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Breastfeeding is so hard

29 replies

L3tsD0Th1S2020 · 17/03/2021 19:35

Im always engorged my nipples are burning and cracked. My baby feeds so often. Im told i have a great milk supply because she's such a good eater but im always sore and exhausted.

Its mentally as well as physically hard.

If I had a poor supply I think I would use that as a valid reason to stop but because I have such a good volume I just dont want to give all that up

OP posts:
Biscuitsneeded · 17/03/2021 19:40

You poor thing - I remember this well. How old is your baby? For what it's worth, I persevered and my nipples somehow hardened up and stopped being sore, and in the long run I was SO glad to have kept going. For the obvious health advantages, but also (selfishly) it meant that as Spring turned to Summer I could set off with just the pram and a nappy bag ( well, and a baby, obviously!)and spend all day out with friends or in parks if I wanted to with no faffing about with bottles and sterilisers. But if we're talking months rather than weeks of trying and you still don't feel happy about it, you don't have to carry on. Sounds like you've made superhuman efforts already.

Pandapotato · 17/03/2021 19:41

Those first few weeks are hard @L3tsD0Th1S2020. How old is you baby?
I won’t tell you what to do, but I’ll share me experience that, after about 6 weeks it gets much easier. Then easier again after about 12 weeks.
If you want to keep going - access as much support as you can. Do you have a local support group? Our area are still supporting virtually.
Learn about breastfeeding so that you know what is normal and can troubleshoot easily. I found the kellymom website invaluable for this.
And if you don’t want to carry on, that’s ok. Your baby, your body, your choice.
Good luck and congratulations x

atomcats · 17/03/2021 19:45

Everything you’ve said is 100% true. At least, it was how I felt too. I hated how “well” it was going, because I felt like I had to keep going as everyone else was so positive about it and I felt selfish for thinking of alternatives.


It did get easier. Not overnight, but at some point I stopped focusing on aiming for x number of days / weeks etc. Now I’m trying to type this while feeding my nearly one year old!

Look after yourself, and take each feed at a time x

Umbivalent · 17/03/2021 19:47

I was the same Flowers

How about expressing in the mornings, and giving that to you baby at night-time to give your nipples a rest?

How old is your baby?

Jenjenn · 17/03/2021 19:50

Just sharing my experience op but it did improve for me. By 4-6 weeks it was easier and by 3 month mark I was happy to have persevered, it was very little trouble then. Have you got lansinoh for your nipples? Lather it on every feed.

L3tsD0Th1S2020 · 17/03/2021 19:51

Thank you both! Where do I go to find out about a local support group?

My baby is only 2.5 weeks old. In saying that I feel like ive not given this enough of a chance.

Today I'm particularly sore and letting that overwhelm me.

I really want to keep going.

OP posts:
MonkeyPuddle · 17/03/2021 19:55

Oh love. It’s so hard at the beginning.
Have a search on Facebook for local peer supporter groups. You should still be under the care of your midwife so call them in the morning and see if there is an infant feeding team you can be referred to for support or have them come and see you at home to get your latch/tongue/lip tie checked.

In the mean time have a glass of wine, a good cry, whatever makes you feel better.

ArtfulScreamer · 17/03/2021 19:55

Breastfeeding my DD was one of the hardest things I've ever done for the first 6 - 8 weeks and one of the most overwhelming but at some point it just got easier, I can't remember exactly what point as I was exhausted but it was somewhere between 6-8 weeks. I'm pregnant again and intend to breastfeed again all being well.
I'm all for fed is best and would never criticise anyone decision to give up breastfeeding but if you can get past that first couple of months you may find your journey a little smoother.

PurpleTygrrr · 17/03/2021 19:56

Ah it's so hard, been there are about to do it again. Have you tried nipple shields? A lot of midwives and feeding specialists don't always recommend them due to nipple confusion or affecting supply but they really 'saved' breastfeeding for me. You can just use them for alternate feeds too. I ended up feeding for a year using them but they can just be helpful short term.

Kimye4eva · 17/03/2021 19:58

2.5 weeks is pretty much the worst time. Tiredness has really kicked in and your nipples feel totally overused. They will get used to it and it will get easier if you can hang on in there!

FTEngineerM · 17/03/2021 19:58

You’re in the worst time, you’ve done so well getting where you are I vividly remember the agony as DC latched on to a nap that was absolutely on fire.

Slather on lanolin. Let the nips dry naturally with milk on them. Dont keep trooping if you’re really hating it, your happiness matters too. It does end and get better. ❤️

PollyRoe16 · 17/03/2021 19:59

Oh I remember the first few weeks were so hard! But it does get better.

I second the suggestion for the lasinoh nipple cream - it's one of the only ones you don't have to wash off before feeding and was a life saver. I put it on after every single feed.

If you're still in a lot of pain see if you can get baby checked for a tongue tie. My little boy had it and it made feeding agony until it was cut as he wasn't able to latch on properly.

Tal45 · 17/03/2021 20:01

Oh god it does get easier I promise. I remember those days when the state of my nipples made me cry. I was glad (eventually) that I kept going despite everyone recommending formula. xxx

TheLovleyChebbyMcGee · 17/03/2021 20:05

Breastfeeding is so difficult, especially at 2.5 weeks, so well done!!! I found it got better after 3 weeks, and by 6 weeks it was completely pain free. After that it was really easy, no bottles to make up or sterilise, didn't have to think about packing powder or faff about with flasks of boiling water. So I considered it to be short term pain for long term gain.

