Breastfeeding Problems And Solutions
They say breast is best for a baby, but breastfeeding isn’t always a positive experience for a mom. Many people assume that because we are women we will naturally nurse without any difficulties. It’s in our genes to breastfeed, right? Not quite! Many moms have a tough time breastfeeding. Most receive support from the lactation consultant at the hospital, but often their challenges continue when they get home. Before you give up, try solving your breastfeeding problems with the advice below. Make sure you check in with your doctor if it requires an actual treatment. Here are common breastfeeding problems and solutions.Problem: Poor Latch
A poor latch is usually one that is too shallow. When your baby does not have enough of the breast in their mouth, he/she will suck on just the nipple rather than the entire areola. This is what causes soreness.Solution: Proper Latch
- Your baby’s mouth needs to be open wide for a proper latch. You can tickle baby’s upper lip with your nipple to get baby’s mouth to open. Once baby opens wide, bring your baby into your breast.
- A good latch should feel comfortable—like a strong tug or pull. If the latch feels like the baby is pinching or biting you, remove baby from the breast by breaking the suction with your finger and re-latch.
- Check to see that your baby’s lips are flanged out and that baby’s mouth is back on the areola—not just grasping the nipple.
- You want to make sure your baby is really drinking at the breast and not just nuzzling. Nuzzling is fine—just make sure that baby is drinking first (listen for swallows) to insure that he/she is getting enough to eat. If your baby is just nuzzling or suckling when you think he/she is eating, your baby will probably come off the breast hungry.
- After nursing, rub some colostrum or breast milk onto your nipples and allow to air dry.
- Change your breast pads between feedings so your nipples are not constantly wet.
- Make sure your bra is comfortable and not too tight, which can further irritate your nipples.
- Apply a lanolin-type nipple ointment sparingly to nipples after nursing.
- Try a hydro gel pad specifically made for sore nipples, which is worn over the nipple and areola and held in place by your bra. Follow directions on package for use.
- Vary your positions for feeding: cradle, football, side lying, etc.
Thrush is a pretty common occurrence in infants that causes irritation in and around their mouths. It may look like your baby has white patches on his/her mouth or tongue. Thrush is triggered by the overgrowth of yeast. Your baby may have been exposed to yeast through your vaginal delivery or an antibiotic you received after a C-section. Many babies don’t show any signs of having thrush, but may be uncomfortable when breastfeeding. They may not nurse very well, because they are experiencing soreness in their mouths. Symptoms of thrush infection:
- Your nipples appear bright red or pink and feel itchy
- A burning, stinging pain while nursing
- Your baby may be fussy and not nurse well
- Your baby has patches of white in his/her mouth that don’t wipe off
- Your baby has a bright red diaper rash
If you suspect thrush infection, contact your baby’s pediatrician. If your baby has thrush, both you and your little one must receive treatment, otherwise the yeast will pass back and forth. Treatment usually last at least two weeks.Solution: Thrush Treatment
- Nystatin cream (an anti-fungal agent) to be applied to your nipples after feeding and areola for about 10 days.
- Nystatin drops to be swabbed inside your baby’s cheeks and mouth after feeding for about 10 days.
- Anti-fungal diaper cream to help clear up diaper rash.
- If the cream is not working, your doctor may recommend trying a course of oral medication called Diflucan for 14 days (sometimes longer).
- Gentian violet, a dye that when comes into contact with yeast and kills it, may be recommended. This is a messy proposition but can work effectively if nothing else is working. It involves using a cotton swab to paint the inside of the baby’s cheeks and mouth. Check with your health care provider for tips on safe and effective use!
- A vinegar rinse—one tablespoon of white vinegar in one cup of water. Rinse nipples and allow to air dry. You can also use this on the baby’s diaper rash.
Low milk supply is a problem many women complain about right before they give up on breastfeeding. There are several reasons that people experience a low milk supply. Sometimes previous breast surgery affects milk production. Factors such as premature birth, maternal obesity and insulin-dependent diabetes can also affect how much milk you make.Solution: Increase Milk Supply
- Breastfeed as soon as possible. Waiting too long to start breastfeeding can contribute to a low milk supply. Hold your baby skin to skin right after birth, and your baby will likely breastfeed within the first hour after delivery.
- Breastfeed often. For the first few weeks, breastfeed your baby at least every two to three hours around the clock.
- Be alert to feeding problems. It’s OK for your baby to nurse on only one breast at a feeding, but if this happens regularly, your milk supply will decrease. Pump the other breast to relieve pressure and protect your milk supply until your baby begins taking in more at each feeding.
- Don’t skip breastfeeding sessions. If you spend time away from your baby or choose to use formula, pump your breasts to help protect your milk supply.
- Hold off on the pacifier. If you choose to give your baby a pacifier, consider waiting until four to six weeks after birth. This will give you time to settle into a regular nursing routine and establish your milk supply.
- Use medications with caution. Certain medications decrease milk supply, including those contain
- pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Zyrtec D, others). Your health care provider might also caution against certain types of hormonal contraception, at least until breastfeeding is firmly established.
- Avoid alcohol and nicotine. Drinking moderate to heavy amounts of alcohol can decrease milk production. Smoking can have the same effect.
Maintaining your milk supply during breastfeeding is important for your baby’s health and growth. If you’re concerned about your milk supply or your baby’s feedings, talk to your doctor, your baby’s doctor or a lactation consultant.
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