For a lot of mums, they hope to breastfeed when their baby is born. It’s a great way to bond with your new baby. And there is a lot of benefits for your newborn.
As breast milk is full of antibodies, it can help keep their immune system strong, so that they stay away from viruses during those first few precious months. Fewer trips to the doctors is definitely a bonus!
Also, breastfeeding is a lot simpler than having to make up a bottle of formula, especially when you are on the go. You don’t have to wait for the water to boil while you are trying to calm your crying baby. And it’s cheaper than buying formula and bottles for your newborn.
After all, baby items can cost a small fortune. But it’s not always easy for a lot of mums. Some struggle to get their baby to latch on during those first few days. And some mums are put off breastfeeding due to the pain. In fact, pain is one of the top reasons why mums stop breastfeeding or don’t give it a go in the first place.
However, there is often a reason why you are getting pain, and there are ways to make it better. Therefore, here is everything you need to know about whether breastfeeding is painful.
What causes pain?
There are many reasons why mums can experience pain during breastfeeding. For starters, it can be down to a poor latch.
A lot of mums can spend ages trying to get their baby to latch on properly to their breast. After all, you have to align them properly to make sure they are getting enough milk. And some mums struggle to do this well.
But if you have a poor latch, you will experience pain in your nipples. Also, you might notice the nipple looks misshaped when your baby has finished feeding. And as your baby isn’t getting the milk correctly, they might keep trying to feed for ages.
You need to manoeuvre your baby to a better position to help ease the pain. You can also ask your midwife or health visitor to help position them properly.
Or you could even go to a breastfeeding group so you can get support from other mums. Another reason women can get pain when breastfeeding is down to a yeast infection.
They often find a burning feeling when they are trying to breastfeed, or they might develop a rash around the nipple. You need to head to the doctors to get some medication if you do indeed have a yeast infection. Some mums get pain and have flu-like symptoms too.
They often mistakenly think they are just run down from taking care of their little one. But if they are really red and painful, you might have caught mastitis.
This is often caused by a plugged duct which can occur if you don’t pump or let your baby feed for a while, so your breasts become rather full. You need to get antibiotics to help clear it so you are back on the mend.
Does every mum experience painful breastfeeding?
There are problems as we discussed above which cause painful breastfeeding. However, in some cases, mums might just get pain at the very beginning while their nipples get used to this new, strange experience.
After all, it’s completely alien to new mums so they often just need time to get used to the strange feeling. And once they have done it for a couple of weeks, it becomes second nature to them.
Therefore, it’s completely normal to experience a little pain at the very beginning. But it’s untrue that every mum experiences painful breastfeeding. For some mums, they completely enjoy the experience of feeding their baby.
They find it rewarding and satisfying that they are feeding their newborn. And they are proud of the achievement when they do finish breastfeeding their baby.
Also, some mums enjoy it so much that they continue feeding until their child is several years old. However, if you do find that it’s unbearable, make sure you do find some help.
After all, there might be a simple fix which will help you start to enjoy feeding your little one.
Things you can do to help ease the pain
There are some ways you can try to rid the pain when breastfeeding. And some are quite surprising. For instance, cabbage leaves is said to do wonders to help reduce some of the swelling after feeding!
Also, you need to make sure you are regularly feeding your baby. That way, you won’t have to deal with engorged breasts. If you are having a break from feeding (perhaps having a rare date with your hubby or going out to town with your friends), do make sure you pump before you go.
Releasing some of the milk will ensure they don’t go engorged which can lead to bigger problems like mastitis. Also, nipple cream can work wonders for your sore breasts.
Apply some to the area in-between feeds to help if you have any cracking or blistering on your nipples. It can help cool them down if you have been non-stop feeding all day. And some mums find some relief from using nipple shields.
For one thing, they protect the nipples so you are less likely to experience bleeding or cracking if you use these. And also, if you are struggling with the latch, these can help to get milk to your baby.
A lot of women who have flat or inverted nipples (ask your midwife if you do, a lot of women don’t realise they have them), opt to use these for a start to make sure their baby is getting plenty of milk.
Remember to not be too hard on yourself if you are struggling with breastfeeding. For one thing, stress is not good for your body or your baby. So take it easy and give it a go once you feel refreshed. And remember to look at getting things like a nursing pillow and chair. They both can help give you comfort and support while breastfeeding your little one.