Thursday, August 6, 2015

My Experience with Breastfeeding Pain

*This post contains affiliate links and I may receive a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on a link.

It's Breastfeeding Awareness Week and I thought it was a good time share my story of how breastfeeding almost didn't work for my son and I at all. For something so natural, it was nearly impossible. I had extreme breastfeeding pain, but we got through it, so I wanted to make sure I shared my experience in case other moms are going through the same thing.

Extreme Breastfeeding Pain at the Very Beginning

When my son was born, I was expecting to breastfeed immediately and continue to do so for as long as possible. My schedule was cleared, my job was over, and I was poised and ready to be a breastfeeding, stay-at-home super mom.

The first time I tried to breastfeed my son, a nurse commented that I had flat nipples. I had never heard this before and had no idea if this was going to be an issue or not. I did know that it HURT to breastfeed this tiny child.

I asked the nurse if it was supposed to hurt this much. She said no. She dropped off a nipple shield and wheeled in a breast pump. She told me that if he wouldn't nurse, I would have to pump.

I did not want to pump, I just wanted to feed this little guy the natural way.

I never could have imagined how difficult breastfeeding actually was, but I kept trying. I used the Medela nipple shields, the pain was minimal and the baby nursed. However, it was very difficult to tell if he was getting enough milk. He was nursing for a REALLY long time each time, though. The lactation consultant at the hospital checked us out and seemed to be happy, so I assumed everything was alright.

For the first week at home, I was nursing my baby for very long periods time and he was still fussing afterward. My son was up all night long nursing and crying. I tried over and over to nurse him without the nipple shields because I felt like he was not getting enough milk. He was nursing for so long, then struggling to get more, but the breastfeeding pain was absolutely ridiculous!

The Breastfeeding Pain Got Worse

It felt like a baby stapling my nipples each time he latched on. I'd spew expletives through clenched teeth. My son was like a little snapping turtle and I would dread that initial bite and those first few minutes of pain. I don't want to put a snapping anything on any body part! I tried over and over to correct his latch until it exhausted and frustrated us both, but it still hurt!

The lactation consultant told me I should continue using the nipple shield due to the pain, but once the pediatrician confirmed that the baby was not gaining weight in the first two weeks, I stopped using the nipple shield altogether. I don't know if that was what caused a low milk supply or not, but I also was told to started supplementing with formula.

Breastfeeding was not working for us.

My son got his first bottle full of formula and he finally calmed down. All of his fussing was because he was hungry, and I wasn't physically able to feed him enough or he wasn't able to get enough milk from me. Either way, I was devastated that my baby and I may not have been anatomically suited to work well together.

I scoured the internet for a solution or to find some article somewhere that would tell me that formula feeding was just as good as the breast. I got shamed by some people, encouraged to give up by others while lactation consultants and the Pediatrician found nothing wrong. I was an emotional mess. How could it be that I couldn't feed my own baby the natural way?!

I continued to breastfeed, despite the pain. I stopped bothering to try to correct the latch unless it REALLY hurt. After breastfeeding for 15 minutes on each side, I would offer a bottle. Then I would pump. I did this for a week, pumping whenever I could, breastfeeding through pain until I had to pump and supplement less and less over the next few weeks.

Then, we didn't always try breastfeeding first. I would give myself much needed breaks from the pain and suffering, let my nipples recover, and let the baby grab a quick easy meal from a pumped or formula bottle. At night, it was easier to give him a bottle for a little while. Then I would pump out some milk while reading once the baby went back to sleep.

I guess I'm lucky that he was so flexible with the bottle and the nipple. This little boy was hungry and didn't care where it was coming from or who was giving it to him and he was gaining weight.

Finally, an END to the Breastfeeding Pain

The pain eventually subsided. We think the pumping helped tear the adhesions that were keeping my nipples from fully popping out.

