Before you have your first child literally everyone has some pearls of wisdom for you. Mostly they are about how little sleep you're going to get, (sleep when the baby sleeps, snarf, snarf), and how your life is never going to be the same (8pm bedtimes for the win). What noone prepares you for is how hard breastfeeding is going to be.
I actually think I've had a pretty easy time of it compared to many women. I didn't have a really painful time feeding him. I didn't have cracked and bleeding nipples. My Little Monster didn't have tongue tie or problems with latching.
So why has it been so hard? Hmm.
For the first 8 weeks or so I had oversupply / overactive letdown issues. A good supply is a great thing but the overactive letdown would cause my Little Monster to unlatch, coughing and spluttering. He had a lot of discomfort in the early weeks and this was amongst the things we angsted about while trying to find a solution since an oversupply can cause babies issues with gas, explosive nappy filling and irritability. There's some great info on oversupply at LLLI.
And then there was the undersupply...something I truly don't understand. How can you get both? Most women's supply dwindles in the afternoon/evening but mine is just ridiculous. Most of the afternoon I just can't satisfy Little Monster's need to feed. He feeds until I'm empty, gets grumpy and latches on again 45 minutes later which exhausts both of us, makes it difficult to go out anywhere and fills me with guilt that I'm unable to feed my son sufficiently. This makes the bedtime feeds stressful because I constantly question whether I have enough milk to satisfy him.
On top of this, I'm not hugely keen on breastfeeding in public. Some people have great success at it and can do it discreetly. I have Little Monster who feeds so loudly that even the breastfeeding specialist joked about how I wouldn't be able to feed him in public. Seriously, he makes all these loud grunting and groaning noises which sound frankly *weird* when coming from my son at my breast. Which all means that I have to make sure that Little Monster is tanked up before I leave the house and, even so, his appetite means that he's normally crying for food before I can get back home again.