Category Archives: Breastfeeding

Latching, tips and tricks, nipple damage, from hell to heaven – it’s all in here.

Tied Down by Breastfeeding. And How to Get Over It!

You have no idea what “routine” is anymore.

Morning feels like night and night feels like morning because days and nights have become one.

Lightness and darkness mean nothing to you.

Your boobs are KILLING you and you’ve got a tiny little human sucking the life out of them every 2 hours on the dot.

You feel trapped because your baby depends on you and only you for food.

You can’t go anywhere for more than an hour and you can’t do anything that you once used to.

Fast-forward 10 months… 

You’ve got a great routine.

Once again, days are days and nights are nights. It feels good.

Lightness and darkness mean evvvvverything to you.

Your boobs appear to be back to normal (minus the extra sagginess you try not to notice in the mirror), pain is nonexistent and every time your little one needs a milk snack you relish in the opportunity to relax, get close and bond.

You can go lots of places. Anywhere you like in fact.

One of my good friends inspired me to write another post on breastfeeding. She inadvertently reminded me that us breastfeeding mamas need all the support we can get! If I can help just one of you out there to feel a little better about the experience, my job is done.

Here goes!


10 Reasons Why You Feel Tied Down by Breastfeeding

1 – It’s all on you.

“Got Milk?” Uh, yeah. In fact, you probably have lots of it. But you’re the ONLY one! No one else can feed your baby but you. Not your husband, not your mother, not your friend. Just you, Mama. And especially if your baby feeds often, this makes it pretty much impossible to even so much as get your hair cut.

2 – Pumping is more of a hassle than it’s worth.

It sounds so easy. Just pump your boobs, store your breast milk and then go wherever you want, whenever you want leaving behind a delicious bottle of the goods for your baby. Sure, except that we’re forgetting one very important part: if your boobs miss a feed while your little one is mowing down on the bottle when you’re out, then you need to pump to keep up your milk supply. Now, given, this is particularly critical in the beginning and not so much as the months go by, but still! The beginning is when you need a break the most. And yet a break isn’t a break at all. It just becomes a logistical nightmare you’d rather not even think about.


3 – Your baby doesn’t take a bottle.

Okay, so you don’t mind pumping and all is well. Over the first few weeks, you’ve accumulated quite a stash of milk popsicles in your freezer that you just can’t wait to use so you can have a little time off…to snooze, to watch TV, to read, to go for lunch with a friend, to give your nipples a rest! But now your baby throws a baseball bat into your spokes! No bottle. Nope. Not having it. And your plans for freedom slip away.


4 – You’re not comfortable whipping out your boobs in public.

You’ve seen other moms do it many times before. You’re proud of them, maybe even a little envious…but you simply can’t bring yourself to do it. You’d much rather nurse in private. And that’s okay! I’m not sure if it was because my little guy and I had sooooo many issues at the start, but I could never breastfeed in public. Then once my pain was gone and nursing actually became an enjoyable experience, my little prince went through his “distractable” phase. In other words, the tiniest sound or voice would prompt him to break latch and have fun instead of feed! So I never really had a choice but to nurse in private – door closed. Problem is, along with the decision to avoid breastfeeding in public, comes total isolation. You’re always alone. You have zero company. You miss out on conversations. You get bored. You feel antsy and anxious instead of relaxed. You feel…tied down.


5 – There’s a constant balancing act between demand and supply.

I often say breastfeeding is like magic. It’s mind boggling how our bodies know how much milk to make for our little ones. Of course, for the first few weeks or months, your body is figuring it all out (as are you and your baby). This is when you might experience engorgement, really full feeling breasts, leakage, blocked ducts and fast flow. In fact, during the first month or two I was breastfeeding if my little guy broke the latch during a feed, my boobs would be spraying evvvverywhere – including right in his face! It was pretty hilarious. But then all of a sudden, I remember waking up one day, feeling my boobs and then freaking out because I thought I totally lost my flow! They felt deflated and squishy (like they used to feel after a feed, not before). But I noticed that Brody simply nursed as usual, definitely getting the milk he needed. When I mentioned this to my lactation consultant, she was so excited. She explained that this signified two good things: 1) my baby boy was latching well and efficiently feeding to get milk, and 2) my body had become regulated in its milk production, effectively producing what baby needed (and not over-producing).

