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Breastfeeding Pain while Pregnant

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  • Breastfeeding Pain while Pregnant

    I have a 3 year old daughter who still nurses for naps, bedtime, during the night and the morning. She is very attached to her "boobies." I am 7 months pregnant and for the past month there are some days that breastfeeding is so painful, I have to limit the period she's attached or refuse altogether because it has only been a couple of hours since the last painful experience - particularly at night.

    My issue is that I had fully intended to breastfeed through my pregnancy and even tandem until my daughter self-weened. Now I find myself having seriously conflicting feelings. The pain I feel when she's breastfeeding seems to well up anger and frustration and I have feelings of just stopping cold turkey! Anytime I limit her, I can tell it breaks her heart and I feel myself in turmoil. When the pain isn't present, then I fully enjoy breastfeeding her.

    I have also had some pressure from my husband to wean as he feels tandem is going to put more stress on me and our older daughter. I've told him I'm sure we'll find a solution that works for everyone and I fully expect there to be some frustration and adjustments made. I feel like if I can get past the pain of nursing while pregnant then things will work as they should, but I find myself seriously considering gently weaning....

    The hardest part is that I can't talk to anyone about this, because everyone I know - besides my husband - would suggest I wean due to her age no matter what.

    I guess the answer I'm looking for is if I should gently wean due to the very negative feelings I have when it's painful (this can't be healthy for either of us! It feels primal, like a mother bird booting her babies from the nest.), or should I push through and ignore the feelings and pain and hope things get better? I'm pretty confident they will once the baby is born.

    Any thoughts and advice from the API community is fully appreciated!
    Last edited by ndavidson; 08-05-2011, 07:14 PM.

  • #2
    Have persisted to tandem feed

    I have breastfed through pregnancy then tandem fed 3 times. During each pregnancy there were times when I had excruciating pain. I think that it was hormone related as it was reminiscent of the pain I experienced breastfeeding after a new baby was born when I wasn't tandem feeding (with my first child and my 5th child). Although it was difficult and I didn't have much support it was definitely worthwhile persisting with breastfeeding during pregnancy and going on to tandem feed. Tandem feeding was such a beautiful experience for the three of us (each time) and I had no issues with jealousy to deal with. My little ones would hold each others hands and touch each others faces while they were feeding and I think that it has been a vital contribution to the close bonds between my children.
    However, I do understand how difficult it is to keep feeding when you're in pain. There were times when I had to delay or cut short a feed because it was too painful. To help my little one cope with this, I tried to give attention in other ways or have my husband or someone else spend the time when I felt unable to cope with the pain. It was similar to weaning, but I was still feeding, just less often and for shorter times sometimes. I don't think that I had the pain all the time and the bonus was that I didn't have breastfeeding pain after the birth so it made it easier to establish breastfeeding with the new babies.
    Even if you do end up needing to wean or reduce feeds, you could still start tandem feeding after the birth. My weaned children have definitely still been interested.
    I hope and pray that your pregnancy, breastfeeding and family relationships progress well despite the pain you are experiencing and the lack of support to do what your instincts are telling you. Feel free to contact me if you'd like to discuss anything further.


    • #3

      Thank you so much for your reply. It does give me a ton of reassurance to stay committed to breastfeeding my 3 year old.

      At what age did your children wean and how did they?

      My daughter nurses on my lap at nap time, then I sit with her and read or work (I work at home 2 out of 5 days a week.) I wonder how this will change when there are two. What did tandem look like for you?

      Thanks again! I'm sure I'll get past the pain and all will be fine.
      Last edited by ndavidson; 08-07-2011, 06:31 PM.


      • #4
        Oh my, I had copied a bunch of responses to this over from the Facebook page...I'm just now seeing that they never posted! Here they are, comments from this thread over on the API Facebook page:

        1. I did. All thirty-nine weeks. But, it was worth it to push through. I think it helped my older one adjust to the little one.