Finally, I realized my dream of exclusively breastfeeding my baby. He continued breastfeeding until he was 21 months old and now I'm breastfeeding my second baby without anywhere near as much of an issue as I had with the first.

I found that breastfeeding may be really difficult in the beginning, and feeding a baby formula seems so much easier, but it certainly switched around for me.

Eventually, I enjoyed very quick, natural feedings with my son and my subsequently my daughter. There are no bottles to clean, no formula to buy and no worries about whether she is eating enough or getting good nutrition. I am enjoying the extended time of not getting my period (possibly one of best parts!) the ease of feeding anytime, anywhere, and the knowledge that I am setting my children up with the best immune system to combat this cruel world.

We are truly enjoying the fruits of our labor, now. I can honestly say that it was worth the breastfeeding pain I went through even though it seemed unbearable when I was in the thick of it. I can also say that I wouldn't blame anyone who gives up breastfeeding under similar circumstances.

Therefore, I thought it would be a good idea to share my story for any woman out there, searching the internet in the wee hours, beside herself, reluctantly feeling forced to give up breastfeeding because it CAN be painful. Although you may have to fight through some pain in a case like mine it DID go away. Now I'm just waiting for baby number 2 to cut some teeth to remind me how far we've come!

If you are experiencing painful breastfeeding, call the hospital and speak to their lactation consultant! They were very helpful and eased my mind so much even though they couldn't solve the problem.

Did you have a painful breastfeeding experience? Did you fight through or have to stop? 

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Have you done your baby registry yet???

They have a UNIVERSAL registry so you can shop ALL sites 
(not just Amazon)
They also have a 10% completion discount 
(15% for Prime members) 
and 90 day returns.


  1. That's wonderful that you were able to go from supplementing to exclusive breastfeeding! I started out having to supplement and haven't been able to increase my supply to keep up with his appetite. But he's still getting some breast milk so that's good enough for us.

    1. I can't even put my finger on the day where we stopped supplementing. It just happened naturally. I think my son just started to fall asleep after breastfeeding and that was it. Hopefully this will happen for you, too!

  2. My sister wasn't able to breastfeed her son when he was little, because she had low milk production. She tried the tea, medication, everything! It took 1 hour to get 1 oz of breast milk! Hopefully, second round she will be able to breastfeed!

    1. I hope it works for her! The second time was so much easier for me with seriously no issues so far, thankfully.

    2. Me too! She would really like to breastfeed this time, then use the breast pump every 1-2 hours just to get an ounce of milk!!! Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. Oh wow, I plan on breast feeding when I do have children. I am glad you were able to go from supplementing to exclusive breastfeeding. I just wanted to also let you know that I enjoy reading what you post on your blog. Thank you.

  4. My wife breastfed our children. She struggled with pain on the first child but had no problems with the second.

  5. I was just telling my hubby last night that when we have a baby I'm planning to breastfeeding coz it's the best nutrients he/she could get....thanks for sharing your story

  6. I wish that I could comment on my behalf, rather than my sister's! I always wanted children, but never got the opportunity to find the right person to start my life with! But, I have 1...soon to be 2, amazing nephews to be with!!!

  7. Breastfeeding is a natural process! And, I don't understand why people are against breastfeeding in public! We were all at that stage at some point!!!

  8. I think breastfeeding your baby is the healthy way to go!

  9. When my sister tried nursing her son, she had the same problem...flat nipples. Her son wouldn't latch on! The lactation consultant told her to pump some milk and then run a tiny syphon along her nipple into his mouth, for him to get the taste of milk, and latch on. It didn't work. So, pumping and syphoning, and formula was what he needed!

  10. Really interesting. I didn't have any trouble, but I had a lot of support with my mother walking me through everything. Nice post.

  11. I like and understand fully your topic and bookmark it for future post of you.I love your show and lately your website has been a real help for child.

  12. May be every person don't know that Breastfeeding is a natural process!I really recommend other to read this article .Keep up the good work .

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Thanks for the comment!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...