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Thread: BF still painful after 3 weeks

  1. #1

    Default BF still painful after 3 weeks

    I'm new to the forum and greatly appreciate reading all the posts! My LO is 3 weeks today and I am still finding it painful to breastfeed, with three different types of pain. We have a good latch and I am confident that he is getting enough milk because we have the recommended number of wet and poo nappies. However it is still very painful when he first latches (1) but once he starts sucking well this pain generally goes away. I can't feel the 'letdown' is this normal or is the pain going away part of the letdown? When he has been sucking for a while, usually greater than 20 min it can become painful (2) but this pain is more of a shooting pain - is this an indication that he has emptied the breast? Finally once he has finished BF I can 'feel' my breasts filling up again and this feels painful (3) too, sometimes stabbing pain and sometimes just a general ache in various parts of the breast - has anyone else experienced this?

    Another slight worry related to whether or not the breast is emptied is that my LO never really comes off the breast on his own. He either falls asleep on my breast or I take him off because the pain becomes to great (Pain 2). If I take him off because of pain 2 I usually offer him the other breast. Is this OK?
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated, I really enjoy BF but when he starts cluster feeding or goes through a growth spurt like now - it can get very painful and frustrating.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    New York

    Default Re: BF still painful after 3 weeks

    It took time for me to experience pain free breastfeeding too.
    I had to hold and support my breast for the entire feeding in order to alleviate the discomfort.
    My ds3 never unlatched on his own either. he is now 21 years old and in college, so I guess eventually he did learn to unlatch LOL.
    Your body is learning how to regulate the supply needed for your ds. Your breasts will eventually feel comfortably soft after a feeding and then get a bit heavy or tingly right before a feeding, usually 2-3 hours later.
    Started my family in 1986
    Finally done in 2001

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: BF still painful after 3 weeks

    Welcome and congratulations on the new baby! Let me try to answer your questions in order...

    1. Pain when first latching is normal in the first few weeks. As long as you are not blistered or cracked, and the pain disappears after a 10-30 seconds, what you're experiencing may be what we call "the 30 second sizzle". Often what happens is that the baby is latching on a bit shallowly, probably because he's so small still and still has a tiny mouth. But after a few seconds, his sucking draws the nipple deeper into his mouth, into the proper position. Once that happens, the pain ends. This probably isn't related to letdown- moms who experience letdown sensations (and not all do) generally say that letdown feels like shooting or electrical tingles.

    2. Shooting pain at the end of a feeding could indicate several things. The baby could be losing his latch- i.e. his latch is becoming shallower- as he ends the feeding, gets tired, and is sucking primarily for comfort. But it could also indicate something like thrush (a yeast infection of the breast), vasospasm (a painful constriction of the blood vessels in the nipple, often due to trauma or compression), or the pain of milk ducts refilling (particularly common for moms who have too much milk). It's probably not an indication that the baby has emptied the breast, since the breast is never really empty. Milk is always being made, so the breast is never actually empty.

    3. Shooting, stabbing pain and soreness after feeding- see the answer to question 2.

    4. Many babies do not unlatch on their own at 3 weeks. But most will transition from active feeding to shallow comfort sucking, at which point many moms take the baby off the first breast and offer the second.

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