Breastfeeding
March 26, 2007 posted by Lindsay

>The Truth is (Now) Out There

>Since I’m obsessed with on the subject of breastfeeding, I might as well break the silence and speak a truth that’s been closely guarded for years by legions of La Leche League Leaders.

Breastfeeding.

Hurts.

Bad.

Let me explain:

Breastfeeding feels like you’re getting a five-color tattoo on your nipple.

Breasfeeding will make you literally swear your infant’s tongue is made of sandpaper.

Breastfeeding feels like your boobs might just explode, really actually explode if you don’t feed your newborn every two hours on the dot.

Breastfeeding causes such excruciating tenderness that your nipples ache every time you inhale. Or blink your eyes. Or move.

If I could choose whether to go through labor and delivery again or the first two weeks of breastfeeding, I’d choose labor and delivery. In fact, I’d choose two weeks of labor and delivery- a baby a day- over breastfeeding. Seriously.

The good news is that all of these symptoms generally only occur within the first ten days. After that, it gets much easier.

The bad news is that no one tells new moms that they have ten days of hell to endure before life can go on as normal. In fact, if you read breastfeeding literature, it all states very clearly that if it hurts, you’re doing it wrong. Period. End of discussion. It’s like there’s some kind of cult of breastfeeding supervisors dedicated to keeping the truth about nursing under wraps.

Until now.

Ladies, we’ve suffered in silence for too long. I propose a campaign devoted to spreading the truth about nursing. We could call it Breastfeeding Sucks. (for ten days).

After I endured my Ten Days of Torture with Punky, I asked every nursing mom I knew if I was the only one who’d experienced excruciating, breakdown-inducing pain during the first few days of breastfeeding. The answer? Hell to the no.

“It hurt so bad that I’d do anything to keep my nipples from getting hard,” one mom told me.

“It hurt so bad that I cried through every feeding,” another mom said.

For me, it hurt so bad that I immediately sent Hubs out to buy a manual pump when we got home from the hospital. When that didn’t work, I made him drive across town and rent a thousand-dollar hospital grade pump just to get some relief. And I teared up every night before bed thinking about the late night torture sessions feedings I had to look forward to.

I had hoped that the second time around would be easier- My own mother (who didn’t breastfeed) seemed to think so. “Your nipples are now like leather,” she assured me, pulling yet another rich nugget of wisdom from her vast store of knowledge gleaned, I can only assume, from Oprah’s 20th Anniversary DVD Collection. Or possibly Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. No such luck. I did have a breast pump ready to go and several sets of Soothies, which made things a tad bit better, but as my obstetrician said sympathetically when visiting me the morning after I’d given birth, “Nothing really helps, does it?”

I wonder if breastfeeding activists worry that by telling the truth about the pain, fewer women will choose to nurse. That’s my theory- although I personally would have appreciated knowing ahead of time that if I could get through the first two weeks, I could almost guarantee smooth sailing afterward.

With that in mind, I now tell every pregnant first time mom I know about the ten day rule, mostly because I hear far too many stories about women who gave up trying to nurse after a week and a half and I’m pretty sure that many of them were simply in too much pain to continue- and had no hope that it would go away if they could just hold out a little bit longer.

Feel free to leave your own breastfeeding torture stories in the comments- And for those of you who are now terrified of breastfeeding yourselves, let me tell you that your day will come- both when you spend the next year or so not having to spend any money on formula or any time sanitizing or preparing bottles, and especially when your baby doesn’t catch 95% of the illnesses circulating among your friends’ bottlefed kids. That alone is worth its weight in gold. Nothing can kill your buzz like a sick baby.

*Edited to add that I just reread the last paragraph and it does sound very patronizing toward the bottlefed, doesn’t it? Sorry- I didn’t mean to come off that way. You all have been very nice about it. I’ve just read so much about the natural antibodies in breastmilk and noticed that Punky didn’t get sick at all until she stopped breastfeedng- so I’ve always attributed it to that.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13926927044921344005 Jessica

    >With DS#1 it was not so much the pain of BF’ing but the fact he was ALWAYS hungry. My Mother was not the greatest supporter of BF’ing so she told me I needed to feed him formula. According to her I was starving my child. Like a fool I listened and caved after only 4 weeks. DS#2 I had to pump for 10 days while he was in the NICU. The hospital was nice enough to loan us one of their uber- pumps. I had to resist the urge to Moo like a freaking cow every time I used it but it worked wonders. After day 5 I could not believe the amount of milk I was producing. I could have feed a small villiage in Africa with what I was putting out.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18108072658803608754 Kimberley

    >I could not agree more. BF is much worse than labor/delivery. Hugs to you Lindsay!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09049030161558766505 Bluepaintred

    >i wish i knew this seven years ago.!give that baby a snorgle for me!

  • http://Gertienoreply@blogger.com Gertie

    >HEAR YE! HEAR YE! BREASTFEEDING SUCKS (for 10 days). My baby is 3 months old now and breastfeeding (and pumping) is a breeze. No pain now! BUTFOR THE FIRST TEN DAYS I CAN REMEMBER GRIPPING THE ARM OF THE COUCH, TAKING DEEP BREATH, AND LETTING HIM LATCH ON. IT HURT LIKE A MO-FO. (haven’t seen that in a while have you now?) I had a lactation consultant look at his “latch” and she described it as “perfect”. HOWEVER, IT STILL HURT!BUTIt got better. Much better. So much better, I actually enjoy it now. And the baby is healthy. And not sick. And was 15 pounds at two months. So he’s not starving either.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14788867412080827567 Suburban Turmoil

    >I had a lactation consultant watch me nurse, too- both times. I’m glad I did b/c otherwise, I would’ve been sure I was doing it wrong.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12708246860880585571 homemom3

    >I think you and I gave birth on the same day, anyways I’m right there with you. Just waiting to wake up to see that I’m bleeding on them, at least that is how it feels. But how does it feel just taking off one of those breast pads after they’ve been soaked through? OUCH!! My nurse, right after I gave birth told me, if you ever hurt it’s because you did it wrong. I’ve breastfed four kids now, this last one being the fourth…I do think I know what I”m doing and KNOW that it HURTS no matter what. Funny thing is they don’t even have to be eating to become a leaking faucet. UGH! But I agree, I wouldn’t change it for the world. BTW- I just tagged ya on my site.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06609421452596422823 Stephanie T.

