Question: Why am I having trouble getting the hang of breastfeeding?
Renee Kam (lactation consultant): Breastfeeding is something you have to learn and it can take a little while to get the hang of correct positioning and attachment. You also have to learn how to read your baby’s feeding cues. Support will help you get breastfeeding working well for you and your baby. Think about joining the Australian Breastfeeding Association or ABA and going along to your local ABA meetings. This is a great way to socialise with other mums who know what you’re going through.
While you’re still learning to breastfeed it can also help to let your baby find your breast by herself as often as possible, this is called baby-led attachment. You can watch a video on baby-led attachment on this website. If you’ve tried these things and you’re still having trouble talk to a lactation consultant. The earlier you get help the sooner you’ll be breastfeeding happily.
Question: Is nipple pain normal? What can I do about it?
Renee: Nipple pain or discomfort is very common particularly in the early weeks but it usually eases off. Many mums who had nipple pain in the early days go on to breastfeed for weeks, months or even years. You might feel pain at the start of the feed when your baby attaches to your breast and draws your nipple and surrounding breast tissue into his mouth. If your baby is position and attached well the pain will only last a few seconds or so. But if your baby isn’t positioned or attached well the pain won’t go away.
If you have nipple pain it’s a good idea to speak with a breastfeeding counsellor by calling the Australian Breastfeeding Association Helpline or you could talk to a lactation consultant who can help you work out why your nipples are sore and give you some helpful suggestions.
Question: Where can I get help with breastfeeding?
Renee: If you’re having trouble with breastfeeding the sooner you can get help the sooner you can sort out any problems big or small. The Australian Breastfeeding Association, or ABA, offers great resources and support to help you with breastfeeding. The ABA has a 24/7 helpline staffed by trained breastfeeding counsellors. You can also go to local ABA meetings, check out the ABA website or get a copy of the ABA book ‘Breastfeeding Naturally’. In fact you get a free copy if you become a member of ABA.
You can also get help from a lactation consultant. You can find a lactation consultant in your area by going to the following websites: ilca.org and lcanz.org. Also your child and family health nurse can help you find a lactation consultant in your local area.
Narrator: For further information about breastfeeding call the Australian Breastfeeding Association Helpline on 1800 686 268. Talk to a lactation consultant and/or your child and family health nurse. Visit the Raising Children Network website at http://raisingchildren.net.au or the ABA website http://www.breastfeeding.asn.au.