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Unbearable (but not painful) feeling when BF

(29 Posts)
tablechairs Thu 27-Apr-17 17:40:03

I'm breastfeeding my 3 week old and almost at the end of my tether with something I can't find anyone else talking about online.

After she's fed for a while (5-10 mins), all of a sudden I get a sort of tugging/throbbing/pulsing sensation through from the inside of my breast to my nipple. It's not painful but it's like when someone is tickling and won't stop and it makes me feel sick. I can't bear to leave her latched when it's happening and have been taking her off. I feel absolutely awful about this because I know I shouldn't take her off before she's ready but I just can't bear this horrible feeling.

I think that as it's not painful it's probably just how it's supposed to feel? If so, why has it just started happening the last couple of days? Is there anything I can do to stop it? I really don't want to stop breastfeeding but I just can't bear this feeling.

LurkinMerkin Thu 27-Apr-17 18:26:10

I'm bf a 5 week old and think I've been experiencing the same thing. I think as you've been feeding for 3 weeks your supply will still be getting established and the sensation you describe could be your 'let down'; the flow of milk through the breast which kicks in after baby has sucked for an initial period to encourage the let down. Ive read that some women are more sensitive to the feeling so it could be that?. It's worth persevering through the sensation if you can, it's supposed to pass after the flow begins.

If you're taking her off before she's fed properly she could be at risk of dehydration and weight loss as her feed will have been cut off before it's really started. I'd speak to your midwife/HV as soon as possible, are you due a visit soon? Xx

Janek Thu 27-Apr-17 18:31:22

I think Merkin is correct, it is the letdown, and it should pass quite quickly.

WaitroseCoffeeCostaCup Thu 27-Apr-17 18:37:16

Google nursing aversion.

tablechairs Thu 27-Apr-17 19:08:36

I'm not sure it's the let down. Maybe? It's starting about 5-10 minutes in but then sometimes straight away? The longest I've been able to bear it is 6 minutes before delatching her so I don't know how long it lasts.

I'm terrified of her getting dehydrated or losing weight esp as she's barely above birth weight.

I feel awful

WaitroseCoffeeCostaCup Thu 27-Apr-17 19:31:18

Don't feel awful you're doing brilliantly! Do you have a local bf support group?

primaryboodle Thu 27-Apr-17 19:41:20

This wasn't as huge of an issue for me (as in it didn't happen every time) but I do identify with that feeling... even now I'm still bf at 10 months and it happens occasionally. Usually if I drank a big glass of water it helped me so I assume it was dehydration but it did seem to coincide with let downs. I don't know if that helps? It's not the end of the world if you decide to stop though - far from it!

LurkinMerkin Thu 27-Apr-17 19:49:27

Getting started with feeding is so hard, the fact you've made it this far is great. I struggled the first few weeks and we had weight gain issues too, it's pretty common, so you're not alone there, but you definitely need to get some good support, a bf group is a really good suggestion. Don't be too hard on yourself.

I'm only going on my own experience so far and the sensation you describe is one I have experienced quite a bit recently. But yes, it could be something else. Definitely get some support, there might be things that experienced people can suggest to help reduce the sensation and enjoy feeding. Xx

tablechairs Thu 27-Apr-17 20:02:33

WEnt to support group today and no one there had encountered anything similar. Just off phone to NCT bf helpline and she didn't know what it could be either. She suggested D-MER but that requires anti-depressants from GP because it's to do with dopamine plummeting with let-down.

I don't know how I am going to feed her overnight tonight. I don't think I will be able to bf. I have some emergency formula but I Ann so worried about undoing the good work of breast milk in her gut. I know it's stupid but bf is so important to me and I feel like I've failed if I give her formula tonight because of this awful feeling.

BakingWithPreSchoolerand6YO Thu 27-Apr-17 20:09:43

Does it still happen if you try to express milk?

I got hugely stressed over BFing my eldest. Ultimately, the most important thing is that she's fed and you're okay.

Aliveinwanderland Thu 27-Apr-17 20:15:01

If you really want to breastfeed you might have to grit your teeth and plough through. I think it is the let down and I used to find this really uncomfortable. It gets better and although I still get the feeling now it's no where near as strong.

If it is let down it should only tingle for a few minutes and then as the breast drains it should disappear. Do you still get it with expressing?

Don't feel bad using formula if you need to. Most important thing is your baby is fed.

tablechairs Thu 27-Apr-17 20:25:49

I haven't tried expressing at all. No pump. Not sure if sensation would be there or not.

I just can't stop crying. NCT woman suggested trying to get an emergency dr appt tomorrow.

MollyHuaCha Thu 27-Apr-17 20:26:03

I had the same and found it quite painful. But it did pass with time and eventually disappeared altogether.

