OUCH!! We’ve all heard it… breastfeeding is painful, right? All those terrific friends, family, neighbors, and even total strangers who tell you they had pain or cracked or bleeding nipples for six days, six weeks, or six months. Yikes! What, exactly, is normal then?
The research and extensive experience of mothers, lactation consultants, and health care professionals show that pain is not normal for the breastfeeding mother. In the first week following the delivery of a full term, healthy baby, you may experience mild nipple tenderness. Think of pain on a scale with 0 being no pain or tenderness at all and 10 being the worst pain you’ve ever experienced in your entire life. Mild tenderness would be a 1 or possibly a 2 on your pain scale. Anything higher than a 2 usually means that something is not quite right and can usually be fixed with the experience of an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).
What could be wrong? The list is long; for example, tight lingual or labial frenulae (tongue and lip-tie), facial asymmetry (unequal facial abilities or movements), short tongue, long tongue, misaligned cervical vertebrae (needing a good chiropractor), low milk supply, oversupply of milk, bacterial or fungal infection of the nipple, prematurity, neurological challenges, or dozens of other possibilities. That’s why a well-experienced, knowledgeable IBCLC can make all the difference for you in meeting or not meeting your breastfeeding goals. To find an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant near you, go to http://www.ilca.org/why-ibclc/falc
By Kathy Parkes