PSA – breastfeeding should not hurt.
Maybe you have been told this, maybe not. It is common in the early days of breastfeeding for your nipples to be a bit sore and for feeding to be slightly uncomfortable as your body gets used to having a baby at your breast every 2-3 hours. However pain – that sharp, burning, razorblades, toe-curling pain, should not be happening.
Pain with breastfeeding can be caused by a few things such as a tongue or lip tie, a shallow or incorrect latch, nipple damage, or other medical issues like thrush or mastitis.
So knowing breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt doesn’t help you if it does! So what should you do if it hurts?
Reach out for Support Before Birth
Taking a prenatal class or prenatal feeding class is the best way to get off to a good start even before baby is born. During these classes provided at The Mama Coach we will show you the foundations of breastfeeding and lactation and teach you how to get the perfect latch from day one. I say a correct latch is the foundation of breastfeeding. A correct latch can resolve a lot of issues like pain, supply, and weight gain. Knowing what a correct latch looks like before baby is born can get you off to the best start.
Reach out for Support After Birth
If your in the hospital – speak to your nurse! Most are proficient in basic breastfeeding teaching and may be able to help you correct what is happening. You can also ask if there is an IBCLC on staff and available. They can help ensure you have a correct deep latch and give you tips and tools on how to correct a painful latch. They may also be able to perform an oral assessment or ask the physician to assess for oral restrictions like tongue and lip ties. Sometimes these can be corrected in the hospital.
See an IBCLC
An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant is a specialist in breastfeeding and lactation. If you are having pain, they should be one of your first calls. The IBCLC can perform an assessment on you and your baby to discover the cause of the pain with feeding, then create a plan going forward for you both. If interventions like tongue-tie releases may be needed, they can refer you to a local clinic to confirm and perform this procedure. And IBCLC can also help ensure you get the best latch when breastfeeding. The latch is the foundation of breastfeeding and ensuring a deep and effective latch may be part of the solution to breastfeeding with out pain.
See your Doctor
Sometimes pain with breastfeeding can be more than just a latch or tongue tie. It can be the result of thrush, mastitis or more. An IBCLC can help guide you, but there are times where you need to have a physician assess you and possible prescribe medications to help resolve the concern causing the pain.