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Breastfeeding-is it possible never to enjoy it?

(26 Posts)
joybee Tue 09-Aug-05 08:52:42

I am on day 6 of breastfeeding newborn and am not finding it enjoyable. Gave up breastfeeding ds after 3 days due to pain in breasts and am determined to give it my best shot this time around. But I don't seem to be enjoying it at all. It hurts from the moment I latch on (takes my breathe away) and then is just a sharp pain each time he sucks all the way through. I have been shown how to latch on a number of times and never has it not hurt. Will this go? Or has anyone had this all the way through? Know I am making this sound like an endurance test but feels like it at the moment!

fqueenzebra Tue 09-Aug-05 09:26:53

It's worth seeing a breastfeeding counsellor who can assess the latch with you.

That said, I had very painful "letdown" (colloquial term for when the milk starts flowing) with 2 of my babies (not the other baby, though, oddly enough). It just felt like electric shocks on my chest when I was feeding. Not nice.

I got thru it by deep breaths, knowing that it wasn't doing any harm or damage, and... it went away completely when baby was about 8-9 weeks old. I reckon the latch was ok; I drew circles on my areola with a non-permanent marker pen and they were latched on where they should be, my breasts just didn't take letdown well. I was jolly stubborn about breastfeeding & I'm glad I "endured".

A friend had simmilar experience so when her baby was 3 days old she turned to combi-feeding in the early afternoon every day to give herself a break. After about 9 weeks the pain was gone and she could have gone to full-time breastfeeding if she had wanted to. Combi-feeding is what allowed her to do any breastfeeding.

frannyf Tue 09-Aug-05 09:36:18

Poor you, this sounds very hard! I did also find it very painful at first and to be honest it was probably about 4 to 6 weeks before it really settled down and I was able to enjoy it. Before that I just found it painful and boring! However it was worth perservering (for me anyway) as there are so many benefits and both I and little one have got so much from it.

I would say what you are going through is fairly normal, BUT I have also been told that it should NOT hurt and that if it does you should get help with your latching on. Have you tried contacting La Leche League? They are very experienced and could maybe support you through this. From what friends have said, breastfeeding counsellors can be a mixed bunch, so try phoning as many different helplines as you can find (NCT, LLL, Breastfeeding Support, etc.) until you find someone who can help you.

I think it can be like an endurance test at the beginning and if it helps you to think about how wonderful and brave you are being then go for it! If you are determined to see it through then I bet things will improve soon. Have you ruled out medical problems eg thrush as I know this can cause pain? Good luck and hope it does work out for you.

Flossam Tue 09-Aug-05 09:41:55

Joybee, it is still early days. Try and persivere if you can, it really does get better, and as the others have said, get your latch checked. Good luck!

fisil Tue 09-Aug-05 09:44:03

See a counsellor. I did 11 days with ds1 and was in the kind of pain you describe. People had told me that breastfeeding was painful at first and you just had to get through it. Bollocks. It shouldn't be painful. If you ever feel pain put your finger in baby's mouth and get him/her off the breast immediately and try again. Ask, ask, ask.

With ds2 I managed to go as long as I wanted because I accepted absolutely no pain at all. The second it hurt I took him off. Sometimes feeds took ages. I also asked repeatedly for help, and if I wasn't satisfied with one person's advice I ignored it and asked someone else. The other thing I did differently second time was to be scrupulously clean. I know that sounds a bit patronising, but I wasn't clean enough the first time round. I changed breast pads on both breast every single feed and I washed my bra at least once a day. I washed my hands thoroughly before and after every feed too. So I got rid of thrush within three weeks (which is what led me to give up the time before, and sounds like what you have).

