The one item that relieved my breastfeeding pain (and three favorite online resources)

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I feel a little out of my element writing about breastfeeding, but I do so with the hope that this little tidbit of information might save someone from the sheer agony I experienced while nursing my third child.

I had previously nursed two babies without much more than the initial soreness.

Then the third one came along.

The pain I experienced was excruciating. I cried and cried for 8 weeks! Day and night!

Many hours were spent searching the internet and scouring books looking for answers. I went to the lactation consultant twice and also called another lactation consultant. Nothing helped. Nothing at all.

I was determined to nurse my baby, but it seemed as if it was not going to be possible. I didn't know how long I could endure the pain and probably wouldn't have if I'd known how long it would last! Each day I'd tell myself it would get better soon. Surely things would be looking up tomorrow. . .

This was like nothing I ever thought possible!  Without giving too much graphic detail, I'll just tell you that there were some serious lesions. Serious! I knew it was bad when the lactation consultant winced looking at it.

However, even though she could see things looked bad, after observing me nurse the baby, there was nothing obvious that could cause such a problem. She told me the latch looked fine (and everything I read said the latch was one of the most important factors).

In the end, another lactation consultant gave me some hard, plastic breast shells.  These are different to the soft  ones you nurse through.  They are for wearing between nursings.

I believe they were these TheraShells from Medela:

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The shells have little air holes in the top a wide opening in the back.  They keep your clothing from further irritating any cracks or sore spots and also allow the air to circulate.

This provides an easy (and modest) way to air-dry after nursing. Which helps a lot!

Within a few days of wearing the therashells, things started to heal up.

After almost 8 weeks of pain, I can't tell you what a blessing this was to me (and to my family)!

I'm not sure what would have happened if I hadn't been given these. They saved me!

I sincerely hope this helps someone.

In all of my desperate research, the following three websites provided the most help and encouragement:

Breast Feeding Inc. Especially the videos. Very detailed.

Kelly Mom – This is a huge resource. I like that there is a lot of information about the use of herbs while breastfeeding, something that is not included in many books or websites. I also enjoyed the fact that there was plenty of general support and encouragement for moms.

I also found a lot of good information at Keeper of the Home.


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  1. I know cabbage leaves helped me the most with engorgement. I tell every new mother to go ahead and make sure there is a head of cabbage in the fridge before they even get home from hospital. Great post and I know it was very difficult finding info on herbs that were safe to use with breastfeeding.

    1. I never did try cabbage leaves! I do hear they are very useful. Thanks for the reminder.

      Yes, it is hard to find info on herbs. Sometimes we can get overly cautious, then other times, not enough. It’s hard to know what to do. That’s why I was very happy to find the Kelly Mom’s herb page!

  2. I used those shields for a little bit. One word of caution to a mother who leaks: Don’t wear them to bed! I would roll over and put the slightest pressure on my chest with these things on and would end up leaking everywhere! What can I say? I was a leaker for sure!

    1. Good point. They are not good for leaking! I can’t remember what I did for that . . . Maybe worse nursing pads over the top of them at night? Although they might still leak when laying on your side.