If Breast Is Best, Why Do Many New Mothers Give Up?
WebMD News Archive
How can new mothers get past nipple problems? continued...
The ideal position, explains McCoy, "is the cradle hold, where they are
on the side, level across your chest, with head slightly down ... but making
sure the head is not hanging down and tugging at the nipple, and making sure
that the head is adequately supported. Many moms initially feel uncomfortable,
that they're suffocating the baby in the breast tissue, but the tip of the nose
presses against the breast tissue and pushes the little airway open so the baby
can continue to breathe."
If nursing hurts, ask a health care provider for help, Garrison says.
"There are too many women told it's going to hurt in the early days. If
they tough it out, and they never look for ways to correct this ... they think
they have to go through this pain. Different tolerances of pain mean some women
won't continue. "
"The skin of nipples is tender, and it does need to get a little bit
toughened up," McCoy adds. "After mothers get past that, it usually
subsides after the first few days. Persistent pain with nursing is unusual ...
it could also indicate that the mom or baby has [an] ... infection that could
be causing the pain. Because it normally shouldn't hurt, except for that tingly
feeling that moms get when their milk lets down. That's very brief, right at
the beginning of the feeding.
"Cracked nipples are usually a sign the baby is not latched on properly,
or the mother has not been instructed how to care for her nipples -- making
sure she cleans them, air-dries her nipples, before she covers back up,"
McCoy advises. "Using a lanolin cream is also very helpful in healing
What is mastitis?
Mastitis is a painful inflammation of the milk glands caused by a blockage.
"It can happen even in a mom who is nursing well, just because some milk
ducts get plugged and bacterial growth occurs," McCoy says.
"The most difficult thing we have to say to moms is that they should
continue to nurse the baby," she tells WebMD. "That will help draw the
milk out, which will help pull the infection out. If she quits nursing, her
breasts will become more engorged, which increases the pain and makes the
Symptoms of mastitis, she says, are redness, warmness, and tenderness of a
portion of the breast, along with fever. See your doctor if this occurs, she