I'm on day 5 of breastfeeding (was EPing before) and I tighten up so much that I shake. I seriously could throw up from the pain.
I am hoping in the next week that it will start getting a little better. I will take being sore...just not being in pain that is equal to my pitocin induced contractions. haha
Don't take anyone's word as gospel on this subject. Everyone has different pain thresholds and different experiences. I was told that BFing shouldn't hurt at all so for the first few weeks I was convinced I was doing it wrong and I spent many hours and $$ finding out I was doing it correctly I just had sensitive nipples.
That said, on a scale of 1-10, days 1-4 were a 27, tears and dreading the next feeding, no words could have prepared me for this. Days 5-10 were a 10, dread but no tears. Days 11-21 were an 8, toe curling at initial latch and first few sucks but otherwise we were making progress. Days 21-42 were a 4, initial latch pain. 43-56 were a 2, sore nipples for a little while after nursing. At about 2 months we really figured out what we were doing and it's great. Nursing times are some of my most favorite times of day.
A good support group and determination are key to BFing, IMO. Just know that your body was made to do this and that you are giving your child the best start to life that you can.
Oh and Medela Soft Shells saved my life for the first month and I still use them occasionally at night now.
rc1276:You don't want to hear my answer. I'm coming up on 7 weeks and still in pain most every time he nurses. Sometimes it's worse than others. Overall it's getting better, but SLOWLY.
Same - only I'm just over 5 weeks in.
initially (the first 2 days) it didn't hurt at all, that I recall.
When my milk came in at around 48 hours I was very engorged and that was extremely extremely uncomfortable and painful for about 24 hours. I tried to hand express in the bathtub, and put warm damp towels on them. Nursing during that time was a real challenge, because my boobs were like rocks so she couldn't get a latch on, which didn't help with my engorgement. I didn't have my pump yet, otherwise looking back I should have pumped a wee bit to soften them up and that would have probably fixed it.
After that engorgement passed, there was just the short-lived (15 seconds) twinges of pain right after she latched. If I recall correctly it's when your nerves in your nipples spasm. Once I knew what it was and knew it would pass in a matter of seconds it was easier to relax going into it. My nipples were quite tender during this time, as they adjusted to being sucked on all the time. The gel pad things you can buy at Target felt really good on them. Lansinoh helped a lot, too. I think that lasted a few weeks.
After that it was smooth sailing! Once we got to 6 weeks I remember thinking "NOW I understand what people meant when they said that after a time, bfing actually feels GOOD!" It's not just that it doesn't hurt--it's actually a pleasant feeling, the little tug-tug-flutter-tug of her mouth, like a little massage, the sense of relief and rush of feel-good hormones, and making you more comfortable by taking the milk out. A two-way street of need and comfort--I needed her to nurse to be comfortable and she needed to nurse to grow.
My breasts were definitely very tender the first few weeks, but I can pinpoint the real pain moments:
1) when DD bit me so hard on day 4 or 5 with her little gums that she drew blood- I had to pump that breast for about 2 days and feed her exclusively on the other side.
2) When I got clogged ducts and then mastitis. THAT is real pain. I wish I had known at the beginning that I had oversupply and had spoken with a lactation consultant before the second time I got mastitis. Both cases occurred when DD started sleeping for longer stretches of time.
Besides that, I also remember that my uterus would cramp/contract every time I nursed DD at the beginning, but that would have been bearable if not for the fact that I was totally sleep-deprived and couldn't make myself relax instead of tensing up with each cramp.
hmm.. when i saw blood i wanted to quit so bad.. like the PP wrote, my toes curled for the first 10 seconds of each latch for the first week -i would say a 7 (being realistic)..
second week it got much much easier! i still curled my toes, but only for 3 seconds now.
third week i had to go on an antibiotic so i had to pump and dump so my nipples healed totally and on the 4th week i had to teach my LO how to re-latch and that was 10 times more painful b/c he's older and it's like he's latching on for the first time. but it only hurt 3 days.. now it's totally fine. doesnt hurt at all.
all in all, it's doable, but it hurts -it effen hurts like a !@#$%^&* at times -but it's beautiful and wonderful and oh so worth it but you have to be dedicated.
For me, it was a 9-10 for the first 30 seconds when he latched, every single feeding for the first 6 weeks. It was worse than labor... but again, once he was latched and feeding it was okay. But showering, clothes rubbing against nipples, etc.... man, it was really really really bad for me.
I had deep wounds on both nipples and it took forever to heal. DS has an extremely strong suck and it KILLED. I hated every second of it, I won't lie.
But now I love it. And I am so freaking proud of myself for sticking with it.
FWIW, I also had an oxytocin allergy which resulted in a full-body rash with constant itching for the first four weeks, and my mom passed away when LO was 2 weeks old. I figure if I made it through those first two months of his life, I can pretty much do anything now.
Honestly it's never been more than a 5 at any given point. Even when it was a 5 it's only been that initial latch and then it's fine. Maybe I have a higher pain tolerance than some. I was determined to make it happen even if it did really hurt at first.
ncbelle:I honestly remember only very mild pain and maybe for a week or two - it was more like tenderness than pain.
this. I was so prepared for "toe curling pain" (so many people use that phrase!) and so thankful I didn't experience it!
I didn't really experience any pain from nursing. When my milk came in, I was engorged for a few days - that hurt. Nursing actually relieved that pain - which was probably about a 5.
My experience may have been because I needed to use a shield for the first week or two... Then once I was able to slide the shield off, dd already had the whole latch down.
Yikes! I guess I've had a relatively good experience...
First week, pain from nursing was probably a 7 b/c of cracked nipples. After they healed (a week to 10 d. w/religious use of lanolin cream), a 2-4 at most.
Pain/discomfort from engorgement b/c I went a little too crazy trying to build up my stash before I returned to work? Ridiculous. I didn't realize what I had done and had a miserable weekend. But it was temporary...and I learned. Quickly!
hurt for 2-3 weeks.
1st week...hurt like someone cutting at my nipples
2nd week, a little less
from then on out, it just gradually got better.