Breastfeeding: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

I want everyone to know that I really am an advocate for breastfeeding. I believe that “breast really is best.” I nursed all of my children and actually wish I could have done it longer!


The Bad

However, I really could not fathom how difficult and painful it is! I am writing this post because if this is the stage of life that you are in, I want you to know that you are not alone! I was told by many people that if I was in pain, then I was doing something wrong. I really believed them when I was nursing my first child. However, now that I have had four children and had pretty much the same experience with all four five, I’m thinking, I kind of know and yes it HURTS! I mean if you really sit down and think about it, how could it not?  Aren’t your lips uncomfortable when they crack and bleed? I think that having that same condition on a more sensitive part of your body, would hurt more, and then add to the fact that they can’t get a break!


The Ugly

With every single one of my children I remember being in excruciating pain! My nipples were cracked and bleeding. I did everything that I was told to do: I put lanolin on after nursing and walked around with my bra undone to let them air dry (which somewhat helped). I tried to nurse more, but all to no avail! It hurt, it hurt so bad that I was crying (I’m sure hormones have nothing to do with this either! 🙂 ) I remember sobbing while I was nursing and telling my child that I was sorry. I was sorry that I was hurting and I was sorry because I didn’t feel like a good mother. I mean, nursing is supposed to be a beautiful, natural thing, right?!
With my first, I remember it being very painful for about five weeks, my second about four weeks, my third about three weeks, and the last about two weeks. With everyone I remember looking at my husband with tears streaming down my face and telling him, “I’m not sure how much longer I can do this.”


The Good

That seemed to be the magical moment. I had to get to that point with each one, but after I got to the place where I was so close to stopping, it seemed to get better, slowly! Then after a few months, it wasn’t painful at all! For the most part, I really looked forward to nursing time. It was a time to bond with my child, a time to marvel at what a blessing they are, and a time to take in how little they are, how sweet they smell, and how soft their skin is. Towards the end of each child’s nursing time, I found myself crying again, because I wasn’t ready to be done, but my children were! With my last child I remember having the hardest time with this. When he was showing signs that he was done, I would cry. I was crying because I just kept thinking, is this going to be the last time I ever get to nurse a baby?!



With my fifth child, I was told to nurse for as long as possible because of his health issues.  Since it had been so many years since I’d nursed and I felt that nursing was paramount, I decided to cut to the chase and just get some help.  I took advantage of the free breastfeeding clinic that was offered at the hospital that I delivered at.  They were a huge help and I kind of wish I would have taken advantage of this service with my other children.  I left with a few supplies , more knowledge and more confidence.

Here is what helped me the most with my transition to nursing the fifth time (which was my easiest):

  • air dry as much as possible
  • Medela SoftShells Breast Shells For Sore Nipples
  • Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads, 2 Count (cut these in half or fourths for more)
  • the clinic also gave me a RX for a special ointment
  • check and see if there is a breastfeeding clinic in your area and take advantage of their services, the sooner the better!  🙂
  • have realistic expectations




Read my review here.

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About Carolynn

I am a teacher turned stay at home mom to five children. I have a passion for helping parents be better parents and strive to help make life easier for them. Join me on my journey!

13 Responses to Breastfeeding: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

  1. Aimee May 5, 2011 at 7:24 AM #

    Thanks for posting this. I could have written this myself. It did hurt…..but now that my youngest is almost 5 and there are no more babies in our future….I miss nursing so much. It was such a sweet time.

  2. Gina May 5, 2011 at 7:51 AM #

    I could have written the same story! It got really bad for me before nursing was great. Now with my third child and 3 years of nursing experience you would think it would be easy but no. I find myself in more pain now with bblocked milk ducts and flu like symptoms, yesterday being the Worst day so far. So its funny you write this today! It gives me hope that greatness is around the corne!

    • admin May 5, 2011 at 11:15 AM #

      If it’s important to you, I’d say keep it up, it will get better. Whenever I had blocked milk ducts, I loved to take long hot showers and just let the water fall on my chest! 🙂 Keep it up!

  3. Gina May 5, 2011 at 8:54 AM #

    I can’t type on my phone, sorry for the typos.

  4. Dawn May 5, 2011 at 8:59 AM #

    Wow, I had no idea you were hurting that much! I only had that experience, where my nipples were cracked and bleeding and I was in excruciating pain, with my first. The last 4 babies, I have only experienced mild soreness and tenderness during the first week or so. From my experience as a La Leche League Leader, I learned that much of the time, pain like what you describe is caused by positioning and latch-on problems. Air-drying and lanolin can help the healing process, but if the reason for the pain is latch-on or positioning problems, the damage keeps getting done every time the mother nurses. Anyway, I am just throwing that out there so that if you are blessed enough to have the opportunity to nurse a little baby again and find yourself in that kind of pain, a consultation with a lactation consultant or La Leche League Leader to check your positioning and latch-on might really help you to avoid that!

    • admin May 5, 2011 at 11:17 AM #

      I had people look at positioning and latch-on and was told that everything looked right, so they didn’t know why I was in so much pain! I had one of them tell me that maybe I had a low pain threshold, but then I told them that I’ve always had natural labors and she seemed to be pretty quiet after that!

  5. Vicky May 6, 2011 at 8:36 PM #

    You’re doing a great job hon…I wish someone would of told me this when I was breastfeeding also. I’m sure this information is very beneficial to many mothers.

    • admin May 14, 2011 at 4:29 PM #

      Thanks Mom! 🙂

  6. Crystal @ Blissful Homemaking March 21, 2012 at 4:08 PM #

    I just stopped nursing after 2 years last week. It is bittersweet. I was so happy to have been able to nurse her exclusively because I was unable to with my son. He was born early and had a weak suck, so I never produced a lot. However, I am in a way happy to be done with nursing because I feel like it helps give her more independence…well ME more independence if that makes sense. 🙂

    • admin March 22, 2012 at 7:57 AM #

      Yes it makes sense! It’s nice to have independence, but it’s also nice to be needed and have a reason for comfort and snuggle time!

  7. Darci the STEM mom April 13, 2012 at 8:29 PM #

    Thanks so much for this post. I’m not sure why women don’t talk about the bad! I nursed my first for 14 months but it was horrible the first 2 months, than it was amazing. For my second, I couldn’t get through that uncomfortable part…not with a toddler to take care of and post-pardum depression. But thanks for talking about this! Much needed!

    • Carolynn April 13, 2012 at 9:24 PM #

      Thank you, I felt the same way. I got so frustrated at being told “If it hurts your doing it wrong!” So sorry, I nursed all my children and the 4th one still hurt! 😉

  8. Heather January 16, 2014 at 3:10 PM #

    Glad I found this.. I’m having issues and just looking for some support.. It’s nice to know others feel the same way…

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