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Does Breastfeeding Hurt?

Does Breastfeeding Hurt Sometimes. Learn what the reasons are for this at #BreastfeedingPlaceIf you’re a soon-to-be new mom or new breastfeeder who’s not yet had the pleasure of nursing a child, you may have one question on your mind: Does breastfeeding hurt?

The truth of it is, breastfeeding can, in fact, hurt. But does it always? Well, that depends on who you ask. Many women have successfully breastfed all of their children without a lick of pain. Others swear by “toughening” their nipples before baby arrives, although this is not recommended, as you may damage your nipples more than help them. But most mothers you ask may tell you about a week or two of pain, followed by no pain and sheer breastfeeding bliss.

Pain, More Pain, Then Gain

The birth of my first baby was a dream. The breastfeeding, however, was another story.

Although my son had no problems latching on, I soon began to feel horrible pain, stabbing me all throughout my breasts, arms, and back. Every time my newborn latched on, I braced myself, breathing as though I were weathering contractions once again. When my son drew some blood with his feedings, I sought the help of my doctor and his former La Leche League worker wife.

Nipple shields were suggested and dismissed. Lanolin was applied, rubbed off for feedings, then applied again liberally. I went topless. I avoided soaps. Nothing helped—except waiting. After about two weeks of sheer torture, my nipples began to adapt, and breastfeeding evolved into a source of enjoyment rather than dread.

When my second child came bursting into the world, I thought I could feel no worse pain. But when my daughter started developing white patches in her mouth—and spread it to my breasts—I knew just how badly thrush could hurt. After a regular regimen of frequent medication, my daughter and I were able to enjoy 19 months of breastfeeding bliss.

And when number three came along, I felt no pain with breastfeeding. Not for two weeks, not for two minutes.

I share my stories with you to encourage you and to remind you that babies and breastfeeding are not always textbook. My experiences were unique; they were between me and my children. Yes, I initially felt pain for the first two weeks with the first two children. Yes, I breastfed painlessly with number three. Does breastfeeding hurt? It might a little, it might a lot. It might not at all. Every woman with every baby undergoes a different experience. And no one can tell you how your breastfeeding experiences will be.

Does Breastfeeding Hurt?

Okay, But It Still Hurts…

So what can you do if you find nursing painful? Ask questions. Talk to your doctor or a lactation consultant. Some common reasons for feeling pain are inverted, flat, or dimpled nipples; infection; baby latching improperly; misuse of breast a pump; a physical problem such as milk bleb, vasospasm, or nipple blisters; or even just tender nipples from a first-time feeder.

If your doctor or lactation consultant gives you the all-clear but you’re still in pain, give it two weeks, and then two more. Wait it out to see if the pain subsides, and try every treatment you can, from lanolin to tea bags. Seek the support of family members or friends.

Though breast is always best, remember, there is no shame in giving it your all and deciding it’s not right for you and your baby. Rejoice in your efforts and continue being the best mom your baby ever had.

What about you? Does breastfeeding hurt for you?


A mom of four with one current breastfeeder, Stephanie loves to share her breastfeeding, birthing, and child-rearing experiences with anyone who asks. She is an experienced copywriter, editor, and blogger who hopes her words will reach others while glorifying God. Feel free to drop her a line at [email protected]

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