All content of this blog is my own opinion only. It does not represent the views of any organisation or association I may work for, or be associated with. Nothing within this blog should be considered as medical advice and you should always consult your Doctor.

Breastfeeding Problems? Remember One Question...

The mantra of three year olds everywhere, "but wwwwwwhhhhhhhhyyyyyyyyy?", "why is the sky blue", "why do I have to put shoes one", "why can't I eat my sandwich doing a headstand next to the dog?".  Their pursuit of "why" is relentless as anyone who has been in that position will tell you - even when you think you have the best answer ever, they toss back a "why?" to that too!
A very common theme amongst the mothers I see are cracked/damaged/bleeding nipples (as those who read my last blog entry will remember.)  Yet bizarrely a huge percentage have also been told "latch is fine/good/great" - which sort of begs the question, why then is the trauma occurring?

If you bought a pair of shoes and got huge blisters, and the shop assistant said well the shoes fit absolutely fine - would you not ask why then you had blisters on your feet?

Breastfeeding is no different.

The other day it went like this (I paraphrase as I can't remember the exact wording):

Midwife: Your positioning and attachment is great, latch looks fine.
Mum: My nipples are very sore and bleeding
Midwfe: Ouch they look sore, put on plenty of lanolin
<Our Visit>
Mum (to midwife) The IBCLC I've seen has suggested my baby has lots of indicators of tongue tie
Midwife: No your baby isn't tongue tied (no examination/assessment) it's just down to positioning and attachment.

Woah, so we've gone from it looks great - to that's the root of the problem in the blink of an eye.

I wonder what the midwife would say if the conversation went like this:

Midwife: Your positioning and attachment is great, latch looks fine.
Mum: My nipples are very sore and bleeding
Midwfe: Ouch they look sore, put on plenty of lanolin
Mum:Why are my nipples bleeding if positioning and latch are good?

This can be applied to any area - why is my baby not gaining weight, why does he feel to be slipping off, why is she clamping/grinding etc, why does he never seem settled?  Then listen to see if you get an answer that satisfies you; it's normal or that's just what some mums experience does not qualify as an explanation, regardless of how nice the person is delivering it.

If you don't get an answer that makes sense and resolves the problem - be inspired by the  toddler phase of  "but why?".   Ask to be referred to someone who can help, or do your own digging to locate support, problems are never "just because", that answer is just as unsatisfactory when supporting a mum as it is to a three year old..


  1. New mums are also in a very vulnerable position, it's not a time it is easy to be at all assertive or even questioning! You're so right though and mums need to be made aware that they shouldn't just be accepting unsatisfactory answers/care *before* they are in that position.

  2. Excellent, common sense advice! I currently have one cracked nipple, I can't tell if it's b/c my newborn has the suction of a vacuum cleaner, or if it had something to do with her alignment - things are feeling much better after her first chiro visit!

    TY for the sweet well wishes on Ailia's arrival! :)

  3. It still hurts at almost 5 months. Wish you were nearby because I think you might actually listen. I've been asking for help and it seems like nobody is really listening. I have definitely been on the receiving end of these conversations.

  4. Hi Marie
    We have a fab IBCLC who covers UK via - and you're v welcome to give me a ring on the helpline number to just have a natter (we don't charge for telephone support)

  5. ps if you're international you're welcome to email me x


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