Sore boobs: Navigating pain in the breastfeeding relationship

Understanding the breastfeeding pain that mothers experience and examining how this interacts with the mother-­baby relationship.

Breastfeeding is a relational and embodied practice, amongst the first and most intimate that mother and baby attempt post-birth.

The New Zealand Ministry of Health website promotes breastfeeding as “perfect for you and your baby,” and as “lay[ing] the foundations of a healthy life”. This strong clinical emphasis on the health benefits of breastfeeding is bolstered by mainstream representations of breastfeeding as natural, positive and pain-free.

The purpose of this study is to understand the breastfeeding pain experienced by mothers, and to examine how pain interacts with the affective and emotional dimensions of the mother-­baby relationship.

This study aims to explore the experiential dimensions of breastfeeding related pain, the factors that influence the experience of breastfeeding pain and how pain influences the attachment and relationship between mother and baby.

As it stands, there is very little research exploring breastfeeding pain, and a particular lack of qualitative, experiential research. To begin to address this gap, and to address our research questions, we are conducting an anonymous survey.

The findings from this survey will be updated on this webpage when they have been completed.

Thank you to all those who have participated or intend to participate in the research and we look forward to sharing our findings.

Principle Investigators

Senior Lecturer in Health Promotion
School of Health

Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology
School of Health

Research Assistant

 profile picture

Susa Robertsonburns