Even if you are experienced with breastfeeding, every baby is different. One baby may have a perfect latch and you will experience no pain at all. The next baby may have problems latching and that can cause discomfort. Remember, breastfeeding is a new experience for every baby, and there is a learning curve they go through.
If you are having pain, here are some things you can try:
- Nipple shields can be your best friend. They let baby latch while protecting your breast tissue, giving it more time to heal
- Change nursing positions. If you use a different nursing position every time you latch baby on, you change the pressure points on your breast tissue which helps prevent injury to the tissue.
- After nursing, express some breastmilk and rub it on your nipple and areola, letting it air dry. Breastmilk is an amazing healing substance, so take advantage of it.
- Consider chiropractic care for you and baby. Sometimes muscle tightness or something out of alignment for you or baby can affect how well baby latches on.
- Have baby evaluated for tongue and lip ties. Ties may cause nursing issues and a revision can resolve these issues. While ties may make things harder, babies can be nursed with them. My son had a massive upper lip tie but we still had a successful nursing season.
- Sometimes pumping can be helpful. It gives your tissues more time to heal between nursing sessions. Be mindful about how the expressed milk is given to baby. I prefer cup feeding over bottle, and yes you can cup feed a newborn.
- Seek help from a lactation consultant or your local La Leche League.
There are many things that are considered normal that as a midwife, I do not consider normal. Pain while breastfeeding is one of those things that many people think is normal. I do not. Breastfeeding should not hurt, ever!