    >Sing it sister! It pisses me off that EVERY book about BF you read says it if hurts you’re doing it wrong. Uh…no…you can be doing it 100% right and it can still be excruciating, at least during the first couple of weeks. Thanks for helping to get the truth out there!!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06387774344892567897 Veronica Mitchell

    >Preach it, sister.I posted about my own experiences here. My problems lasted longer because I don’t make enough milk, but you are right about the pain.

  • http://www.fixinsupper.com lcreekmo

    >I love your new campaign. It is totally true.I breastfed my daughter and cried every time she nursed for the first seven [sorry] weeks. One day, magically, the pain went away and she nursed wonderfully from then until she weaned herself just before she turned two.I had a lot of friends helping me hang in there….it really makes a difference.

  • http://tammienoreply@blogger.com tammie

    >I can’t believe this! I have 3 kids (8 yrs, 5 yrs, 17 months) and I tried to Bfeed every time. Each time I was in excrutiating pain immediately, bleeding within a day, scabs, nursing pads sticking to me that I had to peel off, crying at the thought of feeding, crying while feeding with my toes curling into the carpet in pain. I asked EVERYONE I knew if this was normal. No one said they experienced it. Not one person admitted to having problems. Typical isn’t it? The perfect mother syndrome. I had a lactation consultant each time and they all told me that it “shouldn’t hurt that much”. I got to about 7 days with my first and to about 3 with my last. I gave up each time deciding that it was better to bottle feed and enjoy my baby than endure that searing pain beacuse I was obviously not doing it correctly. Of course I’ve felt guilt ever since. Had I only had honestly like this I may have made it. I have always had the exact same comment regarding preferring labor/delivery over breast feeding. I must disagree with the opinion on bottle vs. breast and illness. My kids are all extremly healthy and have had very few illnesses. I have known several breast fed babies with multiple ear infections, extreme colic, etc.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03933260775407897696 Emily Snipes

    >It does hurt! A lot. I only lasted about 4 weeks…it just never felt natural or I didn’t have the hang of it or something. I couldn’t take it anymore. So props to you (& those who hang in there thru the pain)! Thankfully our son didn’t experience many illnesses. In fact he never took antibiotics his first 18 months.

  • http://www.soshoeme.vox.com dani

    >I drove over to a friend’s house at 11:30 pm just to take her one of my USED nipple shields and I thought she was going to make out with me the next day she was so greatful. My nipples looked like raw hamburger after 3 weeks. ew.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08483309441288822407 Jenni

    >Maybe it’s been too long (youngest is 10), but I don’t remember it being so bad. Slight discomfort, but not excruciating pain. Except for that one time I became engorged. I have never felt worse pain than that. Then there was the one demon child who thought it was hilarious to bite and make mommy make those funny faces and sounds.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09469435277058701080 liz

    >I can’t speak to this since Muffin Man HATED breastfeeding and absolutely refused to latch on (he liked facing out), but I can say with quiet authority that pumping for 9 months is bearable if you get the hands-free attachments and the bra that they go with.Pumping and reading! Pumping and knitting! Pumping and eating!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14788867412080827567 Suburban Turmoil

    >I have to admit that I hated weaning my first more because the breastfeeding time gave me an excuse to read or watch TV than because of any “bond” I thought I’d lose by giving up breastfeeding her.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17937425894428802591 Old MD Girl

    >Can’t you also eat more when breastfeeding? That alone seems like reason enough for me.

  • http://www.mommyneedsacocktail.com Kristen

    >Eight weeks.You read that right. That’s 1344 hours of pain. 7 trips to the lactation consultant to be told that I was doing it right and although his latch was “right” and he didn’t have tongue tie, it still felt like a squirrel trying to gnaw my nipple off. Did I mention he split a nipple into two separate sides?After 8 weeks, no problem. It was nice to be able to stop crying.Fast forward to #2, born 6 weeks ago yesterday.24 hours–that’s it. They say that every baby is different and there is a God in heaven that is true for me. But man the pain is worth it. There is nothing quite like the freedom of whipping it out in Costco to bring about silence that makes you realize you made the right decision for you.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01531988348358005618 G.A.

    >Why do they never tell you about the pain? I can remember gritting (ok gnashing)my teeth, doing breathing exercises, anything to try and handle the pain during those first few painful weeks. But then it got better. And then I loved nursing. And then I had a purely breastfed baby who was 23+lbs at 6 months lol.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14788867412080827567 Suburban Turmoil

    >You can either eat more or lose 27.5 pounds in 12 days, like I just did. :) Sorry. I had to tell that.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11013507872771685003 cce

    >God, my problem, once the pain subsided was that I produced enough milk to feed a small city of infants. I couldn’t go anywhere b/c of the leaking, the pain of letdown, the fear that when I fed the little darling I would spray milk all over the poor, unwitting people in my vicinity. The little darling liked to catch his breath, stop sucking and gaze around while the milk kept coming like a firehose. Try nursing like that on a plane next to the humorless guy in his grey flannel suit. Happy Times.

  • http://www.home-ec101.com Ivy

    >I couldn’t agree more. But I have got to laugh, it’s like someone handed you a list of the most voilatile people on the internet and you wrote posts to piss them all off. First the pageant moms, then the Green Hills bitches, then the childfree, and now the militant breastfeeders? You are braaaave.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01015005627576368267 karen

    >LANOLIN! Get some lanolin quick! They sell it in tubes in the breastfeeding sections of Babies R Us or any nursing stuff store. Go for the purest lanolin you can find and then apply it to your sore spots a lot – after each feeding and whenever inbetween you like. It will not hurt your baby. It should make your wobbly bits feel a lot less painful!I didn’t have much trouble or pain from nursing either of my kids but did have my grandmother’s wisdom about the lanolin at the start. I either won the BF lottery twice or the lanolin really worked…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15437430912341140290 Sonia

    >Either your latch is wrong, or your baby has thrush…therefore giving you thrush on your nips. BF isn’t supposed to hurt. It only hurt me when I nursed my first…and I was leaning backwards….therefore, bad latch. Good luck.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11974404093257620566 Fairly Odd Mother

    >I would’ve killed for 10 days. For me it was 3 months. Awful, terrible, painful. Then, it got easier and was a cinch with each subsequent child. I’m now on the other side of the fence, having just weaned my third and final child. My boobs are big, hard and pissed.

  • http://www.miss-britt.com Miss Britt

    >I hated absolutely EVERYTHING about breastfeeding and once I reached the Six Weeks So I am NOT A Horrible Mother Fuckyaverymuch Mark… I wept with joy. Both times.Now? My sister–in-law was sent home with nipple shields from the hospital. Freaking NIPPLE SHIELDS!! She never had a chapped nuthin’, a bad latch, nada. Whore.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05553485625575303233 Lisa N.

