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How long did it take for your nipples to get used to breast feeding?

(29 Posts)
MB34 Tue 18-Dec-12 19:14:41

Just that really.

My sister ebf her 6 month old DS and said she can't feel anything anymore.

My DS is nearly 4 weeks and although I am easing myself in to bf (doing it as often as I can and giving ebm at other feeds) I can still feel everything and it gets to a point where I can't take anymore and have to take him off. I have had his latch looked at by everyone who say it's perfect so it's not that.

It's getting me down and making me want to give up on bf and this upsets me.

changeforthebetterforObama Tue 18-Dec-12 21:10:35

Hi, sorry you are finding it tough. It 's awful when it hurts. You could have thrush possibly. I know you say you've tried everyone but my otherwise terrific MWs gave me lousy advice on the latch. It was my second baby and I knew it wasn't supposed to hurt. Please consider an NCT BF counsellor - preferably someone you can see. They will also talk through things like tongue-tie if that's not been checked. Good luck brew

MB34 Tue 18-Dec-12 22:20:43

Thanks for replying. How do I know if it's thrush?

I was kept in hospital for 5 days after the birth and a lot of midwives and the nursery nurse said the latch was perfect. I've also been twice to a bf group at the hospital and two counsellors there have said the same, along with my mw and hv.

He's also been checked three times for tongue tie.

Does it not hurt initially for everyone? I thought there was a period at the beginning where it does hurt but after a while your nipples become hardened to it - is this not right?

Nightmoves Tue 18-Dec-12 22:43:02

That is rubbish for you, BF is hard enough!! My nips used to be sore initially when DS started to feed but only for a few minutes. This lasted a while tho, 8 weeks maybe. But as it was only at the start of a feed it was ok. Now it is totally fine, still feels tingly but absolutely no pain. Probably is slightly different for everyone. I would contact la leche league. They were super helpful with me with some questions I had and know everything there is to know about BG, or so it would seem. I would email them if I were you.

Gingerbreadlatte Tue 18-Dec-12 22:44:27

With DC 1 it took at least 4 wks to get better. The feeding and let down was painful and used to send me loopy at every feed.

This time (DC2 is 6wks) it's much easier and pain stopped by 1 to 2 wks.

Keep getting support via bf clinics. I find the LLL cafes are really good.

Congratulations smile

anameforahouse Tue 18-Dec-12 22:45:29

There was a thread no so long ago where loads of people said their babies had been eventually diagnosed with tongue tie after loads of pain and several professionals saying they didn't have it.

Having said that, it did hurt me at first. That changed after a while, I forget how long. It's not that your nipples get hardened to it, I'm not sure how to explain it, it just stops hurting!

I was told (and believed) that there is always a reason for BFing hurting, it's always solvable. I'm not sure I believe that now (although I'm not a BFing expert, just personal experience!). It stopped hurting me when DD was probably about 6 weeks old (I forget exactly). We've done extended feeding so I've been feeding her for a few years without it hurting at all. When I got pregnant again, BFing started hurting again, it lasted a few weeks. So maybe it's hormonal?

What I do know is that - sadly - MWs and HVs are not BFing experts. IME they are often not up to date with the latest evidence / science. You need to speak to an expert.

I would highly recommend La Leche League. They have a helpline which you can call in the evenings as well as daytimes. Number here

Here's their page on nipple pain

zoobaby Thu 20-Dec-12 22:33:39

I'd absolutely recommend Lansinoh if you aren't already using it. It's amazing. I originally needed it after every feed and now 3 months in I Usually just apply before bed. Maybe the boobs become battle hardened or baby becomes more expert. No idea. I spent a week in hospital and the advice varied greatly from day to day. First 2 days I was told everything was perfect but I knew it wasn't. Was saved on 3rd day by one particular MW who was hands-on and actually guided baby on to the breast. The difference was AMAZING.

zoobaby Thu 20-Dec-12 22:40:58

I would add though, some days when DS is more rigorous, it still feels like someone has given me a "Chinese burn" on both nipples. Haha.

alwayspregnant Thu 20-Dec-12 22:44:17

My lo is 9 weeks, my 4th dc and my nipples still hurt like hell. Latch perfect, good feeder, no tongue tie etc. I actually can't wear a bra my boobs are that sore. sad

McBaby Fri 21-Dec-12 03:48:12

I was told on numerous occasions up to 8 weeks no tongue tie and latch was great, finally got to hue tie spotted by one midwife and she had quite a severe tongue tie!

