Why does breastfeeding hurt more in the afternoon?...

nathanbault

Junior Member
Jul 13, 2016
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San Francisco, CA, USA
I have been exclusively breastfeeding our adorable newborn identical twin boys since they were born 3.5 weeks ago. They were a bit sleepy and slow to latch on in the beginning (they were born at 37 weeks), but they've been hungrily latching on ever since my milk came in.

I had a few grazes on my nipples in the beginning, but worked with the midwives to try to get a better latch. I don't think the three of us have fully mastered the whole process at any point, as I've always found the first few sucks to be toe curlingly painful, but as the pain usually subsides after the letdown I've been prepared to be patient and let things work themselves out.

The pain was getting a bit out of hand last week, so I went and spent the afternoon with the hospitals lactation consultant. She wasn't able to identify any problems, although the latches that she observed were pretty painless.

This week however, I've found that the afternoon/early evening feeds are becoming unbearable. My nipples burn so bad I want to vomit, and my left breast is much more painful that the right. After the feed I also get lots of burning/tingling and pain which seems to be as my breasts are filling up with milk again (just a theory). Weirdly, the night/morning feeds seem to be getting easier and sometimes border on pleasant. I have noticed that the boys do seem to flail about a bit more in the afternoons, which involves clamping down on my nipples, arching their back and pulling away. This really hurts. Is this a sign that they are getting frustrated? Do I not have enough supply? Are my nipples being bruised from this clamping down? Is that why I'm getting all the pain?

Other relevant info: Both boys are putting on weight nicely, and are pooing and weeing lots. I rub breast milk onto my nipples after every feed and air them as much as possible. I use Lansinoh ointment at night which seems to help. Although I my nipples aren't bleeding, they do have a bit of a whitish/yellow crust forming (moreso on the left). I've also just noticed a scrape/graze on the outer edge of my left areola that particularly burns during feeds. I'm taking an anti-inflammatory and applying heat and ice to my poor boobs. I'm not sure which is best? Both boys seem to take about 75 minutes to feed, which seems a bit long, but they will rarely settle unless we let them feed for about 3 lots of 15 minutes (with changes and burping in between). As a result I try to feed them together (football hold) so that I can get some rest between feeds. I have noticed that I enjoy feeding them separately much more, and often find it a lot more comfortable. But that could just be confounded by the time of day. I haven't been able to identify the trend yet. I briefly tried a nipple shield, but the pain didn't seem to be diminished in any way.
 

Vdad

PF Enthusiast
May 28, 2016
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Even though I do not have the proper equipment to speak with authority or experience on your issue, I'd venture that your pain is caused by the simultaneous increase in contact as well as the diminished time to heal btwn feedings...having two infants nursing (which simultaneously doubles the contact as well as not allowing you to rotate the breasts), means you probably are sorer in the afternoon and evenings.

We did (and do) as much "Naturally" as we can with our two guys, but there comes a point when you have to decide who exactly you're doing it for. Keep that in mind if you (and they) continue to experience pain and stress with this.