Health professionals all agree that breastfeeding is the healthiest choice for babies and moms. It seems to come so naturally to many new mothers, so why do others find it so difficult? Don’t beat yourself up if you are experiencing trouble. There is help.
Natural Yes, But Not Always Easy
There are some initial things a mother-to-be can do to make this natural feeding also come easy. It takes some practice, so be patient.
- Read about breastfeeding before baby is born.
- Start feeding in the hospital right after birth.
- Ask for help if you need it.
- Talk with a certified lactation consultant who specializes in breastfeeding issues.
Common Breastfeeding Problems
1. Sore Nipples
Sometimes sore and tender nipples will occur in the first week. This can happen due to poor feeding technique, the baby is in the wrong position, or you are not taking care of your nipples.
Solutions for Sore Nipples
Change your baby’s position when feeding, place your finger into the side of the baby’s mouth to encourage him to let go gently, only wear cotton bras, and use a product with lanolin to soothe dry nipples. Ask a lactation consultant for help.
2. Breast Engorgement
Shortly after birth you notice that your breasts are hard and they hurt even putting on a bra. This simply means your milk supply has increased which is common after birth.
Solutions for Breast Engorgement
Nurse more frequently until the pain subsides. Use a warm compress before and a cold one after. Massage your breast while feeding.
3. Leaking Breasts
This can occur during the first few weeks of feeding.
Solution to Leaking Breasts
This will improve within 4-6 weeks. Wear cotton nursing pads and avoid those with plastic waterproof liners as they can irritate your nipples. Wear dark colored tops to hide milk stains.
4. Low Milk Supply
This is a concern many moms have, but usually it is not real. If you are worried you are not producing enough milk, try breastfeeding more frequently as a start.
Solutions to Low Milk Supply
Breastfeed at least every 2 to 3 hours. Use your hands to express the milk. Avoid bottles and pacifiers in the first few weeks. Stay hydrated, get enough rest, and avoid alcohol. Antihistamines can lower your milk supply, and talk with a lactation consultant to help monitor your baby’s weight.
5. Baby Gassy And Fussy After Feeding
Sometimes a baby will swallow air when feeding causing them to have excess gas.
Solutions To Gassy Baby
Make sure your baby has a good latch to prevent air from getting in. Burp baby after each feeding. Try to avoid feeding too quickly. Talk with Atlanta Women’s Obstetrics & Gynecology or a lactation consultant if you are concerned about your own diet as a contributing factor.
6. Clogged Milk Duct
One of your milk ducts can get clogged and you end up with a red and tender lump.
Solutions To Clogged Milk Duct
It will eventually unclog as you continue to breastfeed. Help it along by using a warm compress before feeding and massage the lump while nursing. Drain the affected breast when baby is finished. Try soaking your breast in warm water several times a day.
Contact Atlanta Women’s Obstetrics & Gynecology at (404) 352-3616 if you continue to have breastfeeding problems.