So You’ll Make Breastfeeding More Comfortable

Breastfeeding should not hurt.  Repeat that out loud right now:

BREASTFEEDING SHOULD NOT HURT!

If you are experiencing breastfeeding pain it is a sign that something is not right.  Here are 3 things you can do right this minute to start making breastfeeding way more comfortable for you and baby. And you might even boost your supply while you’re at it!

1. Stop putting your nursing pillow on your lap.

Unless you are really petite and your nursing pillow is really thick, chances are that your nursing pillow is way to low. That means your baby is probably way to low and you’re hunching over your baby.

I’ve seen some new mothers actually lean over their babies, their backs curved likes “C”s over top of their warm little babies.  This is going to cause you a lot of back ache. If this is you, you may be experiencing strain in your upper back and shoulders, tension in your shoulders and neck and even headaches. Do it for long enough and you’ll develop a permanent hunch.

Quit it!  If your nursing pillow is too low to hold your baby at the same level as your breasts, it’s an ineffectual, large piece of useless junk cluttering up your home.  Grab a throw pillow or three and prop your arm up as you hold your baby tightly pressed into your body.  You could even lay back a little and allow that baby to lay flat against you.

Start holding your baby higher and sitting back or with a straight back. 

2. Stop pushing your breast towards the baby’s mouth.

This might be the number one mistake I see new mothers making when nursing their newborn. They hold their breast with their free hand and then push it towards baby as they try to get their little one to latch.

Cut it out! You need to move the baby to the breast and not the breast to the baby. The big problem with this is that the moment you relax the breast moves and you often end up pulling the nipple right out of baby’s mouth.  If you move the baby instead you will get a far better latch leading to more comfortable breastfeeding.

Start moving the baby to the breast.

3. Stop waiting for the latch to stop hurting.

So many veteran breastfeeders tell pregnant women, “it always hurts in the beginning.” They believe they are helping by giving new moms a heads up that most of the time there is a learning curve but that it gets better. What new moms hear is, “since it’s normal for it to hurt in the beginning, I just have to endure this pain”.  And sometimes that pain only happens in the first 30 seconds or so of latching a baby on but goes away as the baby sucks.

Hold it right there!  Breastfeeding is never supposed to hurt. Remember that from the start of this article?  It’s not supposed to hurt. Sometimes is does hurt, though. When it hurts, that is a signal that something isn’t right and you need the help of a professional to assess and assist. If you don’t get help that breastfeeding pain will just continue and you’ll very quickly – like within a day – damage the actual nipple causing it to crack and bleed and become infected.

Pain most often comes from a too-shallow latch.  Deepen the latch – that is, help baby open their mouth more and get more areola into their mouth – and baby will stop biting the tip of the nipple, create a better seal around the breast and get way more milk. The second more common problem that causes painful breastfeeding is lip and tongue ties.  The best thing to do is connect with a breastfeeding professional immediately who will work closely with you to identify what is causing your breastfeeding pain and teach you how to remedy it.

Start finding help right away for your breastfeeding pain.

Breastfeeding is not always easy but with support most parents can nurse successfully.

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