Breastfeeding is natural but it doesn’t always come naturally, sometimes breastfeeding isn’t always easy for some new mothers, there are several patterns of behavior in the early weeks of nursing that may complicate the mothers nursing experience. Are you finding breastfeeding quite uneasy or challenging, here are 11 most common breastfeeding problems and solutions to make nursing easier for you.
1. Nipple Leaking: Some new mother experiences milk leakage sometimes especially during the early establishment of milk production, milk leaking during nursing is normal but can be quite embarrassing on the other hand when milk is leaking through your shirt in public.
Solution: If you discover your breast is leaking try as much as possible not to miss your baby’s feeding or feed your baby longer than normal
The use of a breast pad or nursing pad is an effective way of absorbing leaks and keeping yourself dry and clean.
2. Sore or cracked nipples: cracked nipples may be due to various reasons such as improper latching, dry skin, thrush, use of plastic liner breast pad, etc, but most likely latching problems.
Precautions: Make sure your baby latches properly, if you feel any pain, gently remove your breast from your baby’s mouth and latch on again or better still try a better position at your own convenience for your baby to latch on properly , when nursing try to breastfeed more frequently at shorter intervals the baby may to go easy or suck softly on your breast when he is less hungry.
How to treat:
The use of cleansers, alcohol, lotions on cracked nipple is not advisable, clean water is enough to wash with, try to let some milk stay on your nipple and allow to air-dry after each feeding and allow it to air dry after feeding to soothe the nipples, breast milk consists of some anti-bacteria properties which reduce the chance of getting infection, you can also use a baby-safe lanolin cream on them between nursing sessions
Be patient sore nipple normally settle down after a few days as your body will get used to the breastfeeding and your baby’s latching becomes efficient.
Consult your doctor or a breastfeeding specialist if pain persists, nipple soreness can be a sign of an infection that may require medical attention.
3. Engorgement or high milk supply: you may experience high milk supply during those periods, if you are feeling discomfort or your breast feels swollen and hard then, you may be experiencing engorgement which sometimes makes it difficult for the baby to latch on, to avoid engorgement try not to skip feedings nurse your baby often in a day on both breast.
Solution: Express a little milk out of the breast before feeding either manually(by hand) or the use of breast pump to encourage milk flow at normal rate and soften the breast for the baby to easily latch on Ibuprofen can also help alleviate both the pain and swelling always contact your doctor before taking any medication.
How to treat it:
If severely engorged some experts recommends placing a warm compress on your breast or taking a warm bath to encourage milk flow while nursing and follow up with the cold compress between feedings.
Method: Apply warm compress to the breast for at least 5-10 minutes before nursing, this helps to increase the blood flow in that area, After feeding apply a cold compress to your breast for at least 10-15 minutes, cold can help reduce the swelling and inflammation I suggest you use ice bags wrapped in a thick piece of cloth and avoid applying ice bags directly to your skin or breast.
4. Mastitis: This is an infection in the breast tissue which causes inflammation in the breast tissue, the inflammation results to the symptoms of pain, breast swelling, pain or burning sensation, warmth and skin redness, illness and fever its often or sometimes caused by engorgement, clogged milk duct, cracked skin or bacteria entering the breast.
Solution: The best way to start is by getting a good breastfeeding relationship with your baby, experts suggest that it is safe to continue with breastfeeding if you have mastitis.
Gently massage the breast when giving the milk so as to soften the red hard areas around the breast and make sure your baby latches on the breast properly when giving the feedings and completely empty one breast before moving to the other, and consult your doctor for advice if you have mastitis, not all breastfeeding issues requires self treatment.
5. Latching pain during nursing: some breastfeeding mums often complain of pain while breastfeeding especially new mums, during the initial stage of breastfeeding which may result to soreness, crack or bleed or tender nipples improper latching on the breast is most likely to cause breast pain
Solution: when giving the breast make sure your baby’s mouth covers more part around the lower part of the areola (the round dark portion around the nipple) you can try different breastfeeding positions that suits you.
If your baby is latching properly and it still hurts, consult your doctor or it may also be as a result of dry nipples avoid washing your breast with soap and wearing tight clothes, its advisable to apply lanolin-based cream on your nipples between feedings.
6. Retracted or flat nipples: Breastfeeding is more challenging and a little bit difficult to give the breast if the mother’s nipple is flat as a result of drawing back the nipple inside the breast by some inner supporting tissue.
Solution: Take your time to massage lightly on the nipple with your finger it sometimes works to make the nipple stand out or better still you can use a breast pump to extract some milk before bringing your baby to feed, you can also use a nipple shield for support if the baby is unable to latch properly.
7. Caked breast: this a type of engorgement whereby the outside region of the areola is engorged, it may occur during the early nursing periods the treatment for caked breast is similar to that of engorgement too.
8. Low milk supply: This usually happens at some stage during breastfeeding, how can you increase your breastmilk if your breast seems to be providing low milk and what causes low milk supply?, there are some factors that can cause the breast to supply low milk some mothers often think that their body is producing low milk, However you need to understand that the production of breast milk is a demand and supply process, that is the more your supply feedings for your infant the more the demand for milk production, make sure your baby is nursing efficiently and you don’t need to worry if your baby is gaining enough weight on breast milk alone.
If you are concerned about your baby weight gain concerning your breast milk supply consult your doctor.
9. Illness during nursing: Breastfeeding mothers may undergo illness during the delivery process or might be as a result of baby blue symptoms.
Visit your doctor if you notice any sign of illness
10. Biting the nipple: During the stage of teething most babies will try to use their teeth or gums sometimes, you can’t blame your baby for trying a few bites with his teeth while its not only painful it can also cause soreness on the nipple.
The good news is that babies can be taught not to bite, be at alert when you are nursing when she pulls her tongue back and ready to bite gently slide your finger into her mouth and say No! in a firm tone and repeat the same process if she tries to bite again put the finger again and say no and end the feeding.
Or when she tries to bite pull her close to yourself to block her nose and she has to let go to breathe properly.
11. Baby falls asleep at breastfeeding: Falling asleep while feeding is common amongst babies especially during the early weeks after birth
But always encourage steady milk flow when feeding your baby you can support by doing some compressions by gently squeezing your breast while giving the baby feeding to encourage steady milk flow
Resume the breast from his mouth when you notice your baby is sucking slowly or eyes closed gently rub your hands on her back or stroke his cheek while giving the feeding or switch to the other breast.
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