Should Breastfeeding really hurt? A little, at first, it is normal? The answer is no, no and most definitely NO! One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to Breastfeeding, especially to new moms, is that breastfeeding can be painful or that it hurts. They say it is normal to experience pain at first, for a little until one "gets used to it" and it is normal. As a mom myself who has personally experienced this, and as a Certified Lactation Consultant for over 18 years now, I can tell you without a doubt that Breastfeeding should NEVER hurt or be painful. Not at first, not a little and no, it is not normal.
Breastfeeding Hurts at First
One of the most frequently asked questions about breastfeeding especially for first time mom is, if Breastfeeding hurts. The answer is NO, Breastfeeding does not hurt. The number one reason why Breastfeeding can hurt is simply because you are not positioning the baby correctly to the breast. It is really that simple. If you are experiencing pain while nursing your baby, which means the baby is not latching on correctly, and instead of latching on correctly so he can stimulate your breast and get the nutrition he needs, he is actually chewing or biting your nipple, and that is why it hurts.
Breastfeeding Hurts a Little
Breastfeeding should NEVER hurt a little. Again, if you are experiencing pain is because of the mentioned above. Many moms specially first time mom that lacks the experience and knowledge, and actually don't have the right support around them tells me all the time that they hear that Breastfeeding hurts a little at first and once your nipples gets used to it, the pain will go away. So they suffer unnecessarily while trying to do the best for their babies, because they think it is normal and the pain will go away sooner or later. This is a huge misconception and we need to educate moms about this. Breastfeeding should never hurt at first, or a little under any circumstance. Again, please know that "pain" only means something is not right and you are provably not positioning the baby correctly to the breast.
Breastfeeding Hurts at First, a Little and it is Normal
No, no and most definitely it is NOT normal. Please do not allow anyone to convince you that it is normal and that you will get used to it, or that the pain will go away after a few days. it is not normal and it should never be accepted as a fact or something breastfeeding mothers can expect, when considering breastfeeding their babies.
As a mom myself that Breastfeed her child for almost 3 years, I have experienced this myself. if you have read my childbirth story and the reason why I became a professional in the childbirth field, you will know that I experienced this first hand myself. From the terrible advice and lack of support I received at the hospital. As a first time mom I had no idea what to expect, all I knew it that I wanted to Breastfeed my son and formula was not an option. I remember putting my baby to the breast to experience the most incredible pain ever. I will ask the nurses and they will say, "oh it is normal at first, you will get used to it" and so I continued nursing my baby while dealing with this excruciating pain. it got to a point were my nipples were bleeding! yet the nurses will ignore my cry for help and look the other way saying "well if it hurts that bad you can always give formula" like WOW! really? Also please know that by me sharing this I'm not speaking negatively about nurses at all, I'm just sharing my own personal experience and in the hospital I was (Brooklyn Memorial Hospital) they were understaffed and the nurses working at the time had way too much on their hands. Not to excuses their lack of support or proper advice but it is the truth. Nurses are not trained on Breastfeeding, they have more patients at once that they can handle and many are burned out because of this. Additionally, I found out that the ONLY lactation consultant at the hospital only stop by twice a week! So when it came to having professional help and support at the hospital when it comes to Breastfeeding, most moms have to find the hard way they have none! Nurses and even doctors are so very busy, they push formula even more because it is actually convenient for them, even if it is not the best choice for Mom and baby and they know that.
I'm sharing with you my own personal experience because as a consequence of this, I ended up with terribly cracked bleeding nipples, and it was so incredibly painful to breastfeed that I had to stop for two weeks until I healed them. I hired an herbalist, naturopath doctor and lactation consultant to help me. I healed my nipples and with the help of my lactation consultant, I was able to not only understand why this happened to me, but also correctly position my baby to the breast so he could latch on correctly. After this awful experience is that I decided to become a lactation consultant so I could help and educate other moms, so this will never happens to them.
So going back to what I want you to take from this article, when it comes to Breastfeeding? it should NEVER hurt, not a little, not at first and most definitely it is not normal.
What To Do If You Experiencing Pain
If you experiencing pain, know that it is a 100% chance that you are not positioning correctly your baby to the breast. Instead of latching on correctly your baby is biting or chewing on your nipple, hence the pain. Again, and I will repeat this a trillion times because of it's importance, Breastfeeding should NEVER hurts not even for a second. As soon as you notice signs of this, the number one advice I will give to you is to immediately contact a lactation consultant! and if you cannot afford to hire one, then PLEASE contact a "La leche League" they have consultants and groups in every state and city, they will be more than happy to assist you, offer the help you need and most important it is FREE. You will also meet other moms in these groups, where not only you can share your experiences as a mom, but make friends and be surrounded by a support group, which is essential to any Breastfeeding mom.
Breastfeeding is the BEST for mom and baby, and it is without a doubt one of the most beautiful experiences you will ever have. This is why having the right support is extremely important to make sure you have a successful Breastfeeding experience and a very enjoyable one.
Hope this article will be of help to you, please share with others as well.
In Light, Love and health
Ana Sola, CLC, CLA, CHBE,