Now, part of how this “magic” works is on you. Let your baby feed on demand and maintain a consistent nursing schedule. If you miss a feed, your body will assume this is milk baby doesn’t need. So supply goes down. If baby has an extra feed or two in a 24-hour period, your body thinks baby needs more, so you might notice your boobs feel fuller over the next day or two. These adjustments are not immediate, but our bodies are so impressive when it comes to breastfeeding that you can count on the fact that if baby needs more or less milk as the days and months go by, she’ll get it!

I think as breastfeeding moms, we’re constantly monitoring and noticing our milk supply. Other than your baby’s latching and feeding habits, so many things can affect your milk supply including fatigue, caffeine intake, stress, diet, not enough water, etc. etc. If you’re anything like me, you’re very much in tune with your body, and as a result, your milk supply (maybe even too much so). We’ve already established that you don’t like pumping and/or your baby doesn’t take a bottle. Sooooo…something’s gotta give. And that something is your schedule and your freedom. You don’t want to just skip feeds to do whatever you want or need to do because you think that might potentially drop your milk supply and screw up days ahead. And yet again, your life is dictated by breastfeeding.


6 – You feel guilty leaving your baby and messing up the sacred “schedule”.

Once you start to get in a groove, things get easier. You and your babe figure each other out and that’s when the real bonding and utter enjoyment come into play. I think the bond a mama creates with her baby is exceptionally special when breastfeeding is involved. That’s not to say a mom who can’t or who chooses not to breastfeed doesn’t have a strong bond with her baby, but breastfeeding gives a whole new meaning to the word bond. And along with this extra special bond comes the mommy guilt! “How will he sleep without my boobs?” “She’s going to freak out when she wakes up and can’t breastfeed because I’m not there…” “But I always nurse him at 4pm!” “If we miss that feed, I’ll have to totally restructure our day.” And on, and on, and on.

7 – A ridiculous amount of strategy goes into every plan.

Whether it’s a doctor’s appointment, a friendly gathering or a trip out of town, if you’re still breastfeeding, everything (in the beginning) feels like a logistical nightmare. “My baby feeds at this time, but we’ll be here at that time, I wonder if there’ll be somewhere I can slip away, what if the appointment runs long and my baby is starving, what if she doesn’t fill up before I go, I can’t breastfeed there and he’ll hate me putting the cover over him…” And to avoid these crazy thoughts, you plan, strategize and prepare up the ying yang until it’s alllll figured out. But then you’re so exhausted you can barely muster up the energy to get out the door.

8 – It’s lonely.

Even though the world around us has come a long way when it comes to the acceptability of breastfeeding in public, I think a lot of us mamas just aren’t there yet. At the end of the day, it comes down to your personal comfort level, views and beliefs. Of course, every decision comes with its own consequences, one of which might be loneliness in this particular case.

9 – Sometimes it’s easier to just say “No”.

Because of so many of the reasons above, lots of times, you might find yourself choosing to turn down that invite, to cancel that plan or to avoid certain outings altogether. It’s just not worth it. TOTALLY understandable. But the result is likely that you feel more tied down.

10 – It’s a VERY demanding job.

I’m not sure which category you fall into but some women have a seamless breastfeeding experience. They never go through any pain, they have a good latch, and they have a baby who feeds fast, doesn’t get distracted, relaxes at the breast and never bites. Other women (including myself) have a bit of a rougher go: we experience pain, we have trouble latching, we have babies who are excitable, hyper and challenging to tame at the breast. If you fall into the latter group, chances are you find breastfeeding quite a demanding task – not in a bad way, just in a matter-of-fact kind of way. It is what it is. You don’t regret your decision but you also don’t think of it as a total cakewalk either.

Okay, ladies. Enough with the negativity. Let’s get to the good stuff and transform every point above into a positive one.



10 Ways to GET OVER IT

Feeling tied down by breastfeeding? No big shock there. I think most of us do at one point or another. The best way for you to get over that feeling is to CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE.

Sit back.

Relax (ideally with a glass of wine).

Take a load off.

Reward yourself.

Acknowledge everything you’ve already done for your baby.

Remind yourself of why you chose to breastfeed in the first place.

Know that it’s temporary.

Know that it’s the best.