However, I'd just like to add that breastfeeding might just not be for you. Make all decisions based on the mantra "a happy mummy means a happy baby." Although breastfeeding ds2 was not physically painful like it was with ds1, I still found the inconvenience and restrictiveness and lack of intimacy that breastfeeding means for me absolutely stifling, so I deliberately stopped at 10 weeks. I feel much happier now, so is ds2!

handlemecarefully Tue 09-Aug-05 09:49:12

The pain in my case settled within about 2 weeks.

kama Tue 09-Aug-05 09:55:54

Message withdrawn

Tinker Tue 09-Aug-05 10:07:17

I saw a bfc at about 3 weeks (after getting mastitis in both breasts) and teh kind of pain you describe. She was incredible, pain just went! And I thought I knew what to do. It's still really early days for you. Now, at 3 months, I'm finding it so easy - no pain, no bottles and really quick.

bobbybob Tue 09-Aug-05 10:27:03

Can't say I enjoyed the first 6 days, and probably not the first 6 weeks. But I do remember by 3 months I was really enjoying the convenience of it, and the actual doing was more pleasant as it didn't involve millions of pillows and a pile of dishcloths each time.

Mum2girls Tue 09-Aug-05 10:35:24

joybee - I too was in agony for the first couple of weeks - but then all of a sudden you get nipples as hard as bullets and it really is enjoyable. Nearly gave up on numerous occasions though.

sweetkitty Tue 09-Aug-05 10:38:46

Some good advice on here, it's very early days. My advice to anyone is give it at least 3 weeks. It hurt me a bit at the start (probably incorrect latch) but remember you and the baby are just learning together.

After about 4-5 weeks it became much easier and I started to enjoy it. Or I enjoyed the sheer convenience of it, don't know how anyone could be bothered getting up and making bottles.

FairyMum Tue 09-Aug-05 10:43:49

With my first baby it took me about 6-8 weeks to enjoy it. It can be difficult and painful, but it's SO worth it for your baby

blossom2 Tue 09-Aug-05 13:42:35

i gave up with DD1 after the first few days as well because it hurt so much and she just did not latch on properly.

with DD2 i got a lactation consultant to show my how to do it properly and after 2 weeks, the pain went away. although i'm getting twinges and discomfort with the 'let down' reflex ... not sure why...

Ruthiebaby Tue 09-Aug-05 17:41:10

Took about 4 weeks for one side to settle, and 6 weeks for the right side to settle. After that I had a painful let-down, like cramp in my chest. But, it's best for baby and I was determined I was going to do it.

The let-down either got less painful or I just got used to it as it's still like cramp only not so sore, but I enjoy it. Been doing it for 6 months and I'm going to do morning and night feeds now for as long as I can.

It may feel very depressing and you may feel utterly helpless and dread the next feed but honestly it WILL get better. Just think of the benefits for your baby.

About the expressing, I tried expressing once and got about 4 drops out at the start. I told the midwife and she told me to sit down, relax and try again which I did, and I got a bit more out. Expressing is an art, you have to learn it, so why not try practicing.... once you have the knack of it, it will help if you're in a lot of pain as you can express your milk to feed your baby.

Good luck x

joybee Tue 09-Aug-05 22:01:37

I took some of your advice and called the midwife in today. I think part of my problem is I am a bit of a midwife pleaser and have just been telling them what I think they want to hear. Explained exactly the problem today and she watched me latching on and said I was doing it perfectly . But told her it still hurt and instead of telling me that it isn't supposed to hurt (as all the books/leaflets seem to say - lots of pictures of serene women looking smug) she said that it would get easier. As you have all said! I have just decided to take it day at a time - have got through day six - ds seems content (which is most important thing, if not would give up now I think)but if I get to end of wk 2 and it still doesn't feel right will reconsider. I just wish that the books/leaflets would acknowledge that it can be uncomfortable/painful and then at least u could prepare yourself for it, I prefer to hear it how it is!

Ruthiebaby Tue 09-Aug-05 22:08:02

So true, I don't know how many times I've heard 'breastfeeding doesn't hurt' before.

Sometimes I'm still shocked by the ferocity of how powerful my son latches onto me !

Good luck to you x

moondog Tue 09-Aug-05 22:11:51

joybee, I had a lot of problems first time round (and some the second time round.)
You're right,sometimes it is painful initially anyway. (After a while you barely notice.)
I remmber being quite frightened and amazed at the hunger and ferocity and neediness of a newborn baby. It took my breath away.

