Ouch! All those serene photos of mothers and babies lovingly staring into each others’ eyes didn’t prepare you for this! But it’s ok mama. These breastfeeding tips for pain will help your nips feel better soon, so you can enjoy your breastfeeding journey.
I’ve been there. You want to enjoy those first few weeks of having a squishy newborn, but nursing just isn’t going how you planned. It hurts! So bad. You’re desperate for some breastfeeding tips for pain so you can get some relief.
It’s ok to feel a little defeated like you want to quit… like maybe breastfeeding just isn’t for you.
But for most moms, the sore (or maybe bleeding, blistered, and raw) nipples can be solved so you can become a pro breastfeeder in no time.
Breastfeeding Tips for Pain #1: Check Your Latch
Usually when you have pain when breastfeeding it can be traced back to the latch. Ensuring that your baby is latching properly will not just reduce your pain, but also help ensure your baby is nursing effectively, emptying the breast of milk, and getting all they need.
To get all the details on a perfect latch, you can check out this post with step-by-step instructions for getting a good and comfy latch.
But to boil it down to basics, you’re going to want to make sure the baby is getting as much nipple into their mouth as possible when latching, including a good bit of the areola. If the only part in the baby’s mouth is just the tip of the nipple, they are definitely not getting a deep enough latch.
Breastfeeding Tips for Pain #2: Try a Nipple Balm
Most of the time, sore or painful nipples can be chalked up to a bad latch, but even once that latch is corrected you might still have painful nipples while they are healing.
A good nipple balm can be a life-saver when it comes to continuing to nurse while your nipples are healing from any type of blisters, cuts, or just general discomfort.
I personally love lanolin, but some moms swear by coconut oil and I’ve even tried balms made with my own placenta. (Yeah I know it sounds weird.)
There’s a ton of choices on Amazon, so go with whichever sounds like it will work best for you with ingredients you are comfortable with.
Breastfeeding Tips for Pain #3: Get Some Cooling Gel Pads
These are not one of the products I’ve personally used, though tons of moms swear by them.
If you can purchase some like these they can be used both for cold and hot relief, meaning they can be used to treat a lot of different causes of pain while breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding Tips for Pain #4: Give Your Nips Some Air
When your nipples are healing from scratches, cuts, blisters, bites, and the like, sometimes it’s best to just rub a little of your own breastmilk on your nipples and let them air dry.
So many times you just shove your breasts back into the bra, but letting them air dry after nursing or pumping can help the healing process.
Breastfeeding Tips for Pain #5: Try Salt Water for Healing
This is in my opinion, THE BEST breastfeeding tip for pain if you are hurting from huts or other wounds.
My firstborn was a biter.
When she was getting her top and bottom teeth she got me so many times with those sharp little guys that I literally spent a week almost crying every time she nursed. It was brutal…
Until I learned about saltwater dips.
Just dissolve salt in some warm water and dip your nips in it for a few minutes. It is absolutely amazing how quickly this can speed up healing.
Breastfeeding Tips for Pain #6: Take a Break and Pump
If you are ok with giving your baby a bottle or perhaps finger/syringe feeding, then consider taking a break from nursing and pump.
During times when my boobs were just done (and I was done mentally) I would switch to pumping and bottle feeding for part of the day.
There are risks of nipple confusions and supply drops if your baby or you are not used to pumping. But pumping can also totally save your breastfeeding relationship and journey if you’re about to throw in the towel.
You can have a lot more control over pumping than your baby’s movements and whatnot when they are nursing. This means you can take it easier on yourself and heal.
It’s not the right choice for everyone, but something to consider and maybe talk to a lactation consultant about.
Breastfeeding Tips for Pain #7: Check for Tongue and Lip Ties
Tongue and lip ties are being found more and more in babies who have latching and breastfeeding issues. One of the top signs of a tongue or lip tie is soreness or pain when breastfeeding.
There are a lot of dentists, pediatricians, and even lactation consultants who aren’t really well trained in identifying them.
I suggest finding a support group used to helping identify them and seeking out a local provider they recommend. I know the Cleavage Club group on Facebook has been helpful to a lot of moms.
Breastfeeding Tips for Pain #8: See an IBCLC or In-Person Support Group
Sometimes you just can quite troubleshoot a problem on your own.
You might want to specifically find an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). The difference between an IBCLC and other lactation professionals is the level of training.
IBCLC training is quite in-depth and there are rigorous standards. Other lactation certifications are not necessarily as thorough, which is why I suggest seeing an IBCLC specifically if you are not finding solutions.
Another option is to find a group of nursing moms with experience, like the La Leche League, where you can find local chapters. Sometimes someone who has been where you are is the best ally.
These breastfeeding tips for pain will get you on the right path on your breastfeeding journey. You’ve got this mama! Breastfeeding can be hard, but you can do it! (Read about how I’ve breastfed my twins for over two years now for some inspiration)
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