Know that in due time, you WILL enjoy it and you’ll come to treasure every moment.

1 – It’s all on you.

Yeah, it is. Are you a glass half empty or a glass half full kinda gal? Think about this statement. It’s all on you. There are two ways to consider it: 1) It sucks that you’re the only person who can feed your baby, or 2) The fact that you’re the only person who can feed your baby makes you the most important person in their world.


So…embrace it. Love it. Accept the responsibility with an open heart. See how much comfort you can provide by doing it. Understand that it’s so much more than food – it’s the closeness, the skin-to-skin contact and the absolutely unparalleled contentment your baby loves. Watch as your baby becomes more and more attached to you over the months ahead – and pay special attention to how much you come to relish in it. It’s one of the best feelings in the world.

2 – Pumping is more of a hassle than it’s worth.

That’s right. It is. So don’t do it! In the first few months I know it’s hard to get a grip on the fact that your life is exponentially different than it was just 60 days ago – or even more so, 9 some odd months ago. Don’t worry, it won’t take you long to settle into your new role. As long as you LET yourself.

  • Imagine you couldn’t breastfeed (because many women can’t!)
  • Accept the fact that your boobs are now utility vehicles.
  • Know that they’re in use pretty much all the time.
  • Appreciate the closeness that breastfeeding brings.
  • Remind yourself that it won’t last forever.
  • Bid farewell to pumping because it’s a VERY shitty alternative.

3 – Your baby doesn’t take a bottle.

I can think of a few incidents where this was definitely inconvenient and worrisome. You know your baby needs to eat and if you’re not there, he’ll surely starve! Not exactly. One of my close girlfriends said something awhile back that totally reassured me before a night out: “Don’t worry. Babies can go a surprisingly long period of time without food. If he doesn’t take the bottle, he won’t starve before you get back. There are babies his age already sleeping through the night and going 12+ hours without food.” I think this was around the time that my little one was about 4 months old or so. She reminded me that if he goes 4 or 5 hours without food, he’ll be fine. And if he’s really, really hungry, he will take the bottle. Sure, it’s not ideal having a baby who refuses anything but boobs. But especially once you start to introduce solids, your concerns about her not taking the bottle will become less and less of an issue.


I remember feeding my little guy a bottle a couple of times. Beforehand, I thought to myself, “This is gonna be great, my boobs will get a rest!” But you know what? It was awful in comparison. There was no body heat. There was no connection. That wonderful closeness was gone. The special mom-baby bond had disappeared. For moms who haven’t breastfed, I find it very hard to explain. There’s just something about breastfeeding that is indescribably magical. Mind you, this isn’t how I felt in the beginning. If you’ve read any of my other posts like Breastfeeding Problems…Tongue Tie, Lip Tie, What Tie? or Breastfeeding Pain, you know that I struggled immensely for two and a half months. So what’s my point? If your baby doesn’t take a bottle, don’t worry. If you haven’t already, you’ll adapt. You’ll accept things for what they are and you’ll love the fact that your baby prefers the real deal to the substitute, rubber nipple.

4 – You’re not comfortable whipping out your boobs in public.

This is a tricky one. And I’m right there with ya, Mama. Unfortunately for us, though, this is how we separate and alienate ourselves from the world. The one thing I can say about getting over this point (and I believe it’s damn good) is this: you’ve created an opportunity to have special, one-on-one, uninterrupted alone time with your baby. In the hectic, non-stop, buzzing world we live in today, how often do you actually get an opportunity like this? Where there’s no noise, no voices chattering, no TVs humming in the background, no smartphones or tablets or computers…sounds crazy doesn’t it? I’ll tell you something. It’s WONDERFUL. Because I choose not to breastfeed in public, wherever we are, me and my little guy just slip away into our own little space to nurse. It’s quiet, it’s comfortable, it’s peaceful. I stroke his head, I talk to him, and he makes the most adorable noises to communicate back. I now treasure this time to think, to practice mindfulness, to really and truly live in the moment, to enjoy the closeness, to just BE with my son. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

5 – There’s a constant balancing act between demand and supply.

