Firstly, no matter what you may have been told, breastfeeding should not hurt. You may find it uncomfortable at first, your nipples are likely to be sensitive, but you should not find it painful. Your nipples should not be cracked of bleeding and they shouldn’t come out of your babies mouth looking stretched or different in shape.
For the first few days of breastfeeding, it is likely that you are extremely sensitive and you may find that you are stinging a little, which means that even your t-shirt rubbing against you causes you to squirm, but this should soon pass.
Breastfeeding is painful for me, what am I doing wrong?
If breastfeeding is painful to the point of causing upset to you and damage to your body, it may be due to a poor latch, and you may be able to improve this yourself by making some small adjustments to either you or your babies positioning. Take a look here, for some help on improving positioning during feeds.
If you have tried different positions, but you are still in pain, we recommend that you seek help as quickly as you can. As the pain may be caused by an issue which needs to be diagnosed and treated by a professional, such as a tongue tie.
You can speak to a qualified breastfeeding counsellor by calling the National Breastfeeding Helpline. Or if you would like some face-to-face support, you can source volunteer breastfeeding counsellors and local breastfeeding support groups through charities such as LLL, ABM and NCT. You can also contact your local children’s centre and the Family Informative Service.
If you struggle to find help, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will put you in contact with someone who is able to support you on your journey.
Feeding is no longer painful, but I want my nipples to heal more quickly, what can I do?
You can try rubbing a little bit of breastmilk over your nipple after each feed to help speed up the healing process.
You may also wish to try a nipple balm to help add moisture and speed up the healing process. My personal favourite is Dr Lipps Nipple Balm, I got mine for £12 from Amazon – a little goes a long way, it is 100% medical-grade lanolin and now my nipples have healed I actually use this as a lip balm and it’s amazing!
Want to read all about the benefits of breastfeeding? Click here.
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Wiessinger, D., West, D. and Pitman, T. (2010). The womanly art of breastfeeding. New York: Ballantine Books.