Debbie at The Newborn Baby helped my son and I breastfeed effectively and without pain after 12 weeks of struggling. Even though we had to "virtually" cross the country - we live on the West Coast - it made such a difference to receive her knowledgeable advice!
I had significant nipple pain, including cracks and blisters, for almost all of the first 10 weeks I breastfeeding my son. His pediatrician, the lactation specialist, and my doctor were all trying to help. He gained weight just fine all along, but typically fed frequently and for long periods of time, and had also started clamping and "chewing" on my nipple.
I felt the problem was that his latch wasn't quite right, but since it looked pretty good from the outside, the help I received focused more on other things, such as thrush and limiting his time feeding. Unfortunately, it appeared that this strategy was not providing him enough to be satisfied, and that my milk supply was starting to suffer as well. Exploring reasons why he might not get enough milk, I kept running into tongue tie, and eventually came across The Newborn Baby's page about posterior tongue tie. Debbie suggested a virtual consultation, during which we discovered he very likely had a posterior tongue tie! She also provided a wealth of resources for managing nipple pain and healing, maintaining milk supply, and helping him to latch on more effectively.
On her recommendation, I located a doctor (thankfully very near us!) who was knowledgeable and skilled in dealing with posterior tongue tie. He thought that it would be beneficial to clip it, so in my son's 12th week, the tongue tie was clipped. Immediately I could tell he was feeding more effectively - he swallowed more obviously than he had in the past, and he didn't cry when I only fed him for twenty minutes!
Over the next two weeks, his latch improved dramatically, he stopped clamping down on the nipple, and he would go two and three hour stretches between feedings and still seem satisfied! My nipples also healed and are pretty much pain-free. Sometimes I have to remind myself that he is still eating, because it seems too easy!
It would have taken a lot longer to get to this place if it weren't for Debbie's help. Apparently this posterior tongue tie is not well known, and not every health care provider knows everything. But it helps to work with someone who is really listening and willing to explore possibilities.
Mother from Portland, Oregon