Tips to make breastfeeding more comfortable
Some mothers have never felt any type of pain during breastfeeding; however, most of them experience intense soreness and nipple pain during the first few months of breastfeeding. New mums usually experience transient soreness leading to intense, excruciating pain. If your nipples are not damaged with cracks or blisters, the following breastfeeding tips can help you ease pain and discomfort.
Mastasis or a plugged milk duct can also cause immense pain during breastfeeding. Massage your painful breast and nipple with the vibrator to ease off the pain and pass the clog. If you want to use a lotion or soothing cream, begin by gently placing your fingers around the breast and massage inwards in a circular motion. Each rub on the breast should last for at least a couple of seconds.
Find a comfortable position.
It is essential to be in a comfortable position before you begin to feed your baby. Choose a couch or a sofa with support for your arms and back. Use plenty of pillows to keep your back straight and remain in a comfortable position by bringing the baby towards your breast rather than bending towards him/her. Hunching can cause more discomfort and uneasiness.
When you are breastfeeding, the breasts naturally feel more massive, and you need to support them to avoid a painful session. Once you are in a comfortable position, and your baby is ready to feed, use the palm of your hand to cup your breast. Put the four fingers beneath the breast and the thumb above it. This position is called as the hamburger hold. It not only supports the breast but also allows the baby to latch correctly without causing much pain.
Some moms who cannot bear the discomfort may opt to stop breastfeeding. However, you can continue by pumping the milk out and bottle-feeding it to the baby. In this way, you can seek relief from sore nipples and discomfort and still feed your baby with the best nutrients.
You can use manual Milk extractors or breast milk pump machines to avoid latching, which is quite painful if the nipples are sore.
Mother milk pumps make the whole process comfortable and practical for quick feeding sessions. If you don't feel like putting a lot of effort into manual extraction, pumping machines are easy to use and work quickly.
Reposition without unlatching
If you are trying to reposition your baby to avoid painful breastfeeding, try not to unlatch and reposition by breaking the suction so that relatching will not damage the nipple. Use your fingers to unlatch the nipples while they are still inside your baby's mouth.
Short and frequent feeds
Many mothers find frequent feeding more comfortable than extended ones. It will give you enough time to relax and allow your breast to recover from each feeding session with less strain on the nipples. Frequent feeding also reduces the chances of engorged breasts, which is one of the major causes of painful breasts.
Go for a comfortable nursing bra.
If you are wearing bras that have underwires or those that cannot provide enough support to your breast, it could also lead to painful breastfeeding sessions. Nursing bras not only gives you the ease of access but also provide a lot of support to the sore nipples. Always opt for soft and wireless bras that can be used comfortably at night as well.
Rest and relax
If your nipples are sore and you are uncomfortable to breastfeed, go for a rest period and let them Heal. You can pump the milk and feed it to your baby to prevent engorgement or clogging.
The expressed milk can be used within a few hours, and you can rest for that time. However, make sure to choose the nipples of the bottle, which can mimic the breasts' function and consistency. If you go for the harder and the more extended nipples on the little milk bottles, it will be challenging to get your baby back on the breast once you are feeling well.
Unclog the ducts
Clogged ducts can be a significant cause of pain and discomfort to your breasts. It usually occurs if the mother is breastfeeding for pumping in infrequent patterns. It can clog one or more milk ducts, which will eventually cause pain and uncomfortable breastfeeding. To avoid this, make sure to drain or pump after set periods or massage the affected area enormously to decrease the pain and discomfort.
Change your breastfeeding position.
Sometimes the best way to seek relief from pain and discomfort is in changing positions. Try experimenting with different breastfeeding positions and find the one that is most comfortable for your baby and yourself. Most mothers find the cradle position to be the most comfortable where the mother will sit down and support the baby show the lower arm. You can try other positions such as on the pillow, babysitting, knave, and sling etc.
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Brimdyr, K., Blair, A., Cadwell, K., & Turner-Maffei, C. (2003). The relationship between positioning, the breastfeeding dynamic, the latching process and pain in breastfeeding mothers with sore nipples. Breastfeeding review, 11(2), 5.
Hill, P. D., & Humenick, S. S. (1993). Nipple pain during breastfeeding: The first two weeks and beyond. The Journal of Perinatal Education, 2(2), 21-35.
Britto, J. J. (2004). U.S. Patent No. 6,673,036. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.