True. But try not to become overly fixated or concerned about your milk supply. Even though I had tons of milk (especially in the beginning) I was always thinking about what would happen to my milk supply if my prince and I missed a feed. Yeah, just one feed. I learned that, every now and then, skipping a single feed isn’t going to do much of anything. Our bodies are incredible. As baby’s demand fluctuates, so does our milk supply. Sometimes you might notice that it takes a day or two for things to feel back to normal, but it’s a fast adjustment. If you’re worried your supply is too low, let baby suckle a little longer on each side (if they’re willing) and this will tell your body, “Hey, milk is low, baby needs more, pick up the pace!”

6 – You feel guilty leaving your baby and messing up the sacred “schedule”.


This is natural. Totally normal. It’s motherly. So don’t beat yourself up about it! Motherly guilt is a powerful thing. I’m not saying it’s a good thing but I’m not saying it’s a bad thing either. Before I actually became a mother, I thought I’d be leaving the little one on a regular to go out for nights on the town, girly dinners and partying sessions. But it’s true what they say…life changes. Slowly, you realize that there’s someone else in your life. Someone who needs you, depends on you, loves you unconditionally. And you feel the same about them. And those feelings take precedence over most of the albeit useless things you used to do that seemed so important before. It’s great to get out once in awhile and it’s a good idea to plan little outings with those friends who matter most to you. Give yourself a break, take a night off. You’ll probably feel guilty, but know in your heart that you shouldn’t. And on the flipside, if you’d rather say no to that invite, do it. Listen to your gut. And don’t feel guilty about that either! Cherish this time with your baby. She’ll be a teen who wants nothing to do with you before you know it.

7 – A ridiculous amount of strategy goes into every plan.

Ha! I know, right? It’s absurd. So instead of letting it drive you crazy, take a minute to see the humor in it. Laugh it off. It’s really all you can do. Top recommendation to battle this point (which, by the way, I was no good at): strategize LESS. Try to go with the flow a little more. I found that the more I conjured, planned and strategized, the more things didn’t go as I anticipated. And I don’t mean that in a negative way! I often paint these scenarios in my mind and then spend way too much time planning for what I’m going to do if it happens only to be pleasantly surprised when it doesn’t happen. And then I think to myself, “Huh! Awesome. Clearly I shouldn’t have wasted so much time thinking about this.”

8 – It’s lonely.

Oh, but it’s not. This is serious you-and-babe bonding time, Mama! Change that negative perspective around. You’re not alone at all. Sure, for those 5, 10, 15 minutes of nursing time you don’t have the company of an adult you can actually have a conversation with, but you needed a break from those people anyway! Look at that gorgeous baby’s face and see how content she is as she eats with you. Notice how he looks at you or strokes your arm. Recognize how special this moment is. Enjoy it. Don’t spend it wishing you were somewhere else.

9 – Sometimes it’s easier to just say “No”.

Absolutely. And you have the perfect excuse. Even those friends who don’t have kids and who don’t get it at all, they will give you special treatment when you tell them you can’t make their birthday party at the same club they went to last year, and the year before that, and the year before that. Say no! Say it with confidence and scrap the side of guilt. There’s no need for it. You care about saying no far more than your friends care about you not being there.

10 – It’s a VERY demanding job.

It’s also a VERY rewarding one. Trust me when I tell you that it will get better. It will get more and more awesome. It will become something you truly enjoy with your baby. This article isn’t about all the benefits of breastfeeding because we know the list is long and impressive and you wouldn’t be nursing in the first place if you weren’t aware of at least some of the points on there. No, this isn’t about that – although these are all excellent reasons to reinforce why you’re sticking with such a taxing job. This is about YOU. You’re battling pain, discomfort, inconvenience and emotional turmoil. You’re frustrated and tied down. You’re missing out on events, gatherings and conversations. You’re putting the needs of someone else ahead of your own. You’re learning. You’re adapting. You’re changing. You’re growing into your role…

You’re MAMA.

You’re amazing.

And don’t you forget it.

Breastfeeding Problems…Tongue Tie, Lip Tie, What Tie?

It was two days shy of three weeks since my little prince was born and I was enjoying an afternoon stroll with one of my close girlfriends and her son, now two years old. Thank goodness for that walk. And thank goodness for my big mouth too because it was on this very walk when I came to the realization that my breastfeeding problems were real. They were significant. And they weren’t going to disappear on their own.

I opened up about my breastfeeding problems.

