how to deal with painful nipples when breastfeeding

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Answered by: Joice Anne, An Expert in the About Breastfeeding and Pregnancy Category
Forty weeks of waiting, and finally the time came --- your precious little one, the one whose heart you carried inside you, is now in your arms! What a lovely feeling, right? The moment where you first felt your baby's skin against yours, though a little slimy, is undeniably one for the books. You are filled with an overwhelming mix of emotions, and despite being groggy from the anesthetics, your heart is aware of how great this event in your life is, and that you will remember every bit of it for the rest of your life. You know in your heart that you are ready to be a mom.

Until the moment you tried breastfeeding.

The benefits of breastfeeding are undeniable and every mother in the world can attest to that, but there are things about it that they don't tell you. Breastfeeding comes with struggles, too.

Your body is amazing and it is perfectly designed to carry a child and nourish him. Sometimes though, giving your baby the best nourishment through your breastmilk can mean giving up your own comfort, and curling your toes in pain. Theoretically, breastfeeding shouldn't be painful given that your baby is properly latched, but this excruciating nipple pain associated with this beautiful act of nourishing and bonding with your child is a fairly common experience to most moms. Why does it happen and how do you deal with it?

Why does breastfeeding hurt?

Your baby's latch is the key, and as they say, with poor latch comes bloody nipples. There are many articles out there that would tell you how to get your baby to latch properly, and although most of them seem insightful, your baby just wouldn't cooperate. Well, that's not surprising because they're just babies!

So while your baby still cannot learn proper latching to the breast, the only way to go about painful nipples when breastfeeding is to embrace it with your whole, motherly heart. And of course, you can do the following:

1. Find the best and most comfortable breastfeeding position for you and your baby.

Sometimes, all it takes is a quick shift in position and then you're good. Your baby's latch may be affected by the way you carry him during feeding.

2. Treat the symptoms.

When your nipples are already sore or cracked, cleansing them with a mild soap and lukewarm water can add comfort. This will lessen the pain and heal the cuts faster.

3. Use your milk's magic.

Breastfeeding has wonderful benefits, and your own breastmilk can actually make your bloody nipples heal faster. Most experts would say that the only way to heal a painful nipple is to continue to breastfeed your child. You may also dab some breastmilk directly on to the cut and allow it to air dry.

However uncomfortable it can be, breastfeeding is an incredible experience for both the baby and the mother. The struggles that come with the act are all temporary. So as a new mom, while you're still figuring out how to deal with painful nipples when breastfeeding, just enjoy the cuddle moment with your child, and pray that it would pass eventually.

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