Unpleasant Experiences About Breastfeeding No Mom Would Ever Tell


unpleasant experiences about breastfeeding

In this post I pour my heart out on the unpleasant experiences about breastfeeding that I went through as a mother.

‘A beautiful young mother, looking really pleasant and calm, is sitting or lying down in the hospital bed. She holds a newborn baby and breastfeeds him/her. The baby, who seems very content, slips into a peaceful sleep in his/her mother’s arms ’ – what a heart warming scene!!

This is what we all see in some baby product ads and films. This picture got into my mind so much that, I always thought breastfeeding was an easy thing.

After all breastfeeding is so natural!! It should automatically come to the newborn baby and the mother.

Poor me. My picture perfect scene of the ‘peacefully breastfeeding mommy’ and ‘the content little baby ‘ was shattered with the very first feeding session itself.

Yes, things didn’t turn out, at least for me, as expected.

Unpleasant Experiences About Breastfeeding No Mother Would Love To Share:

I was lying down in the hospital bed, all exhausted and sore with pain from the natural delivery I just had. And my bundle of joy lay besides me.

I had a very long labor 🙁

A nurse comes in, examines me and says, “Ok, you can breastfeed your baby now”. Haa … The moment I have been waiting for the past nine long months has come. The very first bonding of me with my baby is going to happen!!

My nurse insisted me to feed him only in a sitting position. In spite of the intense pain and discomfort I somehow managed to sit with my mother’s support.

I took my baby in my hands and brought him near my breast. The very next second, he turned his head to the other side!!! What? … Ok, may be, he didn’t understand what I am trying to do.

I waited…NO… he won’t turn his head…I tried turning his head towards my breast…but in vain.

My mother said,”May be he is not hungry now, try after some time”. So I waited.

A couple of hours passed, I tried again and again, but my tiny little baby wouldn’t even look at my breast. What is wrong? This is not what I have thought it would be like.

All sorts of weird thoughts started coming to my mind. Before I could imagine more stupid things and get nervous, a pediatrician came in and checked my baby.

She asked if I managed to breastfeed him. I said that I haven’t and explained the situation.

She asked me to put my pinky finger in his mouth and see if he is sucking. So I did what she said and to my relief he did suck my finger.

The doctor asked me to express milk and give it to him. I tried, but in vain.

The doctor said that my son is healthy and no need to worry. I will have to make him suck and only then my milk will come in.

A nurse was sent in to help me learn the correct breastfeeding posture and the way to hold the baby while breastfeeding.

With the help of the nurse, I was able to make him turn towards my breast, but again he won’t suck.

Hours passed by, but my several sincere attempts to breastfeed my baby didn’t work.

Result – a hungry crying baby and a totally depressed broken down me!!

Unsuccessful Attempts at Breastfeeding:

This was more than what I could handle. At night when the nurse came in for the rounds, I told her about my unsuccessful attempts.

I tried expressing milk again, but to my dismay, there was nothing coming out of my nipples. Then the nurse said that I could try giving him a little formula milk.

This was the last thing to happen, as I was so particular about breastfeeding. I started to worry…Will breastfeeding not at all work for us, will my baby have to survive on formula milk… and so on…

Hmm…ok at least my baby will not be starving…So we gave him a few drops of formula milk with the help of the nurse.

By now, it was almost 20-22 hours post delivery and my newborn baby hasn’t even taken an effort to latch on the nipple.

Pediatrician came in again for the checkup. On learning that I had given him formula milk; she started to scold the nurse and me.

She assured that baby is perfectly fine and I don’t have to worry too much but keep trying.

She helped my baby to latch on and I don’t know what magic she did, he latched on for a few minutes for the very first time 🙂

Ok finally things are turning out as expected. Now I was able to make him latch on though with a little struggle.

The next day morning the pediatrician came in and said that I could go home if I am confident enough to breastfeed the baby. I was not, so I just doubtfully nodded my head.

She gave me medicines to increase my milk supply and gave a discharge from the hospital.

