Breastfeeding should not cause any pain. If there’s any discomfort, it can usually be solved with the right feeding technique. Ensure baby is latched on properly, nurse in a relaxing environment, and keep as calm as possible. This would be the same if baby has colic.
A proper latch is the key to prevent many breastfeeding problems. The following are some ways to check if baby is latched on properly:-
- Observe your baby while he is feeding. If he has latched on well, you will notice the following:
- Baby’s mouth is wide open
- Baby’s lips is turned outward
- Chin is touching the breast (or nearly so)
- More areola is visible above the baby’s mouth than below
- Baby suckles slowly and deeply with pauses
- Cheeks appear full and round during suckling
- You can hear swallowing
- Baby releases breast when full
- Not feeling pain although you may experience an initial discomfort due to the pulling of nipple and areola by your baby
If baby isn’t latched on well, start over. To break the suction, insert a clean finger between your breast and your baby’s gums.
<Insert video: Expert “Breastfeeding technique and positions”>
It will take time for mum and baby to learn to breastfeed. It can take up to 6 weeks to establish breastfeeding. It’s mostly about finding a comfortable nursing position and ensuring baby is properly latched on, but here are some other ways you can do to make breastfeeding as fuss free as possible:
Nurse in a calm and relaxing environment
- Nursing baby in a relaxing environment and staying as calm as possible before and during nursing can help your milk let down and flow more easily. That, in turn, can help calm and relax your infant.
- Before you begin breastfeeding, you can do things such as take deep calming breaths or play soothing music in the background to put you in the right state of mind. Dimming the lights in the room may also help.
Breastfeeding goodie bag/basket
- Keep one at all the spots where you usually breastfeed at home – next to the bed, on the couch, etc. Fill it with bottled water, some healthy snacks, a few magazines, your portable home phone or cell phone, plenty of burp cloths or cotton diapers for dribbles and spit-ups.
- Find the best seating arrangement and stick to it so you don’t waste time and energy trying to be feel comfortable while breastfeeding.
- Footstools and pillows can provide extra support. Pillows that some women find helpful are the wraparound nursing pillows or the “husband” back pillows with arms on each side for nursing in bed.
Causes of colic
- There are many reasons why your baby cries. The pattern of crying may suggest the cause.
- About one-fifth of all babies develop colic, usually between the second and fourth weeks.
- They cry inconsolably, often screaming, extending or pulling up their legs, and passing gas. Their stomachs may be enlarged or distended with gas.
- The crying spells can occur around the clock, although they often become worse in the early evening.
- The cause is not clear. Babies with colic usually grow well, and the crying decreases after 3 to 4 months. However, it can last up to 6 months of age.
- Sometimes, in breastfeeding babies, colic is a sign of sensitivity to a food in the mother’s diet.
- Colicky behaviour may also signal a medical problem, such as a hernia or some type of illness.
What to do:
- First, consult your doctor to make sure that the crying is not related to any serious medical condition that may need treatment.
- For nursing mum, try to stop taking milk products, caffeine, onions, cabbage, and any other potentially irritating foods. If food sensitivity is causing the discomfort, the colic should decrease within a few days of these changes.
- Carry your baby more and rock him, applying gentle pressure on his abdomen with your hand. Alternatively, hold him against your shoulder.
- Swaddle baby in a large, thin blanket so that he feels secure and warm, but not too hot.
- When you’re feeling tense and anxious, have a family member or a friend look after baby so that you can leave the house. Even an hour or two away will help you relax and maintain a positive attitude. No matter how impatient or angry you become, a baby should never be shaken. Shaking an infant hard can cause blindness, brain damage, and even death. Let your own doctor know if you are depressed or having trouble dealing with your emotions, so she can recommend ways to help.
For further information on infant and child nutrition, please refer to
- MINISTRY OF HEALTH MALAYSIA (2013) Malaysian Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents. Putrajaya: Technical Working Group on Nutritional Guidelines (for National Coordinating Committee on Food and Nutrition).
- NUTRITION SOCIETY OF MALAYSIA (2011) Breastfeed with Confidence. Petaling Jaya: Mother’s Smart Choice.