MollyHuaCha Thu 27-Apr-17 20:26:37


NotTheBelleoftheBall Thu 27-Apr-17 20:30:06

I had the exact same, almost like a wrenching sicky feeling from within my breast but it also went right down into my stomach, felt almost like I had an upset tummy or period pains, kind of 'graunchy' is that what yours feels like?

Katkin14 Thu 27-Apr-17 20:40:24

You have not failed if you give your baby formula. Success here is feeding your baby, whether it be by breast milk or by formula.

I was put a lot of importance on breast feeding DS, too much in fact. We ended up in hospital with him dangerously dehydrated. The important thing is that your baby is fed. Important to check they're having wet nappies. Give your baby formula tonight if you need to. That doesn't mean you've given up on breast feeding. Your supply doesn't disappear overnight. But give yourself a break until you figure this out.

And I'll say it again, because I wish I'd understood this at the time; you have not failed if you give your child formula. 💐

Everythingsr0sie Thu 27-Apr-17 20:50:30

I had something similar OP, and it only happened with DC3.

A few minutes into each feed I would feel so funny, a sick/dread feeling then sort of like I was homesick and wanted my mum. Sounds odd to type now, over 5 years later, but it wasn't very nice and I couldn't articulate it very well at the time.

It only lasted for a week or so then stopped, so hopefully you will find this too.

I do hope you are ok, I put a lot pressure on myself with breastfeeding too and I really do sympathise. flowers

tablechairs Thu 27-Apr-17 20:55:54

Rationally I know it's not a failure to give her formula. I'm not anti formula at all, it's just that I feel so out of control with what's happened so far (EMCS when I didn't really understand why) that I just despo wanted to nail breastfeeding and now I can't and mentally formula just feels like another thing I've failed to control or to manage effectively. I just feel so so so pathetic that I'm not even in pain and I'm thinking about it when you hear about women persevering through bleeding scabby nipples and not giving formula.

I only managed to feed her for 4 minutes earlier before I had to take her off. I'm going to have to give her a bottle.

IllMetByMoonlight Thu 27-Apr-17 21:05:04

As a PP suggested, Google "nursing aversion". This is quite common, but not spoken of much. To me, it sounds just like what you are describing. That, and let down. My let down used to feel like little sharp electric pulses, like a TENs machine. The nursing aversion, for me, was more of a primal, urgent distaste, your description of the desperation of being tickled is excellent. I used to have to unlatch my DCs, like I would have had to run from a burning building, a really strong compulsion. Have a read about it, see if it might be it, and hopefully feel a little better about it.

Aliveinwanderland Thu 27-Apr-17 21:06:27

You know already but 4 minutes for a 3 week old baby isn't enough. She needs to be left on the breast until she has finished feeding, look for her stopping swallowing and just suckling instead. Does the feeling not subside after a few minutes? Let down pain shouldn't continue for the whole feed. Can you try swapping sides once the pain starts to see if that helps?

missanony Thu 27-Apr-17 21:08:29

I had a very strong let down at this age and it had me gripping the sofa and crying. It did pass over a week or two

IllMetByMoonlight Thu 27-Apr-17 21:08:51

Also referred to as 'breastfeeding agitation', this really is 'a thing'.

HopelesslydevotedtoGu Thu 27-Apr-17 21:16:56

Sounds like let down is triggering nursing aversion, which is an intense unpleasant feeling where you feel you have to stop breastfeeding.

I've had a few periods of it. I've found it's worse when I'm dehydrated or restless/ anxious. It helps to not think about breastfeeding - I read my phone or watch tv whilst breastfeeding, or (don't laugh) sing to myself, anything to keep my mind off breastfeeding!

I've had periods of nursing aversion, but also periods when breastfeeding is really lovely and enjoyable.

Join a breastfeeding Facebook group e.g. breastfeeding yummy mummies and ask for tips for nursing aversion.

pastabest Thu 27-Apr-17 21:26:13

Yes I had this. Doesnt it have something to do with your uterus contracting?

Like Pps have said it did pass eventually but for a good two weeks I had an overwhelming feeling of dread when dc was due a feed, and I couldn't pinpoint why as it wasn't pain related. I found distracting myself and sipping water really helped.

It will pass

Scentofwater Thu 27-Apr-17 21:32:30

I had an unpleasant let down for a few weeks, kind of felt like I could feel my DD sucking uncomfortably right up in my armpit. It went away after a month or so and then let downs only hurt occasionally and briefly.

It doesn't stop the pain, but when breastfeeding hurt for me I had a piece of really nice chocolate or a mint and sucked it while she fed. It helped distract from the pain and I knew that both the pain and the chocolate would only last for a few minutes. It helped make it bearable. You may well find in a couple more weeks it is no longer an issue.

Establishing breastfeeding can be bloody hard work, whatever happens don't beat yourself up about it, you've already got more than enough on your plate with a baby to look after without giving yourself emotional hassle too.

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