Low Milk Supply & Hyper Lactation:

Now that the baby has learned to breastfeed, the problem was with my very low breast milk supply.

For the first 10-12 days, the milk production was very very less. He was not getting enough milk to satisfy his hunger.

He kept on crying for milk. I started to eat lots of moringa leaves (drumstick leaves), green gram, pomegranate and fenugreek (methi).

On top of that, I took the prescribed medicine to increase milk supply. All these resulted in hyper lactation.

My body started to produce much more breast milk than my baby needed.

Problems Associated With Breastfeeding:

More problems started to come in.

My baby started to gag, choke, gasp and cough while nursing. Milk was coming too fast and it seemed really difficult for him to gulp.

While nursing, at least 3-4 times a day he will choke followed by coughing. I remember the two times when milk came out of his nose. I know it’s normal, but being a first time mother, all these scared me.

Each time he choked or gasped, I started to cry. I felt I was doing something wrong.

I felt defeated, helpless, frustrated. All these started to affect me.

I started to get afraid of nursing. I insisted my mother to be with me every time I nursed him.

It was a very difficult time. I always nursed him in a sitting position holding him almost upright.

It was a pain to see my little one choke and arch-back. I also had to deal with an engorged leaky breast and sore nipples. But I didn’t give up breastfeeding.

Thanks to my mother who helped and supported me to pass through this tough experience. It took almost 3-4 months for Reyhan and me to get adjusted to breastfeeding.

I should say he had a huge appetite. He would nurse every one and a half hours for almost 40 to 45 minutes.

An engorged leaky breast, sore nipples, restless days, sleepless nights, a gagging and choking baby. I have learned from experience that breastfeeding is not an easy thing.

What These Unpleasant Experiences About Breastfeeding Taught Me?

Today I pat myself on the back for not giving up on breastfeeding.

Reyhan is now 15 months old and still breastfed. Now he frequently bites me with his new set of emerging pearls.

I should say it hurts like hell 😛 But I am happy and proud that I am breastfeeding my munchkin.

Opting to breastfeed is easy, but to keep on breastfeeding in spite of all the challenges, shows your willingness and determination to provide the best for your little one.

Kudos to all the mothers who are breastfeeding and those who have tried everything they could to do so.

Share with me how was your experience on breastfeeding your baby.

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About Author

Anu Prabin is a software engineer turned freelance writer who loves to pen down her journey and experience as a mother. She likes to connect with like-minded moms. Movies, books, and food are the three things that cheer her up. She enjoys doing arts and crafts with her son and shares various fun activities for kids through her Instagram account @thebacktoschoolmom. She wholeheartedly promotes the habit of reading in kids and considers books as the perfect gift for any occasion. A typical Kerala mom, she is currently settled in UAE along with her husband and son.


  1. Pingback: 5 Awesome Ways by Which Dads Can Help Moms in Baby Care – ourkidznet

  2. I am a new mother of 2month old baby,I tried every thing but still I have low supply milk,so now baby is in formula milk and my breast milk, so can u u plz help me to increase my breastmilk supply

  3. Hi Anu,
    I’m a working mum to a 5.5 month old baby. I started work full time when my baby turned 4 months old. I had to start my baby on formula for the time I was not home. Now my baby has developed a prefference for the bottle and completely refuses to drink breast milk. The minute I take him to my breast he starts arching his back and crying. Can you give me some tips to get him to breastfeed again atleast in the night. Has anyone faced a similar issue.

  4. Dear sister,
    This is exactly what I too went through during those initial days of breastfeeding..a baby that won’t latch properly,initial low milk supply latwe engorged, breasts and sore nipples,baby choking while breastfeeding and arching back..to make it worse, I had a c-section delivery and got allergic to the UTI medicines which I had to take..despite all I never gave up breastfeeding..my mother stood by me all through this ,even now..my baby girl is 10 months old now, i’m still breastfeeding her..:)

    • Reshma,

      It makes me feel really happy when young moms say that despite all the difficulties they breastfeed their babies. This is what motherhood is all about- Kid first and all the difficulties and pains next. 🙂

      Kudos to you for continuing breastfeeding..

