Before we have babies, images of breastfeeding mothers bring tears to our eyes. What’s more peaceful and fulfilling than nursing your beloved infant at your breast? It’s a moment that almost all mothers anticipate with great joy…

…and then, for some of us, the first experiences of breastfeeding are far from tranquil, peaceful or fulfilling. In fact, they can be quiet painful and uncomfortable, not to mention stressful and frustrating. What happened?!?!

Your obstetrician should be your first line of support when it comes to breastfeeding baby, so never hesitate to call and let him/her know when experiencing breastfeeding issues that seem “beyond the norm.”

What to Do When Breastfeeding is Painful, Uncomfortable or Frustrating

First, it is true that breastfeeding is natural – but that doesn’t mean it always happens seamlessly and without a few hiccups (pun intended). If breastfeeding isn’t as easy – or satisfying – as you expected, seek assistance ASAP.

Contact the La Leche League

If you’re a first-time mother, or a mother who is overwhelmed, you can easily delegate this

painful breastfeeding

789083 / Pixabay

task to family members or friends – the ones who repeat, “if there’s anything we can do….”

The La Leche League is a by-mothers-for-mothers organization formed wholly to support breastfeeding mothers. Click Here to view information about Bellevue’s La Leche League, which meets the 3rd Monday evening of each month. Their web page also lists direct phone numbers for the group’s leaders, all trained and accredited by La Leche League International to help mothers-to-be and mothers with all aspects of breastfeeding.

Leaders will help you via phone, text, email – at their home or yours if desired – and are so happy to help – so take advantage of their services!

Connect with a certified (and reputable) lactation consultant

Lactation consultants are women who have a passion for supporting mothers and their babies as they negotiate the breastfeeding journey. Countless hours of schooling, training, testing and shadowing a certified lactation consultant are required before certification is granted.

Contact your obstetrician’s office to get a list of certified lactation consultants near you. Often, you can obtain lactation services directly through your healthcare provider.

Speak with your child’s pediatrician

Sometimes, all of your diligent practice with latching, various holds and nursing positions and on-demand feeding come to naught – – because your baby has an anatomical issue that prevents successful breastfeeding. Some of the most common include:

  • Tongue-ties. You know that little flap of tissue that connects your tongue to the bottom of your mouth (visible when you curl your tongue back toward the roof of the mouth)? That’s called the lingual frenulum. Sometimes, babies are born with a lingual frenulum that’s too short or connects incorrectly to their tongue, which impedes their latch. It’s correctible with a simple, out-patient surgical procedure.
  • Lip-ties. Similarly, some babies are born with a maxillary labial frenulum (the skin that connects the upper-lip to your upper-gums/jaw) that impedes their ability to latch or suck. This is also simple to correct.
  • Trauma to the head, jaw or neck. As you know, labor is no picnic – and your baby goes through the wringer as well. Sometimes, the joints that connect a baby’s head, neck and/or jaw are injured during labor and delivery – subtle enough to be missed during normal exams but significant enough to negatively impact breastfeeding. A thorough examination and adjustment by a pediatrician or licensed chiropractor specializing in infants is usually enough to correct the issue.

The great news is that once the source of your pain and discomfort (or your baby’s) is identified, you’ll experience swift breastfeeding success. Schedule a consultation with Overlake OB/GYN to work with physicians to care for you and baby from the prenatal to the post-natal phases of your pregnancy.