I want to start by saying that I am in no way an expert or trained in this subject, I am just a new mom stumbling through motherhood. The tips that I am providing are based on things I was told by the lactation consultant (LC), read, experienced or was told by other moms 🙂
I was very lucky when it came to breastfeeding, however, those first few days of figuring out a good latch were painful so just know that you are not alone!!!
Read the first 90 pages of the book “Breastfeeding Made Simple – Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers”, by Nancy Mohrbacher and Kathleen Kendall-Tackett. This book was suggested to me from a friend and mom of two. I found it really helpful to read during pregnancy because it prepared me a little bit on what to expect when trying to get my baby to get a good latch during those first couple of days. Not only does it give you some great insight, it also illustrates what a good latch would look like.
If available, ask to see the lactation consultant while you are still in hospital. It was incredibly helpful to have the LC watch as I breastfed. She was then able to see where I was going wrong and fix it right away.
When getting your baby into position to nurse, ensure that their ears, shoulders and hips are all in line and that they are stretched out so that their chin does not drop. Just think of you trying to swallow with your chin down, it’s quite difficult!
When trying to get your baby to latch, be patient and wait until they open their mouth wide and then go in for the move! You want their bottom lip to be at the inferior aspect of your areola (brown part) and almost tilt your breast up to the ceiling so that your nipple is kind up pointed upwards. This ensures that your nipple is landing in the proper place in order to get a good latch. After he was on, I would always reach under and pull his bottom lip out so that it was puckered.
You will know if it is a good latch because it shouldn’t hurt and when you take your nipple back out of your baby’s mouth, it should be shaped equally. If the nipple comes out slanted looking like a lipstick, you know that it wasn’t in the sweet spot.
To deal with the nipple pain on those first few days to weeks, this is what worked for me.
- Biting down on something when he was first latching.
- Breaking the latch (with my finger) when I knew it wasn’t a good one and re-latching until it doesn’t hurt. Unless you already have cracked nipples, nursing should only hurt when they initially latch and then it should become more comfortable.
- When my nipples were sore I did a few things that really helped me: 1) Hand expressed milk and put it on when I was finished feeding and letting the air at them, 2) Once air dried, applied Earth Mama organic nipple cream, 3) Before doing my bra back up, placed my Silverettes (or Amorini Silver) over my nipples.
** I think that I lucked out because my nipples were only sore for about 3 days and I have no idea if it was because of the things I did or if I have tough as hell nips! I also had a prescription for the Jack Newman nipple cream but only used it twice. Others told me it worked miracles**
I really hope that these tips help you those first few weeks and make your nursing experience a wonderful one! If you have any further tips, please comment so that others can benefit from your experience 🙂