Breastfeeding shouldn't hurt. Here's help if it does
Ouch! Your baby begins to nurse and it hurts! Sore nipples are a frequent complaint for breastfeeding mothers, and some assume it’s an inevitable part of the nursing experience. But lactation experts agree that pain is a sign that something isn’t right.
The most common cause? The baby is not taking the nipple deeply enough into his mouth. For breastfeeding to be comfortable, the baby needs to have the entire nipple and part of the breast in his mouth, so that the nipple is near the back of his mouth where the palate is soft. This good latch is more likely to happen if the baby latches on with his head tipped back so that his chin is pressed into the mother’s breast and his nose is away from the breast. Of course, every baby and every breast is a little different, so you may need to adjust the positioning to find what works best for both of you.
Try these ideas for preventing nipple soreness and solving the problem if it does happen.
Let your baby self-latch
Humans, like the newborns of other mammals, have innate breastfeeding abilities and are capable of finding the breast and latching on well with only minimal help from the mother. (Some medications and interventions in labour and birth may make this more difficult for some babies in the first hours and days after birth.) If the mother gets into a comfortable, semi-reclining position and puts the baby tummy-down on her body (gravity will help keep him there, but mom can use her hands to provide some support if needed), with the baby’s head near her breasts, the baby will orient himself by bobbing his head, and move towards the breast to latch on. This can take time, but usually results in an effective, pain-free latch.