Despite months of research and reading every parental guide there is, nothing can prepare for the moment when your baby begins to refuse your breastmilk. Naturally, you will feel anxious and doubtful of everything you had learned pre-parenthood. The books and all the advice that you hear seems to be futile when faced with reality. However, breastfeeding is not supposed to be devoid of troubles, and all mothers have faced problems in their time of lactating their babies.
Here are 20 common breastfeeding problems and solutions:
1. Nursing Strike
Babies go on nursing strikes when they are unable to get milk from their mothers due to specific issues, such as mouth pain, ear infection or a stuffy nose. These problems tend to resolve on their own, but you will have to encourage nursing continuously. Try feeding them while they are asleep, having milk supplies ready at all times and trying different positions to nurse them.
2. Flat or Inverted Nipples
A lot of women have flat or inverted nipples, but this is not a cause for concern during breastfeeding. Most suction devices and breast pumps will allow a mother to draw out milk from their breasts without any trouble. If you find resistance in stimulating your nipples to lactate, you can follow hand-expressing techniques to soften your breasts enough for pumping.
3. Overactive Let-down
After postpartum, you might have an over-supply of breastmilk. An overactive let-down occurs when your breastmilk does not stop even after your baby stops sucking. The release of milk can be too much for the baby to handle and in some cases, cause choking or intense coughing for your baby. The best way to reduce the flow is by squeezing down on your areola with two fingers while lactating. Once your baby gets used to sucking, your milk supply will become more regulated.
4. Nipple Confusion
ometimes, babies may prefer using the bottle over breastmilk. Since it is easier for them to draw out milk from a bottle, babies will fuss over not getting enough milk from their mothers and therefore, adapt better to the bottle. To resolve this, you simply have to establish a breastfeeding routine by encouraging when they latch on to your breasts. The best way to aid the release of milk is by massaging your breasts and using hand-expressing techniques before nursing your baby.
Mothers will have naturally engorged breasts in the hours or days of post-partum. Your breast will feel uncomfortable with its sudden fullness and heaviness, but this is just the result of an increase in your milk supply. If you regulate your nursing schedule and ensure correct latching and positioning to feed your baby, your breasts will begin to soften and shrink to normal size.
Thrush can develop from a fungus called Candida albicans and appear through creamy patches inside your baby’s cheeks, gums, tongue, and lips. A manifestation of thrust usually can irritate diaper rashes, gastric conditions and fussiness while nursing. The best way to treat thrush is through medical advice from a healthcare professional. Other preventive measures include washing your baby’s hands often while also using gauze pads to wipe off your baby’s tongue post-feeding.
7. Plugged or Clogged Ducts
Milk ducts inside of your breasts enable the release of breastmilk during nursing, but the ducts can become clogged and cause milk to accumulate in lumps under your skin. In such cases, you can massage your breast by putting soft pressures on the clogged ducts or place a hot water bottle to soothe the lump.
8. Cracked Nipples
Your baby could have a bad latch on to your nipples, and the usual result of this is sore and cracked nipples. While it is excruciating to bear, you can treat this through heat compression against your nipples and a salt-water rinse to promote skin hydration and healing. You can also apply a few drops of your breastmilk to your nipples for antibacterial protection.
9. Low Milk Supply
If you find that your breasts are not producing enough milk, it is best to consult a lactation professional to determine the root of your problem. Changes in dietary habits are essential in stimulating milk production along with proper hydration and rest. You might also consider looking into your regular medication to identify if that is the cause of your problem before choosing an alternative treatment. You could also find lactation boosters such as our famous Dark Chocolate Lactation Cookies that have helped to boost the milk supply of many moms.
Post-partum depression is common among many mothers, but D-MER is a specific condition where you feel heightened levels of sadness and negative emotions while lactating. Dysphoria during breastfeeding only lasts as long as you are lactating. Still, if you want a better handle of your emotions, you can keep a log of what usually triggers these feelings to avoid them in the future. Severe D-MER can be treated under the consultation of medical professionals and with the use of prescription drugs.
11. Improper Latching
Some babies need help to latch on to their mother’s nipples. The best way to aid latching is by finding the right position to feed your baby, which will take a period of trial and error. Still, when you finally find the position your baby feels most comfortable with, you can squeeze your breast into a shape that best suits your baby’s mouth. Allow your baby to take your nipple into their mouth and stroke their cheek to enable a rooting reflex.
Mastitis occurs when you have an inflammation in your breast, causing significant pain and swelling. To prevent and treat this, ensure proper latching by your baby and try only to wear nursing bras. Massaging the affected area while also putting a heat compression will soothe out the pain. You should even attempt to use your affected breast for breastfeeding as frequently as possible to prevent overactive let-down.
A tongue-tie is a condition where a small tissue on the bottom of your baby’s mouth will prevent them from moving their tongues in a natural motion. As it can be incredibly painful for your baby, it is best to seek professional medical advice for treatment.
14. Baby Falling Asleep at Breast
It is natural for babies to fall asleep while breastfeeding. Still, if this prevents the baby from nursing, you need to have increased skin-to-skin contact, especially when your baby hints at being hungry. You should also compress your breasts to stimulate more release of milk so that it is easier to feed your baby.
15. Fussy Baby
If your baby becomes constantly agitated at your teat, understand that this is typical behaviour from every baby. You can try skin-to-skin contact to prompt instinctive feeding behaviours as well as try different positions to find the right one for nursing. Other solutions can be breastfeeding your baby while they are asleep or feeding them in the dark when there are no distractions.
16. Cluster Feeding
Babies can develop constant cravings for their mother’s milk, and this can edge on to a stressful feeding schedule. Mothers can potentially suffer from nipple soreness, while feelings of stress tend to accumulate. The best way to manage cluster feeding is by entertaining yourself while nursing and keeping bottles of fluid nearby to hydrate yourself. This behaviour usually lasts for a short time, and it is better not to exhaust yourself during this phase.
17. Mother’s Stress
Taking care of a new-born is a daunting task with countless challenges. It is, therefore, inevitable for a mother to feel stressed out, but this stress usually affects your baby as well. To mitigate your negative emotions, you should schedule your time to offer self-healing through exercise, yoga and self-care routines. You should have time to devote entirely to yourself and your needs, making you feel refreshed and cutting out stress completely.
18. Lack of Quiet Places
It can be hard to find a quiet place with no distractions or loud stimuli while breastfeeding your baby in public areas. Nursing covers are best in such cases as it blocks noise to some extent. You can also attempt to nurse your baby while they are in their baby carriers.
19. Have Not Tried All the Techniques
If you stop breastfeeding earlier than recommended, it might be a good idea to nurse your baby again. If you are going to employ induced lactation, you can utilise breast pumps to release all of your milk supply while compressing your breasts to stimulate milk flow. As long as you find a suitable technique for feeding your baby while lactating, it is okay not to employ or try all breastfeeding methods.
20. No Breastfeeding Pillow
While breastfeeding pillows help to a certain extent, it can make latching even more challenging to achieve for babies. Your baby simply needs to be turned towards your body, and this can be done by cradling them in your arms or having them lie on top of you in a lie-down nursing position.
Unless it requires surgical treatment, most breastfeeding ailments are redeemable through proper positioning and latching. However, you should remember that your state as a mother will reflect on your baby’s condition, making it equally as vital for you to take care of yourself while looking after your little one.