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Is breastfeeding as painful second time?

(81 Posts)
PastaandCheese Tue 25-Feb-14 06:53:06

Due my second this week. I fed DD for a year and naively assumed this meant my nipples might have 'toughened up' a bit but they are so sore already before I've even fed the baby I think I might be a bit deluded.

What was your experience second time please? I'm assuming I'll feel a bit less clueless but other than that is the very sore start inevitable again?

Timpani Tue 25-Feb-14 09:25:37

Agony for months first time! Pretty much pain free second time (slight slight sting for a day getting used to new baby's latch).

Second labour much faster and easier though just as painful!

likeit Tue 25-Feb-14 12:03:15

It really shouldn't hurt at all if the positioning and attachment is correct!

zoemaguire Tue 25-Feb-14 12:11:19

Likeit, not so in early weeks. I find thr initial latch toe-curlingly excruciating, but then it settles. I'm currently bfeeding newborn dc3 and there is a definite difference between poor latch pain and first few weeks nipples-getting-used-to-it agony!

Bumpsadaisie Tue 25-Feb-14 13:07:24

I'm afraid I found it worse second time.

First time I did have the "ouch ouch count to 20" thing when she first got latched on, but then it was OK.

With my son though it was painful enough that I was sobbing onto his head for the first three minutes!

However with both of them it was very much a newborn thing that went away after a few weeks.

IssyBe Tue 25-Feb-14 17:06:55

Hello All,

I work for a breastfeeding support team and from what I have learnt, breastfeeding shouldn't hurt and it if is then support and advice is needed.

Have a look on for instance, there are online advice available.

PastaandCheese Tue 25-Feb-14 17:44:28

zoemaguire's experiences were the same as mine first time. I had help and support but in the end there was just a period where I learnt to count to 20 and if it was still painful then break the latch and reattach.

That went away in time so I'm convinced it was friction. I also felt pain during let down and then there are the lovely contraction pains in your womb for the first weeks. At least I can fool myself into thinking that's me snapping back into shape.

bumps that sounds miserable but good that it went away in a few weeks.

I guess I'm just thinking about it because I'm all sore at the moment from what I imagine are the pre birth hormones. Wearing one of my larger size nursing bras today which is helping.

Jeezimacasalinga Tue 25-Feb-14 18:04:00

I wish people wouldn't say that it shouldn't hurt if you are doing it right. I think it makes a lot of people give up unnecessarily, and look for problems where there are none.

FWIW, I fed 3 babies with no problems - no mastitis, no tongue tie, and it DID hurt to begin with. If you have sensitive skin (I've very pale Celtic skin) and a baby with a vigorous suck/strong latch, then it does hurt at the beginning, especially when they latch on! My granny (who bf 10!) told me that it was like wearing in a new pair of shoes, ouch to start off but soon as comfy as your old slippers grin.

If however it continues, you should of course investigate.

PeanutPatty Tue 25-Feb-14 18:06:05

The first time DC2 latched on BOY did my toes curl and the memories rushed back in! After the initial shock to the system we found our feet and it was pretty straightforward, compared to the first time around it was. We had thrush and allsorts. Horrific.

atthestrokeoftwelve Tue 25-Feb-14 18:13:18

Jeez- I do think it can hurt some women for a short time ( and I have worked in breastfeeding support for 13 years), but they are in the minority. the flip side of your argument is though telling women that it does hurt may prevent them seeking help and trying to struggle through a painful problem.

However there is no evidence that fair skin means more painful breastfeeding- it's a very old urban myth a type sort of racist assumption that the whiter the skin, the more feminine ( and therefore the more delicate and sensitive ) a woman is.

zoemaguire Tue 25-Feb-14 18:15:11

Issy, through 3 kids and so far 3 years of bf and counting, I've been through a fair amount of well-intentioned advice! The 'it shouldn't hurt' is well and good once baby is a few weeks old, but most of the women I know who breastfed describe an initial shooting pain when newborns first latch on that passes within 10 seconds or so and is distinct from the pain of poor latch (which I also know well!). To suggest that breastfeeding 'should' be totally painless in the very early days is unrealistic for the most part, and may make women think they are doing things wrong when they are not. Besides which etablishing bf even in ideal circumstances is often hard work and a learning curve to start with. It is totally worth it, but if women go into it thinking it is supposed to be a bed of roses from day 1, they are more likely to give up when it does not turn out that way. Some breastfeeding support tends to gloss over these issues, and if your training suggested that transient painful nipples in week 1 of breastfeeding are abnormal, that is quite concerning IMO.

Jeezimacasalinga Tue 25-Feb-14 18:24:48

atthestroke - yes I completely agree with you, I would hate to see anyone struggling on with a problem because they are trying to ignore the pain. Anyone who has pain throughout the feed, or latch-on pain for more than a week or so needs to seek help (if they've managed to struggle on that long)! As for the whites skin thing, yes perhaps that is an urban myth, albeit one that was peddled to me by all the midwives for both bf and my nasty childbirth tears!