    >You have to love (and by “love” I of course mean “loathe”) the magazines that demonstrate the “ease” of breastfeeding with a lovely four-panel illusration – you know, 1. Tickle baby’s lip with nipple, 2. Baby opens wide, 3. Baby latches on, 4. Mommy and baby revel in a joyous bonding experience until Mommy breaks the suction and all is well.I mean really, where’s the panel that shows how Mommy has to back herself into the shower for fear of letting the water hit her ravaged nipples? Or the one where in trying to achieve that great latch, she sprays milk everywhere but into the intended orifice? Great post! The truth needs to be told!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08258514296905380163 rennratt

    >My nipples cracked open and bled.Nooze had thrush – and so did I.Nooze began teething at 3 1/2 months. (I began pumping).Then I leaked – sporadically – until she was FOUR!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14788867412080827567 Suburban Turmoil

    >Sonia, Sonia, Sonia. I don’t have thrush. He doesn’t have a bad latch. Neither did my first. Ask my lactation consultant. Both times, I’ve had to get through ten days and then bingo, like magic, it stopped hurting. And every single mother I’ve talked to since then has said that BFing hurt like a mutha for the first week or two. Including a La Leche League Leader.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00709368343967989328 Carrien

    >I have nursed 3 babies. Sorry, no torture story to share though. It honestly has never hurt, except when they bite down with teeth. There is the occasional uncomfortably full moment and I remember wincing once or twice the first week right at the beginning of a feeding for a second, buy nothing that I would describe as excruciating, definitely not worse than labor, and mine were without an epidural.I like the way breastfeeding feels, their little tongues, the relief as the milk drained out, and the closeness with my baby. Most of my friends were the same as me. I really didn’t believe the one or two people who told me it hurt, I thought they were exaggerating and looking for excuses.I believe you all now.I don’t think LLLeague leaders are trying to keep it secret or fool anyone, I think they are just mostly women like me who didn’t find it painful to begin with.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17692965288646024168 B.E.C.K.

    >”‘Your nipples are now like leather,’ she assured me…”Agh! (Trying to get that image out of my head now.) ;^)BFing didn’t work out for my son and me, and we wound up bottle feeding. He didn’t have any illnesses for at least two years, FWIW.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07605640876979580340 Scattered Mom

    >I couldn’t breastfeed. For some weird reason that the docs couldn’t figure out, my breastmilk had blood in it and was the color (no joke) of prune juice. My ds refused to drink (obviously) and we bottle fed.Funny thing? He’s been more illness free then all of one of my friend’s kids, who were all breast fed.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14391113093006584964 Dawn

    >Amen Lindsay! It hurts so bad, I cried, toes curling and trying not to scream at my precious little one so I wouldn’t scar them for life!And no Sonia, it doesn’t mean you have thrush, the baby has thrush, or they’re latched on wrong. My good friend and I discussed this and agreed that that’s a bunch of baloney.After two kids and breastfeeding for over 2 years straight, it is just something you have to get through and then it’s cake.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17350861069153040567 Kelly

    >Jesus, I was JUST thinking this same thing when talking to a friend who bottle fed her first two, and is breastfeeding her third. And I agree, Lucinda, that lactations consultants don’t want to scare away potential breastfeeders, but personally, I think honesty is pretty much the best policy. Tell women, yeah, you know, having a little mouth with supremely awesome sucking power go at it on your tits 24/7 is gonna make things more than a wee bit sore. Here are some things you can do to make it easier on you, and then it will eventually go away and actually become a lovely experience. The first 4 weeks with my second born were hell on earth. Okay, a little dramatic, I guess, but really, my nipples hurt so bad. I apparently also had a bad case of thrush from the IV antibiotics, and something pretty rare called a vasospasm, where the blood vessels in my breasts would contract during a feeding, making my breasts feel like they were burning from the inside out. Things turned around, pain-wise, at 5 weeks, but then I had to deal with oversupply, with my firehouse nips spurting out full force with every letdown. I practically drowned Lillian. So, Lucinda, in closing, thanks for your honesty. And your encouragement. You’re doing women a giant favor!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02786396757899820953 Marie

    >Boy, this was a really sore subject (pun intended) for me for my son’s 1st year. He had a high red blood cell count at birth, so the NICU doctor insisted that we pump him full of formula. Damn bottles. I didn’t know to insist on cup-feeding. Anyway, he wouldn’t take the breast after that. I pumped like crazy. Called everywhere to find a lactation consultant who could come to my house once we got home from the hospital. She was great & got him on with a nipple shield. I wasn’t able to get him to latch by myself — he fought it. I knew the hospital’s lactation phone # by heart (still do!). They all knew me, I called so much! I bled. I pumped and cried for 4-6 weeks, day and night. Nothing like BF problems plus PPD. Anyway, I felt like dirt because everyone I know nursed their babies. My earth mother MIL was looking over my shoulder the whole time… OY. OY. OY. Guilt.Looking back on it, of course I’m glad I gave it my all. But I don’t know that it was worth all the mental anguish. (Sorry La Leche) My son just turned 3 and has never been on antibiotics. Knock on wood, never anything worse than a cold.Yeah, women need to talk about these things. Good for you for putting it out there on the table, Lindsay. Hope it’s all going smoothly with Bruiser… I raise the Lanolin to you! Cheers!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07803108159299729497 Refinnej

    >Yep, 1st 7 days were hell for me with #1. I remember curling my toes and clenching my teeth just to get him on there & feeding (then it would ease up a bit). The worst is the time he coughed up the blood he’d swallowed from my poor nipple – I didn’t even know I was bleeding.#2 wasn’t quite as bad, maybe because I was mentally prepared. It wasn’t a walk in the park tho.BTW, I tend to agree with your theory as to why new moms aren’t told.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02790923882631330860 April

    >Thanks for the aplogy! That meant alot to this guilt ridden mother of a bottle fed two month old. My milk simply never came in. I got extremely sick right after giving birth, and the doc said that just made me dry right up. I was pretty upset over it, but losing 24 pounds in one week sure did help!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06862496090402365429 Jenny Rough

    >My boobs hurt just reading this and I don’t even have kids yet.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16420657918320783568 The Wooden Porch