Also might be thrush? I found that very painful when feeding. The pain was burning which got worse and worse during feed and was also sore for a while after each feed.

milli2512 Fri 21-Dec-12 15:59:09

After about 10 days I got really cracked nips and found feeding agony. I would be in tears and saying to DH that I didn't think I could carry on and cried at the HV when she asked how feeding was going. I kept saying to myself 'ok 2 more days' etc, kept on applying lasinoh and thankfully things improved after about 3 weeks. DS is now 9 weeks and nips are fine. It sometimes hurts when he fusses or tugs but nothing like it was. So, hang on in there for a little bit longer if you can.

Aliglobetrek Sat 22-Dec-12 08:22:06

At 6 weeks the pain suddenly stopped for me and I haven't had any pain since. I still put a bit of Lansinoh cream I'm my breast pads every day and have found that to really help.

Ladybee Sat 22-Dec-12 08:52:39

About 6 weeks for me with both dc, one had tongue-tie released as a newborn but both I suspect the thing that helped most was just growing a bit, both have small mouths, don't gape particularly wide and it just seemed to take that long for them to be able to achieve and sustain a deep enough latch through the feed. Keep going, you're doing really well and keep asking for help.

MaMaPo Sat 22-Dec-12 09:54:31

I'm a lucky one - no real pain at all (and my little one is just over 2 weeks). There was a little bit of cracking in the first week which didn't really hurt and cleared up in a few days. Since then, the skin on my nipples has been much more sensitive, and it's painful if she makes a bad latch, but with a good latch I wouldn't say there's anything painful about breastfeeding - although it can be uncomfortable at times. I use lansinoh daily or so, which probably helps.

Sorry to hear of all the people who have had pain for many weeks - I do sympathise. But I also wanted to say that perhaps pain isn't inevitable for everyone. Why I lucked out, I have no idea.

Good luck to everyone!

gillyweed Sat 22-Dec-12 10:01:27

honestly? 10-12 weeks... the pain was like needles slicing in and out of my nipples and down my boobs. I think it was a combo of having quite sensitive nipples and the strongest latch in the world - my baby snuggled up to my sister and mistakenly latched on to her upper arm (as they do!) for barely any time and left her with a whopping love bite! it wad then we realised she had some suction power!

Only thing that really helped was the amazing lansinoh cream, worth every penny! Oh and cake! It still hurts on occasion and she's nearly 8 months!

Jenijena Sat 22-Dec-12 21:59:41

I remember reading threads here about people saying they didn't feel pain any more and I didn't think it would ever happen to me. I would definitely give up before then. So I really want to say, you will get there.

I've still got cracks (7 months) but I promise you, at about 8-10 weeks in there is a noticeable improvement. I rarely feel it now, even though Ds has carved his mark for ever. And I suspect TT. I got there with expressing, a little bit of formula, and a lot of stubbornness (the first mw who say me on post natal ward told me I'd never breastfeed, and it was the thought of her smug face that kept me going in my darkest hours). Oh god, it hurt, but it is without doubt the thing I am most proud of doing in my life. And I had formula and bottles in from before my due date. I really wasn't that committed.

Whatever it takes to get you there, sane, go for it. One feed at a time is all I managed to think about in the early days.

MB34 Sun 23-Dec-12 18:37:29

Thank you all for your lovely replies - I'm glad to know that this is normal so I'm still hanging on in there! I've got to 4 weeks now so hoping it won't be much longer! Although I do still wonder if it hurts so much because his latch isn't right.

I've tried the LLL number a couple of times but there's been no answer - I'll keep trying - everyone's probably doing last minute Christmas things!

