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What should I do if breastfeeding is painful?

I'm pretty sure my baby's mouth is covering my entire areola, but breastfeeding still hurts. What should I do?
Submitted by Parents.com Team

It sounds like you may have a problem with your latch -- chances are, your baby's lower lip is not grasping enough of the bottom of the areola. To tell for sure, look at your nipple after you're done nursing. If it's crooked and tipped, you need to slightly fine-tune the way you're positioning the baby. If you're nursing while cradling the baby in your arms, the tendency is to hold baby's head in the crook of your arm, near your elbow. Instead, move her down a few inches closer to your wrist. This should put her in a position where her lower lip can take in more of the underside of the areola. Don't worry if you see some of the areola exposed on top -- that's okay. --Kate Kelly

Copyright 2009 Meredith Corporation.

The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.

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If you check with your baby's pediatrician or local hospital they should be able to either help you or direct you to a lactation consultant or local la leche chapter who will be able to help by looking at baby's latch as well as how you are holding baby while nursing. A nipple cream such as CJ's BUTTer's Best Boobie Butter may help, but is no substitute for a good latch.
Submitted by heatherhodge1