The girls are right though. Day 6 is very early days.ASs you say,take it a day at a time and be kind to yourself and make sure that those around you are too.


motherinferior Tue 09-Aug-05 22:19:11

Sod the leaflets - it does hurt most of us to start with BUT if it hurts a lot you need help.

And like Fisil says, other factors come into play too. I've made different decisions with my babies, depending on more than just how I felt physically about breastfeeding. I do think, if I'm honest, that it's a good idea to sort out what is wrong first, and get it as comfortable as possible, and then decide.

fredly Tue 09-Aug-05 22:19:42

Hang in there joybee. Breastfeeding was a nightmare for me for the 1st 2 months, very painful, each one ended up in tears (for me!), until I had a mastitis. After a week of treatment the infection was gone and more importantly so was the pain. From then on I really enjoyed it and bf my dd until she was over 8mths old ! I was very sad to stop !

fisil Tue 09-Aug-05 22:25:26

I'm glad you spoke to the mw joybee. This shows what a huge nightmare the whole topic of breastfeeding is. For you it clearly helps to be told that it can hurt. For me it was the most disasterous thing to be told! But I guess the most important advice is therefore to gather as many opinions as you can, but in the end to do whatever suits you the best. Your children will both be beautiful people whatever you decide!

frannyf Wed 10-Aug-05 12:42:13

Joybee, I felt the same - "Why didn't somebody tell me it would hurt???" I guessed maybe people were worried it would put women off trying, but I think it may have the opposite effect as people think "it's not meant to hurt, there must be something wrong with me, so I'll stop."

It is worth persevering with, but as people on here have confirmed, it could be weeks rather than days before you feel more comfortable. Breastfeeding should be so easy and convenient once you are through any initial problems, though - just think of all the times you will not have to get out of bed to make up a bottle at 4 am.

dobbin Wed 10-Aug-05 21:07:23

I found feeding excruciating for twelve weeks and was perpetually blistered and in tears. I attended countless clinics and most said the latch looks fine, the pain will settle in a few days, weeks and then months. However, I finally found a clinic where they made adjustments to my posture, to my hold on my baby and to how I latched him on and finally, two weeks later, we've cracked it. I can't say it's pain free but it's now bearable and I might even last the full six months.

After a certain time I had to accept it would not just get better on its own, I had to be doing something wrong and I am exceptionally grateful to the clinicians who tolerated my stunning difficulties in this area and managed to help me.

I also agree with those who have commented that they were shocked by the strength of their babies' sucks. Breastfeeding looks so gentle and comforting to the observer but could be used as a form of torture when done wrong.

joybee Thu 11-Aug-05 12:11:43

Just to let you know I am still managing to do it. Cracked yesterday as could also feel dull ache in my chest while the baby sucked and just thought not another bloomin' pain! Got dh to get the baby a bottle but when it was right there in front of me decided I could try a bit longer. Have been feeding lying down and the change of position seems to have helped a bit. I was talking to dh last night and he pointed out I have always been a bit funny about my boobs. A bit squeamish I suppose, don't like them messed about with and the thought of pumping or manually milking myself makes me feel faint. So wonder if part of the problem is in my head. I don't know feel a bit emotional today and just been really horrible to dh. Does anyone know if breastfeeding makes your more hormonal?

maisiemog Sat 13-Aug-05 13:21:30

Joybee, I was a bit like that too. I knew I was going to bf (it's what my mum did), but I also knew I was a little bit squinky about it. As a consequence I didn't really read up about it before birth - kind of put it out of my head. I managed to do it agains the odds (had problems)and had every problem except thrush. But I now do enjoy it, it IS much easier/cleaner than bottles(I know because I had to feed that way in the beginning)
But I still have the 'weirdness' at the back of my head, but I ignore it and focus on the positives.

joybee Sat 13-Aug-05 19:36:16

Thanks maisiemog, at least I know I'm not the only one. Was thinking I was a bit odd as I've never heard anyone else mention anything like it before. On the plus side ds was weighed today and has put on an ounce, which the mw said was really good because they can lose up to 10% at this point. Makes me more determined to get on with it.

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