If you’re about to give birth for the first time, or even the second time around (or more!), you may be experiencing some anxiety about breastfeeding. Relax, doll. This is very normal. After all, breasts are tender things.
During your periods, perhaps even bumping them slightly hurt. And during pregnancy, ouch! They can get mighty sensitive, so it stands to reason that letting some tiny little human suckle at them could be scary.
I have news for you though: it’s not as scary as you think. I’ve written about the benefits of breastfeeding before, and I can assure you that it is not painful when you get latched on correctly. Will there be a couple “ouches” during your experience? Yes, but likely not on the first go.
Babies aren’t born with teeth, and newborns are incredibly gentle little things. So while your fear of nipple pain is legit, I assure you that you’ll be breastfeeding for a while before you get any real pain.
I was scared too. But with my breastfeeding coach by my side, I had the facts about breastfeeding and knew it was best for my daughters. My biggest fear about breastfeeding though will surprise you!
My Biggest Breastfeeding Fear
If you want to know the truth, I wasn’t actually afraid of pain during breastfeeding. I had learned so much from La Leche League and saw so many moms doing it, all very calmly without shrieking, “Ow! My boobs! Aughhhhhh!” that I knew it wasn’t going to be some tortuous experience.
And it’s not. It really is as peaceful as it looks. MOST of the time. But by the time you get to those rare other times, you’ll be prepared for it, really you will.
My biggest fear was not doing it right.
I was so nervous about this. I wasn’t nervous about it hurting at all, and maybe I’m the odd duck here, but I was terrified I’d do it wrong and my baby would starve. Thankfully, my breastfeeding coach was there to help teach me how to get a proper latch on. Her help was instrumental in getting it right.
Even if you don’t get it right, which I didn’t on the first try, it doesn’t really hurt. It just feels off, if that makes sense. Like something is a bit uncomfortable. But it’s not like that one crazy boyfriend you had in college that decided to bite you on your nipples. Or maybe that was just my crazy ex. Anyway…
When I had trouble getting the latch right, my breastfeeding coach was there to help me adjust. She showed me how to gently pop my daughter off my breast and try again. That is the KEY, incidentally. Don’t just pull your baby off your breast. Using a clean finger, gently slip it into her mouth to detach her, then readjust your baby. If you pull her off, it will hurt, but not the searing horrid pain you imagine.
So Relax and Enjoy!
Breastfeeding is an incredible experience, and it rarely if ever hurts. Don’t be afraid of it! Getting latched properly is essential for preventing pain. If you feel uncomfortable and nervous like I did about getting that right, enlist help by finding a breastfeeding coach or a lactation consultant.
With someone that knows what they’re doing, they can help you get it right and avoid any pains. Most breast pain during breastfeeding comes from being engorged, not from being bitten (and I talk about what to do if you get bit in another post so don’t worry!). Being engorged comes from not getting a good latch. So get that latch! When you do, you’ll see exactly what I mean!
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs. She loves eating too much sushi, exercise, and jamming out on her Fender.