I have been breastfeeding for just over four years. I managed to keep exclusively breastfeeding for 5 months while working full time and pumping while I was gone 10 hours a day. L1 breastfed until a few months after L2 was born, then even un-weaned 6 months later to continue until just before I became pregnant with L3. L2 continued to breastfeed until a few weeks before L3 was born, when we had to wean for personality issues (sessions were ending with me bruised and battered). I did attempt to un-wean after L3's birth, but he wasn't really asking anymore. Besides, L3 and I were having some issues establishing our breastfeeding relationship.
For about the first week of L3's life nursing wasn't quite right. I was sore, but it wasn't unbearable. She lost a bit of weight, and there was some concern. But, we took her to meet our chiropractor and get adjusted. Things got better. She gained almost 3lbs in the next few weeks. But, things went sour again.
After 4 years of breastfeeding being "easy" for me, I was in pain. Not just pain, but cracking and bleeding (can you even read that without wincing?). I called on the know-how of a wonderful lactation consultant, Marianne from Mother Nurture Breastfeeding. I have a "plan" worked out to get past the issues that could be causing the damage, but nothing is certain.