Coping with Painful Breastfeeding as a First Time Mum

Many women get cracked, sore, and painful nipples when they start breastfeeding their babies. Who would have thought that newborn babies with their cute miniature mouth can cause so much pain and their sucking are so strong for such a fragile bundle? You will be amazed. I remembered when I gave birth to my first child and started breastfeeding.

The pain when the infant latches on the nipple can be described as a grinding engine crushing the nipples into pieces. I remembered losing my breath, screaming in agony, and twisting my toes in painful spasms. The pain is better imagined than felt, even though it is nothing to compare to labor contractions, it is equally very painful. Cracked and sore nipples are the most common breastfeeding complication and the main reason some women give up breastfeeding.

While pregnant, I learned the right way to breastfeed, I read books and watch videos of how to ensure that the baby is properly latched at the nipple. This is achieved by ensuring that the baby has the nipple fully in the mouth so they can suck at the areola instead of sucking at the nipples. I was all set to breastfeed, unfortunately, I couldn’t get this right because my nipples were too big for my newborn mouth.

No matter how hard I tried to make my newborn latch fully onto my nipples, the futile an effort it is. She couldn’t take the whole nipples into her mouth. My first few days of breastfeeding experiences were hell, I got cracked, sore, and bleeding nipples and that nearly made me give up breastfeeding entirely.

However, my mother would have none of that and advised me to keep breastfeeding my infant that stopping breastfeeding would cause me so many problems including engorged breast and fever. It is better to endure the pain which will subside with time.

So that renewed my determination to continue breastfeeding since there was hope and assurance that the pain would stop eventually. Soon I got my relief after a few weeks, the pain stopped and I settled for breastfeeding full time. I stopped breastfeeding my child at 2 years old.

Surprisingly when I had my second baby, I didn’t experience this pain. And I began to ask questions and was told that it happens mostly with first-time mums. Because it is the first time breastfeeding, the sucking will be painful because the infant is trying to open the milk duct orifices. Once they succeed in opening the milk duct, the pains instantly reduce.

So, I am encouraging breastfeeding mothers going through this pain not to give up. Breastfeeding has many advantages for the children, my children hardly fall sick as they grow older.

While at it, there are many ways to relieve the pain pending when your infant sucks open the milk duct such as:

  • Apply a cold compress, use a washcloth soaked in cold water to the nipples for about 10 minutes before breastfeeding.
  • Start breastfeeding on the breast with less sore nipples. Infants start sucking strongly and reduce their stronghold as they breastfeed for some minutes. This will ease the pain when you finally give the second breast.
  • After breastfeeding, apply a warm compress on the nipples (dip a washcloth in warm water, wring out excess water, and place on your nipples for a few minutes)
  • Use lanolin ointment after breastfeeding or hydrogel pad. Don’t use any cream or ointment that is not 100% lanolin.
  • Apply freshly expressed milk to ease the pain but avoid this method if you have thrush or your baby has thrush in the mouth.
  • After breastfeeding, apply saltwater, mix salt in warm water, and soak all your nipples in the warm saline solution for about a minute.
  • Change your nursing pad frequently, constant moisture on the nipples can delay healing, and ensure you wear a 100% cotton nursing pad.
  • Wearing a supportive bra also eases the pain.

Photo by Mehmet Turgut Kirkgoz :
Coping with Painful Breastfeeding as a First Time Mum Coping with Painful Breastfeeding as a First Time Mum Reviewed by Angel M on 14:11 Rating: 5

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