If there’s one thing for absolute certain about this particular girlfriend of mine it’s that she has absolutely ZERO inner dialogue. She tells it how it is. She isn’t afraid to speak openly and candidly about ANYTHING. And she often leaves people speechless (particularly those who don’t know her and aren’t expecting the blunt, uncensored dialogue that is her norm). This is why I love her.

Being just about as uninhibited as she, I told her about my breastfeeding problems. Gory details and all. I told her that I was in excruciating pain EVERY. SINGLE. FEED. I told her that I often cried while I breastfed because the discomfort was so unbearable. I told her that I literally had open lacerations on my nipples that didn’t show the slightest signs of healing.

I heard the term “tongue tie” for the first time. 

Although this particular girlfriend of mine couldn’t relate in the slightest to what I was going through (she was one of the very few lucky ones that enjoyed a perfect, pain-free latch right from the get-go), she took it upon herself to reach out to her network of moms to see if there was any advice she could pass my way.

Seriously, what would we do without great friends in this life?


  • Get a lactation consultant.
  • Get my baby examined for a “tongue tie”.
  • Pump (but I didn’t want to risk him not going back to the boob).
  • Use a nipple shield (ugh, just one more thing to worry about using and sterilizing at every feed – and apparently there’s a good chance your baby will get so attached to it that you have to wean them off when your nipples heal).

So, I put the first two points into immediate action.

I FINALLY called a lactation consultant.

It was a Friday. Once I managed to roll my ass out of bed, after breastfeeding and experiencing some of the worst pain yet, I hit the phones. Turns out there are a lot of other moms with breastfeeding problems because these lactation consultants were booked up! I have no idea how many calls I made but let’s put it this way…it was starting to look as though I wouldn’t be able to get help until after the weekend. It had been three weeks too long and now that I’d gotten into my head the very notion of hiring a lactation consultant, anything later than that very afternoon was simply not an option.

So, I kept Googling.

And calling.

Until at last, my savior picked up.

My first visit with a lactation consultant.

First of all, I fell in love with her because she squeezed me into her obviously hectic schedule and came to my house that very evening. Friday evening. She was perfect. Friendly. Professional. Knowledgeable. And she got right down to business. But to my surprise, she didn’t examine me first. Nope. It was right over to Prince Brody. (After asking my permission, of course.)

Sure enough, what’s the very first thing she concluded?

He has a tongue tie.

tongue-tie-cartoonAND a lip tie.

“Anything else?!” I thought, secretly kicking myself for not getting someone in there sooner.

Okay, so I’d heard of the tongue tie – all thanks to my friend – but lip tie? What the hell was that!?

Oh, and there’s more. He has a tight jaw too.

So here’s the lowdown on it all… 

What’s a tongue tie?

The easiest way to explain it (without using the typical “definition” mumbo jumbo) is this: go the mirror and then lift your tongue to the roof of your mouth. See that light pink, stringy piece of skin in the middle that seems to be attaching your tongue to the base of your mouth? That’s called your lingual frenulum. A tongue tie (medically referred to as ankyloglossia – sorry, just a little mumbo jumbo there for you) is an unusually short and/or thick lingual frenulum. Long story short, it decreases the mobility of the tongue, and as a result, can cause breastfeeding issues in the form of poor latching and prolonged nipple pain.

What’s a lip tie?

Although I hadn’t heard of either, a lip tie seems to be even less common than a tongue tie. Peel your top lip back and notice the light pink, stringy piece of skin in between your upper lip and gums. If this is unusually short and/or thick, this is a lip tie (no other mumbo jumbo term to add here). And yup, you guessed it, this decreases the mobility of the upper lip – again, possibly causing breastfeeding issues and pain.

What’s a tight jaw?

Kidding. Self explanatory.

I took the necessary measures to fix everything.

I took my little prince to a breastfeeding clinic where doctors treated him for his tongue and lip tie. In other words, they did a little medical “snip” to “release” both. While I can say that I did feel a slight improvement, it didn’t last long. In two weeks, I was back in the clinic with lactation consultants doting concerningly over me and doctors telling me the tongue tie had reattached (hence the continued pain). Great. So…they “re-released” it with some kind of a “push” method. Who knows. The point is, after 6+ weeks of pain, you do pretty much anything that carries with it the slightest hope of diminishing your soreness.

