Breastfeeding is a natural process, and most mothers assume that everything about it is straightforward and automatic. Well, this might be right to some extent because even other mammals with a fraction of human intelligence still do it without being taught. However, things are not always that easy because both the mother and baby have a lot to learn when it comes to breastfeeding.
Learning is the only way to overcome some of the common breastfeeding problems that moms and more so first-time ones go through. Knowing these issues is vital, but the solutions to them are even more important. Below are some of them and what you can do to solve them.
1. High Milk Supply/Engorgement
Engorgement will typically happen a couple of days after giving birth as milk production ramps up, but it should go away as you baby feeds. However, sometimes it can still happen during other times when milk production surpasses what the baby can consume. It might not be painful for the mother but it is quite uncomfortable, and it makes latching difficult for the child because the breast does not conform to the size and shape of the baby’s mouth.
The solution for this is very simple because the more you nurse, the less likely the breast will get engorged and so try to feed the infant as frequently as possible. You can also massage the breast gently to ease the pressure that the engorgement causes. In case the swelling due to high milk production persists for many days you can get rid of the excess milk by expressing it with your hands or using a pump.
2. Baby Sleeping When Breastfeeding
It is common for infants to fall asleep when breastfeeding but this does not always mean that they are full. As a mother, you should be keen with the amount of time it takes for the child to sleep when breastfeeding and if it is always just a couple of minutes then this is a problem as he or she is not getting enough milk.
To ensure that the baby gets enough milk you should always start feeding him with the fullest breast. Also, try talking to him while also rubbing the back to draw his attention to ensuring that the child does not sleep. Tickling the feet and burping the child before switching him to the other breast can also be effective ways to prevent him from sleeping. However, you baby will learn to stay awake for long when feeding as he grows older.
3. Excessive Latching Pain
It is normal to feel some pain or for the nipples to become sore when you start breastfeeding and this is more so if you are a first-time mother. You will feel the pain when the baby is latching, but it should go away when they start feeding. But, in some cases, it may be there throughout the feeding session, and if this is the case then there is a problem, and you need to solve it.
The primary cause of the excessive and continuous pain is the positioning of the baby, and you can solve this by adjusting him to ensure an asymmetrical latch. Your baby’s chin and nose should be touching the breast, and you should not be able to see the nipple if the positioning is correct. If the pain persists, then it might be because the nipples are dry, and so you should make them moist with lanolin and also always wear loose clothing and avoid washing the breast with soap.
Mastitis is a bacterial infection that affects most breastfeeding mammals, and it is very common in the first few weeks after birth, but it is important to note that it can also come during the weaning stage. It has flu-like symptoms with pain on the breasts and fever being the main ones. Many things can cause it but cracked nipples, engorgement, and clogged milk ducts are the main ones.
Since it is a bacterial infection the most suitable solution is to take antibiotics. However, there are other things that you can do to solve the problem fast, and they include hot compresses and frequent emptying of the breast. Also, note that it is still safe for the baby to continue breastfeeding even if you have mastitis and doctors will even encourage it because it will also help to get rid of the problem
If the yeast on the baby’s mouth gets out of control, the child may develop thrush. To know that they have thrush you should look out for white sores on the tongue and other parts of the mouth. If it is very severe, it will get transferred from the child’s mouth to your nipple, and so you will feel pain when the baby is latching.
If the thrush is little it will not interfere with the breastfeeding, but sometimes it can be quite painful making things hard. In case the pain is too much the best solution is to visit the doctor for guidance on whether both of you should take antifungal medicine or not. Note that both the infant and mother should get treatment at the same time for it to be effective.
6. Cracked Nipples
Cracked nipples are quite common for most mothers, and this is more so during the first few days after delivery, but they are still an annoying and uncomfortable issue. They can be a result of many things that range from latching issues to pumping breast milk improperly. In some cases, you will also have blood discharge, but this should not worry you because the little blood cannot harm your infant.
Latching problems are one of the leading causes of cracked nipples, and so you can solve this by checking your baby’s positioning to ensure that the bottom part of the areola (underneath the nipple) is always inside the mouth.
Increasing the breastfeeding frequency or shortening the intervals can also help with this problem because if the baby is less hungry, he will suck softly and hence your nipples will not crack. Also, try leaving some milk on the nipple after feeding the baby and let it air dry there as this is also an effective remedy.
7. Low Milk Supply
Your body will produce a lot of milk in the first few weeks after giving birth, but this will change after some time. After a while, the body will adjust to your baby’s feeding pattern and also how often you feed him and only produce enough to conform to the demand. However, sometimes you can also have low milk supply, and this can be as a result of many things such as being separated from your baby for some days or even due to medical conditions.
If you are away from your child for some days, and the milk supply goes down, feeding the infant in short intervals can be enough to increase milk production. Improving your diet can also be an effective way of boosting milk supply and nutritionist, and other food experts can be able to advise you on what to eat and drink. If all this does not work, the solution is to consult your doctor for further and professional advice.
Breastfeeding your baby for the first months or even a year of their life is the best start that you can give him or her. However, if you have trouble breastfeeding, you will probably have to discontinue it and prefer to feed the child with formula. Every breastfeeding problem has a solution and in most cases, they are very simple things, and so you should always seek to find out what you should do before you give up on feeding your little angel with the precious breast milk.