8 Ways to have a pain-free breastfeeding journey
Are you experiencing pain that makes you want to give up breastfeeding altogether? Here are 8 things to try before you do!
Though some would argue that breastfeeding without pain is a myth, there are proven ways to make your journey easier. We can't stress enough how good breastfeeding can be for you and your growing baby. Breastmilk acts as her first vaccine, boosting her immune system; it nourishes and provides her with nutrients. Best of all, it promotes early bonding between mom and baby.
Some moms, no matter how much they want to continue nursing their little one, can't do so due to intense pain and discomfort. Though it's best not to force it and to consult your doctor, here are eight things you can try before you consider ending your breastfeeding journey prematurely.
1. Check for mastitis or nipple thrush
If the pain doesn't seem to be going away, its best to make sure you don't have mastitis or nipple thrush. Mastitis is swelling or inflammation of the breast usually caused by infection. It's usually treated with antibiotics.
2. Relax and wait it out
Once your baby starts to feed and you experience pain, just wait it out. Pain during letdown is fairly common and it should disappear after a few seconds. If it doesn't, consult your doctor and don't force yourself to feed through the pain.
You can also pump first and store your milk while you allow your sore nipples to heal. Regular pumping will prevent your breasts from becoming engorged, which would result in further pain.
3. Reposition yourself and your baby
Sometimes simply repositioning during breastfeeding can do wonders in lessening pain. Are you experiencing pain when doing the cradle hold, then perhaps the football hold or a side lying position would be best for you?
Make sure the position provides adequate support and comfort for you and your baby. Changing positions allows you to drain your breasts thoroughly, preventing the risk of engorgement. It also relieves pressure from one side of the breast, which can also result in pain.
4. Check if your baby's latching well
Is your baby's chin pressed against your breast? Are you hearing swallowing instead of clicking sounds? Then your baby is latched on properly. Improper latching can cause pain and discomfort. Other ways to tell if your baby is latching well is if their cheeks are full and rounded during feeding, while they take short, quick gulps, which eventually become longer sucks, between which they pause to take in air.
Make sure not pull out your nipple right away, as this will cause irritation. Gently assist your baby off your breast by pulling them gradually or by using a pinky finger to unlatch them through the side of their mouth.
5. Unclog ducts
Plugged ducts are one of the main causes of pain and swelling for breastfeeding moms. To help ease this, make it a habit to breastfeed on the affected side. You can also pump milk to unclog milk ducts.
6. Pamper your breast
If you have sore, cracked nipples, apply nipple cream or moisturizer. Care for your breasts by applying warm and cold compress, as needed. Applying warm compress prior to feeding helps reduce pain and swelling. As for cold compress, applying it after feeding can help keep soreness at bay.
7. Make feedings short and frequent
Quick feedings help lessen strain, pain, and discomfort and it also allows your breasts more time to recover. It also keeps your breasts from becoming engorged.
8. Check if you're wearing the right bra
Make sure that your bra is not too tight and restrictive. Invest in good nursing bra, which not only provides comfort and support, it also makes it convenient for you to breastfeed anywhere.
Lastly, if your baby is teething make sure to guide them not to bite by taking the breast away if they do!
We hope these tips help make achieving a pain-free breastfeeding journey easier for you!
How did you manage breastfeeding pain? Share your story in the comments below!