My Life Parenting

Status Report

Calvin is seven weeks old, and I think we can call it now: he has been the easiest of our three babies. He rarely cries, as I can anticipate his needs and read his cues pretty well. We have the occasional bad night, but most of the time he goes to sleep around seven, wakes up to nurse once, and then sleeps again until morning. Five o’clock in the morning, but I’ll take it! He has been in a mama-only phase for the past couple of weeks so I’m not getting as much done as I’d like to, but the upside is that my days are positively filled with baby snuggles and smiles. The house is a mess and I have to do most of my typing with one hand when I work, but he’s worth it.

Nicole and Calvin

The only downside is that breastfeeding continues to be difficult. I think the worst of it was around four weeks (when I wrote this post), but I’d hoped we would be past the pain by now and that the early damage could heal. I indulge Calvin’s preference for me and let him sleep in my arms in part because it keeps him happy and/or asleep for longer, therefore extending the time between nursing sessions (giving me a bit of a reprieve). I wish I didn’t dread nursing so much, but it’s hard to willingly do something ten times a day that hurts. I stubbornly press on because I’m assuming it will get better and I actually like nursing when it’s no longer painful, but I wish we could get to that point soon.

On a happier note, I just learned something new about baby clothes! I always assumed they had envelope necklines to fit over their big wobbly heads, but it’s so you can roll them down in case of a diaper blowout. (Did you know that?) Mind blown.

Mind blown.

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  • Susan
    November 24, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Hope things get easier for you BF-wise. FYI – I’ve had a lot of girl friends in pain to find out way later (weeks, months…) that it is thrush. They showed no signs, neither did their babies, but once they went on medication it got MUCH better. It’s a PIA to bother your dr for (especially if they don’t believe you), but thought I’d share in hopes it would help. Best of luck! I’m expecting my third boy in January and I hope he is a sweet, easy snuggler like Calvin.

    • Making it Lovely
      November 24, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      I have a checkup tomorrow, and I’m going to ask. Calvin has a white coating on his tongue that his doctor and I think is milk residue, but it would be good to either diagnose thrush or rule it out.

      • Darcie
        November 24, 2014 at 1:19 pm

        Yes! My son is a week younger than yours and we got the thrush in the hospital because I was wearing the gel pads to help my nipples and milk would build up behind it with no airflow. It has been 5 weeks and we are almost through with it. It hurt SO MUCH to breastfeed. Now that I am on the meds and on the mend, the pain is gone. If it is a deep pain within the breast at every feed, chances are it is thrush- it also makes your nipples burn, too- but the deep pain was new for me.
        Whatever it is, I hope you get it sorted out momma. You’re a trooper and he’s lucky to have such an awesome and committed mommy. :)

      • Lindsay
        November 24, 2014 at 3:06 pm

        I had thrush while nursing my son 4 years ago. I think I got it from getting antibiotics in the hospital when I was delivering my baby. My son had it too with a horrible diaper rash that would not go away and nobody seemed to know what it was until I found a message board online. It took over 3 months to go away and I used the APNO cream too. Very few pharmacies make an ointment, so call around to find one. I also took anti-fungal pills for awhile. I would talk to your dr. and try to at least rule out thrush.

      • Whitney
        November 24, 2014 at 9:47 pm

        My five week old had thrush and my nipples were slightly cracked and red, and the lactation consultant recommended getting a prescription for All Purpose Nipple Ointment (APNO). You have to get it from a compounding pharmacy, and it has made such a difference! I thought she had developed a problem with her latch, but it turns out it was just the yeast infection. I’m still using it for prevention. I’ve also had friends who had really painful nursing because of tongue ties.

      • Susan
        November 25, 2014 at 10:42 am

        If he has the white residue in his mouth, I would push the dr for the medicine. So not worth it to be in such pain….

      • Sarah
        November 26, 2014 at 6:54 pm

        That definitely sounds like thrush, although I don’t know if that would make nursing painful for you. I hope you figure it out soon, its a shame that you’re still struggling. 7 weeks definitely sounds like too long to be dealing with the pain! I think it was only a week or two for me, but its hard to remember.

  • Mia
    November 24, 2014 at 11:52 am

    He is such a sweetie! Hope your BF problems get better soon! What we do for our kids, huh?! Have you met with or spoken to a lactation consultant? They may be able to help you diagnose thrush, tongue tie, lip tie, etc. if any of those are the case :-)

    • Making it Lovely
      November 24, 2014 at 12:18 pm

      I went through all of that with Eleanor and I haven’t pursued it this time around because I assumed things were the same. It may be time to meet with someone again though because seven weeks is a long time to be in pain.

