Breastfeeding is natural, beautiful and enjoyable for many women, but it isn't always easy. While most experts agree that mother's milk is the best nourishment for infants, nursing can be a challenge for those with sensitive skin, larger breasts or babies who have difficulties latching on. If you want to nurse your little one and have had some difficulties with the process so far, here are a few tips.
It might seem logical to lay your baby in your lap and bend down to feed her, but this is actually not the optimal way to ensure that your baby gets all the milk she needs. Instead, sit upright and hold your little one up to your breast by cradling her in your arms. If you have trouble stabilizing her in this position, try something called the "football hold" – you can tuck her under your arm with her head next to your breast to make her feel extra safe and cozy.
Babies sometimes need a little guidance to figure out how to get the milk they need. You can help your baby nurse by making sure that she's suckling, not just sucking. You can know the difference because a suckling baby looks like she's chewing, and you may even be able to hear the sound of her swallowing.
As for mom's comfort, there's actually an easy way to heal cracked nipples – dab a little breast milk on them. Amazingly, breast milk has healing properties that can help your sore nipples heal quickly. If that's not enough to ease your pain, there are many over-the-counter creams available that will calm irritated skin and won't harm your little one.