Oh, the pain.

Christina - posted on 07/10/2009 ( 29 moms have responded )

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I have been exclusively breastfeeding my new daughter for six weeks now. She is getting plenty to eat and is growing like a weed! However, I'm still experiencing a great deal of pain when she latches on. I am almost 100% sure that she is latching correctly because after a few moments, the pain goes away and I'm comfortable. Also, I am not cracked or bleeding. But that initial latch-on is just unbearably painful (and this is coming from someone who had a natural childbirth - I know pain!). It's this piercing, dreadful pain that usually leaves me in tears. I'm finding myself dreading to breastfeed because of the pain and my dreams of breastfeeding for a year are seeming more and more distant. :(

I plan to continue using lanolin, but this doesn't seem like a permanent solution. It helps for awhile, but having to wipe it off before baby's frequent feedings ends up irritating my nipples further. I'm going to meet with a lactation consultant soon as well. In the meantime, I'm looking for ideas and advice. Anyone else ever experienced this? What helped? Does it get better later? Any help would be so appreciated!

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Rhionna - posted on 07/14/2009

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Go see your GP and push for man answer, I had thrush in my breast and both me and my daughter had to be treated. I saw 3 Dr's before one believed how much pain I was in. I also pumped to reduce any pain at the nipple, but honestly go see your GP, it shouldn't hurt! I've had 3 kids and nursed them all but the pain when I had thrush was a pain like no other. Hope it gets sorted soon!

Richain - posted on 07/15/2009

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I was in your shoes until about 6 or 7 weeks too. My little boy would latch on perfectly but it HURT and then the pain would go away. I fought through it and now we no longer have our breastfeeding training wheels. I would alternate breasts and when the nipple was too sore I would pump to give it a break. He no longer sucks like he is starving and that has helped. We also eat on a schedule every three hours during the day, but if he is fussy earlier I go ahead and let him eat. That way, he doesnt act like my nipple is his last meal and doesnt panic. Hang in there and try a warm bath when they get too sore. I found that helped relax me and chase away the pain.

Tabitha - posted on 07/14/2009

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Hi Christina. I would definitely recommend seeking the counsel of a certified lactation consultant. It is hard to know exactly what the problem is until you meet with her and she can evaluate your infant's latch and your positioning during feeding. It can be a number of different things such as; a clogged duct or poor initial latch on. Consultants are great and they have great tips to help but, they need to see you in person. I saw that someone above mentioned using frozen cabbage. Please do NOT do this it WILL dry up your milk supply. Cabbage is used to dry up milk. You can use a product such as soothies (you refrigerate them) for relief. But if it's a clogged duct you need heat on your breasts and to massage your breast before nursing.

Natalie - posted on 07/13/2009

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I had the same problem you are describing... toe curling pain... it ended up I had a yeast infection of the milk ducts... can you ilosate.. is the pain deep down or just on the surface... huge does of diflucan is only thing that ended my pain... 8 weeks of suffering.... get help...

Lorilei - posted on 07/12/2009

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Hang in there! I had the same experience but the pain finally went away when my son was about 4 - 5 months old.

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Katrina - posted on 07/15/2009

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You may want to try a breast (nipple?)shield for a little bit to see if that helps, it limits actual mouth to nipple contact and can help with a myriad of issues, including incorrect latching and lazy latching.



I had a similar pains throughout nursing due to raw nipples and found that getting more of my nipple in her mouth seemed to ease a little of the initial pain.

[deleted account]

Quoting Michelle:

Sounds to me like you have blocked milk ducts i suffered with this when i had my 1st son like you the pain was only there when he latched on until he started feeding properly and it eased off... Try massaging you breast in a circular motion toward you nipple before a feed or try expressing of a little before to see if this helps .......good luck hope it improves soon



Hi, Christina!  I can empathize with your pain and almost fear/dread of nursing your little one.  I have to agree with Michelle on this one.  During my daughter's first 6 weeks, I had new mom nursing issues.  At one point, I had blocked ducts and was in severe pain  (though I didn't know at the time).  I also noticed that my daughter wasn't latching on correctly in conjuction with the blocked duct.  I alternated how I was holding her.  I would change from the traditional hold to the football hold and make sure that her nose was facing towards my pained area.  The pain subsided within a few days of my changing her nursing positioning.