  • Danielle
    November 24, 2014 at 11:56 am

    You blew my mind…:-)

  • Cathy
    November 24, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    I am not sure if you have heard of this before, and I am sorry if you have already tried it and it didn’t work, but All Purpose Nipple Ointment (APNO) was a miracle worker for me when I was nursing my son and had a lot of pain and bleeding whenever he nursed. It does require a prescription and is medicated, but it was the ONLY thing that help. I ended up nursing for a year after thinking I would only last a month due to the pain. Check it out, I hope it helps!

    • Meagan
      November 24, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      Yes yes yes! I also got a prescription for the nipple ointment from my midwife and it saved my life! I wanted to give up breast feeding every day, 12 times a day for 4 weeks until I got this sweet sweet relief. I used it for maybe 3 more weeks until either my nipples got tougher or baby got better at latching and breast fed for 14 months.

  • Hilty
    November 24, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Just here to say after 10 weeks of crying and wincing through every single feeding and visits with three different lactation consultants, formula did not, as I had imagined, turn out to be the devil. I feel your pain, admire your determination, and wish your next feeding to be as blissful as it is supposed to be!

  • Jessica
    November 24, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    What a lovely little boy you have there…

    I am absolutely feeling you on pretty much every point. For me, the breastfeeding-related pain is from pumping, which I do about twice as often as I nurse (perils of working outside the home, but baby and I are about to get a full week together sans pump, which shall rock). It sucks, and it’s uncomfortable, but it’s so, so worth it to be able to keep nursing. Though I will definitely second anyone who says that a switch away from the breast is always an okay thing.

    Best of luck to you guys on working things out, no matter how you go about it.

  • Caitlin Restivo
    November 24, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    He is such a cutie!! I admire your dedication to BFing!!

  • Sarah
    November 24, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    He is precious!

  • Kathy
    November 24, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    My Mind is blown also!!! I have been a mom for 17 years and never knew this. My boys were the worst at the poop all the way up the back and this would have been soo handy.
    I also had extreme pain during and in-between breastfeeding. I wish I had some great advice but I don’t. I just suffered through because not one of my three kids would take a bottle (or a soother).
    Just remember how quickly these stages pass. I am looking at a kid graduating this year already and I want to cry every time I think of it.
    Keep enjoying every moment!

  • Laura @ Rather Square
    November 24, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Do you think Calvin seems easier/more predictable in part because you’re a more experienced parent now? I definitely feel that way with our (second) baby right now (he’s almost 13 weeks) – I’m a lot more confident this time around than I was with our first. Both he and I are more laid-back. It’s nice. :) Good luck with your feeding issues – hope you find relief/answers!

    • Making it Lovely
      November 24, 2014 at 12:33 pm

      Yeah, I think it’s a combination of experience and his temperament. I remember feeling a lot less confident the first time around (watching the clock to keep track of feedings, counting wet diapers — that kind of thing), but each baby has definitely had their own personality too!

  • Kristin
    November 24, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Hugs. He’s absolutely adorable. Could he have a posterior tongue tie? I had 4 drs tell me my son was fine but the pain told me otherwise. Finally found a specialist and got my diagnosis. Dreading a feed is not fun and wears on you! Go with your instinct. Regardless you are great parents and we all are rooting for happy times for you all!!!

  • cristen
    November 24, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    My first son had similar problems nursing. I cried out in pain every single time he nursed. It lasted for about 12 weeks and then all of a sudden the pain was gone. I was able to nurse him until 14 months when he weaned. My second son was another story all together. It did not hurt as much but he would never latch on. Once we got that all worked out we later found out he was allergic to my breast milk. We only lasted 5 months. Breastfeeding can be so hard! I’m about to have my third boy and have no idea what will happen this time. Hoping all the pain will go away for you soon! Hang in there mama.

  • Erin @ whalingcitycottage
    November 24, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    Oh my…god! This means I didn’t have to use scissors to cut my babies out of their worst blow out onesies? In lieu of doing the poop drag over their head? Mind blown for sure.

  • Jessika
    November 24, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    If you want to give yourself a break and allow things to heal a little, will Calvin take a bottle? Our little guy is bottle only– we exclusively pump (he had major latch issues). One of the positives is that I heal very quickly from any injuries (there were many when we were trying to nurse) because the pump is uniform in how it sucks. I have the Medela Pump in Style Advanced, but I spent $50 and got the compatible Freemie ( cups. BEST $50 I SPENT ON BABY GEAR. No fussy bras, no difficult parts to clean. And it slips into my bra and I pump. I can even hold my baby easily while doing it.

    Anyway, just thought I’d make the recommendation.

  • Laura
    November 24, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Isn’t it wonderful to learn something new with your third baby?!

    I wasn’t successful at breast feeding, for entirely different reasons, with either of my children. It was heart breaking but now they’re grown and it really was a small part of their childhood.

  • Allison
    November 24, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    I’m expecting our second in February and would LOVE any tips on your routine that has contributed to such an amazing sleep schedule.

