Hi, everyone! I'm just going to post a question and hope to hear from you soon!
For my first baby, I breastfed him for a long period of time. I had a painful and traumatic experience during the first months of breastfeeding. Now that I'm planning to get pregnant again after four years, I would just like to know if am I still going to experience the pain of breastfeeding (soreness and bleeding for examples) like that of what I have gone through with my first baby? Thanks!
I am so sorry that you had a tough time with your first baby. Soreness and bleeding are not a normal part of the breastfeeding experience. Generally pain -and especially bleeding- indicates a poor latch. More often than not, this can be remedied by a visit to your local lactation consultant or a knowledgeable nurse or midwife. Do you have access to someone who can evaluate your latch when this baby is born? It may be that everything works perfect for you and you have no issues.
Here are some breastfeeding videos, which may help you to get a better understanding of how the baby should look on the breast. Though breastfeeding is natural, it does sometimes take some practice. I hope that your future breastfeeding experience is better than your first. However, if you find yourself in pain or running into problems- look for a local professional who can help. Most hospitals have lactation specialists on staff.
If that doesn't work come back to the forum and let us know what is going on. This group is packed with experienced, long-term breastfeeding mothers. I am sure we can help you to figure out whatever issues you may have.
I'll do check some Lactation professionals for some help. Maybe, even my obstetrician-gynecologist could refer me to some. Thank you for your time! I'll post and keep updates on how it'll go. :) again, thank you!
When I read your post I immediately found myself empathizing with your pain. I had a very difficult time breastfeeding my first baby for the first 3 months of her life. I had cracked and bleeding nipples just like you did.
The pain was excruciating and tears rolled down my cheeks every time I would latch her on. It was miserable.
My problems were due mostly to my inverted nipples. What complicated this was that due to my inverted nipples, I didn't feed my baby often enough in the first 2 days, so my breasts became engorged as my milk came in.
Now I had hard breasts and inverted nipples which were fairly flat on the breast. My baby had a good suck, but she had to figure out how to latch (on a hard breast), pull the nipple out, keep the nipple out, and swallow, all at the same time. Not an easy feat for a little one.
As mom2many mentioned, latch is really the key. If you have nipples that protrude from the breast, and you have a baby that has a good suck (is not tongue tied) then all you have to do is latch the baby on properly. If baby is latched properly, you won't get cracked or bleeding nipples and the pain should be very tolerable (or no pain at all).
I was desperate to continue the breastfeeding relationship, and as soon as my nipples were healed up enough, I found that my nipples would stay out better (after baby sucking often for 3 months) and then it became much easier. By the time my baby was 5 months old, I had a WONDERFUL breastfeeding experience and continued that until she weaned.
Baby number 2 arrived 6 months after baby #1 weaned which means I had 6 months where I was not breastfeeding.
Thankfully, that breastfeeding experience went incredibly well. No pain at all, no bleeding, cracked nipples. It was wonderful.
Baby #3 arrived 2 years after baby #2 weaned and we had a wonderful breastfeeding experience.
I breastfed babies #4 and #5 too, and had no problems.
It's difficult to know whether you will have problems again, because I don't know what caused the problems the first time around. I have a friend who has very large breasts, and this was a problem for her. She did not have good breastfeeding support with her first 2 babies and so she had to stop breastfeeding them early. But she made a point to hook up with a highly experienced breastfeeding consultant with her 3rd baby and she was able to work through the difficulties that came along and she breastfed that baby for as long as she wanted to.
I can't emphasize enough how important it is to have support when you're breastfeeding because there really are many different challenges that can crop up at anytime during the breastfeeding relationship.
Thankfully we have a lot of experienced breastfeeding mums in this forum who can offer support and suggestions when needed, and if you can find a lactation consultant who can assist you locally, that's even better.
I'd also mention that cracked nipples can also be caused by not keeping the nipples dry. If you have a breast pad in your bra, and it gets wet, you'll want to change it immediately. Nipples that are in a damp environment will become sore and crack easily. Lanolin can help protect the nipples too.
Like Kate, you have my empathy.
It is not normal to experience this sort of pain and bleeding when breastfeeding - I agree that it was most likely caused by a sore latch.
Like you, I really struggled at first with breastfeeding. For 3-4 weeks I would screech when my baby latched on as it hurt so much and my nipples had sores all over them. It was very, very painful. But I'm pleased to say that my story changed when I saw a Lactation Consultant who diagnosed a tongue tie (so my baby had not been able to latch on properly - he was just feeding from the end of the nipple and not getting a full mouthful of breast). She cut the tongue tie (a very easy procedure) and helped me with the latch and 19 months later we are still breastfeeding. Around a week after I saw the lactation consultant I stopped experiencing any discomfort/pain when breastfeeding (the pain gradually reduced during this week).
So, it certainly doesn't have to be the same experience for you with your next baby. Breastfeeding can be a wonderful bonding time with your baby which is enjoyable for both bubba and mum. I would get in touch with your local lactation consultant before you start - you could even arrange an appointment to check the latch early on. Plus, keep asking the midwives/health visitors/ support workers - don't settle for an painful breastfeeding experience. If you get the latch right then you will be sorted - but it can take a little time. Local breastfeeding support groups are also, in my experience, an excellent way to get help.
Well done on being so prepared in advance for breastfeeding your next baby.
Thank you for your reply! I'll surely look for a latching expert to help me out before the baby comes. I couldn't agree with you more that breastfeeding is the best bonding for baby and I.
Again, thank you!
Hi, Kate! Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I must admit, it was sort of a relief to gear that I was not the only mom who cries while the baby's being breastfed! I'll surely look for professionals who could give me a better knowledge on breastfeeding.
I'll keep you posted! Again, thank you so much!
I'm glad we could help to reassure you lil_momma. Please do let us know if you have any other breastfeeding questions or concerns.
Here's an excellent video from Dr. Jack Newman that shows how to get a proper latch. You'll also learn how to shift the baby so that the chin is in the breast to make the baby drink more instead of just nibbling.
A great link from Kate above - Dr. Newman's videos and advice are excellent (they really helped me in the early days).
I wish I had known about Dr. Jack Newman earlier. I didn't learn about him until I was done breastfeeding. I own his DVD and have let a number of new mums borrow it. Just excellent!