Q: Is this supposed to hurt?

A: If nursing is painful, check to make sure your despair is latched on properly. Its mouth should be open wide, like a yawning pit. If you suspect a bad latch you can use your index finger to break the suction, then try again. Orient the mouth of the despair so it scoops up from below.

Q: I’ve tried adjusting the latch but it still hurts.

A: Stick with it! Soon you’ll develop calluses that let you feed your despair while barely feeling anything. In the meantime, try changing positions. Fully reclined or side-lying postures can be very effective for nursing despair.

Q: I feel feverish and achy. What should I do?

A: You may want to take an over-the-counter painkiller that’s approved for nursing. Or bring your despair to bed with you for a day or two. (IMPORTANT: Remove all pillows and blankets first, so your despair has room to breathe!)

If you notice any redness in addition to your other symptoms, you should see your healthcare provider immediately to rule out mastitis.

Q: My despair doesn’t seem to know the difference between night and day.

A: This is common in the early weeks. You might feel like your despair snoozes all day, then becomes alert and active just when you get in bed! Try to sleep whenever the despair sleeps. Household chores can wait. You can help sort out its rhythms by exposing it to plenty of bright light and noise during the day. At night, keep your home dark and avoid playing with your despair.

Q: When am I going to sleep through the night again?

A: Many newborn despairs feed as often as every hour and a half. It might feel like all you’re doing is nursing your despair! Eventually, it will start sleeping through the night. But periodic growth spurts can cause nighttime wakings again. Try to enjoy these bonding times and stay well hydrated.

Q: I have small breasts. Will that be a problem?

A: Not at all. People with very small breasts, very large breasts, and even uneven or misshapen breasts have successfully nursed healthy despairs.

Q: I think my despair is growing teeth.

A: You might be right if your despair seems especially irritable lately — and is drooling like crazy! Try not to overreact if it bites you.

Q: How can I be sure I’m feeding my despair enough?

A: This is a common concern. After all, you can’t measure what your despair is taking from you. But your despair will find a way to get the sustenance it needs. As long as it’s having plenty of bowel movements, there’s no need to worry.

Remember, you’re passing on invaluable nutrients and antibodies to your despair. You’re helping it to grow big and strong and resilient. You’re setting it up for an entire lifetime of health.

Someday, your despair will be taking care of you!

Q: I changed nursing positions but it still hurts.

A: It might be thrush.