That said, its totally your choice, don't feel that you have to persevere if you don't want to!!

MonkeyPuddle · 17/03/2021 20:08

Here’s some problem solving info on nipple pain if it’s any use x

WhiteBricks · 17/03/2021 20:12

Have you tried silver breast shells to aid healing? I didn't use them myself but loads of my friends said they were amazing for helping to heal cracks and nipple trauma.

The mental exhaustion was the hardest part for me, I felt touched out so quickly. It was the unrelentingly nature of it, of having my baby attached to me 24/7. Like others said above it did get better and easier as time went on.

Bluewavescrashing · 17/03/2021 20:15

You don't have to carry on OP. If it's really sore and relentless you can switch to formula.

Just in case nobody else says it.

midsummabreak · 17/03/2021 20:21

Seconding lansinoh cream after every feed as @Jenjenn says
Later on you won’t need it

121SarahB · 17/03/2021 20:23

Well done mama , the first few weeks are the hardest, it does get so much easier.
I only bf for 10 months but I joined the fb group called “ extended breastfeeding Ireland “ it has > 20,000 members from outside Ireland also including lactation consultants .
The opening page is white with green/ purple font. It was my most useful support at the time.
Best of luck, sending hugs xx

Iminaglasscaseofemotion · 17/03/2021 20:24

Yes it is OP. I just had my third and was determined to breastfeed this time.
I was 18 with my first, tried and failed because I had absolutely no help. No one came near me in the hospital and I was too embarrassed to ask because I thought they would think I was a terrible mother for just not getting it straight away. I gave up as soon as I got home.
Second I didn't even try. I was still put off by the first time, and just believed I couldn't because I was useless.
Third I persevered for 5 weeks. By week 3 my nipples were constantly what they call engorged, yet my milk supply was practically non existent even with expressing. I tried everything. My dd couldn't get enough to fill her for anymore than half an hour at the most, and that was with at least half an hour on both breasts. Eventually she got to the point where she wouldn't latch for anymore than a couple of minutes. (10bls 6oz when born). My health visitor supported me but I could tell she thought it would be best I gave up. I had been combi feeding since I left the hospital because she was so hungry.
I kept saying I would give up but then kept trying because I felt so guilty, and kept failing which I could feel having an impact on my mental health. I was in pain when not feeding, and while feeding. About 2 weeks ago I just didn't give her the breast one day. I had 2 coffees and felt so much better for having made the decision.
After around 36 hours there was no milk leaking at all, no pain. My breasts were back to normal.
I was so determined this time because both my other children suffered with tummy pains. I ended up with pnd with the second because he was such an unsettled baby, and I was convinced that breast feeding would be the magic cure to a settled, happy baby this time. Thats not the case though.
You need to do what is right for you. I really wish it had worked put for me this time, bit it didn't.
If you haven't already got them, get gel nipple pads. They are very good. I didn't discover them until the day before I gave up.

Biscuitsneeded · 17/03/2021 20:28

Yes, lansinoh. And 2.5 weeks is the pits. I remember dripping tears all over my poor baby while the little barracuda angel was on my lap feeding, and sobbing "this hurts more than labour". But somewhere around week 3-4 something clicked and within days I was feeding on park benches with no cream or support cushions or stress.
I'm a huge advocate of breastfeeding but I do think there's something wrong with the message that goes out about it. If women are led to believe it's entirely marvellous and natural and easy, and you just sit about looking beatific, it's very dispiriting when the first few weeks turn out to be anything but that. Women should be told it might actually be difficult, exhausting, painful etc at first but is more than worth the effort if you can stick it out.

User0ne · 17/03/2021 20:31

Positioning is really important in preventing sore nipples. I struggled with Ds2 (after doing fine with Ds1) because I'd forgotten how to position a newborn.

Keep their bum tucked in close, they should be fully facing you while feeding - not twisting outwards and they should be pretty much horizontal. Video below:

Have you tried any feeding positions other than the "traditional" one?

otterbaby · 17/03/2021 20:33

That is a really tough time. Is baby's latch okay? I also recommend lanisoh after every feed. I also got some amazing lanisoh packs off Amazon that you can freeze and stick in your bra - helps massively with the engorgement.

Lansinoh Therapearl 3-in-1 Breast... poppmobappshare

If you're wanting to keep going - it does get easier. I promise. After the first 6 weeks, your boobs will go back to normal and it shouldn't hurt anymore. But you don't have to continue if you don't want to!

otterbaby · 17/03/2021 20:34

Also - Breastfeeding Guidance & Support UK page on Facebook. So much information on there.

And you can search on the La Leche League website for a local helpline. I called mine and she let me know about a local breastfeeding group (only over zoom atm but worth a try) xx

Brown76 · 17/03/2021 20:45

Don’t suffer in pain! Definitely get all the support going and keep asking until it’s working well and isn’t painful. La leche league is great, there are many causes of pain and it’s a bit or trial and error to find the solution sometimes, but also having the community of others around you to support you is a great help.

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