Jenijena How did you find the bf/expressing/formula? Sometimes when I bf ds, he sucks for a bit then screams and pulls himself off. This can go on for about an hour. Other times he can feed each side for 30mins each and still be screaming for more. Both situations result in giving a top up of either ebm or formula of up to 80mls! I'm worried that he's used to getting a lot of milk in a short timeframe (from the bottle) so will never get used to having bm from me :-(

MrsMerryMeeple Sun 23-Dec-12 18:58:06

You poor thing! I had a tough time starting BF, but I stuck it out and EBF to 6 months, then continued through weaning to 13 months.

Our start was especially shaky as I got mastitis before DS was 1 week old. That took quite a few rounds of antibiotics to clear. Even so, I think I had sensitive nipples, because they felt like the "nipple stem" (my invented word) was sooooo bruised. DS was considered "borderline" for tongue tie, and since we had such problems already, they fixed it rather than not.

I expressed when the pain was too bad, and DS got expressed milk. As I was still building my supply, I was told to keep pumping for a while after nothing came out. Doing which I gave myself oversupply... But DS only had a little formula in the very early days. From then on he only got my milk.

I used lansinoh religiously, every feed, for months, and it helped a lot! So did paracetamol...

You need to find a BF counsellor or health expert who you click with and who it feels like is helping you. Keep trying the help lines and if there are any drop in centres near you, use them too.

For me, I consider the worst was over at about 9 weeks. Don't know if I would have managed to stick it out that long if I'd known from the beginning it would take that long, but each day you think "tomorrow will be better" and hang in there.

Good luck! Stick with it as long as it feels right for you and your baby. It will get better!


AndMiffyWentToSleep Sun 23-Dec-12 19:06:32

I remember describing it as though someone had sawn my nipples off and then let hamsters nibble on the ends!
Can't remember how long for though, sorry.

I agree with PP about lansinoh - before and after EVERY feed. And allow boobs to get some air inbetween feeds.

MB34 Sun 23-Dec-12 20:40:40

Haha AndMiffy I'm loving that analogy! I liken it to having my nipples constantly filed with an emery board!!

I do use lansinoh cream after every feed but I think I need to air my nips a bit more!

BreconBeBuggered Sun 23-Dec-12 20:45:15

About a month with DS1. I used to bite my fingers to distract myself from the pain. No problems at all with DS2.

MissingMyBaubles Sun 23-Dec-12 22:23:27


I have only read the first few posts, so may be repeating.
Definitely get take advice regarding tongue tie and thrush etc from professionals,ie LLL and bf counsellors, to be sure, but in my experience, breastfeeding is really painful at the beginning, even when there is nothing wrong. I think it is very wrong for people to glibly say "it doesn't hurt if you're doing it right". That only adds pressure to an already stressful situation.

I had a very painful let down and it felt like DD2 (now 23 weeks) had sandpaper for a tongue on my nipples. At times my whole chest ached. I researched loads about thrush and tongue tie because I thought it couldn't possibly be normal for it to hurt as much as it was, but it got easier over time. I think it was completely pain free by 6 weeks at most, but I distinctly remember thinking that the first 4 were horrendous. The second fortnight was definitely easier than the first two weeks and the second week of the first fortnight was easier than the first. But at the beginning your nipples are super sensitive anyway with pregnancy hormones and they have to get used to being chewed every few hours.

It does get easier. Honest.

VisualiseAHorse Mon 24-Dec-12 00:05:45

Only hurt for me the first few times. Never had a rash/cracks or anything. Used lanisoh after every feed.

MavisG Mon 24-Dec-12 00:37:04

I had pain for 8 weeks, improved as his mouth grew and when we stopped using bottles & dummy (had been expressing some feeds). The latch on the bottle didn't require him to gape (though we did buy the near to nature or whatever they're called bottles) like the latch on the breast did, & it got better when he only had boob, no other teats. Was fucking hard giving up the bottle and dummy though. But all fine & dandy in the end - it actually got nice to feed him, which was amazing to me after dreading each and every time.
Good luck.

Startail Mon 24-Dec-12 03:24:48

6-8 weeks I think it's a very long time ago, but I do suddenly remember realising it didn't hurt and gringringrin!

After that I was fantastically lucky that she's a pro, who can feed with a full set of teeth and not hurt.

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