  5. Hi,
    thanks for sharing your thoughts. I also experienced similar challenges and lot more.. i had to join work after 4 months, bt i wanted to exclusively breastfeed my child till 6 months. I started pumping and storing the expressed milk. It was difficult to convince the inlaws bt my husband supported a lot. Nwmy child is 15 months and i am still breastfeeding my child. It feels really heavenly. I wud always encourage momies to breastfeed your child. All salutes to moms who do so bcoz i knw hw difficult it is to carry it.

    • Sakshi,

      Thanks for sharing your experience.

      Reading your experience will surely be a support and inspiration to woking women are struggling to breastfeed.

      Kudos to the strong mother in you.

  6. U r the right person Anu to deal with my problem…my lo is 6 months old… He hesitate to drink milk…from.me…also my milk supply is very low….kindly help me with this……

    • Hi Kirthi,

      Let me know when he has started to show less interest in breastfeeding.From the beginning or recently?

      Check if he is putting on weight in a normal way. Some babies latch for 40-45 minutes while some can fill their little tummies in just a few minutes. So if your baby is having proper weight gain then you need not worry about how long he is latching on for each breastfeeding session.

      If he is having difficulty to latch on, not putting weight and is crying while feeding then it should be a concern.

      Make sure your baby is properly latched on to your breast. If latching is not proper he can find it difficult to suck milk and this can make him stressed. this can be a reason why he is hesitating to breastfeed.

      Also be sure your baby is held comfortably while nursing.

      Your low milk supply can be a reason too. Breastmilk production is a demand and supply system. So your breastmilk supply increases only if your baby is breastfeeding more often.

      You can try to increase your breastmilk supply by including certain food items in your diet. https://bumpsnbaby.com/15-super-foods-increase-lactation-new-mothers/

      Also you can try pumping some breastmilk after your baby is breastfed. Try this for a few days. This may help to increase your milk supply.

      Another thing I want to know is do you express milk and bottle feed your baby? For some babies once they find it comfortable using a bottle they may reject direct breastfeeding.

      DO reply.

  7. Just had a chance to go through this great article…I was also having challenges while breastfeeding…but not the one who all faced here..mine is entirely different..but what make me to continue with breastfeed is my willpower and strong determination of my decision in breastfeed ..As like every girl I came back to in law home once after 40 days of delivery..there it started…whenever my kid cries everyone at home (mother in law, sister in law) started to say..she is not having enough milk.lets give her some bottle feed….I was tottaly shocked to hear such sentence..And totally I was worried which tends to low milk supply..And then I decided..for the sake of baby..let’s against them and I m firm strong on my decision to breastfeed and enjoying it…Thanks to my husband who supports me despite against his family…Now my kid is gong to reach her 5th month and am excited to start solids for her..Experience differs but willpower matters!..

    • Jahira,

      I appreciate your decision to exclusively breastfeed your baby. Breastfeeding is the best you can do for your baby. If your baby is putting on weight you certainly don’t have to worry about a low milk supply. Your baby will be getting enough milk in that case.

      Babies cry and that is the only way they can express what they don’t like or what they need. They may be uncomfortable with the temperature, or need a diaper change or not happy with the dress they are wearing. There are n number of reasons other than hunger that can make your baby cry.

      But if your baby is not putting weight and you are worried about a very low milk supply do read this post https://bumpsnbaby.com/15-super-foods-increase-lactation-new-mothers/
      This will help.

      Once more kudos to you for giving the best for your baby. Happy parenting:-)

  8. Hi…
    I exclusively BF my daughter till 3 months.after tat she started to refuse BF. she will start to cry while taking her near to breast. so now im taking her while she is asleep nd feeding.now she is 4 months completed. say me some suggestions to feed my baby.

    • Uzma,

      Never feel that you are an unsuccessful mom.

      You tried your best. You are always there for your little one and you love him/her, thats all that matters.

