Preventing Breastfeeding Pain

For me the number one deterrent to breastfeeding is when it's PAINFUL – raw, sore, red nipples;  lumpy, achy breasts; dreading the next feed. So for every other nursing mama, I've compiled a list of tips for preventing breastfeeding pain. Hope it helps you milk mama's!

Tips for Preventing Breastfeeding Pain:
  • Consult a Lactation Consultant (LC) to learn how to position baby correctly for an efficient, pain-free latch.
  • Be weary of advice from anyone who is not an LC – doctors, your friends or family are NOT trained, certified breastfeeding consultants, and their advice is often more of a hindrance than help.
  • Have baby checked for physical abnormalities that may affect latching and feeding.
  • Keep breasts free from bacteria or yeast – wash bras, breast pads and pumping and feeding equipment in hot water regularly, wash or sanitize hands before touching breasts, nipples or baby's mouth.
  • Allow breasts freedom of movement – wear a supportive yet comfortable and unrestrictive bra, the same applies for clothing.
  • Feed on demand – allow baby to dictate feedings, do not time or schedule feedings.
  • Allow baby to fully drain the first breast before moving on to the second – don't leave any milk behind. If baby only feeds a little from the second, then start with the second breast at the next feed.
  • Don't let breasts become excessively engorged – if baby has a long gap between feeds and breasts are too painful with engorgement, gently massage breasts and express a little milk to a comfortable fullness.
  • Avoid feeding props – this includes nipple shields, top-up feeds and pacifiers.
  • If you decide to wean, do so gradually, not abruptly.
  • Diet – a tablespoon of lecithin a day is excellent for preventing and clearing plugged milk ducts. And it goes without saying you need to up your intake of fresh (preferably spring) water.

Breastfeeding and Engorgement
Marsha Walker, RN, IBCLC
Dealing with a Plugged Duct or Mastitis
Sara Walters
Mastitis--Plugged Ducts and Breast Infections
Bonnie Tilson
Nipple Pain: Causes, Treatments, and Remedies
Jahaan Martin
Mastitis and Yeast Infection
Jack Newman MD, FRCPC
Sore Nipples
Jack Newman MD, FRCPC
Hand disinfection as the central factor in prevention of puerperal mastitis
Peters F, Flick-Filliés D, Ebel S.

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