Hey Mamas! You may have wondered why your nipples hurt when breastfeeding. This is a really common concern. It happens with the majority of women when they start breastfeeding.
The biggest thing is that when we're starting to first breastfeed, our nipples are not used to being stretched out and pulled to the back of the baby's mouth. The biggest thing though, is we simply don't know how to do it, we've never been taught.
I'm going to go give you a few tips, to try to make this as easy as possible for you. The first thing is you want to make sure that you're getting the right latch. When I'm talking about latch, you really need to focus on how you're getting your baby on. So, you’re going to focus on chest to chest, chin to breast, top lip to neck. If you need a visual guide, you can visit the Hey Mama Instagram for my video showing the right positioning (link). For now, I'm just going to go through these few tips to help you out immediately.
Firstly, you need the right position. Secondly, you need to make sure they have a big nice open mouth. When you're putting their chin into the breast, put the nipple to their top lip and push them on. Make sure you don't push their head in, you need to be using the back of their neck as you push your baby on to get a nice deep latch.
I'm not gonna lie to you, your nipples are still going to be sore. They're going to be sore for up to four to six weeks, they're just getting used to everything. The difference is, they should not hurt for an entire feed. If they are, you don't have the right latch and you need to break it and reattach. They will be a little bit tender every time the baby goes on and pulls them out. Also in that first week, they're going to hurt because they're so full that your baby can barely get on, so they can't latch properly.
Secondly, when the baby starts sleeping long periods overnight, your breasts can fill up and get engorged again.This will cause issues with latch again, leading to sore nipples. The good news is, they will adjust and get used to it. It’s like when you're working out and you get calluses on your hands. It’s your body's way of getting used to it - you build them up so you don't feel it as much. Well, your nipples are the same. They are getting stronger as they're adapting to being sucked and vacuumed into your baby’s mouth.
In summary, make sure you have the right latch, the right positioning and that it's a deep latch.
Until next time!
💕 Courtney Garland
Registered Nurse (RN) in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
Registered Certified Lactation Consultant IBLCE