I was always told that after 6 weeks it was smooth sailing.  So, that was my 'deadline' for bf'g it didn't work out.  And as it happened, it worked.  Now, I'm struggling with weaning.  My daughter is 19 mo now.

Lisa - posted on 07/14/2009

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Well done Christina for making the commitment this far and wanting to go further. I remember pain very similar to what you are describing when I was feeding my son in the first 6-8 weeks. As we were both learning the whole process of breasfeeding I found I wasn't getting him to latch on properly and ended up with cracked and bleeding nipples. I would feel such an intense pain at the begining of each feed that I thought I would have to stop but kept at it. I don't remember exactly when the pain stopped but just realised one day that it wasn't hurting me at all.

My son is now over 13 months and I'm still feeding. We have weathered 10 teeth so far with only 2 bites which were my fault for leaving him on too long at night!

Best of luck with your visit with the lactation consultant and continued breastfeeding of your daughter :)

[deleted account]

you can use lansinoh lanolin and you don't have to wipe it off before nursing. That's sorta the point of using that kind, so you don't have to worry about it. I usually ended up wrenching in pain and crying like crazy whenever my baby latched on, and sometimes the pain wouldn't go away. I actually had to pump one side for a months straight whenever she would nurse because she made a huge hole in the side of my nipple. i work full time as a nurse while my husband finishes school so i pump a few times a day before and during work. i don't know if that has helped any. i haven't had any problems for the last couple of months. it finally just stopped hurting on its own...maybe i just got used to it. who knows. we started cutting teeth this week, so we'll see how long we'll be nursing!

Dani - posted on 07/13/2009

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Well done for getting to 6 weeks! Many babies latch on poorly for the first few minutes of a feed and then 'draw' more breast in. This is almost certainly what your baby is doing. You can help her achieve a good latch from the beginning of the feed by ensuring she opens her mouth nice and wide for you - you'll have to be quick to guide her on to the breast though! Frequent feedings at 6 weeks are also very common. Babies usually have a growth spurt around this age and frequent, short feeds for around 3 days is normal. She should settle down again for you, just be sure to breastfeed on-demand and she'll let you know when she needs to nurse. The frequent feeds should also improve with better attachment on the breast. Good luck, Dani.

Dollie - posted on 07/13/2009

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I was having trouble getting my little to latch on at all,so my sister-in-law told me about the nipple sheild. It is simply a silicone cone with holes in it that fits over the nipple. I was cracked and bloody and it hurt so bad to feed her. I cried everytime she had to eat. I went to Target and bought the shield for around $7 and used it right away. It hurt a little because of the condition I was already in, but only a fraction of what it did before. Maybe you could use it for the initial latch-on and then remove it if you want to, or let baby eat with it on.

Hannah - posted on 07/13/2009

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My daughter is almost 3 months & the pain is still there. I am allergic to wool...so no lanolin (which you do not have to wipe off by the way), but I use a natural product.

My daughter has a high palate and a vigorous suck...the lactation consultant suggested a nipple shield, but I have had a lot of luck with switching back to the two hand method. Providing more directed support to my breast has provided me with some relief. Sometimes I let her suck on the paci or my finger for a few seconds so that the "angry" initial part of her suck is taken out on something less sensitive.

Good luck...don't you envy those women who have it easy ;)

Nicole - posted on 07/13/2009

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I always used the Lansinoh brand lanolin and never bothered to wipe it off. Make sure your nipples are not damp for a prolonged period. If my nursing pads got too full (especially in the first weeks) I would notice more pain. Also, you may want to watch the latch because it is possible that it is slightly off, and try another position, maybe the football hold. My mom told me once that when she was nursing my grandmother handed her cold cabbage leaves. Mom said that was the best she ever felt. Who knew cabbage could take care of that too? lol

Aislynn - posted on 07/13/2009

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Quoting Jennifer:

You might also want to try contacting a local La Leche League leader. Mine helped me tremendously before I even gave birth and there is no charge! I'm not sure what type of lanolin you are using but Lansinoh doesn't have to be wiped off before baby nurses. Other than that I would give the same advice the other moms have left. Good luck.
Here is a link to find a La Leche League leader in your area.
http://www.llli.org/WebUS.html



I used Lansinoh with my four kids as needed and found it to be a great product.  And to reitterate (sp?) Jennifer, it does not have to be wiped off prior to bf'ing.  My first child even developed a nursing blister on her lip and I Lansinoh to it.  It was gone overnight.



