Does breastfeeding hurt? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 04-14-2011, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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okay I was wondering (pregnant with my first) does breastfeeding hurt, and for how long usually? And what about when you use breast pumps? Also, how would u rate the pain? I'm a little scared, dumb I know, but I really do what to breastfeed since it's really good and healthy for the baby.


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#2 of 16 Old 04-14-2011, 07:35 PM
 
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Breastfeeding is somewhat uncomfortable when you first begin. MOST of the pain at the beginning is from the uterine cramps accelerated by breastfeeding! Those are killer - they feel a lot like labor. You may have some nipple discomfort for the first week or 2 (not pain - i'd rate this a 4), and there is some pain with engorgement when your milk first comes in, but it only lasts 2 days or so. If there is any pain beyond 2 weeks, it indicates a problem....... breastfeeding (in general) is not at all painful and is actually just wonderful! I wish someone had told me that when my first child was a baby, and I would have known something was wrong... I lost my supply around 4 months because I didn't realize pain meant problem. I am EBF my 11 week old DD and I haven't had any discomfort feeding her.


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#3 of 16 Old 04-14-2011, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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so if the pain last long in your boobs, that means you cant produce enough milk or???


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#4 of 16 Old 04-14-2011, 09:16 PM
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No, the connection isn't that direct, and it may not be connected at all. It depends on what is causing your pain.

If the reason for the pain is connected to the baby's latch in some way, that may mean that the baby isn't actually taking as much as is needed, and so the supply might suffer. This may be the case if the baby is tongue-tied for example. However, with help from a good lactation consultant most problems like these can be solved, especially if help is sought early on.

On the other hand, I've had problem with something known as Reynaud's, or vasospasm. This isn't connected to the baby's latch at all, and so supply isn't affected. On the other hand, there isn't really much treatment for Reynaud's, except keeping warm, and especially keeping extremities (including breasts) extra warm.

But I wouldn't worry too much about pain. Yes, it may be painful in the first week or two, and nipples can be a bit sore. You may have extremely painful shooting pain at let-down at the beginning. But that gets better. However, it is always a good idea to see a good LC and get any pain evaluated early on, before it becomes a problem.

My top recommendation is to get a hold of a copy of the new, 8th edition (completely revised), of The Womanly Art of breastfeeding. Read chapter 4, Latching and attaching, chapter 5, the first few days and chapter 6, the first two weeks. It will set you up to know what to expect, and how to easily prevent a lot of possible problems, and how to know if something i an issue than needs to be addressed.

And find a really good LC, and keep her nr on the fridge, tell yourself and your partner that at the first sign of concern, you; ll give her a ring.

If you are well-prepared, you are minimising the risk of any problems.
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#5 of 16 Old 04-15-2011, 07:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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okay thank you both=]


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#6 of 16 Old 04-15-2011, 08:06 AM
 
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Done properly and without any problems, it shouldn't hurt a lot for more than a week or two, and it shouldn't hurt at all after the first two months.

 

However if you get cracked nipples the pain can be excruciating-- I have been able to stop this with lanolin cream and making sure the nipples never remain wet or moist between feedings.

 

And then there's mastitis, which is the most horrifically painful experience I've ever had-- not every woman gets it though.

 

Those are the 2 problems I've had experience with.

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#7 of 16 Old 04-15-2011, 09:18 AM
 
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For me, the 1st week and a half to 2 weeks flat hurt.  I wound up with scabs on my nipples.  But once I started hand expressing a bit of milk to put n them then letting it air dry after nursing sessions they got a lot better.  Lansinoh also helped.

 

After those first few weeks there's been no real pain.  DD will sometimes get to shallow a latch, but I just unlatch her and start over.  And she has very occasionally nipped me a bit with her teeth, but that's more surprises than hurts me.

 

I encourage you to keep reading around here and at Kellymom.com.  I learned sooo much from these sites and feel like the knowledge i gained here really helped me be successful in nursing my DD.

 

ETA you're right to sat that breast feeding is healthy for the baby, but it's healthy for you too.  Breastfeeding can reduce your risk of breast cancer and may help you avoid PPD.


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#8 of 16 Old 04-15-2011, 11:15 AM
 
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It varies a lot from woman to woman, but I did not find early breastfeeding to be painful at all. I still don't--my baby is 17 months old, I pumped until he was 13 months old (and I didn't find pumping painful either).

 

Like others said above, usually pain is a sign that something is not right, and it's a good idea to have the number of a professional handy who can help you fix it. Also, especially in the early weeks, if you are experiencing pain, don't wait to fix it--go see someone right away!

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#9 of 16 Old 04-15-2011, 11:21 AM
 
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Breastfeeding does not hurt when it is established. It actually feels pretty relaxing when you settle down with your babe. But in the begining you might be sore, because engorgement happens regardless of whether you actually nurse, and because your nipple isn't getting used to new behavior. So yeah, I was sore at first and I was kind of surprised, both from engorgement (didn't bother me at all the second time) and from the nursing.

 

What can hurt is when the latch is in the wrong place and putting pressure on the sensitive bits. That is why taking a class, having a book, watching a video or person nurse IRL, and have access to experienced support from an experienced nursing mother, LLC leader, LC, or nurse with bf'ing experience is key. You want to make sure you have the right position, a good latch, and then pretty soon it is easy peasy. Bf'ing is natural and stuff but most women need support in the beginning.