  • Michelle
    November 24, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    I wish you the best of luck in whatever path you take to get to non-painful feedings.

  • judy
    November 24, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    What beautiful children you have. And what a loving dedicated Mommy they are lucky to have. I hope you find what is causing your pain and find a speedy solution. How’s your weather?Living in Virginia(its 60 out today) I always wonder how those in the Wintry States are faring. And feel very sympathetic-we lived in East Aurora New York for many years and seeing it on the news recently We thank our lucky stars a work transfer took us South.

  • Julia [Chris Loves Julia]
    November 24, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    I was in terrible pain until around 12 weeks with Faye. A combination of gel pads and lots of toe curling got me through. And then we just went through a bout of thrush which was even more painful! A prescription and cream on her and I got us through. Isn’t it crazy wonderful what we go through for our babes? Hang in there Nicole. We’re all rooting for you! And, goodness, he’s ridiculously cute.

  • Brigita
    November 24, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Your little boy is so precious!
    I had great pain during breast feeding due to tiny cracks in my nipples, the only thing that helped was this paw paw cream:
    I’m from Australia so not sure if you can get it in the US. Just apply after each feed, no need to wash off before next feed as it is OK for baby. For me it was a miracle worker!
    Enjoy your bundle of joy!

  • Niki
    November 24, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    Nicole, I know exactly what you’re going through. Nursing was painful for a couple of months with both of my kids. Hope it gets better for you soon. I always felt like I could’ve been able to nurse a sharp-toothed badger by about four months. Made it to 11 months with both of my kids.

  • Kara
    November 24, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Calvin is absolutely gorgeous. I hope nursing gets easier soon xx

  • Kelley C
    November 24, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Maybe ask the doc if there’s a chance Calvin has a tongue tie? That could be the culprit?

  • Jessica
    November 24, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    I hope you find an answer or solution that resonates, for such a simple thing BFing can be frustrating and complicated! I have two kids and neither time was quite what I wanted it to be (ah..mama guilt). You deserve a Mom Badge for this, maybe something like “Tenacious Nursing”! :)

  • Kim
    November 24, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    That APNO was a life-saver for me. Had to convince my doctor I needed some treatment, kept getting told if my son’s latch was correct my sores would heal. Six weeks of pain that seemingly resolved overnight after using this ointment.

  • Kelly
    November 24, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    Such a beautiful boy! Mama too! Totally sympathize (as all the other mothers do : ) with the nursing pain. I was saved by Lanolin ( – just in case you haven’t tried this one yet! Nothing topical takes the pain away from an infection though…. Really hoping it abates soon!

  • Kat S
    November 25, 2014 at 12:13 am

    I feel your pain mama – my littlest is currently almost 7 months and he’s probably teething, and nursing in the past few weeks became so painful he drew blood! Finally realized I needed to work on his latch, but actually getting it right is a painful process.

  • Kiley
    November 25, 2014 at 12:25 am

    Do you know about Newmand cream? It’s an amazing handmade compound that can heal sore/chapped/bleeding nipples. Lanolin cream didn’t work, but for me, this did and once I could heal the pain went away. Good luck! BF is a hard, painful beautiful thing.

  • Jenn
    November 25, 2014 at 8:22 am

    I love the feeling of solidarity as all the breastfeeding mamas come out of the woodwork!!
    Meds and a nipple shield saved my breastfeeding relationship with my son! That little piece of rubber was my saving grace so I could heal! <3 Hugs!

  • Jennifer
    November 25, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Breastfeeding should not hurt (neither should pumping, as one reader commented). It sounds like something is still not right, such as positioning, thrush or tongue tie. I hope you get answers to your problems soon. Seek out La Leche League or other breastfeeding support in your area. Many times doctors do not have the knowledge or expertise to answer breastfeeding questions satisfactorily.

  • marjorie
    November 25, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    if it is thrush there is this amazing stuff called Gentian Violet you put in the babies mouth. be careful though it will stain anything and everything. apply extremely small amounts at a time in a layering type way to prevent slobber from getting it everywhere. and then wash your nipple and surrounding area with apple cider vinegar (the braggs brand is the one you want if you can find it.) i would use the vinegar for the baby if it were mild but its pretty strong and can burn his mouth. these are the best ways to get rid of yeast type infections. non antibiotic and works so fast! also try a baby chiropractor, more specifically the type that works on the cranial and mouth. our baby had a hard time holding on and milk would drizzle out of his mouth and they fixed it! latch was immediately fixed. also, i have found that you can get nursing pads and put them in the freezer and that can help with the pain. use the kind with the plastic backing of course so the ice doen’t make you all wet. anyway, hope this helps. good luck and congrats!

