If it does hurt or you are having breastfeeding problems you are not alone. Here is what you are aiming for:
a light wavelike pull
a peaceful and relaxing experience
a gentle pulling or tugging feeling at your breast
Here’s what moms say in their own words about what breastfeeding feels like (and what it felt like before they had help).
“Instead of insane chomping pressure it’s a light wave like pull” Meghan
“It feels like a soft caress.” (The first time she latched it felt like a thousand tiny baby sharks at the same time.) Heather
“Breastfeeding now feels like little butterfly flutters.” (It used to feel like a cheese grater on my nipples). Sara
“It feels like gentle tugging, makes me relaxed and sleepy and gives me an overwhelming feeling of being so in love.” (I used to feel sharp pokes like needles and burning pain.) Alysha
“Now it feels sooooo different, like my nipples are being massaged with tiny satin pillows.” (Before I would hold my breath because I didn’t want to scream.) Stephanie
“I can feel my body releasing all the feel good hormones while she’s nursing now. Breastfeeding became more of a tugging feeling on my nipples, but really difficult to even feel if that makes sense. And let-downs became a nice tingling sensation in my breasts” Jodi “Once we got CST (Craniosacral Therapy) it felt like a gentle tug if anything. I stopped dreading breastfeeding and it became as natural as breathing.” (Before it felt like my son’s entire mouth was made of razor blades.) Andrea
Motherhood is not a test of mettle
If you are having breastfeeding problems it can be a sign that your baby's body needs professional and skilled help.
You don't need to endure pain, grit your teeth and suffer in silence and tough it out. You don't need to toughen up (nipples don't grow callouses). You don't need to try harder. You don't need to fix your body. Your body hasn't failed you. You haven't failed your baby. It doesn't mean that you are a bad mom. It's not that you aren't good enough or lucky enough to have an easy baby.
This is your body's way of telling you that something isn't right. Trust your instincts. Ask for help. Keep asking until you get the right help for you. You aren't meant to do this all on your own. Breastfeeding is complex and subtly. There are a million tips and tricks that can help, most of them involve minor adjustments that make major improvements. It may even be confusing. What worked for one mama and baby may not mean it works for you. Remember that you and your baby are a unique pair. Keep going and get the help you and your baby needs.
Early support is key. Before 6 months old is best.
The earlier we help you and your baby the better. It sets your baby up for the best brain and body growth and development. It helps you both bond more deeply. It helps you feel more confident as a mother and have a better experience of being a mother. It helps your relationship with your partner, husband or kids. You will feel less stressed out.
The ability to nurse is a fundamental first skill. Other complex skills, like eating, build on it. If we don't address the underlying cause of unsolved breastfeeding problems they later turn into feeding problems (like choking and picky eating).
Your baby's tongue movement is important because
it helps manage incoming food and liquids safely and protects their airway so they don't choke.
it is needed to help hold up and their head; the tongue is a muscle of posture (like your back muscles).
proper tongue movement is needed to properly grow your baby's face (jaw and middle of face in particular). The proper growth of your baby's mid face (in the area of the nose) is important because this is where your baby will breathe from the majority of the their life.
Before 6 months is ideal because that is when your baby still has primitive reflexes which are automatic behaviours that help set your baby up in the right direction. During this early time we can set off these automatic movements that will help develop your baby's muscles in a balanced way (not too tight or too weak).
If your baby is older than 6 months it's not too late. It's still worth getting help. We just have to change the strategy as babies get older.
Your baby has their whole life ahead of them. We want to help them feel good in their bodies. We want your baby to have equal opportunity to move freely in all directions.