Should breastfeeding hurt?

The short answer to this question is no. Breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful - so why do some breastfeeding Moms have pain?

Let’s take a closer look at what you should expect when it comes to breastfeeding and how to know the signs when you should get more help! Many moms will report some general tenderness the first few days of breastfeeding. That can be attributed to hormonal shifts that happen shortly after birth and also the triggering of more milk to be made as baby goes to breast frequently after birth. However, there are a few things I want you to watch for that lets you know you need more help right away.

If you experience pain during breastfeeding that:

  1. Lasts longer than 60 seconds after baby is latched.
  2. Can be described as pinching, or makes you say “Ouch, ouch,” while you close your eyes, grit your teeth, or curl your toes.
  3. Breast or nipple pain that happens even after baby is done breastfeeding.

A few things to try are:

  1. Switch baby’s positioning - did you know you can recline while breastfeeding and it may help baby get a better latch?  
  2. Get baby to open wider - make sure baby’s chin is touching your breast during latch-on as this encourages a wide open mouth.  A wide open mouth helps with a deeper latch.
  3. Break suction and try again - if you’ve got a bad latch or experiencing pain, make sure to insert your finger into baby’s mouth and break suction.  This will help prevent any damage to your nipples.    

If you’ve tried these things and are still having pain, don’t wait!  A consultation with a board-certified lactation consultant can give you a full assessment as to why you are having pain and a personalized care plan that will get your on your way to a pain-free nursing experience!  At Lactation Link we have in-person and online consultations available for your convenience.

One of the top 3 breastfeeding problems mothers report is nipple pain/soreness.  When breastfeeding is hurting, we need to find the issue and fix it.  Don’t think you just need to “get through it”.  

Stay confident mamas,

Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

This post is brought to you by our friend, Lindsey Shipley at Lactation Link – an online space dedicated to ‘Creating Confident Moms’. Lindsey is an RN, Childbirth Educator, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, cancer survivor, mom of 2. For more info on Lindsey and Lactation link, click here