When Breastfeeding is Painful--Adjusting Baby's Latch
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Everything you need to know about nursing your baby from newborn to toddler.
Breastfeeding sometimes presents challenges. It can be hard to triumph over these challenges when you are not prepared or when you don’t have someone to help you overcome common problems. Thankfully, as the lactation community grows, there is more help for new mothers who wish to have a happy nursing relationship with their infant.
One problem many women report is soreness while their baby is nursing. This is often due to the baby’s latch. When an infant latches on it is important to make sure they are taking in most of the areola. If this is not the case, mom will quickly notice pain and burning—possibly even redness and bleeding. This can be scary for new moms, but the problem is easy to fix.
Sometimes the baby becomes hungry very quickly. When this happens, baby’s mouth starts to frantically root around looking for his milk. In mom’s attempt to feed the baby, the latch-on process is quickly forgotten and the pain begins. The following tips can help:
- Use a finger to gently break suction between the baby and the breast.
- Make sure baby’s mouth is fully open and firmly pull the baby to the breast.
- Watch to see how much the baby takes in—repeat the process until a good portion of the areola is in baby’s mouth.
- If numerous attempts are not changing the position of baby’s mouth, it is time to change the position of the baby.
- Instead of cradling the baby with his head in the crook of the arm, turn him around in a “football hold.” Baby’s head will be cradled in the palm of mom’s left hand and baby’s feet will be at mom’s left side.
- Again, make sure baby’s mouth is wide open and then firmly bring baby to breast. This hold often does the trick.
Once baby is used to nursing with an open mouth, the breastfeeding sessions will begin to get easier and mom will be able to use any hold that is comfortable. In the mean time, if mom is having pain and discomfort, creams that contain lanolin are specifically designed to heal breast tissue. These creams are safe to use even when contact with baby’s mouth will occur. Breastfeeding does not need to be painful. These tips will help mom and baby to enjoy a happy, healthy nursing relationship.