As parents we want to protect our children. Unfortunately, we cannot protect them from every painful experience. The good news is that breastfeeding can help to make painful experiences less stressful for your baby.
Research shows that babies who are breastfed before, during or after routine immunizations cry for a shorter period of time than babies who are not breastfed throughout the procedure.1
If your baby is in pain, either because of gas pains, immunizations, illness or another reason, you can comfort your baby by breastfeeding and holding, particularly skin to skin. This not only comforts your baby. It can also comfort you as you mother and parent your child through the pain.
If your baby is undergoing a medical procedure, speak to your healthcare provider about how you can comfort your child through the experience. For example, you can often breastfeed your baby while immunizations are being given or if blood is being drawn from your baby. Or your baby can be placed sitting up on one of your legs, tummy to tummy with you. You can choose to breastfeed right before, during or immediately after the procedure, whichever you prefer.
If you have questions about comforting your baby by breastfeeding or any other topic, please contact a La Leche League Leader.
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Abdel Razek A, Az El-Dein N. (2009). Effect of breast-feeding on pain relief during infant immunization injections. International Journal of Nursing Practice, Apr;15(2):99-104. Efe, E., Ozer, Z. C. (2007). The use of breast-feeding for pain relief during neonatal immunization injections. Applied Nursing Research, Feb; 20(1): 10-6.