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It is important to not try and just 'nurse through the pain.' Breastfeeding should not hurt. If you are experiencing dry or cracked nipples, try letting breast milk dry on them and apply lanolin frequently.
If the problem is not caused by dryness, the most frequently problem is a shallow latch. To check for a shallow latch, examine your nipple after needing. A shallow latch will result in a flat looking nipple. To try and rectify the problem sit belly to belly with the baby, graze their bottom lip to get them to open their mouth, compress the breast with your hand, and try to help them take as much of the breast into their mouth as possible. It may also be helpful to work with a lactation consultant or breastfeeding professional.
Pain can also be caused by a condition know as tongue tie. If correcting the latch does not help with the pain, have the baby's pediatrician examine the baby for tongue tie. It is a relatively common problem that can often be corrected in the doctor's office.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|