    >Oh Lindsey, forget just using lanolin! Take those high dosage pain meds 30 minutes before a feeding! Time to feed and you haven’t taken any meds, take a couple quickly and let the baby wait 20 minutes. I swear, it was the ONLY thing that got me through those early days of nursing my two kids. I never knew my nipples were connected to my toes (like the comment a few above me) my toes could not uncurl they hurt so bad and my jaw hurt from clenching it so tight. The New Mommy’s Cocktail:Oxycodone! Acetaminophen! Fentanyl! Azapropazone! Celecoxib! Diclofenac! Ibuprofen!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16703644358265856864 Pageant Mom

    >Lordy girl!! I got two words for you HOT TOWELS. Don’t take my word for it, but that’s the first thing you are supposed slap on when you get home day 1. I always found it to be quite the lifesaver and my aching glands would respond happily every time.Give it a shot LOL The lanolin tip is very good too. Keep ‘em moisturized!!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03655262571287385309 Heather

    >It was miserable with my oldest son at first and I refused to try using lanolin because What To Expect When You Are Expecting said it was bad. Finally, my nurse practitioner told me to try it, and I did, and it was SO MUCH BETTER!I used it from day one with my second child and it didn’t hurt.I feel for ya.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16869499487871646740 Kristin

    >Breastfeeding wasn’t a problem at all for me. Not even a little bit {sheepish grin.} But–giving birth was far worse for me than you describe yours being. So I guess it all works out in the end. The motherhood thing sometimes just sucks!

  • http://Amynoreply@blogger.com Amy

    >I only wish I could have found that magic 10 day mark … my daughter fell asleep every. single. time she latched on. Within seconds. Completely, totally asleep. No amount of foot-tickling or cold rags or whatever, helped. Until she lost so much weight, both my pediatrician AND my lactation consultant insisted that I supplement her with formula. Which of course caused the downhill slide in milk supply, despite spending more time with the pump than with my newborn baby. I also have very flat nipples, so I had to use nipple shields, which I HATED, because they are so frigging easy to knock off when you’re handling a flailing newborn, and she had to suck hard enough to get my nipples pulled into the shield (which meant not falling asleep instantly – GAH!). Horrible. I fought the good fight for 12 weeks, with formula supplement the whole time, and finally gave it up. And my daughter has had one runny nose, for one day, in her 7 months of life. Go figure! Good for you, that it’s working. The bottles really are a bitch to clean! (-:

  • http://agogandaghast.com raehan

    >First time breastfeeding only hurt for about a day. My problem was leaky breasts–all over the place.Second baby, ouch. Somehow that resolved itself.You know, having Punky at home with no pre-school this year might help you get fewer colds that friends, too. Yay for that.

  • http://www.tinylove.com/blog Shiri

    >With my first, it took about a week of gradually decreasing pain. On the second night of his life he wanted to BF ALL THE TIME and it hurt like HELL, so every time he wanted to eat (every 30 minutes or so) I tried to sooth him in other ways and of course it didn’t work and he would scratch his face with his newborn fingernails and I felt like the worst mom ever. With my second I was more ready for the pain, but it still hurt real bad for a few days.I’m with you Lindsay, spread the word! (Oh, and congrats on Bruiser…)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00930427420786164103 Jennifer

    >”If I could choose whether to go through labor and delivery again or the first two weeks of breastfeeding, I’d choose labor and delivery.”No way. I was denied pain medication during labor and delivery and can tell you that the first ten days of breastfeeding were a breeze in comparison. In fact, on day five, I told my husband that the only good thing about the excruciating pain of labor and delivery was that nothing afterwards could ever hurt me again. “It’s a good thing too,” I said, “because otherwise this let down would be killing me.” But I couldn’t agree more about that “it only hurts if you’re doing it wrong” bullshit. So count me in.

  • http://Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com Anonymous

    >I was somewhat prepared because I had three older sisters that had breastfed all of my neices and nephews, and they made it perfectly clear how painful the first two weeks or so were going to be. Even my midwife said once she latches on, it’s about 15 seconds of toe curling pain, then it gets better…and she was right…I just took a deep breath, and it was fine after about 15 seconds. The pay off is so worth it, and like your daughter, my girl wasn’t sick at all until she went to daycare at the age of one. I was still nursing in the morning and evening, but that wasn’t enough to keep the cold, flu, pink eye, etc…away in the first few weeks of daycare. Her poor little immune system went into shock! I would go through all the pain a thousand times over if it means having another healthy, smart girl like the one I have. I wouldn’t bottle feed even if formula was free!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08113268891801837789 Malia

    >I had a very odd first breastfeeding experience with my daughter. For those you that took the breastfeeding class when you were pregnant, you may remember hearing about flat or inverted nipples. Well, I have flat ones. At the hospital I was given a nipple shield to aid in the latching on process. I think that the nipple shield protected my nipples those first few weeks because I didn’t have that terrible pain. After I weaned my daughter off the nipple shield (around 3 months old), I did experience a brief time period the “the pain”.My son (my second), was a born eater and didn’t care about my flat nipples, he just latched on and went to town. No nipple shield needed. Oh. My. WORD!! “The pain” was so intense, just like Lindsay has described but also after about two weeks, maybe a little less…it was gone! My salve of choice with my son was olive oil. It didn’t really help with the actual pain during nursing but it did sooth my nipples afterwards (they would ache and sting for two hours…until the next feeding(!) without the olive oil).

  • http://Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com Anonymous

    >I have felt guilty for years for accidentally (after a few cocktails) telling my sister-in-law about having scabs on my nipples in the early days of breastfeeding. She was pregnant with her first at the time and didn’t even try to breastfeed any of her three children because of that. I don’t remember how long breastfeeding hurt for but I do remember using my Lamaze breathiing for it — ow!

  • http://www.knittinhoney.blog-city.com Colleen

    >I had all the normal excruciating pain when my milk came in and myu nipples were adjusting to the baby’s sucking. I can recall my sister hugging me just after my milk came in and literally recoiling in horror asking me “What the HELL is wrong with your BOOBS?”The worst, though, was a blocked milk duct leading to a breast infection. 105 degree fever. Boob twice the size of the other, with red streaks running up and down. So hot the baby refused to take it – but nursing was the only “cure” for the infection. I fought through it though. Worst three days of my life.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14691980883397127669 RLGelber

    >10 days? I wish I’d signed up for that program. Breastfeeding sucked for me for 4 weeks. Then it finally got ok. Labor and delivery is immensely easier than those first few weeks of nursing. Hang in there Lindsey!

  • http://Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com Anonymous

    >Breastfeeding was very painful. I enjoyed the bonding time, but after six weeks I switched to full-time formula. It was the best thing I did for myself and my baby at that time. I don’t regret the time I breastfed and I don’t feel bad for switching her to formula. She still thrived and I never took her to the doctor her entire first year except for the required well-vists. It wasn’t until she went to daycare at one that she was sick constantly for about six weeks. Now she is 22 months and we have the occasional visit to the doctor. She’s just a healthy girl regardless of the formula she drank. We are lucky.

