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June 04, 2020 3 min read
Isn’t being a mom great? Well, if I listen to many of my friends, breastfeeding can come with a lot of problems. And yes, all moms know breast is best, but what if feeding issues become so big that they stress out mommy to the point where it becomes unbearable?
If you experience common breastfeeding problems, it’s important to ask for help and talk to your midwife or pediatrician. And remember: no-one is born an expert.
Breastfeeding is a skill you and your baby learn together and the both of you should take all the time you need. The best way to avoid common breastfeeding problems is making sure you and your baby are comfortable. In some cases, it can also be helpful to co-feed formula to make mom-hood a little easier.
Here’s a list of 6 of the most common breastfeeding problems moms come across and some tips on how you might be able to tackle them:
This is something most new moms will experience and it can be very painful, stressful, and upsetting. It’s important that the baby is properly attached to the breast. Otherwise, the nipple is in the front of the baby’s mouth and pinches against the hard palate, causing pain. It should rest comfortably against the soft palate at the back of their mouth. To ease pain you can use a sensitive moisturizer and some moms find that leaving a little bit of milk on the nipple speeds up the healing process and try wearing a cotton bra that goes easy on your nipples.
Cracked and damaged nipples can lead to infections in the breast. If you experience pain while feeding that you haven’t before or the pain lasts for up to an hour after every feed you might have a thrush infection. This can also cause an infection in your baby’s mouth. Before starting the treatment other causes for pain are ruled out. Therefore, if you think you and your baby have a thrush infection, you should talk to your pediatrician.
This breastfeeding problem might be one of the hardest to accept, because you might think that your body is failing to nourish your baby. Before falling into self pity, you should remember that your body is adjusting to its new task. But you can support it by eating a healthy diet, and alternating between breasts which can help to improve milk flow. If you feel like your baby is not getting enough nutrients you can additionally feed formula to ensure a healthy development.
A whole different breastfeeding problem can be painful engorgement. Your breasts oversupply on milk and might feel hard, tight, and painful. This issue is common in the early days when you and your baby are still getting used to one another. Your milk supply is likely to adapt to your baby’s needs after some time. However, if the problem remains, try feeding your baby before they get very hungry, then your baby should suck more gently, which stimulates your breasts less and leads to a lighter flow.
The overall rule: be confident! Most of the time, this breastfeeding problem occurs among new moms. Neither you, nor the baby knows what they are doing, but will do so along the way. Trust in your ability and educate yourself on how to hold your baby right during feeding time, getting into the right position yourself, and making sure your baby is able to properly take the nipple in their mouth. A lactation expert can help if correction is required. And don’t forget: it’s never shameful to ask for help!
If breast engorgement continues, it can lead to blocked milk ducts. To relieve the affected breast you can place your baby’s chin pointing towards the lump so they can feed from that part of the breast. Mastitis happens when a blocked milk duct is not relieved. It’s important to keep breastfeeding to unblock the duct, especially with the affected breast. Massaging it out and adding heat may also help you with relief.
These are some of the most common breastfeeding problems. Have you come across any of them?
Please be aware that this information is based on general guidelines about nursing, it is in no way medical advice. Your doctor should be your first source of information and advice concerning you and your child's health. Always consult your pediatrician before making any decisions about your child’s diet or if you notice any changes in your child.
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