The foundation to comfortable breastfeeding is to ensure that your baby has achieved a good latch. This is a skill that is easier acquired if you have someone assist you. When your baby is latched on well, you may feel a strong, but painless tugging sensation on your nipple. Some mothers describe it as a sliding back and forth of their nipple or a pulling sensation. All these would be normal descriptions as the baby opens mouth wide, lowers tongue over his gum line to provide a nice padding between their gums and your nipple. If baby latches on deeply and with just the right angle, your nipple is placed far back in baby’s mouth and you avoid nipple compression. If at any time, you feel soreness or pain, please request help from an experienced breastfeeding consultant.
It is normal for your baby to be quite sleepy the first 24 hours and you may need to put some effort into waking your baby up. If the first several feedings are effective with no pain and a normal amount of milk transfer, your baby begins waking up on his own by the second day of life and should be interested to feed at least 8 or 9 times a day.
Once your baby latches on and it feels comfortable, and you feel your baby’s sucking behavior is vigorous and yet painless, it is best to let your baby stay on the breast until he changes to a more pacifying/light suck with minutes in between suckles or until he falls asleep. A diaper change and an effort to wake baby up is helpful before you offer the other side. The first 24 hours some babies are only interested in 1 side per feeding, however, they usually are hungry enough and cue for the “second side”, from the second day on.
There is a lot more to say on this subject and I will continue this discussion in my next post. From this point on, you will notice that I will repeat one of my favorite sayings several times in the hopes that you understand the truth.
The truth is – Breastfeeding should not hurt – Not on Day 1 or Day 2 or Day 3.
So, if it is hurting, and the people who have been helping you have not been able to show you how to fix this, you will want to seek the help of an IBCLC. As an experienced IBCLC, I have learned that the sooner you seek help, the quicker your problems are fixed and the less pain you have.
You can follow this link to learn more about what a private breastfeeding consultation with an IBCLC includes. If you are not in the local Phoenix, Arizona area, you will want to perform a google search for an IBCLC in the area in which you live.