  • http://carolinenoreply@blogger.com caroline

    >I never made much milk, but fed my son what I could for a couple months, be it a couple ounces a day. I even took the bf drugs and took fenugreek to no avail. Then we both got thrush and I couldn’t take it anymore. I decided that the stress hormones I was giving off in my milk, and the stress I was feeling was just ruining the whole experience of feeding my son, and I only had 12 weeks off from work. So, I switched to formula, brushed off the guilt, and enjoyed the rest of my maternity leave. Yes, I agree, breastmilk is best, of course, but stressing about the sitch the whole time plain sucks. My son wasn’t any sicker than the breastfed kids we know. In fact, I think he was less sick. I think it has to do with then environment they are in. My son was not at daycare and this helped a lot. Anyway, I knew something would give since I had an event-free pregnancy and had my son in 11 hours. Funny, I could stand 11 hours of L&D drug free, but the blood and deep pain of b/f was not one I wanted to withstand over and over and over and over and over again! I’m not sorry about it either.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13777218764020573864 Smiling Mom

    >Clearly a hot topic!! I always like to be warned ahead of time. It’s been months since I stopped nursing my second child who’s over one now. But I still place my arms in front of my nipples each time I shower. A knee jerk reaction, I guess!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03115290104618343733 onetallmomma

    >I’m late to the party.I’ve been helping new moms for 12 years and I always tell them to hang in there….slow and steady improvement each and every day. And if you are still doing your labor breathing at 2 weeks to GET HELP!And I can, with all honesty say that after 4 babies and 4 sets of cracked and bleeding nipples that I am oh so happy that the “girls” are mine once again!

  • http://Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com Anonymous

    >I found out while doing some research in the midst of my nursing agonies that people with red hair suffer from more pain (Tammie – do you have red hair?) and it lasts longer. I have reddish-blond hair and after 3 months and very little relief, I gave up. It was the same with all four children – but I did stick it out for the 3 months.

  • http://Lucynoreply@blogger.com Lucy

    >I also had the toe-curling pain at the initial latch-on and then it was ok. I just never made much milk (and trust me, I tried everything to produce more milk), so my first two were switched to formula between four and five months. The third I supplemented from the beginning because I was so prepared for him to not nurse at all! He was three weeks early and the other two had been such terrible nursers that I didn’t think he had a chance! But he was a born feeder and I was still nursing once or twice a day when he was seven months old. I had to quit then because I had some health issues, was in the hospital for a week and had to go on meds that I couldn’t take and keep nursing. Staying alive won out. :) My kids have all been really healthy. I do think environment has a lot to do with illness; they’re not in daycare, we don’t have a nursery at our church, we use hand wipes after being at the store, etc. I actually never had extended pain, thrush or blocked ducts, but I had friends who had the whole kit and caboodle and man, I thought they were rock stars for sticking with it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04704163845968356340 katie allison granju

    >(PUTTING ON FLAMEPROOF SUIT)Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt the way Lindsay is describing. Even in the first ten days. If it does, something is likely not right and likely, can be fixed with the right guidance and support.If breastfeeding hurt that bad for that many women, the species wouldn’t have survived. Some discomfort in the first few weeks is common, but the type of worse-than-labor-and-delivery pain Lindsay describes is not normal. It’s pathological – meaning, something is wrong and can be fixed.I am sure, just as with every aspect of the human body, there are unique individuals for whom early breastfeeding really hurts even when positioning is right, the baby is latching on right, etc (Lindsay may be one of these unique individuals). But seriously, if breastfeeding is causing that level of extreme pain, something is almost certainly wrong – something that can be fixed.I have breastfed three children. It never hurt. In the first few weeks, I would get a little engorged and my nipples were tender a bit, but “pain” would be far too strong a word. Especially the kind of pain L. is describing. So if you are considering breastfeeding, please don’t resign yourself to horrible pain in the arly weeks. It isn’t inevitable and many women will tell you it isn’t even very likely. But I am really, really sorry for those of you who have had this experience of hurting that bad. It sounds awful.(REMOVING FLAMEPROOF SUIT)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11276604958243463666 simplicity

    >Breastfeeding really never hurt for me.I ended up getting a clogged milk duct when my son was about 6 mos, and that hurt but besides tha I must have been one of the few that had pain-free nursing.I do, however, think it took me a good six weeks to ‘get it’ and feel comfortable doing it anywhere, anytime etc. Funny ironic thing…my step son was not breastfeed but is one of the healthiest kids EVER! My stepdaughter was breastfed and picks up EVERYTHING.My son is 11 mon and has managed to only have 2 colds so far, so we’ll see.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14788867412080827567 Suburban Turmoil

    >Katie, I swear after I had my first, I asked everyone I knew if they’d had pain breastfeeding for the first couple of weeks and everyone, everyone said yes. And after that, it was fine. I’M fine now, after ten days. It seriously stopped hurting altogether, and my baby’s certainly not doing anything differently from what he was doing a week ago. I think there are some women who don’t experience pain- everyone is different- but I also think there are many, many women out there who do- and too many women who give up because they don’t realize that the pain WILL go away and that it gets incredibly easy and worth it down the road. I’m a huge breastfeeding advocate and thought it was incredibly easy once I got through the first month or so- I just wish more women knew this. I just heard today about another woman who just got home from the hospital with her newborn and gave up breastfeeding after three days because it hurt so bad…

  • http://Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com Anonymous

    >I guess the hundreds of stitches in my agonizing crotch (the kind of delivery they never talk about in prenatal classes), along with the massive clump of grape-vined hemmorhoids hanging out of my not to be seen for many months anus, after delivering my 10 1/2 pound lovely baby daughter (oh ya and my dislocated hip and one paralyzed arm of the newborn) all took away from the pain of breast feeding. I don’t remember that pain? I just remember the relief of the pressure in my soon-to-be-exploding breasts. I remember the feeling of the uterus contractions during breastfeeding, but no serious nipple pain? Helpful Hint: Try dropping a boulder on your foot before the baby latches on again-it should help. Thank goodness we all get back to normal-eventually!

