Breastfeeding difficulty – Latching wars

Every mom who breastfeeds or has ever breastfed would know that a good latch is the key to comfortable breastfeeding for the mom, and it’s the only way that the baby is going to get milk out efficiently.

I’m not sure about you, but I had lots of problems latching Alicia in the first month. She gave me sore, cracked and blistered nipples from incorrect latching, biting and pulling at my nipples with her gums… Who would have known that that toothless innocent-looking angel could possibly cause that much pain?

Anyway, after being discharged from the hospital, I no longer had the help of nurses or lactation consultants during feeding time so I was all alone and every breastfeeding session was a latching war. It usually comprised of a screaming and crying baby followed by a crying mummy…

After a few days of latching wars at home, I gave up on latching and expressed exclusively for her. But I didn’t give up hope on latching her as I read that sometimes baby just takes awhile to learn to latch. So in the mean time, I read up on how to latch baby since I didn’t want to engage the services of a lactation consultant then. I held on to the belief that exclusive pumping for baby was still considered breastfeeding though the baby never fed from the breast.

In my search for help in that month, I stumbled upon two very good resources for breastfeeding during that time which I’d like to recommend.

I really like kellymom’s all-you-need-to-know-about-breastfeeding site.
Whenever I meet with breastfeeding questions, I’d consult that website first and only when I can’t find the answers I need there then I’d call the lactation consultant. That was where I also sought help from prior to deciding whether to breastfeed through pregnancy as well as whether or not to embark on tandem breastfeeding. It also covers what most moms would like to know, such as how to increase milk supply, can we drink coffee while breastfeeding, how much milk does baby need etc.

For learn-how-to-latch-baby videos, Jack Newman has a wonderful library of videos to show and teach new mommies to latch baby! If you think a picture speaks a thousand words, then well, his videos are a treasure to a desperate mommy with very painful nipples 😀

I hope you find these resources useful!

An aside: for those with cracked and painful nipples, I find Medela’s Purelan nipple cream effective in healing.

What I like about it is that it is safe for ingestion so there’s no need to remove the cream prior to breastfeeding.

For those who really find too much pain in nursing due to painful nipples, you can try using the nipple shields. These worked beautifully for my friend’s baby but with my little Alex, he just refused to latch on with the shield in place. He just wanted the real stuff.

Mummies with flat or inverted nipples or mummies with babies who are reluctant to latch may find this useful too.

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