My fiancee and I just had our child yesterday, August 17th. This is her second child, and my first. With her first pregnancy, anytime she tried to feed her daughter, she got very strange pain throughout her body. She describes it as "full body restless leg syndrome." We were hoping it was circumstantial, but she's having the same pains again with our child.

Part of me is thinking that this is just a large influx of hormones rushing through her body, but we can't find anything about it to lead us in the right direction.

3 Answers 3


How did she rectify the problem in the first pregnancy? Did the pain eventually go away?

Breastfeeding was extremely painful for me for the first couple of weeks. This was a surprise to me because everywhere you read, you see "breastfeeding should not be painful." But it is. The first couple of weeks, your breasts are getting ready to the excessive stimulation. I use to curl my toes each time the little one used to latch on. It just lasts a couple of weeks - at max - so not too bad.

If she is feeling "full body restless leg syndrome" it is probably because her utereus is shrinking. Breastfeeding assists in shrinking the uterus - so it is very normal to feel menstrual like cramps all over.

Breastfeeding can bring on these cramps or make them more intense because your baby's sucking triggers the release of the hormone oxytocin, which in turn causes contractions. (Try to see that as a good thing – these contractions usually help reduce postpartum blood loss, which is why your body produces them.)

  • I don't think she actually rectified the problem. After a few months, she couldn't handle it anymore and switched to formula. She's also experiencing contractions due to the Oxytocin, so this pain seems different, but maybe they're both symptoms of the same thing. I'll look into Oxytocin/shrinking uterus side effects and try to guide my search there. Thanks for your response.
    – raynjamin
    Aug 19, 2011 at 15:29
  • 1
    The cramping can last a while - a few people experience it throughout their breastfeeding experience. I'd highly recommend seeking the advice of a lactation consultant or your family doctor. I am surprised that she didn't with the first pregnancy. Also, tylenol.
    – Swati
    Aug 19, 2011 at 18:23
  • Yeah I made the appointment today for my daughter's first doctor visit. I also got the number of the practice's lactation specialist, so hopefully she can provide some insight. With her first child, there wasn't really a very good support structure, so I think she just decided to go with formula instead of fighting the good fight, if you will.
    – raynjamin
    Aug 19, 2011 at 21:43

Congratulations with the baby!! And welcome to the site!

I am no lactation expert but it sounds as if the breastfeeding triggers some unusual nerve reactions. Talk to a midwife if you have one (otherwise a pediatrician), and ask for recommendations for lactation specialists - it's likely that both of them have heard of this before.

You can look for a local La Leche League group and you might find related answers on their website (although my quick search didn't find anything).



I'm not a health professional, but I can talk about my own experience.

The pain symptom you described is not what exactly my wife went through, but in our case the baby has a special tongue anatomy that caused excessive breastfeeding pain. See Tongue Tie. The pediatrician only noticed after my wife suffered from breastfeeding pain for many months.

Our baby is 5 months old now and it doesn't hurt her anymore, otherwise the pediatrician said he could cut it, or something.

I hope that helps. And don't forget to go to the doctor or midwife to talk about this :-).

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