However I would disagree with you that bf doesn't hurt to begin with for the majority. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that I've met very few people who don't experience that initial toe-curling pain when a new born latches on. I just believe that forewarned if forearmed - too many people hope for a blissful bf experience from the beginning, when in fact this is usually the most difficult time. I feel sad for many of my friends and family who gave up in this period, as I know how easy and convenient bf becomes after the first couple of months.

atthestrokeoftwelve Tue 25-Feb-14 18:26:28

Are you a breastfeeding counsellor Jeez?

ogredownstairs Tue 25-Feb-14 18:26:32

Agony for me both times - took 6 weeks for it to become bearable, after which it was fine. But I bled, had blisters on the nipples, in agony if someone brushed past me etc. Still makes me shudder nearly a decade on. Slightly easier second time round but only because I knew what to expect. I know loads of people who barely had a twinge, and I was really shocked and annoyed that it hurt so much as I was very sure I wanted to BF and was totally unprepared for the pain. I think it's pretty individual.

Procrastinating Tue 25-Feb-14 18:30:15

I have done it three times. I found it equally painful for the first few weeks. Not the latch though, the let down (is that what you call it? It has been a while).

Agree, 'it shouldn't hurt' is not helpful. I'm quite sure I was doing it right.

For bf a baby while you have a toddler - cbeebies.

Jeezimacasalinga Tue 25-Feb-14 18:49:37

Erm no I'm not a bf counsellor - do you have to be one to give your opinion on here? Apologies if that comes across as oversensitive but I've just reread one of your posts to me and I hope you are not accusing me of making racist assumptions? shock

atthestrokeoftwelve Tue 25-Feb-14 18:56:42

Apologies- no I am not accusing you of being racist at all, your midwives were wrong to give you this information which has been around since Victorian times- when the idea was formed in a racist culture.

The only reason I ask if you are a breastfeeding counsellor is that you say you have met "very few women" who don't find breastfeeding uncomfortable to begin with and suggest the "majority" do- it gives the impression you have met many woman who have breastfed.

I have met many breastfeeding women and that's not my experience.

I didn't mean to sound rude and I'm sorry if it came across that way- of course everyone's view is valid no matter what their experience.

atthestrokeoftwelve Tue 25-Feb-14 18:58:53

Just an aside- in Victorian times it was even thought that women of upper class would find breastfeeding much more painful than working class women as their skin was more delicate and refined!

LadyPersephonefernella Tue 25-Feb-14 19:05:10

Agony 1st time
Even more agony second time with non-stop thrush, mastitis & latch issues. I hated it & am very happy it is all over.

zoemaguire Tue 25-Feb-14 19:05:50

Atthestroke, you see a particular subset of women as a counsellor. I have no idea if it is a majority or a minority of women who experience this pain - all I can say is that most of my friends did, and many went nowhere near a bf counsellor. Whether jeez is a bf counsellor or not is neither here nor there, her experience is as valid as anybody's, as is that of the others on this thread. Training does not trump lived experience, and indeed ideally should learn from and integrate it.

tumbletumble Tue 25-Feb-14 19:09:16

I had no pain at all with DS1 or DD but DS2 was unexpectedly painful. I think he had a more ferocious suck than the other two!

zoemaguire Tue 25-Feb-14 19:11:00

As an aside, many mothers will know a lot of other women who breastfeed, whether or not they are bf counsellors! My sample as a third time mother in a v middle class nappy valley kind of area is quite large, for instance!

atthestrokeoftwelve Tue 25-Feb-14 19:11:40

I agree training does not trump lived experience - that's why I suggest that most women don't experience this type of pain- I am talking from experience.

I don't know how many of your friends experienced this pain- but I guess the numbers are low. It's easy not to see a bigger picture when you look at a very small sample.

Both my grandfathers died of cancer-that doen't mean all grandfathers will die of cancer- it just means my sample size it too low to be meaningful.

beginnings Tue 25-Feb-14 19:18:14

First time got used to it pretty quickly. DD wasn't a very hungry feeder and I never got really engorged.

DD2 was a horse of a very different kettle. I used more Lansinoh (other brands are available! But don't bother with them IMHO) in the first two weeks than I did in 9 months with DD1. And she'd feed for hours! Once those couple of weeks were out of the way, it was fine. During that time either DH, my DM or DSis were around so did toddler entertaining. After that, cbeebies. Lots of. DD2 at five months LOVES that very annoying noisy little lion.

atthestrokeoftwelve Tue 25-Feb-14 19:20:57

zoe it is important that women get accurate information though. To suggest that most women will find breastfeeding painful is not true and unsupported by clinical evidence.
What's more it can be unhelpful to women to suggest that painful breastfeeding is the norm.

beginnings Tue 25-Feb-14 19:21:16

PS: I think I'd have found the first two weeks with DD1 tortuous if she'd been like DD2 but because DD2 I knew 'this too will pass'.

Would be nice if I could figure out how to make her sleep now....

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