I have a terrible secret. I hate nursing the first couple of weeks. Eventually I love it, but I have a really hard time getting started.
Not only do I make enough milk to feed the entire neighborhood, nursing hurts at first. I have talked to enough nursing moms to know that this is not the norm for all new mothers, but I have been through the same thing six times now. So it is the norm for me, as is being engorged for a week instead of the 24-48 hours the pregnancy books will tell you.
When I had Hailey, I had open, cracked, bleeding sores for eight weeks. I cried every time I nursed for most of that time. When I got pregnant again with Lauryn, I saw a lactation consultant both before and after she was born. And she became my new best friend because she gave me these:
Soothies Gel Pads
These are my all time favorite new baby item. You see, when I nurse with these sores, between feedings they will scab over. Then at the next feeding, my nursing pad has dried to the scab, and I have to rip it off. This of course exacerbates the problem. But these pads are coated with a gel like is used on burn patients. It doesn't stick to the wound!
I wear them between my skin and another regular nursing pad for more absorbency. I went through about 4 pair of these with Ashlynn. I love them. I use them until I am healed up enough to use just regular nursing pads alone. With Ashlynn this took about 4 weeks.
You can also put these in the fridge to get them good and cool before wearing them, but frankly they were never off of me long enough for me to do this. You can buy these at CVS and Walgreens, and I'm sure other places as well. They will seem a little steep (about $10 a pair) but they are totally worth every penny! So if you have soreness or crack open when nursing, you NEED SOOTHIES!
Picture from soothies.com