        2. I had a lot of son was weaning himself and finally I weaned him off his last feeding at about 20 weeks pregnant... sad but I couldn't handle it anymore

        3. Yes, yes, yes... We made it through and am tandem nursing. My toddler wasn't ready to wean. Lol I am glad we did it.

        5. My son is 3 years old and actively breast fed through the day. I'm 29 weeks pregnant and it's probably one of the most painful experiences I've ever gone through. But I just keep telling myself that labor won't be so bad if I'm pushing through this haha

        7. I fed three year old through my fourth pregnancy. It was painful and I lost all the milk until 35weeks, when it came back and he was able to drink some then. I did limit his access to breastfeeding thinking that for the moment my sanity was more important and thinking he will catch up and be healed of any emotional hurt when the milk comes back in and he can share with his sister. Baby is now 5mths old and I have found especially in the early days that the older child's suck was painful and the baby's suck wasn't painful. Tried to figure out if it was a mechanical issue with his suck technique or just a timing thing. I was feeding him the full side occasionally and that hurt more so he just has the empty side now. Whatever you decide will be the right choice for you but definitely limiting feeds through pregnancy helped us.

        8. I'm 24 weeks and having lots of pain. My LO's latch has gotten terrible which has given me severe vasospasms and she picks/twiddles like crazy. Makes me nuts but I'm pushing through it.

        9.OMG yes! Like, Raynaud's Phenomenon even between nursing sessions, it was brutal. Not so much in th first tri, but probably the entirety of the 2nd and 3rd. Tandeming now, and fortunately it let up with the birth of the newbie. Glad I pushed through, but it was hard, I was in a lot pain most of the time, even when not actively nursing. Trying to keep the boobs as warm as possible at all times helped, i'd sleep with a heating pad on them and lay down with it every chance I got. Come summer I was still in long sleeves and sweatshirts because the slightest draft or change in temp would trigger the pain. Yep, super pregnant in the summer at the playground in a hoodie, haha!

        10. with a previous pregnancy and breastfeeding I took Vit b6. It said on the packet it would help with nipple pain and I think it did.

        11. I'm living it right now. My son is 28 months old and I'm 6 weeks pregnant. The first twenty or thirty seconds are torture, especially when he first latches. Then I remind myself how much he still needs his 'nur nur' and I push through the pain. It gets tolerable, as long as he stays on one side and doesn't play musical boobs.

        12.Nursed all the way through three losses and then a fullterm pregnancy. Actually, while in active labor i nursed my 2 year old down for a nap and baby was born maybe 2 hours later in the next room (we were at home). Worked wonders for some strong contractions but wow, it was an intense nusing session, that's for sure.

        13. I had to limit my 3-year-old when I was pregnant with my second. It was hard, but I just told her that I was hurting. We kept it up for six months after the baby was born, but I found the difference in 3 1/2 year old latch and newborn latch was pretty extreme. In your situation, I think the negative emotions you're having are important. Pay attention to them. Decide if limiting to only daytime feedings or only for a certain amount of time at once would help, but if it doesn't it's ok to wean!

        14.I had a lot of pain. I still do sometimes... but the way he 'fought' me trying to wean him, I gave in again when the pain wasn't so bad. I am currently 25 weeks pregnant with #2, my son is 28 months old (23 months old when I got pregnant) While I was trying to cut it down, I would give him a little half and half as his 'special milk' before bed time... its all about 'balance' as they say so if it hurt really bad still I would wean him gently. everything is ok now for me, but I don't think you *need* to nor will I suggest just working through the pain. everyone is different. I tried to wean but it didn't work, if you try to wean it may work, your child may even go back to nursing again once your milk comes in, as long as the balance is being achieved I don't think its 'not AP'.

        15. YES!!! It is the MOST challenging thing so far! I have committed to not weaning my son. He needs it until he says he doesn't any more, and it has been extremely angering at times for both of us how much I've had to limit it. Singing either the abc song or twinkle twinkle or something, and telling him when the songs done nana's done. But I am due in 8 weeks and we are at a good balancing point finally! Just remember you CAN do it together, and tandem nursing is worth it, and that it is temporary pain. Oh! I started getting vitamin B shots from my midwife and they seriously improved things for us.