  • http://carolinenoreply@blogger.com caroline

    >I tend to agree that everyone has different sensitivity to pain and it’a hard to judge just what a mom is going through. I am a big bf advocate, too, but when your body’s just not cooperating, you’ve got to reassess. If the pain of it was all I had to deal with, and the low production of milk wasn’t in the mix, I’d have stuck it out for sure. You can’t imagine the feelings of frustration and failure that come from not making enough food for your baby! Ugh. That’s when formula saved the day (and nights!)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02488069680575426742 kgirl

    >Thanks for this. I think maybe you have one point backwards – that if more moms talked about this, less moms would breastfeed. I kind of think the opposite – that if more moms knew that the pain was going stop, they wouldn’t.After an au natural birth and all kinds of statements about the importance of breastfeeding, I actually think I may have stopped on day 3 when my nipples started bleeding. If it weren’t for all my mom friends ‘fessing up and telling me that it was normal, and that it would end, I might not have made it.

  • http://Julienoreply@blogger.com Julie

    >Gosh, with my first I had no support, and just didn’t really try to breastfeed. Sort of had the idea if it worked great and if not, oh well. But was so sad that it wasn’t just a cake walk… I had read no books, went to no classes. My oldest never has had an ear infection, never had cold or anything until well after being 1 year old.With my second I thought come hell or high water I will nurse this baby. I went to several lactation classes, no one told me about the cracked, bleeding nipples, no one told me about the immense pain. And also no one told me that because I had such large breasts that I would probably have to use the football hold at least for a while…. So here is my second little angel, latched on great in the hospital, it hurt like nothing had hurt before…. but it was getting better after about a week, but my nipples were still bleeding and I was seeing the lactation consultant daily. I was producing cholostrum, for a couple days, then BAM, my milk came in and I looked like a porn star. Engorgment is not even the word for how large these girls were. So I figured, well they say to nurse it out… so I nursed, and nursed and nursed, and my baby was hungry… I wasn’t feeling any relief… I went to the LC again, and she hooked me up to a hospital grade pump. Her notes were like this “patient came in engorged, baby had 2 wet diapers today, used the breast pump, checked latch, everything looks fine. NO Let Down, seen. Patient will be back tomorrow, gave her formula to supplement, as we only were able to pump out about 1 ounce of colostrum, no hind milk.”There was about 2 pages of notes, recommending fenugreek, mothers milk tea, and of course Reglan. BUT if you have a problem with depression, you should not take this medication….I was really depressed. Not sure if it was because of the breastfeeding, life, or post partum blues but it was scary and there was no way I was going to take something that might make me more depressed.We switched to formula. My baby turned out to be allergic to dairy. She had black poops. They tested it for the presence of blood. Positive. try this soy formula… she puked it all up. Try this formula, here is a case of trials. Alimentum.So we did Alimentum, thank god it was covered by insurance…. I continued to give my baby colostrum for as long as I could. I pumped 8 times per day… and eventually just stopped…She has never had an ear infection and fought of the flu last year like a grown up…. If I need to try again with a third one, I will give it my all again, because in my opinion, some nursing is better than no nursing.But if you can’t you can’t.Thanks for posting this blog, I appreciated reading about your experience.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03956133961016192278 annie

    >One word:BOTTLEI never breast fed, never even tried.Yeah, I can hear ya’ll gasping.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03956133961016192278 annie

    >Oh, and as for illnesses? My kids were never sick the first few years and have made it more than a few years with only the occasional cold or flu, usually what was “going around” at school.

  • http://momish.squarespace.com Momish

    >Yes, the kind of pain that makes your toes curdle in agony. But, you are right, once you get through it, all is good. I also remember reading that nonsense about “if it hurts, you are doing it wrong”. Luckily, I had a friend set me straight or I know I would have been beating myself up like there was no tomorrow. It really is cruel to outright lie like that.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02151006646339048235 Linda

    >I guess I was really lucky. J.J. and I had no problem whatsoever with breastfeeding. Now, when I went back to work and was pumping 3 times a day at the office, THAT was torture. I really thought I was going to lose a nipple.

  • http://Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com Anonymous

    >Had I known all this 4 years ago when my daughter was born, I would have kept at it……but I gave up too soon, apparently! I hope this helps other moms – it sure would have helped me.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00003036330378972886 Mary C

    >Hats off to the moms who never had ANY pain at all breastfeeding. I’m sure that was very nice, but to say that something is wrong just because it hurts doesn’t help anyone. Lindsey is trying to be truthful with all the new moms out there about how difficult and painful it really is. I had all the problems everyone has described-bleeding, cracked, nipples, baby got thrush, I got a yeast infection on my breasts, clogged ducts, all within the first 6 weeks. If I had not decided ahead of time that I was sticking with nursing, it would have been way too easy to throw in the towel.We had multiple visits to the Lact. Consultant where she told me we were doing EVERYTHING RIGHT. Baby just had a very strong suck. I think it is great that you are warning everyone! I wish someone had warned me. I thought I was a failure because it hurt so bad. I used to make my husband squeeze my feet as hard as he could to take my mind off of the pain when she would latch on. Yikes! Went on to nurse almost a year!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12708246860880585571 homemom3

    >I had one other problem when it came to breastfeeding….weaning. Ya’ll thought the beginning was hard, wait until you decide to wean them and end up with mastitis. OUCH!!

  • http://Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com Anonymous

    >breastfed two kids, one for 18 mos, one for 30 mos. never an ear infection. but here’s the thing–I am a California girl and laid in the sun way too much with no top on and had actually sunburned my nipples a few times. hurt like a mof, peeled etc. but then time to breastfeed and they actually were tough. no help at all, unless someone wants to risk sunburn and skin cancer to skip tender ten day nipples. congrats.

  • http://Aprilnoreply@blogger.com April

    >I nursed twins. And both. were. biters.’nuff said.Happy Nursings!

  • http://rivergirlie.wordpress.com rivergirlie

    >one of the best things, though, is that you’ll never leave your tits behind in someone’s fridge.

  • http://www.rookiemoms.com RookieMom Heather

    >Congrats on the new baby and breastfeeding hell. I’m right there with you. With a four-week old. Ouch!!!!!!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18446029045815991673 pogonip

    >Ah, the memories…valkyrie-hard boobs with the first and yep, sore for 10 days. The second time was a snap–warm showers helped that hardness dissolve. I’m grateful I stuck it out, never had to warm a bottle at 2 a.m. with a hungry baby screaming, on tap everywhere and anytime, priceless.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08744191821191507827 Shotgun

    >I do remember that it hurt pretty bad the first week or so with number 1. With number 2, who’s 4 and a half months old, I had no pain. It was awesome. However, I have to say the contractions that happen while I was nursing were much worse this time around. It’s true, everyone does say if it hurts you’re doing it wrong. My first baby gained weight immediately upon coming home, so there is no way she was doing anything wrong, it just hurt!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14140551815183106863 Kristen

    >Wow – I’m glad I didn’t know breastfeeding could be painful even when everything was working well! Ouch!My first two babies were pain-free breastfeeders from the start, but my third baby gave me thrush and that was excruciating. Fourth baby was pain-free again, thank heavens!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04709200164010530690 Stacey

    >THANK YOU! It’s about time somebody admitted this! With my first baby, nursing hurt so bad for the first few weeks that my TOES WERE SORE, from curling them when he latched on. Ouch!

