Avoiding Nipple PainBreastfeeding is a new experience for both baby and mother. Sometimes it takes a few days for the new breastfeeding pair to get into the swing of things, especially if there was any birth trauma involved. For example a baby that had to be suctioned at birth will most likely have a sore throat for a few days, which will affect how he or she opens his or her mouth to feed, which can cause a lot of nipple pain. Suctioning at birth can also cause an aversion to anything being in the baby’s mouth. Breastfeeding for the first time is going to feel different, but should not be painful. A lot of women hear that it is okay for breastfeeding to hurt for the first few weeks, but you want to avoid any pain at all. With a proper latch and position breastfeeding should not be painful at anytime. Anything more than a gentle tugging is considered pain, and you should have your latch evaluated by a lactation counselor either in the hospital, or as soon as possible. The easiest way to avoid any nipple pain is to start out with great positioning and latch. This begins with lots of skin to skin time for baby and mom, and baby led latching (“The breast crawl”). If this isn’t possible, or your baby still doesn’t have a good latch, it is very important to get help right away. Even a few feedings with a bad latch can cause days of pain for mom. If you’re feeling any pain during or after a feeding, try and remember when exactly you felt the pain. You can try to experiment with different holds and positions, which will change where the pressure of the baby’s latch hits your nipple. Also make sure you’re supporting your breast in a C or U position, and not putting any pressure of the back of the baby’s head. If you have an over supply of breastmilk your baby may chomp down during the letdown to try and slow the flow of milk. If this is when you’re feeling the most pain, there are many tricks to help regulate your supply, which should clear up any nipple pain during letdown. Another common source of pain is when your baby has a tongue tie. A tongue tie is when the baby’s frenulum is too short, which holds back the tongue and causes an incorrect (and painful) latch. You can often tell if your baby is tongue tied by watching his or her tongue during rooting. If it does not extend past the gum line, you need to let your baby’s doctor know. Most likely the doctor will refer you to an ENT.