  • Amy H
    November 25, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    I had latch issues with my second child, my son. After spending several weeks thinking “this will get better soon” and using lots of lanolin and the aforementioned nipple ointment, I finally went to see a lactation consultant again, who suggested trying some different positions and working on his latch. A week or so later we were good to go and I nursed him until 22 months! Hang in there – and visit with an LC or La Leche League!

  • Anna
    November 25, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Have you had him checked by a lactation consultant or nurse for a tongue or lip tie?

  • AK
    November 25, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    With my first one breast feeding was Terribly painful. Cracked bleeding nipples, the whole works. The lactation consultant suggested taking a break by pumping and bottle feeding. It allowed me to heal and then we successfully breastfed for well over a year.

    Good luck.

  • Margaret
    November 25, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    Nursing was a total drag for me too: horrible latch issues, pain, mastitis ktl.
    What saved the day and fixed the latch issues for us were nipple guards/shields:

    They kept us going for almost eight months!

  • EvY
    November 25, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    THAT’s WHAT THAT IS FOR?! WHAT! Amazing.

  • katie
    November 26, 2014 at 8:44 am

    haha. somehow i knew this. prob just not wanting poop in any of my girls hair/face…would have cut it off if i had too. thanks for spreading the good word though:)

  • Kirstin
    November 26, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Good luck with the breastfeeding and value your own sanity too; formula is a completely acceptable option. Scaling back breastfeeding made me SO happy, and I’ve been able to enjoy motherhood so much more now that I’m not trapped by my boobs (I have twins though, so breastfeeding was extra challenging).

  • KBW
    November 26, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Nice Tim and Eric reference there!

  • Christy
    November 27, 2014 at 7:12 am

    I love reading about your baby experiences! I have a four-month-old girl, my first baby, and it’s so, so intense! We struggled with nursing too. I didn’t have much pain, but she fussed through every feeding for about six weeks, and I was convinced that she wasn’t getting enough milk. Then when I went back to work, I had to deal with pumping and constantly worrying about keeping up the milk supply. Now that we’re getting snowstorms, I worry about power outages and losing all the frozen milk. Worry, worry, worry! But there is so much pressure to breastfeed, and I do enjoy having that relationship with her. And I know that when she outgrows nursing, I will probably look back on it fondly and be glad I did it. But anyone who says it “comes naturally” is crazy!

  • Kat
    November 27, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    Congrats on your beautiful boy! I’m currently nursing my second, a beautiful three month old little girl. Isn’t it interesting how different temperament can be between newborns? My first and second were night and day from day one (thankfully number two is soooo easy!). I did have some pain that went away after a few weeks when breastfeeding my first but she screamed nonstop for six months straight. My second the pain hung around for two months, it was pretty bad. Did some reading and found out just by looking that she has a pretty bad tongue tie, talked to the pediatritician and having it clipped was a decision he left to us. Would have never thought to look for it or ask but after reading I did notice that she “clicks” when she eats- it’s very noticeable especially if your other littles never did when they were nursing. It started to stretch out on it’s own, thank goodness, but it is still not a pleasant experience all the time.

    Some of the other advice from other Mom’s sounds helpful, especially about thrush, hope you find some answers soon! I hung in there this time too and I’m sooooo glad I did, after having to stop nursing my first at fourteen months due to incredible pain (six months pregnant and it was indescribably painful, sobbing and nursing) I missed that time to bond and snuggle, especially now that she’s running around and doesn’t need me as much anymore. Number two loves to sleep on me between nursing too, love it but it definitely means the laundry piles up :). Best of luck, you’re an amazing mom!

  • huette
    November 30, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    You mentioned pain with nursing, not sure what kind of pain but if you’re dealing with nipple trauma you might try these :

    I am almost 2 weeks into nursing my first born and a lactation consultant gave me a pair of these. Along with motherlove nipple salve, they have helped my poor raw nipples recover.

  • Jennifer
    December 1, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    2 kids both terrible pain nursing. The nipple shields and breast shells were a godsend- I have flat nipples and my kids had high palates. Also, APNO. I know you know it gets easier, I know you know it’s all worth it. Also know that I have been there and respect what you are going through to make this work. Hang tough, lady!

  • Deanna
    December 1, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    Hi Nicole. Love your blog. I too, had a difficult, extremely painful time breastfeeding my second son. Someone suggested nipple shields. They look like a bottle nipple and they go right over your breast. Those were life savers along with lanoline ointment which sounds as if it may be what some others have suggested don’t have to wipe it off before nursing. I was pain free within a couple of weeks. Nursed him for a year! Good luck.

  • jess
    December 4, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    For me, it was 8 weeks of pain. One of my babies had a terrible lip tie that went undiagnosed. Technically, it’s still undiagnosed, but I’ve made my peace with it. Once his mouth opened wider, it stopped being so inconceivably painful.

    I’m glad Calvin is an easy baby!