As a new mom or parent, one of the first hurdles you may face in your parenting journey is to successfully breastfeed your baby. A mother’s milk, especially the first milk, also known as colostrum, has some of the highest amounts of nutrition that your baby can ever get.
It is natural to face some problems while breastfeeding your baby, but don’t worry. Stressing about the same and getting too worried will only add to your woes. Instead, here we’ll share some of the most common breastfeeding problems with you that you may face during the first few weeks, and tell you how you can make it easier for your baby, and for yourself.
Breastfeeding problems and How to handle them
1. Latching Difficulties
Latching refers to your baby’s mouth placing around your nipples and being able to feed properly. Many babies and mothers go through latching issues, especially in the first few days and weeks. Your baby may try to latch on and feed, but may often leave the nipple, or not be able to place it in the mouth in a way that enables proper feeding.
How To Help: Hold your nipple between your thumb and index finger and gently guide it inside baby’s mouth. If your baby is already feeding, place your fingers around the nipple and your baby’s lips in such a way that the nipple stays in. Even if it comes out, guide it back and help your baby all over again.
2. Cracked and Painful Nipples
When your baby keeps feeding through the day and night, it is natural for your nipples to get sore and develop cracks, and result in pain. In such a situation, it can get really difficult to feed, and if not taken care of, can also lead to infection. This is most likely to happen in the first week or two of breastfeeding, and you may also see a little bit of bleeding.
How To Help: While feeding, check that the lower areola, which is the dark part around your nipples, is placed in your baby’s mouth. Breastfeed at regular intervals, instead of waiting too long for baby to get hungry. It will help to make your baby’s sucking movements softer and ease any pain or injury.
3. Milk Lumps in the Breast
Sometimes, when your baby refuses to feed or is not able to feed properly, the milk in your breast can form into lumps. It can get really painful, and unless the lumps get soft and ease out, you will not be able to feed your baby, as no milk will come out.
How To Help: If your baby refuses to feed at regular intervals and you can feel the milk storing up or your breasts hardening, pump out the milk. To prevent the lumps from forming, you can either store it in a bottle to feed your baby later, or remove it altogether. If the lumps have already formed, take a hand towel and soak it in warm water, then massage your breasts to ease out the lumps. It will help the milk to flow out and also ease pain.
4. Low Milk Supply
Many new mums complain that they are not able to produce as much milk as their babies require, and that is often a cause of stopping breastfeeding before baby completes the first six months. When your milk supply is low, you may have to start your baby on top feed, which again can lead to a lot of complications or problems if done too early.
How To Help: Remember the golden rule, that the more you feed your baby, the more milk your body will produce. If your baby falls asleep and does not feed as often as you think is required, keep pumping the milk and store it to use later.