It might seem like breastfeeding pain is just something moms have to "deal with" if they decide to nurse their babies. And although some moms have more trouble with it than others, pain while breastfeeding should never be expected or the norm. Unfortunately pain, especially when your baby latches, is one of the most common concerns of nursing moms. "How to keep baby's latch from hurting me" may be something you Google during your late night feeding. Luckily, it's not one without an answer and is easier to solve than you might guess.
According to The Office On Women's Health, the way your baby latches on to your breast is one of the most important aspects of a smooth and pain-free nursing experience. A healthy latch will allow your baby to get enough milk — both foremilk and hindmilk — and will ensure that you aren't uncomfortable or in pain.
A shallow latch can be very painful for moms, since only the nipple or a portion of it is included in the latch, according to La Leche League International (LLLI). Although the term simply describes what any healthy, proper latch should look like, getting a deeper latch entails taking more of the breast (not just the nipple) into baby's mouth.
There are lots of "tutorials" for mastering the deep latch technique, but most of them focus on the same key aspects to ensure your baby gets a deeper latch onto your breast. First, the Pump Station instructed moms to position baby "nipple to nose", meaning your baby's nose should be in line with your nipple. This will cause your baby to open wide and tip their head back slightly, allowing you to press your baby into you and fill more of their mouth with your breast, and not just your nipple.
The technique, though highly effective, isn't always easy to master. With the help of video tutorials or an in-person lactation consultant, practicing the deep latch technique for a few days should make a drastic difference in the amount of pain you experience while your baby latches on and even throughout the rest of your nursing session.