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20 seconds of pain when first latching on


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#1 cordyline

Posted 01 May 2016 - 05:52 PM

I have about 10-20 seconds of intense pain in my nipples when my 6 day old newborn first latches on (takes my breath away and I tense up). I remember the pain with my first but I cant remember if it lasts or if it is just something that happens in the early days or did I just get used to it - I BF'd my first to 13 months so I doubt I would have put up with the pain for that long, which makes me think it goes away?

I did see a Lactation Consultant on Friday and although I forgot to mention the pain she was pretty happy with the latching (I was seeing her for something else - inflammation and engorgement on day 4)

Maybe it is the latching - I *think* the latching is fine i.e. lots of areola going in her mouth
Is it just that my nipples need to harden up?
Is this just an early days temporary thing?
How long before it goes away?


Any tips?

#2 MintyBiscuit

Posted 01 May 2016 - 06:00 PM

For me it was temporary. Those first couple of weeks were toe curling pain for the first part of the latch, then no dramas.
With DS it lasted for about the first six weeks, though his latch took a while to get right. DD it took about three weeks to settle, and she was a better feeder from the start

Edited by MintyBiscuit, 01 May 2016 - 06:01 PM.


#3 Feral rocketdog

Posted 01 May 2016 - 06:03 PM

Either nipples adjusting or thrush? I had this problem with first (very frequent feeder), where I was basically silent screaming at latch. I found nipple shields helped nipples heal.

#4 girlonfire

Posted 01 May 2016 - 06:03 PM

BFing my third child here, now two weeks old. The pain disappeared sometime in the last week!

#5 Nepheline

Posted 01 May 2016 - 06:16 PM

It definitely goes away, but I still shudder thinking about it!!! Lasted almost a month for me. Congrats on the new bub. I used to count to thirty and wait for it to pass.

#6 Jenflea

Posted 01 May 2016 - 06:31 PM

Mine lasted about a month as well, but a friend has nipple vasospasm and she says cold mornings and late evenings are the worst. Possibly try a warm compress first thing in the morning to see if that helps.

#7 namie

Posted 01 May 2016 - 07:36 PM

I had the same with DS1. My lactation consultant had me count to 20 to see if it disappeared (as she was happy with latch and fixed my posture), then said it was most likely the letdown reflex as it did disappear after a count of around 20. I also had nipple vasospasm though so perhaps it was partly that for me.

It was excruciatingly toe-curling, but it had gone by around 6 weeks I think. I'm so glad I found my LC. I'd thought it was bad latch and was on the verge of giving up cause it was too painful (3 weeks in) and I was so upset at every feed.

I remember feeling tingling though, for the rest of the time I breastfed (DS1 was 14 months when I finished, I was 5 months pregnant with DS2) and I do recall absentmindedly massaging my boobs in the most inappropriate of places (supermarket aisle) at times, lol! :blush:

#8 Kabu84

Posted 01 May 2016 - 08:34 PM

I had it until about 6 weeks - I used to count to 10 and it would be gone. DD is 7 months now and it is totally fine.

#9 merleauponty

Posted 01 May 2016 - 08:37 PM

8-9 weeks for child #1 (also had vasospasms)
Significantly less for child #2, about a month.
Good luck! Even when you've previously breastfed extensively, breastfeeding a newborn is very different. I felt I had to learn how all over again.

#10 Charli73

Posted 01 May 2016 - 08:42 PM

Could it be nipple thrush? I had the same with my two, easy enough to treat with cream from chemist..
It shouldn't be painful if you have no cracks etc

#11 lucky 2

Posted 01 May 2016 - 10:45 PM

In general bfing "shouldn't" hurt if all things related to the latch are ideal.
The most common cause of nipple pain is mechanical, compression of the nipple and friction on the skin (blisters, grazes, cracks etc).
Other causes could be infection (as pp mentioned, fungal (or bacterial), vascular (as pp mentioned vasospasm), nerve-related pain (I can't remember why?) and a small number of women have nipple pain of unknown origin.
So it's not really a lie, it is the most common reason for pain, it's just that there are other possibilities that might need consideration.

#12 JinksNewton

Posted 01 May 2016 - 10:53 PM

Painful letdown for me as well....in terms of the pain it was like the horrible pain you get with a UTI,  but in my breasts. Lasted each time around 20-30 seconds, went away quite abruptly at 6 weeks.
I can remember it bringing me to tears a few times in the early days, but there was absolutely nothing wrong with DS's latch, no nipple issues, no thrush....sometimes the early days of BF just hurt like a mofo.

#13 c.sanders

Posted 01 May 2016 - 11:08 PM

With ds1 midwives di mention that the first latch needed more nipple going in...otherwise it hurts until bub adjusts and takes enough in. Could you try relating and getting more nipple in?
She did squeeze the nipple more to get it in deeper into bubs mouth. I think that worked but can't remember

#14 CallMeFeral

Posted 01 May 2016 - 11:12 PM

Yep me too, in the early days I would describe it as toe curlingly painful, it's the letdown. With subsequent births the afterpains/cramps were worse and lasted longer as well, and I'd have to try to take panadol about half an hour before feeding where I could anticipate it, for about the first week with my third child.

