What to do if breastfeeding hurts – Positioning, Latch, and the Baby’s Suck

One of the top 3 reasons mothers wean is nipple pain/soreness (1).  When breastfeeding is hurting, we need to revisit and master the basics!  There are 3 things I want to share today to help make breastfeeding more comfortable – Positioning, Latch, and the Baby’s Suck.  I go over all these things in detail in my in-person and video breastfeeding classes.

Positioning

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Get in a comfortable position so your back and arms will be supported.  My favorite nursing pillow is curved so it naturally puts baby in a tummy-to-tummy position.  So many moms make the mistake of placing baby in a tummy-to-ceiling position.  This makes it so baby has to turn their head to breastfeed.  Try turning your head and swallowing – its not as comfortable!  This pillow does a lot of the work for you – my clients love it in my office appts.  Also pull baby in close so there is no space in between you and baby.

Latch

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I talk about both hands making a “C” when it comes to latch.  One hand supporting the breast, and one hand supporting baby’s head and neck.  Make sure not to crowd the nipple/areola, this will prevent the infant from getting enough breast tissue in their mouth to feed efficiently and pain-free.  Make sure to be patient for baby to open wide.  A lot of times Moms are anxious to “get it right” and have difficulty waiting for baby to get a very open mouth.  Opening wide will solve a lot of problems and decrease pain.  Once baby is on, check to see if the chin in touching your breast and if the bottom and top lip are flared out.  These are signs of a good latch.

The Baby’s Suck

After baby is latched, check to see if the baby’s tongue is thrusting out underneath.  You also want to see the jaw going up and down.  After let-down occurs, listen for some audible swallowing.  A good feed typically lasts for 10-20 min.  Many infants take both breasts at a feed.

 

I hope this is helpful!  There is a great promo going on this week for 30% off all of our classes!  It’s the biggest sale of the year – the classes are well-priced to begin with so we don’t run promos very often!  Just sign up for our newsletter to get the promo code straight to your inbox (We’ll be sending one out this evening).  Come say hi on instagram today!  As always I’m here for home/hospital visits (UT-based), as well as e-consults via secure video chat.

Thanks for coming by,

Lindsey, RN, IBCLC

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References

1. Hoover, K., & Wilson-Clay, B. (2013). The breastfeeding atlas (5th ed.). Manchaca, TX: LactNews Press

2. Mohrbacher, N. & Stock, J. (2003). The breastfeeding answer book. Schaumburg, IL: La Leche League International.