When Does Breastfeeding Stop Hurting?
The moment you take your newborn baby in your arms for the first time is one of the happiest events in the life of any women. But as a first-time mother, there are many challenges up ahead of you, and one of them is breastfeeding.
In the beginning, it's natural to experience some difficulties when it comes to breastfeeding your baby, and you probably have tons of questions how to deal with pain and discomfort.
Don't worry. I'm here to help you find the answers to your inquiries and tell you everything you need to know about hurt and itchy breast while breastfeeding.
Is breastfeeding painful?
It’s normal to be apprehensive when the time comes for the first breastfeeding. No matter how much you read on the Internet, it would probably never be enough. Moreover, you are bound to read tons of controversial statements that would confuse you even more.
No matter what you read or hear, the truth is that breastfeeding shouldn't be painful for you. There might be 30 to 60 seconds of slight discomfort when the baby latches on your breast, but the uncomfortable sensation should pass quickly.
If you are doing everything right, the only thing you should feel is a slight tugging.
When does breastfeeding stop hurting?
Of course, in the first few weeks, finding the most comfortable position to nurse your baby is a matter of trial and error. As a consequence, your nipples might get a little sore, and there might be some discomfort.
Nevertheless, most moms find that it gets easier and easier with each feeding. They say that there is a significant improvement in how they feel in three – four weeks and that with practice breastfeeding takes less and less of their time. You just have to hang in there and don't give up.
Don't forget that it's imperative that you nurse your baby frequently because when your child feeds that prompts your body to produce milk.
What causes pain while breastfeeding?
So, what does it mean if the breastfeeding sessions are too painful or the pain doesn't stop after a few minutes? In most cases, the reason is a simple one - your baby hasn't latched well on your breast.
In such circumstances, you should stop the feeding for a moment and reposition the child. In the correct position, your nipple has to go deep into the throat of the baby. Otherwise, the baby’s tongue will be rubbing against your nipple, and that’s the last thing you want.
If you don't find the right position to breastfeed, it will get harder and harder to nurse your child because your nipples will get cracked and painful very soon. This can make the amazing mother-child bonding moment, a thing to dread.
In such a case, you must consult a lactation consultant or your doctor immediately to help you find the most comfortable breastfeeding position for you and your baby.
Remember that if your baby doesn’t latch properly on the breast, he might not be eating as much as he should and consequently, he might have troubles gaining weight.
What do hurt and itchy breasts mean?
Another reason for painful breastfeeding might be an infection, especially if the pain has started recently and you also experience itching. The two most common culprits are:
Thrush : If your nipples are cracked or damaged, then getting thrush is a very high possibility because it’s easier for the fungus to enter your breasts. The usual signs of this infection are:
- severe pain that lasts up to an hour after you have finished breastfeeding
- pain in the nipples and the breasts, itchiness or burning sensation
If you have thrush, it’s very likely that your baby also has it. Look for white patches on the tongue or the gum that doesn’t come off.
Since this infection can be easily spread from you to your baby or vice versa, it’s imperative that you both get treated. The treatment includes cream that you have to spread on your breasts after each feeding, and in some cases oral tablets.
Mastitis :Mastitis is a very uncomfortable condition that can make it very hard to care for your baby. It can be due to a blocked milk duct, a bacterial or poor breastfeeding technique. The usual symptoms are:
- Tenderness in the breasts
- Breasts that are warm to the touch or swelled
- Continuous pain while breastfeeding
- Reds streaks on your breasts
If you have any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately. The treatment usually involves antibiotics.
How to avoid breastfeeding pain?
Here are several simple tips that would help you avoid or deal with breastfeeding pain.
Check whether your baby has a good latch on your breast.
Consult with your doctor what creams you can use for sore nipples between feeding sessions.
Let your breasts air-dry.
Massage breast milk on your nipples after each feeding.
Think about breast shields, which protect your nipples from rubbing against your clothes between feedings.
Consider nipple shields. I can recommend to you the Medela Contact nipple shield, which allows plenty of contact between you and the baby, and it’s BPA-free. But such shields can interfere with the milk supply, so talk with your doctor.
Make sure to drain your breast completely.
Massage the affected area gently before nursing.
Try pumping for a few days to let your nipples heal.
No matter whether you are a new mom or you have several kids, breastfeeding can be very challenging and exhausting. Never ignore breastfeeding pain and assume that it’s normal because it might be a symptom of a more serious condition, not just a poor feeding technique. And make sure you nourish yourself and take care to your beauty while breastfeeding too.
If you have any more questions about breastfeeding, post a comment. We would also love to hear how you got through your first weeks of breastfeeding, so don’t be shy to share your experience.