I’m no stranger to breastfeeding. I dove right in with my first daughter, and am doing the same with our second. Breastfeeding is a highly rewarding experience that promotes bonding and provides a natural source of nutrition for babies. Plus, for me, it was less stress than bottle-feeding a baby since I didn’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to prepare bottles, clean bottles, etc. I’m not saying breastfeeding is an easy thing to do because it isn’t; there is a learning curve that comes with discomfort and pain. If you are breastfeeding and experiencing discomfort try these tips to help bring relief.
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Improve Latch to Reduce Nipple Pain and Discomfort During Breastfeeding
Regardless of your breastfeeding history, breastfeeding a new baby is not always as easy (or as hard) as the previous time. Sometimes, for various reasons, newborns have trouble latching to mom’s breasts, which can leave your nipples hurting in the beginning. Trust me, it isn’t fun and can make you want to quit. However, with a little patience and identifying the cause of the poor latch, your breastfeeding experience can and will improve.
Soothe Sore, Cracked Nipples From Breastfeeding
Your newborn’s latch isn’t the only thing that can lead to discomfort during breastfeeding. Tenderness can be experienced due to hormonal shifts in your body. You may also experience chafing and bruising from your nipples getting more attention than they are used to. To help soothe your nipples during this time, invest in good nipple cream. Aim for one that is organic and doesn’t have to be wiped off in between feedings. When I had my first daughter, I used a Lanolin-based cream. It worked well. However, with our new baby, I chose an organic one with all-natural ingredients.
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If issues continue or get worse, seek the help of a lactation consultant and talk to your baby’s pediatrician about checking for a lip or tongue tie.
For quick relief of breastfeeding nipple pain, you can opt to give nipple shields a try.
Reduce Breast Discomfort from Engorgement
Engorgement can be a big pain for nursing moms. In fact, when you feel engorged this is telling your body to make less milk because you have to move milk to make milk. Not fully emptying breasts can lead to engorgement and/or inflammation that is not good for your overall health. If nursing your baby to relieve engorgement is not an option you can help relieve engorgement enough for comfort by massaging the breast, hand expressing a little milk, or applying a warm compress.
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Prevent Clogged Ducts and Mastitis
Sometimes when breastfeeding we end up with real issues that can lead to discomfort. Clogged ducts and infections like mastitis can happen to anyone. To help prevent breast engorgement that could lead to mastitis, you should nurse and express milk either manually or with a breast pump as much as possible. This is the best way to empty the breast and prevent clogged ducts.
One thing I’ve found that helps is using a silicone “breast pump” on the breast that my daughter isn’t nursing from. It catches the “letdown” which reduces milk waste that would otherwise end up in a nursing pad, and it helps relieve engorgement.
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If you think you’ve developed mastitis contact your doctor for recommendations on what to do. He/she may want to prescribe you an anti-inflammatory.
Share in the comments, your tried and true tips for reducing breast discomfort experienced during breastfeeding.
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