  • http://Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com Anonymous

    >Awful pain with both my boys it was like little needles and shooting pain. Several lactation consultants watched me nurse, neither child was tongue tied and I’ve never had thrush. I also nursed my first until he was three-years-old took nine months off and then nursed the second. You’d think I’d have tough nipples. Guess what, Both times I walked around with an ice pack in my bra for six weeks then it went away. Lansolin helped but not so much. I am a strong believer in breastfeeding and child-led weaning and all that but It was hell and I find a lot of LLL and breastfeeding activists refuse to believe me and argue with me. It’s rather insulting frankly. The lactation consultants all EIGHT of them finally admitted than sometimes it just hurts and there is no reason. Sigh hang in thereCaroline

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04704163845968356340 katie allison granju

    >Let me clarify that I am not denying that the pain is REALLY REAL for women who have it. What I’m saying is that it can be fixed. Something is wrong. It shouldn’t hurt like that.Even if it suddenly stops after 10 days or 3 months, it doesn’t mean that something fixable wasn’t wrong during those 10 days or 3 months.So my advice is to talk to a LLL Leader or a certified lactation consultant if you are hurting that bad. And if the professional help you get tells you nothing is wrong but it continues to hurt like that, try someone else. Not all lactation consultants are created equal (just liek not all docs are created equal).:-)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13171992376580180106 Treadmillista

    >Yes, breastfeeding hurt for me for the first few weeks. I went to several LCs and was never really offered much in the way of useful suggestions to improve the situation either. After a while it just stopped hurting.I came across this article: http://www.infactcanada.ca/Chatelaine.htmlafter I weaned, and it put it pretty well I thought, at least made me feel like I wasn’t alone!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00356891012417537184 The Mommy

    >I can only dream on 10 days of hell when this little one arrives. I endured 2.5 months of feeling like razor blades were being taken to my nipples during every feeding. Yes, there were many tears. Mine, not his.

  • http://sistasmiff.wordpress.com sistasmiff

    >I tried breastfeeding with my second kid and I hated every second of it. It’s a good thing I switched to the bottle early on or my kid would have starved. She and my other two kids were very happy, content babies who were/are also healthy.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16981415125894714419 Katie

    >The key is to not wean the older child before the baby comes, lol :D I had 6 weeks of pain with my first, though now I can’t remember how bad it was. But my first was still nursing very regularly when my second was born, so there were no problems whatsoever! I’m now pregnant with my third and the second is still nursing, so hopefully things will go well this time too :)

  • http://LynnElizabethnoreply@blogger.com LynnElizabeth

    >I had the same experience with my first child. It took about 2 weeks to get over the pain. With my second, I saw the lactation consultant 5 days within giving birth because it was hurting so badly. She took a look at my nipples and said I should switch to pumping for 24 hours to give my nipples a break from the trauma they had suffered. And that was the exact word she used. I took the break and started breastfeeding after 24 hours and it worked MIRACLES. The pain went from excrutiating to minor annoyance to something I could almost sleep through. I shall remember that woman in my will. It was the best parenting advice I ever got.

  • http://Jessicanoreply@blogger.com Jessica

    >Although I didn’t BF my first I am seriously considering BF my second. Yeah, your post scared the crap out of me but I appreciate it. Your post didn’t at all sway me towards not BFing. I am glad to know what I could be experiencing. I am sure that if they didn’t tell me that in my breastfeeding class next month I would be devastated and feel as if I had failed. Thanks for the honesty.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08434514876458774679 Jessica

    >I do remember pain the first week or so … but mainly what I remember is the wonderful night time feedings where you don’t have to get up, go mix a bottle, etc. You can just roll over and lay there and doze while baby eats … And what is that cream stuff? It’s in a purple tube? Can’t remember now what it is called but it seemed to help (a little bit) with the early pain … :-)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13694582598855276158 Brillig

    >I had four babies in less than five years. Nursed, or in some cases, TRIED to nurse, each one. First six weeks were living hell, each time. I know that feeling, waking up to a hungry, crying baby, and reeling at the thought of attaching that baby. And I, like you, went to lactation consultants and got a pump and ALL that good stuff, every time, and was told, every time, that I was doing it exactly right–it just hurts sometimes. With my last, I had honest to goodness issues (or he did, anyway) and simply had to give up after about six weeks or he would starve to death. But that, honestly, was mighty painful too. Good luck getting to that “this doesn’t hurt” point anymore. I’m rooting for you!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14788867412080827567 Suburban Turmoil

    >I just got back from my pediatrician and had her check for thrush- No signs of it. I told her that I had had pain during the first 10 days but it was getting much better- I asked if that was normal and she said, “Absolutely. Pain during the first two weeks is normal, but after that, I’d have someone check it out.”Also, that article treadmillista referenced is fabulous. She says what I was trying to say very, very well. Check it out!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16573527110331764073 Cherann

    >Yeah, it hurt for me too. I thought it would be much better the second time around but it still hurt like a b*tch.I think breastfeeding is easier than bottle feeding — not because of the germs but because I don’t have to constantly WASH anything!! Except of course, myself. Which I do anyway…(I think)

  • http://interstellaradventure.wordpress.com InterstellarLass

    >Hmmm. Let’s start with the fact that none of the nurses really showed me how to breastfeed, so I’m kinda just playing by feel. OUCH! And we ended up with the dry, cracked, bleeding nipples, only to be followed by clogged milk ducts and a breast infection that turned my knockers into giant, painful canteloupes. Imagine rock hard and immobile like Demi Moore in GI Jane, and then enlarge by 5 times. The only relief? Antibiotics and a hot shower.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14535453643548976883 The Mad Momma

    >you bet… am geeding my second one and i have reached that stage beyond excruciating pain where there is no sensation… i can kiss my sex life goodbye now. loved this post.. hope you dont mind me linking up to it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05864631532886681402 Amanda

