In my opinion, there is no right or wrong way to breastfeed. If it is comfortable and it is effective, it is right.
What does that mean?
Well, the only thing doctors and nurses seem to care about is if breastfeeding is effective. Meaning, is the baby getting enough to eat? Of course that is important and you should know exactly how to be able to tell if breastfeeding is working.
If it isn’t effective, then you need to be seeking help from an IBCLC as soon as possible.
If it is effective, you are 50% of the way there. Yes, only 50%. Why? Because there are two people breastfeeding. Baby and mom.
Yeah, you know, that lady attached to the baby feed bags. And I happen to believe that she matters. A lot. In my personal experience, healthcare providers forget that mom is even there sometimes. They think if the baby is fine, breastfeeding is fine.
But you do matter. You do!
Breastfeeding must be comfortable. It doesn’t have to look a certain way, it needs to feel a certain way.
I have this pet peeve. Let’s say a mother latches a baby onto her breast and visibly cringes in pain. Her toes curl, her eyes water, and she cries out a little. Then, a nurse “checks her latch” and says that it “looks fine.” There is nothing wrong with her latch; breastfeeding just hurts sometimes.
I am going to call a bullshit flag on this one.
Now, wait. Wait. I am not saying that breastfeeding doesn’t hurt sometimes. I am saying that it isn’t normal to hurt. I am saying that you should never accept pain as an inevitable part of breastfeeding. Pain should be your signal to seek out help. If that helps says, “Looks right to me” (i.e. “Sucks to be you”), then seek different help.
If you are in pain while breastfeeding and a nurse tells you that you are doing everything right, she is essentially telling you that no matter what you do you will always be in that much pain. Why the hell would anyone breastfeed for more than two days if they know that there is no end to this god-awful nipple torture?
If you describe your nipple pain as anything more than “sore or tender,” seek help. Just get some professional eyes on your latch. I can make almost any latch more comfortable or get your headed in the direction of more comfort. I never, ever, ever let a woman leave my office feeling like there is no hope.
Similarly, there is no “right” way to breastfeed. If you latch your baby on any wonky which way and it doesn’t hurt, then great! It’s fine.
There is no right or wrong way to breastfeed. Football, cross-cradle, cradle, upside-down or backward position…
If breastfeeding is comfortable and it is effective, it is right.
If you aren’t able to join me live, check out the online education program I created- The Pregnant Mama’s Guide to Breastfeeding Success
Come see me or one of my fabulous colleagues at The Birth Center in Wilmington, DE. Let us take the time to teach you about your own unique baby and breastfeeding relationship during a one on one consultation.