        16.It was horrible - almost, dare I say it, hateful! I used to challenge, and reward, myself for keep the latch as long as I could. Thankfully, the discomfort went away shortly after the baby was born. Honestly, there were only two reasons I stuck with it: 1. my daughter was very high need and 2. I knew I would have a repeat c-section. Naturally, my milk was delayed after my previous c-sections and babies had elevated jaundice. I was hoping that if I had an established milk supply, the new baby would get the milk sooner and I could avoid a repeat performance.

        17.Yes! SO BADLY for about 5 or 6 weeks, but it went away. If I remember correctly it was during my second trimester. Press on Mama, tandem nursing is so incredible to help ease the new sibling transition. ♥ Let alone relieve engorgement!

        18.I'm experiencing the same thing, especially when my 22 month old twiddles. I continue to nurse because I know it would devastate him if we stopped now. Sometimes I have to stop nursing and walk away so I can collect my emotions, or cry about it without him seeing me. I know the bonding experience for the two siblings will be totally worth it, so I stick it out. Best of luck to you!

        19. I breastfed through 2 pregnancies.YES it hurt at times and towards the end of my pregnancy it did get worse. I thought about weaning often but really wanted them to self wean so I kept at it. I am glad I did. Being able to tandem feed my children was a joy.

        20. I had alot of pain but I waited for my first to wean himself (1 month before my 9lbs 9oz baby arrived) I'm glad I let him wean himself and pushed through the pain

        21. I nursed through my second pregnancy and honestly it was awful the entire pregnancy. I'm not even sure if I would describe it as pain so much as feeling really wrong and like I wanted to throw my oldest off of me. It helped to read or seriously daydream during nursing sessions. That sounds terrible, hah, but I guess I would do it all over again, given the nursing relationship we had (he nursed a lot before my pregnancy and was nowhere near weaning), his age (about 18 months old when I got pregnant), and his personality (very sensitive and liked the comfort of nursing). I do think it is something I would like to avoid doing again, but we'll see.

        22. I also nursed DD through my pregnancy. I was miserable at times, and often thought about weaning her. I just felt like I didn't want to nurse her, and I didn't want her near my breasts (it's so sad). But I had my heart set on tandem nursing, so I pushed through it. I wanted DD to be able to bond with her little sister and not feel jealous. Unfortunately, I couldn't tandem feed. The feelings I had towards nursing her during my pregnancy continued and got worse after the birth. I'm in the process of weaning her, and often wish I had weaned her during the pregnancy when it would have been easier.

        23.The first trimester was a bit more painful nursing but we got through it and the pain went away. Even nursed a few times through my labor(HBAC) which helped speed it up. Really glad I stuck with it, has really helped my son transition from an only child to big brother- with no jealousy. At first after the baby was born he nursed as much as the baby did but now he's back to normal, a few times a day and 1-2x at night. Happily tandem nursing an almost 3yo and a 3.5mo old.

        24.i havent tandem nursed so take this how ever you want...but a 3 year old is capable of empathy. i would talk to her and explain why you are having a hard time hursing her. then i would just lay with her and give lots of cuddles and tickles in place of nursing. then decide if you are willing to unwean her once the baby is born. i have heard of people doing that to keep away feelings of jealousy when the new baby is born. i offered my son to try it once the new baby was born, but he just thought it was funny. he likes to pretend to nurse. good luck. just an ad on..i dont think it is necessarily a great lesson for kids to keep doing something that is terribly painful. i worry about them thinking it is ok to not take care of yourself. that other people are more important . i always try to show my kids that i can take of them, but i show them the ways that i take care of myself. i stop playing a game if it hurts my back or i sit down for a minute if i get tired or i take deep breaths if i am getting upset. they copy me so i think it helps them for me to help myself.

        25.Super painful. Toughed it out to the end of the pregnancy. I think the breastfeeding caused contractions that put me into labor a few days early.


        • #5
          Thank you!

          Thank you, Kelly! I just found the facebook post and will comment there as well.