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Pain-Free Breastfeeding

Breast feeding isn’t supposed to hurt, but that doesn’t mean it can’t. If you are experiencing pain while nursing, it may be attributable to one of these (totally fixable) reasons.

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-Hi, I'm Kimberly Durdin James. I'm board certified lactation consultant and I've been helping women breast feed for over 20 years. A lot of women have heard that breastfeeding hurts and sometimes that scares women from even attempting to breastfed, but I'd like to tell you that breastfeeding should not hurt. In the first week of breastfeeding though, it is normal to have some tenderness. Tenderness is different than pain. Breastfeeding should not be painful. So, how can you breast feed the baby painlessly. Well, one of the most important things is to get your baby to attach your breast. What we're talking about here is a good latch on. We have a video on how to latch on your baby, which can be very helpful for you to understand how to latch the baby to the breast. The baby needs to be latched deeply onto the breast. The baby needs to be on the mom's areola, which is the brown area around the nipple and that's where baby is going to be able to attach to the breast and not cause mom pain or discomfort. If the baby is latched on to only the nipple, it's gonna hurt and that's the body's way of telling you that it's not the right spot for the baby to be on and got fix it. Latching the baby deeply onto the breast, the areola, is going to allow mom to breastfed the baby without anything, whatsoever. As a matter fact, breastfeeding is meant to be comfortable and enjoyable, not painful. If you latch your baby onto the breast and you're having some pain, the first thing you wanna do is to take baby off the breast and try again. In taking the baby off the breast, you wanna be careful to break the suction by putting your finger inside the baby's mouth and pressing against their tongue our your breast tissue to break that strong suction that the baby that the baby has on your breast. Break the suction first to unlatch the baby from the breast again. Again, you wanna make sure the baby has a good deep latch onto the breast. They should be taking a lot of breast tissue in the mouth. As a matter of fact, most moms are not aware that the baby needs to take about a knuckle to a knuckle and a half of breast tissue in their mouth. They're really surprise that a little baby can fit a lot of breast in their mouth, but that's really how you're going to have painless breastfeeding. So, you really want the baby to latch on deeper to the breast. If you've been having problem latching the baby onto the breast and getting a comfortable latch on, or breastfeeding is just always painful for you, it's really important that you call a board certified lactation consultant and talk to your baby's doctor. You should be able to get help so that breastfeeding is painless. There are some really great products in the market that can also help mom that are having problems latching their baby well enough. It kind of helps you over the hump as you're fixing some breast feeding problem. One of them is product called nipple shield. This is like a thin piece of silicone that goes over mom's nipple and it's firm and we use it for different types of breastfeeding problems such as latch on or baby that's premature. Sometimes, nipple shield will help and also mom's nipples have already been damaged from poor latching on, this can sometimes protect mom's nipple. Another product that we like is called [unk] and this is a little bit of suction that's applied to the nipple and helps draw out mom's nipple. If her nipple is flat or inverted and baby is having hard time attaching to the breast, sometimes this little bit of suction on mom's nipple can help draw the nipple out so that baby can latch better onto the breast. Both of these items are something that you'd wanna get a little advice in using. So, I suggest that you talk to a lactation consultant that can help you choose the right breastfeeding gadget for you if you needed. So, these are some of the ways that you can help make sure that breastfeeding is painless. Remember, breastfeeding is not supposed to hurt. If you need help, talk to a board certified lactation consultant and your baby's doctor. Thanks.