breastfeeding very painful

Contis - posted on 07/10/2010 ( 11 moms have responded )

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i have a newborn (6 days old) and it's extremely painful to breastfeed. He will not take the whole nipple in his mouth...i dont know what to do. HELP!!!

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Jennifer - posted on 07/10/2010

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Hi Nicole,

What a great gift you are giving your son! Sounds like you are feeling very frustrated. As you get the kinks worked out, BFing can be challenging, but it gets easier so hang in there!

1st step is to make sure you are comfortable and supported, usually in a chair.

next, make sure your son is supported and feels secure. make sure he is belly to belly with you, and has good support from his neck to his bum (but not at the back of his head). Most moms find a cradle or cross-cradle hold to be easiest. The underarm or football hold is also helpful for some.

Bring his nose level to your nipple, so he will have to tilt his head a bit to latch on. All mamals reach up to nurse. This helps for a wider mouth and a better positioned tongue.

Bring his chin onto your breast first. When your breast touches his chin, he will likely open wide. When he does, you can guide the rest of his mouth up and over your nipple.

Use just your arms to hold him at first, once he is latched you can add in support from pillows where you need it.

Some moms find it helpful to shape the breast. Hold your breast with your thumb and fingers in a U shape, compressing the tissue close to the nipple a bit allowing him to get a better mouthfull. (think of when you are taking a bite of a big sandwich).

Breastfeeding is not supposed to hurt. When it hurts, it means something needs adjusting. Usually the baby's positioning or the latch. You are right to get help.

Is there a local La Leche Group near you? The Leaders can help you find the way to latch him that is best for you. (llli.org)

Some other great websites that I often refer mothers too are drjacknewman.com and kellymom.com.

lots of good latching info on these. Jack Newmans site has some good videos and a great document called "When Latching" that explains how to latch in detail.

Hang in there, it will get better soon!

Nicole - posted on 07/10/2010

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I had A LOT of trouble with latch the first couple days also, my son Silas is 19 days old. What I recommend is to squeeze your breast at the outer part of the nipple and kind of create an easier mouthful, I hope that makes sense. Its kinda hard to describe. When my son starts to open his mouth really wide I say " Big, Big, BIg" in a higher pitched voice so he knows when i say that to open wide. Creating an easier mouthful and waiting for his mouth to open big helped me. Otherwise call your area clinic and ask for lactation, they can see you after your regular check up for baby and help/watch you and instruct you what works best for you and your baby. Hope this was helpful.

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Emma - posted on 07/13/2010

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I also had a lot of pain when i started feeding breeanna it took about 2 weeks for her at latch on properly and then the pain stopped. keep up the good work (even though to hurts for now) it a lot more rewarding to breast fed than bottle fed, try to stick with it good luck

Samantha - posted on 07/13/2010

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the one hold on the breast I was told was either using a C or V hold and you may have to keep that hold until let down (first few really big gulps you are hearing)..the V is used for under your breast and if that doesnt work the C is normally on the outter side of the breast...I still have to start with that and than can let go but have to use my pinkie to keep the breast away from his nose or he detaches (he's 8wks)....My son wouldnt nurse at all until just after I developed mastitis from pumping and bacterial infection transfered from bottle to his mouth thn to me....than he miraciously started nursing like a champ at 5 wks. Good luck with the consult they helped me with my daughter and my son

Kendra - posted on 07/13/2010

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I just had my second little one two weeks ago and he turned out to be a whole different world than my first son breastfeeding. My first son was tongue tied when he was born and no one bothered to check for that before we were discharged from the hospital. His latch was awful, painful, and I was having to feed him every half hour! At two weeks I finally had a lactation consultant look at my breasts ( which were nearly identical to hamburger meat and split in so many directions you couldn't even tell anymore) as he had been losing a significant amount of weight rather than gaining and had the problem fixed. Long story short, I know now since my second son, that breastfeeding will always have it's share of discomforts and some pain in the beginning month or so, but it should be nothing you actually have problems handling and you shouldn't hesitate to have somebody physically check and help you. There ARE different things you can do to help the little one latch a little better. Don't wait to have someone check you both out. And don't, don't give up because of the pain. It WILL pass and you CAN make it work... Pump if you have to, even hand pumping helps if one side hurts less than the other until you can get yourself and your little one some good solid help.

Gina - posted on 07/13/2010

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even tho my baby latched properly i found it was very painful for the first couple weeks!!! it will go away hang in there and use lanisoh cream it works wonders!!! good luck

[deleted account]

Hi Contis,
So glad you're going to the lactation consultant. Here is a video you may find useful:
http://www.ameda.com/breastfeeding/start...
I do hope you don't decide to change to formula. Some babies take a while to learn the gentle art of latching - he's only been on the planet for a few days and it doesn't come easily to everyone.
Good luck.

Racheal - posted on 07/12/2010

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you have to remember it takes some time for them to remember how to do it perfectly everytime

Contis - posted on 07/12/2010

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Thank you all for the support-- I'm going to a lactation specialist today to see if we can fix his latching problem.
I noticed alot of you suggested squeezing the nipple (like a sandwich thats too big) and I do that but as soon as my fingers are removed from his mouth after forcing the nipple in, he slides them back to the nipple. If this consultation doesn't go well, I am seriously considering switching to the bottle.

Racheal - posted on 07/11/2010

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you have to teach him, not all babys are a prefect latcher from the get go, breastfeeding is natural but by no means always easy peasy in the begining, your doing great DONT GIVE UP!! just remember dont let him eat with a bad latch because he wont learn, its frustrating but you need to remove him( place finger in the corner of his mouth and break the seal first!!) and try again until he gets it..trust me once he gets the hang of it! EASY PEASY..LOL plus he will be happier also because when he has a good latch he gets sooo much more milk. that will be enough to get him to always do it.

Racheal - posted on 07/11/2010

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you might want to contact the lactation consultant at the hospital where you delivered. they are more than happy to help!

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