Many women avoid breastfeeding because they fear problems like sore nipples. The first days and weeks of breastfeeding are the hardest in the formation of a relationship with your baby. You are probably suffering from lack of sleep. If you’ve never breastfed before, you may be having trouble positioning your baby. You may also be having trouble what to expect during a feeding session. All of these anxieties can lead to sore nipples. However, preventing sore nipples before it starts is the key to avoiding this horrible aspect of nursing.
The best way to avoid sore nipples is to position your baby correctly. There are a number of different positions to choose from. You can use a cradle hold, a cross-cradle hold, a football or clutch hold; you can even nurse your baby while the two of you are lying down. No matter what position you pick, there are a few things you should do to make sure both of you are comfortable. First, you want to be sure you are comfortable before you ever start a feeding. Find a comfortable chair in your home where most of your feedings will take place. You might also want to grab a nursing pillow. If you don’t have a nursing pillow, you might consider investing in one. If you don’t want a nursing pillow, at least have some other pillows lying around. You want to be able to support your back, your arms, and your feet. Once you get comfortable, you might want to have someone bring the baby to your for the first several nursing sessions. Be sure that the baby is close to you. He should not have to turn his head to reach your breast. No matter which position you choose, be sure the baby’s mouth and nose are facing your breast. Be sure that your breast is not pushing against your baby’s chin. Your baby’s chin should push you, not the other way around. You will need to support your breast during each nursing session. You can do this by cupping your breast with your hand in a “U” or a “C” shape. The final step in the nursing process is to get the baby to latch on. Once you are sure your baby is well latched, nurse as long as your baby wants to. The best way to avoid sore nipples is to get a good latch. If you feel like you have a bad latch at any point during the nursing session, detach the baby and start over.
If you need to detach your baby, remember to do it very gently, as that, too, can cause sore nipples. There are a couple of ways to break the seal without damaging you or your baby. One way to do this is to very gently tug on your baby’s chin. You could also try inserting your pinky in the corner of the baby’s mouth. Using a sweeping motion, pull your breast out of the baby’s breast. Be sure your hands are clean before you stick them in your baby’s mouth. You can also press down on your breast where it meets your baby’s mouth.
Sore nipples are one of the top reasons women quit breastfeeding. Prevention is a good way to avoid them.