    >I had no pain with my second, the first was actually the 6 week rule. I never heard ten days. I literally had 41 days when I seriously thought I might have to amputate my right breast. It’s amazing how different my girls have nursed, the first had a “bad latch” that worked for us but made the lactation specialist scowl. My second, she puts damn near the whole breast in her mouth. I am in my eleventh month of breastfeeding my second and I apologize if it’s already been said but the weight loss is incredible. So incredible and breastfeeding has been proven to lower a woman’s risk of breast cancer. I think in sharing the 10/42 day rule we should also share the incredible bonding factor.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14788867412080827567 Suburban Turmoil

    >To be honest, I didn’t feel any more bonded with my daughter breastfeeding her than I did holding her while she drank a bottle. For me, the greatest bond I felt with her was when I held her almost 24/7 for a week when she had strep throat. So I get a little sad for bottle feeders when the bonding thing is brought up, because they shouldn’t feel any less bonded with their child just because breastfeeding didn’t work for them.That said, I do believe breastmilk is best and I would hope that every new mom tries to breastfeed. There are so many great things in breastmilk and both my kids have absolutely thrived on it. The most recent example- Bruiser had dropped to 9 lbs 8oz when we had him weighed at the doctor last Monday (this was normal because it takes a few days for milk to come in). I took him back for his two week appt. yesterday and he’s now 10lbs, 12 oz. I think that’s pretty incredible.

  • http://DarthDocnoreply@blogger.com Darth Doc

    >Breastfeeding is overrated. What does the data show? 2 less ear infections over their first 2 years…I’ll take the 4 vacation days to cover that.The Mrs. felt so much pressure to do it with our first from the media (View Anyone?) and her mom. She lasted a week during which she suffered sleep deprivation, anxiety, resentment towards me (because I can’t help) and mastitis. When she quit it was a great weight lifted off her shoulders. When number two was born, she looked at him, looked at me and said, “He looks hungry, get him a bottle!” Our stress levels were reduced big time.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14535453643548976883 The Mad Momma

    >here are my breastfeeding nightmare stories! http://suburbanturmoil.blogspot.com/

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14535453643548976883 The Mad Momma
  • http://www.risingoutoftheflames.blogspot.com phoenix

    >still wish I could have done it though… :(

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02952854124426393851 Just a grail

    >God I WISH someone would have told me this. I breast fed or attempted anyway, my fourth and last born son. I made it a week and a half and thought I was going to die so I switched him to forumla with so much guilt I can’t tell you. No one said it would hurt when I said it hurt they would blow me off. Sigh.

  • http://DarthDocnoreply@blogger.com Darth Doc

    >Thank you for your edit of the post. I was bottle fed and turned out (presumably) fine. My kiddos are doing well. The new one has gotten sick more times than the first, but I suspect that at their preschool, the fact that my first child was in a class of primarily firstborn as an infant and my second is in a class with mostly second/third/fourth born is probably the reason why (crosspollenization).I think my wife’s sanity was more critical to the well being of our children than those antibodies.There are natural antibodies in breastmilk, there are also antibodies transferred across the placenta prior to birth and hang out for a few months. In addition, with modern plumbing, infant mortality has declined tremendously. Water from the tap is darned safer than in the 30′s.I don’t think that there is enough data (prospective or retrospective) that can quantify the amount of benefit of breastmilk vs. formula. (Number of ear infections was used in one study). To measure “number of times sick” or “acceptance in an Ivy League College” or something else would be horrendously complex and the number of confounding variables (pumped vs. fresh from the teat), socioeconomic status, stay at home vs. working mom, pumped stay at home dad vs. day care, etc etc….it is enough to make one insane.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05215443551546036909 kittenpie

    >We never could get the latch thing right – and the couple of times we got it after twenty minutes, she’d pull off after about 30 seconds and we’d have to start again. She was hungry and miserable, and I was sobbing. I pumped for a year, instead. Hoping next time will go better, but it’s nice to know that there is a finite window to any pain!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17469613639032593194 Anjali

    >Wow, well that much have sucked (literally)! I’ve nursed two and never had pain with the exception of when I had an open sore when my second was 9 months old. That hurt like hell. Otherwise it didn’t hurt at all at the beginning.(I’m not saying it wasn’t lousy at the beginning, but it just didn’t hurt.)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04418261478001618443 Des

    >I found so much support from La Leche League that I became a Leader. Sure, I know many people think we are a bunch of militant wack jobs, but there is no better place to go for accurate breastfeeding information. Mothers who attend my meetings tell it like it is, share their experiences (the good, the bad, and the ugly) and make lifelong friendships. When one of the mothers in our group gives birth, we see to it that meals are delivered to her and her freezer is stocked and we do all we can to support her. My La Leche League group was, and continues to be, the best support I ever had.

  • http://Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com Anonymous

    >Oh, thank goodness! Someone speaking the truth at last! I was getting so demoralised by the “BF doesn’t hurt if you are doing it PROPERLY” bandwagon, that I was doubting my abilities and my sons! This is my second baby and he is nine days old, so I am seriously hoping that the ten day rule does take effect tomorrow! My nipples are on fire and it doesn’t help that sometimes he wants to eat for two hours straight. Thanks for making me realise that I am not alone! I also wonder why everyone wants us to believe it doesn’t hurt. Surely it would be better for everyone if the experts say “yes, it hurts like buggery, but hang in there and it gets better” – that way, you know an end is in sight rather than thinking you are doing something wrong and give up because of it?

  • http://Anonymousnoreply@blogger.com Anonymous

    >Oh, and just to add a bit about the comments concerning tolerance to pain -I have given birth twice, without any drugs and know that my tolerance is high. I am not a wimp at all!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11894992378619176830 Jennifer F.

    >I’m sitting here nursing a five-day-old baby and just wanted to sat THANK YOU for this post. The pain is so horrible — on a scale of 1 – 10 it’s a “SOMEBODY KILL ME NOW!!!!!” It’s nice to hear someone else talking about it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07746896375826415145 Givinya De Elba

    >Everything you wrote is true. Thanks for telling it like it is. I fed my two til 12 months, but deserved a MEDAL for making it through the first fortnight. But despite all the breastfeeding, we STILL all got sick frequently and I spent so much time expressing that I STILL had the bottle sanitising and everything that went with it. However unlike bottle-feeding Mums, I also had hours of pumping, all day and all night. Sometimes I wonder why I did it! Mad, probably. Ah well, I did, and lived to tell the tale.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14788867412080827567 Suburban Turmoil

    >I’m eating my words now… After I wrote this post, Bruiser weaned himself at eight months and still hasn’t gotten sick. His first birthday is in a week.