  9. Really Good Article….Similar thing happened in my case. I did not have enough milk supply…More than that i had inverted nipples…finally i had to fully depend on formulae for my baby….Now I am expecting again….Do you have any solution for the inverted nipple issue and increasing BM supply

  10. I totally agree with you Anu. I had a similar tough experience too till my lil Akash was 3 to 4 months old.Wanted to share them here as new moms can be prepared for these challenges as well.
    1. My son was born with a small mouth and hence did not know how to latch on. I used to feed him colustrum(the transparent liquid from breasts before milk comes out)This was pumped out using A breast pump .

    2. after a long-labored normal delivery,pumping is what I can expect to do last.But I couldn’t help it.i had to keep up the milk supply.

    3.Once he started to bring his mouth to my breasts,he failed to suck on.I underwent lactation sessions every time I needed to feed him.

    4.My pumping sessions continued every 3 hours.My sessions of nursing trials too continued the rest of the time. Used various tools like a catheter,syringe etc..but all in vain.

    5.After around 10 days Aku started to latch on, but his nursing session used to be just 15 mins after which he grew tired and went to sleep.Still I used to be a human pacifier for him allowing him to munch on as and when he liked.

    6.Now that he had started drinking, I had to feed him every 45 minutes as his appetite was not satiated in those short sessions.

    7.Slowly and steadily, he started to stabilize and became a pro at around 3n a half months.

    YESSSSSS!!!! I did it……And am still feeding.He is 10 months old today and am planning to feed him as long as he wants to.

    • Hi Anusha,

      Thank you so much for taking time to read the article and sharing your experience. Sharing our experiences will surely be a great support for new moms who face breastfeeding challenges.

  11. Good Article. Such articles give so much support to mums who have unpleasant experiences. Even I went through a similar situation. My milk supply was low and my baby would be left hungry. As I was hell bent on exclusive BF I avoided the formula for couple of days but could not as the baby was really starving and cried the whole night almost the second day. My attempts were desperate and I tried everything from eating milk enhancing foods to medicines, to expressing milk, taking advice from elderly ladies for increasing the supply. I was very frustrated regarding my limitation and went through sea of emotions during that time. But I didn’t give up and continued my efforts despite she being on formula most of the time. Thankfully after 1-1.5 months the scenario changed.My milk started satiating her. and the amount of formula given to her decreased and Our bonding increased. I had a sense of accomplishment and thanked God for it. Mostly babies don’t turn to breast once they take bottle but in my case that didn’t happen. I could happily feed my baby till 15 months of age.

    • Great Varsha.. happy that you breastfeed your LO till 15 months.

      Low milk supply is a common problem..but new moms really get frustrated and depressed because of it. No one wants to see hungry crying babies and formula milk is certainly a blessing in such situations.

      Did you face any difficulties when you changed from bottle to breastfeeding?

  12. I agree to every single part.. But you haven’t mentioned about the pain that you endured during early phase before milk started comin normally.. I mean the stage where its just transparent liquid and yet to turn to look like milk:-P it comes in such less quantity that even after 5days of ma baby’s birth, I still went back to nurse to confirm if it was really enough!!

    Since you mentioned about the willpower to go on with breastfeeding well , in my case too I needed my mother with me every time I fed him, but that was because I went through whats called mastitis.. Well its like a huge lump and I got it so close to my nipple that after I had to get that cut out by a small surgical process(without anesthesia), I was afraid that by mistake ma just born baby doesn’t get a taste of my blood or the medicine on it. God! What a nightmare that period was. No woman should go through that ever.

    I think just like the nurse you encountered there are many who scare the new mothers and they lose hope and resort to formula milk.

    I am so glad I dint lose my hope as my Dr made sure I was aware of necessary things and dint stop trying.

    • Hi Madhumita,

      You are such a brave lady…it pains to even imagine you feeding your lo after having a surgery.. great willpower. It was really difficult and painful for me to nurse after I had a wound from my lo’s bite.

      I my case even the first transparent milk- colostrum ,was not coming after delivery…that made me really depressed.

      But thank god…things turned out good after so much struggles and tensions.

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