Um.. My girlfriend was having trouble nursing her second child.  So, at the next dr's appt me she asked the dr to observe and they learned that the baby was tongue tied, which was obviously hindering him from getting a good latch.  So that might be something else to look into.



Also, I believe that Breast is Best.. However, not to the point where it's no longer enjoyable to you and your baby.  As I heard another woman put it, parenting is hard work, why let breastfeeding be the challenge?  So, if for some reason you're unable to continue with it, don't berate yourself, there's more important things to worry about!  ;D

Michelle - posted on 07/13/2009

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Sounds to me like you have blocked milk ducts i suffered with this when i had my 1st son like you the pain was only there when he latched on until he started feeding properly and it eased off... Try massaging you breast in a circular motion toward you nipple before a feed or try expressing of a little before to see if this helps .......good luck hope it improves soon

Cindy - posted on 07/13/2009

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You are a great mom! Putting your baby first knowing that it is all worth it! My baby is nine months and although Im going through the whole theeting stage (also painful) I am proud of myself for doing something absolutely unselfish and healthy for my son. My suggestions is to place frozen cabage on you breast to numb you nipples before your next feeding. Good Luck!

Teena - posted on 07/13/2009

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I too have that problem. My DD is also 6 weeks and when she initially latches on there is a brief stab of pain but then it goes away. I've been told that it's normal for there to be a brief bit of pain when they first latch on, but if you get bleeding or the pain continues during feeding then the latching is not correct. Keep using the lanolin as it will help. What lanolin are you using because if you are using Lansinoh you don't have to wipe it off before feeding. I also found that if you tweak the nipples just before feeding that helps them get a better shape so that the baby can latch on a bit better.
Hope that helps. Congrats on your baby and good luck.

Cori - posted on 07/13/2009

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My mom told me that I'd be "slightly sore" the first week...after over a month of ACUTE PAIN that I could hardly keep from crying, my hubby went to Target and got the nipple guard (contact version) and though it still hurt a bit, it gave my nipples a break. Then we also began to plan for him to feed her a pumped bottle before bedtime when she tends to do her longest and hardest feeding. Plus at the end of a day, my nipple was in agony. This gave me nearly six hours of a "break" from her latch (she will give herself a hicky sucking so hard on her arm when she is hungry!). In a few weeks time, the pain had completely subsided and I only rarely hurt when she chomps down on me! I highly recommend the Medela nipple guard contact style! It kept me from quitting!

[deleted account]

Before you see your consultant, write down any changes to your breasts and symptoms you are having during feeding and even when you're not feeding (even if you think it's irrelevant). I had similar pain which kept getting diagnosed as thrush, but after changing lactation consultants we discovered I had nipple vaso-spasm. Problem solved, treatment prescribed, pain gone! Not to say this is what you have (although it may be) just suggesting you provide your consultant with as much info as possible. Sometimes the symptoms you experience when bub isn't attached help provide the answer.

Rebecca - posted on 07/12/2009

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If your baby is unable to latch because of the lanolin it is more likely a latch problem. Lanolin is very thick and sticky so it shouldnt make your nipple slippery for her. Your nipples are probably sore from friction of the initial latch, as the pain is most severe as she draws the nipple to the back of her palate. Are your nipples flattened, or white when she unlatches? This is a sign of a poor latch called "blanching" Are they shiny or pink/red? This is a sign of thrush. Both of these can make nurisng very painfull and will need to be treated. I think that you should contact a lactation consultant to check your nipples and her latch just to make sure. Try not to use a nipple shield unless you really need to as it can lower your supply because of the no skin to skin contact. Someone mentioned that if you have pain in your breast from let down that it is a sign of thrush, that is not totally correct as alot of women have a painful let down which is totally normal ( I have a very stong let down that is painful) but other women may not have any feeling of let down and that is normal to. I hope that this clears up for you soon and you can have some pain free nursing. It will get better as your baby gets older and her mouth will grow bigger making it easier to latch. Just hang in there! Take care!

