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Looking for advice on breastfeeding and latching? It's really painful when I try and I've watched hundreds of videos about latching but just can't seem to get it to work for us. At the end of the day my nipples are agony!

Hiya chick! I hope I can help! I am breastfeeding still at four months and had a few bumps along the way, which we’ve managed to get through.

First of all, you’re doing really well anyway to just be trying because it is hard going at times, especially at the beginning before you and baby get into your own groove. So well done for that!

In terms of latching I really struggled with videos too, and had midwives and home visitors keep showing me different techniques, which in the end was stressing me out more than anything. I found that if I put her in position, and put my nipple near her nose, then she will lift her own head up and find it and latch herself really well. But I only realised this when I stopped trying to help her and just gave her a few minutes to figure it out. Also, I found it easier to feed lying down, as we had a lot of trouble with the position I had her head at as she was never happy and I think it didn’t help the latching. It took me until about one and a half to two months roughly to get it really good.

I also found it so hard at the beginning because they tell you that if it hurts then the baby is latching wrong. Well, from experience and I’ve spoke to so so so many people, yes it does hurt when they latch wrong but it’s a sharp pain. But they do also just hurt while baby and you get used to it and then all of a sudden your nipples just become ‘hardened to it’. It’s strange. One day they hurt and the next they’ll almost feel like numb? It’s odd but you’ll be grateful of it! If you are still early on, I found my nipples were always in agony at the end of the day and during feeds often it was either feeling like someone rubbing sandpaper on them or a needle-like pain. The best things to help are cold compresses, which you can find on Amazon to pop in your bra and lanolin nipple cream. I also found the disposable breast pads very rough and found better to buy washable ones.

Also, this is just a little thing, but it can help slightly when you’re feeding if you look at your baby in the eyes. It will help them to bond and can help latch but also it will help you to increase oxytocin, which can help with the discomfort.

If you are in a lot of pain you can always pump for your little one to take a bottle. I found Mam bottle nipples to be the most realistic. At first I was really adamant I didn’t want to pump or do bottles, which looking back was so silly because I was just happy she got her milk and my nips got a break! Honestly, it really did help me as they are gentler and sometimes your nipples just need time to repair. If you are early on and your milk’s still working out how much your baby actually wants, just pump a small amount to start with like 30ml and increase if they need it. I found pumping the best in the morning as you get way way way way more milk. Once milk has regulated a bit better you can pump more often and then start to freeze or refrigerate it if you want.

La Leche are also very good for advice and very breastfeeding-friendly, they have so many a videos and also I believe they do video calls to help you all for free.

I’m sorry I’ve sent you such long messages but I desperately want to help you cause I know how it feels. You are doing great, it will get better I promise. I hope I have helped you in some way. If you want anything else please feel free to message me again.

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