I don't remember when it left but it was gone by 6 weeks. I think it might have been diminishing from 2 weeks or so.

#15 cordyline

Posted 02 May 2016 - 07:58 AM

Thanks for all the replies. So good to hear that it is most likely temporary and I just have to stick it out. I thought it MUST be temporary because I would never have been able to BF my 1st DD for so long if it was just a "reality" of BF'ing.

To all the PPs who have said "toe-curling" Yes. Literally toe-curling. I actually blow out rapidly (like as if I was in labour - lol). And then after 20seconds it is fine. Until I switch boobs....

 Feral rocketdog, on 01 May 2016 - 06:03 PM, said:

Either nipples adjusting or thrush?

 Charli73, on 01 May 2016 - 08:42 PM, said:

Could it be nipple thrush? I had the same with my two, easy enough to treat with cream from chemist..

I have a GP appt on Tues anyway so will bring up the thrush option. But I've had a look in bubs mouth, no white spots that I can see. Also if I had thrush on my nipples would I see some symptoms?

My nipples aren't cracked or anything. They are a bit pink/tender but I think that is normal from having constant sucking for the last week.

 CallMeFeral, on 01 May 2016 - 11:12 PM, said:

Yep me too, in the early days I would describe it as toe curlingly painful, it's the letdown. With subsequent births the afterpains/cramps were worse and lasted longer as well, and I'd have to try to take panadol about half an hour before feeding where I could anticipate it, for about the first week with my third child.

Gosh yes - this has been my experience with the second child. With my first DD I was like afterpains? What is everyone talking about? My mom (who has had 3 kids) wouldnt stop talking about it. But THIS time - oh my gosh - I also took a lot of panadol for this. it was like early labour pain. But now that we are a week in, they have thankfully subsided

 maus84, on 01 May 2016 - 08:56 PM, said:

Sorry but this is just not true. You can have a baby with a perfect mouth and a perfect latch and great shaped nipples but you there's a good chance you'll experience some discomfort in the early days. Even if it's just stabby let down pain.

And, imo, the sooner we stop lying to women about this the better. Not having a go at you PP, but this is a sentiment that I hear a lot and it drives me nuts.

Yes. This message makes you feel like you are doing something wrong. There are so many other painful aspects beyond the cracked nipples etc. This initial 20second nipple pain, engorgement, lumpy tender boobs, inflammation as a side affect of the drugs in birth, thrush, I find my nipples even hurt if they get cold, itchiness due to nipple pads, bras that fit and then 2 hours later, they are too tight etc.

Never mind my newborn DD managed to grab my nipple last night and clawed into it with her sharp little newborn nails and wouldn't let go. OMG lol. I hope the neighbours didnt hear me scream. Talk about toe-curling.

#16 c.sanders

Posted 02 May 2016 - 10:26 AM

Op a position you could try is called laid back breastfeeding. I found this position by accident but there seems to be some new research out there that it's quite effective to a good position/latch
Even my obstetrician laughed when he saw me feeding like this but I felt like it was the turning point for my first.

#17 Guest_canadianmum_*

Posted 02 May 2016 - 10:38 AM

I had 'Venus' or 'veinus' (I was never sure which term was correct) after baby#4. It was awful and like I was being sliced with a razor blade when attaching. I bit on a flannel but I was actually upsetting the mum in the bed next to me with my grunts of pain.

It did pass but was awful and you have my full sympathy, any attaching pain is pretty miserable.

#18 Penguin78

Posted 02 May 2016 - 10:45 AM

If the pain goes away after 20secs then I agree its probably hormonal and will settle down. I did have this with my two boys.

However, if the pain stays the entire feed then I would suggest the latch is wrong or something similar. I disagree that we should be telling Mums 'its supposed to hurt' as it actually isn't for the entire feed.

If it hurts for the whole feed, then there is something else happening - tongue tie, thrush, latch, etc. And i would tell the LC that it is painful and even if it looks like a good latch to her, tell her its painful and find another position. Maybe football hold etc.

#19 Ianthe

Posted 02 May 2016 - 11:01 AM

Yes I had this with all of mine, from memory it lasted a couple of weeks. Was agonising while it lasted!

#20 cordyline

Posted 03 May 2016 - 07:59 PM

Just coming back in to update that GP has ruled out thrush. In fact the GP was sympathetic and was like "oh yes I remember that pain myself"

 Penguin78, on 02 May 2016 - 10:45 AM, said:

However, if the pain stays the entire feed then I would suggest the latch is wrong or something similar.

And i would tell the LC that it is painful and even if it looks like a good latch to her, tell her its painful and find another position. Maybe football hold etc.

Thanks. It definitely only lasts 20 seconds or so and I've tried football hold as well. Ive found the position doesn't really make a difference..first 20 seconds is painful and the rest of the feed is kind of relaxing (until the boob switch)




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