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5 Unexpected Feelings You May Encounter in the Early Days of Nursing

In the early days of nursing, your body will be going through A LOT of changes. This is to be expected since you just gave birth to a tiny human! With these changes comes unexpected feelings, and I’m here to tell you that these feelings may be completely normal! Here are 5 unexpected, but completely normal feelings in the early days of nursing. 

  1. It may feel unnatural
    Many people say that nursing and pumping don’t feel natural in the beginning. In saying that, they often feel a lot of guilt. I’m here to say that it’s okay for it to not feel natural. It honestly can feel super awkward at times. Remember, you and your baby are still learning. This is day one for you and for your baby! It’s okay to not feel completely perfect. Just like most things, with practice it will become a lot easier and a lot more normal.

  2. You may have nipple tenderness
    Yes, there may be some tenderness. I know that a lot of people will say that it shouldn’t be painful whatsoever. I like to say that it shouldn’t be excruciatingly painful but it might not be completely pain-free. Here’s the thing, the pain shouldn’t even be considered pain necessarily. It’s more like soreness and/or tenderness. This happens occasionally in the early days as your breasts experience new sensations and also the experience of latching. Again, it shouldn’t be excruciating pain that you cannot talk through! If the pain is in fact excruciating, I recommend reaching out for lactation assistance.

  3. You may experience extreme cramping
    Wow! No one talks about the cramps that happen in the beginning! This is related to your hormones signaling to make your uterus contract! This doesn’t happen to everyone and also does not always happen with the first baby. Uterine cramps or contractions during the early days of nursing are very common and very annoying. Fortunately, they don’t last long! They are usually present only in the early days.

  4. You may feel super thirsty
    Nursing can make you feel extremely parched! Because of this, I usually recommend having a drink of water or your preferred refreshing beverage every time you sit down to nurse or pump. This helps you remain hydrated but also supports healthy milk production!

  5. Nursing might make you feel very drowsy
    Again, your hormones are hard at work! Nursing can make your body relax A LOT. In doing so, it can make you extremely sleepy or just very, very relaxed. I also recommend doing something that keeps your attention to keep you awake or alert!

The early days of nursing and pumping can come as a surprise to a lot of people, but having the knowledge of what to expect can make it a little bit easier.


Erica Campbell is a former Registered Nurse and current Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), she’s also a mama of two! From her professional and personal experience, she had a revelation about education for breastfeeding mothers. While working on the floor as a Mother/Baby RN, she noticed mothers struggling with the first few days of breastfeeding. They didn’t know what to expect or how to overcome those beginner obstacles. The raw emotions from childbirth combined with the feelings of guilt were enough for her to see that something must be done to help these women achieve their goals.

The Milk Manual is a resource for all parents enduring their breastfeeding journey. Whether this is your very first experience or you’re in the final days of breastfeeding, it’s Erica’s goal to help make your journey as smooth and beautiful as possible. Follow Erica on Instagram @themilkmanual

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