Proper Breastfeeding Techniques

Posted on: 27 June 2014

It is often said that if breastfeeding hurts, you are doing it wrong. Do not let this common saying discourage you. In the beginning, breastfeeding is uncomfortable or painful for most women with each baby they have. But, there are ways to reduce the pain and make breastfeeding enjoyable for mother and baby. 

Proper Latch

If your baby is not latching properly, this can lead to pain and sometimes sores or blisters on the nipple. When latched, make sure your baby's chin is forward and their tongue is underneath the nipple.

Do not allow your baby to suck on the nipple alone. The baby should suck on the nipple and also the skin around it, called the teat. Wait for your baby to open its mouth all the way before you allow the nipple to go into their mouth. This way, they will grab the whole teat and avoid sucking just the nipple. 

Regular Feedings

Always feed your baby every 3 hours during the day and at least once during the night for the first few months. This will help reduce the chance of engorgement and plugged ducts.

Engorgement and plugged ducts lead to breast tenderness and can also lead to mastitis. If you cannot feed your baby every 3 hours, for any reason, be sure to hand express your milk or use a breast pump. 

Ways to Reduce Nipple Soreness

If you have nipple soreness, which is common for the first 3 to 6 weeks, there are things you can do to help alleviate it.

Lanolin ointment is one of the most commonly used things. The ointment is rubbed on the nipple after each feeding and helps to heal the nipple. It does not need to be washed off before the baby eats again. 

Other natural things such as tea bags, cabbage leaves, and even breast milk can be placed on the nipples to help alleviate pain and promote healing.

Soreness will eventually go away, and breastfeeding will become painless, except for the occasional plugged duct, which is common if you breast feed for at least a year. 

Don't let pain and tenderness discourage you from breastfeeding. It helps you form a strong bond with your baby and gives your baby nutrition and antibodies that formula cannot provide. 

A lactation consultant is always your best option when trying to learn how to breastfeed and to teach your baby to do so as well. You can request a lactation consultation while at the hospital or make an appointment with a private consultant after you have gone home. For more information, contact Women's Clinic of Johnson County or a similar organization.