Christina - posted on 07/12/2009

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Thank you everyone for your advice. Just to clarify, the pain I experience is intense whether I am engorged or not. More frequent nursing leads to more frequent pain, it seems. :P However, I will keep an eye on that. Also, the reason I wipe the lanolin off is because my little one can't get a latch when my nipple is slippery from the product. I wipe it off so she can grab hold of it.

I'll definitely be seeking the help of a professional. In the meantime, I'm sticking with nursing despite the pain.

Alicia - posted on 07/12/2009

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I sometimes had pain right at the beginning of a feeding. It was short lived but could be very painful. It was most painful when my breast was very full. It was never as bad as your sounds, so I would suggest that you try and see some one who might be able to see his latch and if there is anything to help. You could contact the hospital where you gave birth if they have a lactation group or ask your pediatrician for recommendations.

ME - posted on 07/12/2009

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There are nipple gaurds that can help with the pain...you can get them at baby's r us, or probably a maternity store or even a drug store. I would check for signs of thrush tho...My son and I had thrush, and tho we recongnized and treated his, no one ever told me that I probably had it too...so I was never treated, and we just kept passing it back and forth to each other...It was unbelievably painful!

Mary Jane - posted on 07/12/2009

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I would try to Pump... and store or discard in between feedings and see how you feel... The more your little one takes in the more your Breasts Fill, it sounds like she just isnt feeding as fast as its coming in... About the Lanolin - you dont have to wipe it off your nipple before feeding its completely harmless to your little one. I know I had the hardest time at first with my 1st Born and now I have nursed my 1st Born up until he was 1.5 Years and with my 2nd Born She has had no problem because the milk was already there.. It definitely got easier for me so I wish you the Best of Luck... =)

Amber - posted on 07/11/2009

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I think this is normal. As long as the pain only lasts at first (plus no bleeding or tears in your nipples) AND as long as the pain is not during let down (which could signify a yeast infection in your breasts) then I would give it a few more weeks to correct itself.

It took me at least the first 8 weeks to get comfortable nursing. And now at 15 weeks old we are smooth sailing!

Minnie - posted on 07/10/2009

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It sounds like your nipples aren't healing from a poor latch. I would definitely continue to use the lanolin- you don't have to wipe it off at all.

And see an IBCLC- she will be able to look at your latch, positioning, and help you. Don't go to a nurse who calls herself a lactation consultant, you need to see a board-certified one.

Jennifer - posted on 07/10/2009

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You might also want to try contacting a local La Leche League leader. Mine helped me tremendously before I even gave birth and there is no charge! I'm not sure what type of lanolin you are using but Lansinoh doesn't have to be wiped off before baby nurses. Other than that I would give the same advice the other moms have left. Good luck.

Here is a link to find a La Leche League leader in your area.

http://www.llli.org/WebUS.html

Anna - posted on 07/10/2009

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Could it be the intial latch that is off? In the beginning when I was nursing my dd, she would short latch at first and then correct her latch. I remember it was utterly painful and I was sore for a few weeks, same as you, it hurt for the first few minutes then the pain was gone. It does get better, you are both learning to nurse, her latch will improve. A lactation consultant would be very helpful, as they can watch you nurse and give you pointers. It does get better, hang in there! Also Lansinoh cream by the la leche league does not need to be removed before nursing, maybe look into that brand of lanolin. Good Luck!

Amy - posted on 07/10/2009

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I've been exclusively breastfeeding my son for 5 months. I didn't think we would make it this long. I too had a lot of pain at the latch on and then would do fine. I think it was more my little guy latching on wrong initially and then correcting himself. All I know is the past month or so, I have no pain at latch on. So, he either is doing it well or I've gotten use to it I would ask if you are engorged when she latches on? It could be you are too full for her to latch on correctly then as she gets some of the milk out of the way, she can latch on completely? If so, might try expressing a little to soften the breast.

Good luck and Congrats on 6wks!

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