When we asked mums to email us their breastfeeding stories, we received a short email from Emma. Her baby was only a few days old and was experiencing some breastfeeding difficulties. This is what she said:
“My son was born on a Tuesday morning. Soon after, maybe an hour or so, a nurse helped me breastfeed for the first time. She helped me get him latched on and checked to see if he was swallowing. It was pretty uncomfortable for me and I told her this. She looked at the latch and asked what my pain level was. Compared to the labour I had just gone through, it was minimal. She said it was probably just something I needed to get used to.”
That’s also what I was told when my first child was born. I just had to get used to it, like wearing a new pair of shoes. So I cringed in pain and just got on with it. My midwife had been amazing through labour so I didn’t question her breastfeeding advice for a second. Only once I started my training as a breastfeeding peer supporter, did I understand that my baby wasn’t latched on properly. I was holding her correctly, she had to twist her head to feed and couldn’t open her mouth sufficiently. When my son was born, he latched on perfectly at birth and over the next few days, his latch deteriorated and it started to hurt. This time, I didn’t wait a second. I called my midwife and later on headed straight to our local breastfeeding support group (I had made a list before he was born of places and days where I could find breastfeeding advice). A few tips from the midwife and the breastfeeding counsellour, a trip to the cranial osteopath and it all went beautifully after that.
So don’t hesitate to ask for help. There are a few cases where yes, breastfeeding can be painful but in the majority of cases, it shouldn’t. Find someone to give you some breastfeeding advice so you can relax and enjoy feeding your baby.