With DS I had read that nipple tenderness was to be expected and likely due to your nipples not being touch enough and/or due to bad latch. But I, for one, definitely think that hormones have a huge role to play. Yes I had a few bad-latch injuries (bruising like hickey) and yes it got better over time. BUT "over time" for me meant that it got a little better every week or two so that by 7-8 weeks it was not horrible and by 12-13 weeks it was pretty much gone. And truly I think it had very little to do with latch and or nipple toughness. In fact I was still nursing DS when I became pregnant this time around and, although I am a little dim-witted and it took a while to realize I was pregnant, I definitely found that my nipples suddenly became VERY tender during these nursing sessions (nursing a 21 month old with no nursing discomfort for approx 18 of the previous months!) to the extend that I would almost cry during the feedings. (When DS was young (under 1 month) I came very close to killing DH on numerous occassions when he would wake DS from napping close to to (but early for) feeding time - my nipples were killing and I could almost not stand the thought of nursing him again and wanted to stretch it out as long as possible.
Anyway - any other thoughts on this? Last time I started applying lanolin cream (my favourite brand is Bug and Pickle) about 2 months in advance of due date but this time I am not even bothering. Do you think that your nursing tenderness was caused by poor latch, hormones, un-tough nipples, or something else? I definitely think mine was hormones all the way.
I am not wanting to scare any first time moms about nursing. From the experience of my girlfriends and myself I will say that lots of people find it hard for a variety of reasons (sleep deprivation, discomfort, latch, etc) and that it just takes time to work itself out. But keep in mind that you are supposed to be enjoying your baby so find a combination of nursing, pumping, etc that works for you. I also found it helpful to share experiences with other mom's on forum's like this and at LLL meetings and with my public health nurse - and in every area of childcare I found that here is no right answer, you just have to do what works for you and trust your instinct.
Happy nursing! Here we go again.