Tears would roll down my face, toes curled and I would rock and writhe in pain all to just get the baby to latch on. If others were around, I would try and hide those things as best I could; sometimes I could other times I couldn't. As the baby got older and would feed less on me and more on solids, the pain would subside but it was always there in the background.
I couldn't begin to imagine what it would be like to actually REALLY enjoy feeding; from the moment it started to the end of the feed.
I couldn't ever imagine that.

Now I know what that feels like!
Praise to Yah!
I have experienced all that I prayed for!
As I said, I didn't need the Nifedipine for long, I used the woollen breast pads daily for months and I finally experienced what I saw others doing; enjoying feeding their babies!
HalleluYAH! I praise Yah with all my heart!
I know that it's not the end of the world if you can't feed but for me this is more than just being able to breastfeed. This was about a cry of my heart that was answered. This was about being healed and feeling encouraged. This was about pushing through as best I could.
I've recently been experiencing difficulty with Zeeki biting me during feeds. Donna suggested using calendular again so I'll be doing that. I also break the latch just before he falls asleep on the breast as this was often when he was clamping down too. I'm trying to recognise when he's not actually hungry and when he is needing something to gnaw or gum and giving him a dummy, teether or teething gel when necessary.
Zeeki is 9 months old and this is the longest I've ever fed a baby without also comp feeding them with formula. As I said, this is not a post to condemn those who have fed their babies with  formula; far from it as I have done that for 4 of my children in the past! This is just an update on my story about the cry of my heart to feed my baby without pain.
And how God faithfully answered my prayer.

More another time,
Lus x


Sarndra said...

I'm so pleased for you dearest Lusi!! As you know I also experienced vasospasm, and it was thanks to reading your blog that I was able to identify it! Months of agony also as you described and I too wore breast warmers, the artificial ones made from firefighters reflector uniform material. I also had to stay very warm and wear double the clothing of everyone else! I don't know if I told you how I saw a lactation consultant / homeopath who took me off sugar, immediately made an improvement. I know it's different for everyone, but wanted to write that here in case in helps one of your readers also suffering. Vaso's are much more common than Dr's know!! My GP diagnosed me with nipple thrush but I knew it was not that! She hadn't heard of vaso's !! I am so proud of you Lusi for persevering with breast feeding and giving your children the best start in life! I am proud of myself too, and am so thankful that I stuck at it as I have had and am stil having, a great b feeding experience with my son who's just about to turn 1 :) now that it's winter again I have had the slightest feeling of vaso's returning once again if I get cold so a good reminder for me to stay extra warm and cut down on my sugar intake once again.
Much love to you, Lusi Xoxoxxx

lusi said...

Ah my beautiful friend, thank you for your words! I'm so pleased that my original post helped you in your feeding journey and that you were able to get through the pain by finding out what made the pain worse and what could lessen it. You are such a fab mama and I can't get over Alex almost being one! What's his birthdate again? I should know that - sorry mate. Anyway, love and hugs to all of you as always x

Sumara said...

Nine months, Lus! I'm so proud of you! xoxoxoxo!

Anonymous said...

I am thrilled that after all this time you finally got to enjoy this important part of motherhood.

What a beautiful answer to prayer.

My daughter has just turned 12 years old but I still remember how thankful I was that I could breastfeed her for over a year without any problems. It was such a special bonding time for us.

Have a great week end and keep warm xxoo

From Susan McGuire :)

Julie said...


Nat said...

Praise Yah indeed!! That is SO GOOD honey!! So good!

kathy said...

So happy for you lusi :) what a blessing - praise Yah

Anonymous said...

Gosh I have had a hard time feeding this time around and one side seems to be experiencing vasospasm. I've had a long time of expressing to let the injured side heal and it still isn't right. I wouldn't have known what to call it if it wasn't for you, Lusi. Catherine herself is thriving and is very flexible in her feeding method. It's the first time I've put anything in a bottle. After 8 weeks she's smiling and the fog ofchaos is lifting. Now I just feel like a walking contraception advertisement when I take the three of them out shopping ... well actually anywhere.
Emily L.

lusi said...

Hi Em :-) Firstly congrats on Catherine's arrival ! Secondly, sorry you had such a hard time with feeding but am glad that post seemed to help you understand what was happening in your body. Glad she is thriving! With love x


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