It was at this latest visit that they told me one of the reasons I probably still had pain was because Prince Brody had a tight jaw and that he might benefit from intracranial therapy from an osteopath. Woah. Osteopath? Man! This kid, at 6 weeks of age, was going to be better versed in the healthcare therapy world than me! But hey, whatever works. Or might work. So we went. Two treatments later, did it help? Maybe a bit. Maybe not. The same as the tongue and lip tie procedures, my pain seemed less initially but within a few days, returned.

I went back to the drawing board.

drawing-boardKeep in mind we’re now at about 8 weeks. 8 weeks of PAIN. And I’m not talking about a mild aching or bearable discomfort – I’m talking full-blown, toe-curling, tears-streaming-down-my-face kind of pain. But don’t stop reading…there IS a happy ending.

I called my lactation consultant.


All she could say was how sorry she was and how rare it was that she treated clients who still had pain after her help, plus everything else I’d done for Brody and I. She suggested I come back into the clinic for the doctors to have a look.


Then I stopped. I thought to myself, enough is enough. It’s time to chill out, take it day by day, listen to and watch my baby, and just be for a little while. And I’m happy to report that at 10 weeks, I was FINALLY pain free.

Here’s what I think got me to a pain-free breastfeeding situation.

  1. MEDIHONEY. This product was my be-all and end-all. It’s the only topical product that helped my open cuts and raw skin heal.
  1. TIME. I know, this is the point you were hoping I wouldn’t make. Because if you’re reading this, you’re probably experiencing your own breastfeeding pain and you’re wondering how much longer it will be before it’s gone. Sorry, hunny. But hang in there, it’s worth it.
  1. EXPERIMENTATION. Particularly in the last two weeks, when I refrained from any further treatments and consultations, I started to really pay attention to what was happening at each feed. Was it a slightly different angle that worked better? Which positions were both of us most comfortable with? Should I be upright or reclined? Where was the best setup? Couch? Rocker? Bed? Until I was pain free, for me, it was my comfy reclining couch in the family room, with my little guy on a bit of an angle (head higher than legs).
  1. LACTATION CONSULTANT. Even though she didn’t get me to a pain-free state immediately, my lactation consultant taught me so much about breastfeeding that still helps me to this day (my little prince is almost 6 months old now), because babies’ habits and behaviors keep changing!

Everything I did might benefit my baby in other ways too.

Maybe the treatments didn’t help us at all. Maybe they did. Maybe it was one. Maybe it was a combination of everything together.

One thing I will say with absolutely confidence though is that these treatments might benefit my little prince in other ways (not just correcting breastfeeding issues).

Treating tongue and lip ties can…

  • Help your baby chew age appropriate solid foods
  • Prevent gagging, choking or vomiting foods
  • Avoid difficulties related to dental hygiene
  • Stop persistent dribbling
  • Facilitate the development of speech
  • Avoid deterioration in speech
  • Prevent any loss in self-confidence later on because he or she feels or sounds “different”

Intracranial osteopathy can…

  • Relieve pressure and discomfort
  • Release nerve pressure in the lips, cheeks and tongue (caused by birth compressions)
  • Release the tension and stresses in muscles and soft tissues

A very interesting fact that I can say about our treatment with the osteopath is that after just one treatment lasting less than an hour, I saw my little guy’s tongue for the first time! While it looked as though his osteopath wasn’t doing anything (osteopathy is very subtle, gentle and non-invasive), once she was done, it was like magic. All of a sudden, he was using his tongue freely and excitedly. Why does this matter? Because tongue movement is vital to speech development.


I don’t regret a single thing.

Spoken like a true optimist, I don’t regret anything that I did or endured during the first couple months of my dear son’s life. Who knows what really worked or what didn’t but I believe that everything happened for a reason. I’m proud of the fact that I was relentlessly resourceful in my search to find answers (and relief!) and I couldn’t be happier that I stuck with it.

I know it’s hard.
I know it’s painful.
But it’s worth it.

Do you have breastfeeding pain?

Share your story.

Let’s learn and gain from one another’s misery.



Breastfeeding Pain

My girlfriend says that if my life were a movie, my experience in Babies R Us when my husband and I set up our baby registry (as if I could have despised the process any more), would have been crystal clear foreshadowing.

