Usually you feel some tugging as you start a feeding at the breast. If your baby is latched on well, this will become less noticeable as the feeding goes along.
If the tugging discomfort gets better as the feeding goes along, that usually means you have enough of the breast in the baby’s mouth. It’s like the difference between someone holding your hand versus pinching you. If it feels like pinching and it doesn’t get better your baby probably doesn’t have enough of the breast in their mouth and you need to stop the feeding and try again (see removing baby from breast below). If it feels like holding your hand, you know it’s there, but it is not uncomfortable you’ve got the technique.
The more of the breast, or surface area of the breast your baby has in their mouth usually the more comfortable it will be for you. As time goes on the initial latch-on discomfort will go away. If it is painful, and stopping and re-latching baby doesn’t relieve the discomfort, you need to have someone with breastfeeding knowledge watch you feed your baby to figure out what the difficulty might be.
If you need to remove your baby from your breast, you can insert your little finger in the corner of the baby’s mouth to break the suction. Leave your finger there to provide a way to ease the breast out without baby clamping down onto the breast again before you have removed it from baby’s mouth.
For the first few days after delivery, you will probably feel your uterus cramp when baby is sucking. This may feel like labor contractions. This is the body’s way of decreasing the amount of blood you lose and getting your uterus back to its normal size. It is also a good sign that breastfeeding is going well. (1) (2)
- Mohrbacher, N, Stock, J, La Leche League International The Breastfeeding Answer Book, 3rd Revised Edition, Schaumburg, IL, La Leche League International, Jan 2003, pp 28, 41.
- Lawrence, RA, Lawrence, RM, Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Professional, 7th edition, Maryland Heights, MO, Elsevier Mosby, 2011, p 219.