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#10 of 16 Old 04-15-2011, 11:22 AM
 
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Pumping, eh, I don't like pumping and I'vd done it a LOT because I work WFT and I use only expressed bm for the kids. I'd never, ever choose pumping over bf'ing and I know almost no one who does. Pumping doesn't feel good in the same way bf'ing does, most people find watching output stressful, and there is no sweet little baby there. That said, it is better than the alternative so I do.

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#11 of 16 Old 04-15-2011, 11:31 AM
 
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Breastfeeding often hurts in the beginning, but there is the "normal" pain and the "something is wrong" pain.  If you get cracked, bleeding nipples, that is a sign that something is wrong.  I tend to think of the "normal" pain of breastfeeding as being associated with the tender nipples of pregnancy, and more attention and pressure being placed in that area than you've probably had before.  And not every mother experiences that. I had a lot of pain breastfeeding my first, and my nipples did get cracked and they scabbed over, and by the time the scabs came off, I realized the pain was much less.  But I always had a little bit of pain because her latch was not good, until she got to a certain age where she relaxed her sucking and wasn't compressing my nipple.

 

With my second, I was breastfeeding quite a lot, and the latch seemed good, but by the end of the second day my nipples felt pretty sore--like a bruised feeling.  I was feeling really worried that it would turn into more, but that pain was gone by the next day.  The only time I noticed a problem is when she slipped to the end of the nipple, and that was an excruciating burning like pain. So I just paid careful attention to latch, because I had not been that careful, figuring since she was my second I didn't need to worry about it as much, I guess.  Most of the time with her, I barely could feel her sucking.  My first child had such a strong suck, and would clamp down sometimes, so it was a different experience.

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#12 of 16 Old 04-17-2011, 09:14 PM
 
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That small amount of pain is TOTALLY worth it though! I agree with all the previous posters... many women (not all!) experience pain and/or discomfort at the beginning, but it really doesn't last very long and once you are healed up you don't feel a thing!

 

When I'm talking to moms-to-be I usually say: just like a guitar master has to build callouses on his fingers to play the guitar, your nipples have to get used to their new task and become a tougher body part. Afterall, this is the first time they have ever been really USED, right? Good luck, you'll do AWESOME! thumb.gif


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#13 of 16 Old 04-17-2011, 09:30 PM
 
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Commented once already but wanted to triple up on the PP - so right! If pain seems bad seek intervention EARLY. LCs & the LLL are great resources... I allowed pain to go WAY too long with my first child (and I realize I was a little unclear!) and his poor latch was causing nipple pain and clogged ducts and he wasn't getting enough milk and then I returned to work on top of all of that and I lost my supply. With DD, I ignored shooting pains for quite some time, and by the time I finally went to the doctor, every single nerve in my body hurt, I was crying, I had a fever of 103.......... it was one of the worst cases of mastitis my doc had seen, and I will say it was the worst pain of my entire life (yes - worse than naturally birthing two children!). However, I could have avoided that (and I did avoid it a few weeks later) if I'd just called for the help I needed when the pain started! As a PP said, an LC's # on the fridge and a commitment to call when needed is a great help!

 

Just wanted to say I have felt some of the AWFUL pains that you hear of in those breastfeeding horror stories, and I have come out on the other side and don't feel anything but love when I'm nursing now! :)


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#14 of 16 Old 04-17-2011, 09:43 PM
 
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I agree with the normal pain versus real pain. I had real pain initially when I got a yeast infection on one nipple. That was followed with almost 2 months of normal pain as my nipples weren't used to the workout. After that it settled to no pain.

I was checked for latch and other problems by my midwives and everything came out fine, I just had to get used to it, or my nipples did anyway. So worth it.
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#15 of 16 Old 04-21-2011, 04:54 PM
 
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I know many women do have discomfort or even pain while breastfeeding, but not all.

 

I've had absolutely no pain breastfeeding, with 2 exceptions. When my daughter was getting her first tooth, at about 9 months, she'd sometimes bite/chomp. I told her "don't do that, it hurts", and she stopped. Then recently, I got a mild case of thrush, which caused quite a bit of real pain, enough that I knew something was wrong. I treated it by globbing yogurt on and the pain has gone.

 

From the very first time my daughter latched, I felt a warm loving bliss rise in me. The actual sensation of her nursing felt nice and also, it felt good in a deeper way. I felt like I was really good at it and also very blessed. Pregnancy and birth were both very hard and I think the joy and pleasure of nursing saved me from postpartum depression.

 

I have heard/read that it should not hurt, and I think that is true. 

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#16 of 16 Old 04-21-2011, 05:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post

Breastfeeding does not hurt when it is established. It actually feels pretty relaxing when you settle down with your babe. But in the begining you might be sore, because engorgement happens regardless of whether you actually nurse, and because your nipple isn't getting used to new behavior. So yeah, I was sore at first and I was kind of surprised, both from engorgement (didn't bother me at all the second time) and from the nursing.

 

What can hurt is when the latch is in the wrong place and putting pressure on the sensitive bits. That is why taking a class, having a book, watching a video or person nurse IRL, and have access to experienced support from an experienced nursing mother, LLC leader, LC, or nurse with bf'ing experience is key. You want to make sure you have the right position, a good latch, and then pretty soon it is easy peasy. Bf'ing is natural and stuff but most women need support in the beginning.


This was/is the case for me exactly. Other than the first week, breastfeeding is pretty relaxing and I'd say comfortable. I'm nursing my first who is now 13 mos and we are still going strong (he loves it!). The first little bit engorgement definitely played a part in my discomfort, as well as my nipple being unaccustomed to bfing. But after the first bit and an in home consultation from a LC during that first uncomfortable and sore week, soreness/pain has definitely not been an issue. 

 

 

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