What began as an exciting and enjoyable little outing quickly turned to doomsday status as soon as I hit the breastfeeding aisle. My heart pounded through my chest, my breath quickened and my forehead began to perspire as I was surrounded by products I never knew existed.

Nipple ointments, breast pads, breast hold/cold compresses, single-breast pumps, double-breast pumps, manual breast pumps, electric breast pumps, bottles, a hundred different nipples for the bottles, breastmilk freezer bags, bottle sterilizers…


breastfeeding-suppliesAs a sensitive, hormonal, 30-week preggo you can probably guess what happened next.


All the way home.

Fast-Forward Two Months

I’m lying in the hospital bed. I’ve just given birth. My son is lying on my chest. Skin to skin.

It’s bliss.

“They” say, that one of the best things you can do to maximize your breastfeeding success is to latch your newborn baby onto your breast almost immediately. So, after a few minutes of skin to skin contact, my nurse encourages me to breastfeed.

Bliss turns to pain.


You see, right from the get-go, from the very first latch, I felt pain. I expressed my discomfort to the nurse and she looked closely at the latch, peering at my nipple engulfed in my little guy’s mouth from every angle.

“Hmmm…that’s weird,” she said. “It looks like a great latch.”

“Is it possible that I’m feeling pain just because I’ve never done this before?” I asked her.

“Yes, for sure,” she answered confidently. “In fact, I know everyone says you’re not supposed to feel pain with breastfeeding but

I totally disagree. It’s painful. Especially at first because your nipples have to get used to it.”


But…in the moment, I listened and agreed.

How My Breastfeeding Pain was Addressed at the Hospital

I was at the hospital for a total of about 36 hours. Pretty routine. It took me about 8 hours from the birth of my son to actually get a “good feed” in – meaning, a good latch where I knew my little guy was getting more than just a few drops of colostrum. And while that moment was a big relief, by that time I already had significant nipple damage – we’re talking bruising, bleeding and scabbing.

Knowing deep down that this simply wasn’t right, I attended a breastfeeding class to make sure I was ready to rock before packing up and going home. And for every new nurse whose shift overlapped with my hospital stay, I pressed the button and asked for support each time I tried to latch my son. Every single nurse said the same thing: “Well, it looks like you have a good latch there. Your pain must be due to the fact that you already have nipple damage and it needs to heal.”

Makes sense right?


(Quick side note: believe it or not, even with severe nipple damage – yes, it got even worse as time went on – when I did manage to get a good latch, it didn’t hurt!

The Mistake I Made

What’s funny about my mistake is that for months prior to the birth of my son, I was preaching the fact that, according to what I’d learned from the books I’d read and the prenatal classes I’d attended…

Breastfeeding should never be painful.

AND, if it is, get help right away.

This is the golden rule. Even from the very first latch, when you and your baby have no idea what either of you is doing, you should not have pain!

What a liberating and relieving piece of information, wouldn’t you say?

So, I knew this. I told fellow pregger friends about this. I was prepared for this. And yet, regardless of the excruciating pain I felt, I listened to the people around me and was convinced that soon, very soon, my pain would be gone. Every day that went by, I thought to myself, any day now…just a little longer…

Well, after three weeks it got to the point where my nipples had open lacerations, where I dreaded the moment I recognized my son’s feeding cues, and where I cried at every feeding.

I hit my tipping point.

If You Have Breastfeeding Pain, Get Help Right Away

At the three week mark, after listening to a close friend’s urges to make a move and once my husband uttered the magic words “lactation consultant”, I called in the authorities.

It was a Friday and I’d taken a turn for the worse. In all honesty, I don’t think there is a pain threshold past the one I reached. I went on a rampage calling every lactation consultant from the hospital resource booklet and when unreturned calls and unavailability became the norm, I resorted to my best friend, Google. And here, I found my saviour. Or so I thought at the time…

My breastfeeding woes had only just begun. I’ve been through A LOT in the breastfeeding department since Brody was born. And I’m going to share all of it with you so stay tuned (it’s far too much to write in a single post).

For now, take this piece of advice:

Got breastfeeding pain?

I don’t care whether it’s the first latch or the hundredth.

Get help.

Right now.

Start by calling a certified lactation consultant.
What has your experience with breastfeeding been?

Do share!