Both mother and baby will have to learn to master the art of breast-feeding. This will take time and what works for one pair need not necessarily work for another pair. However, breastfeeding may also pose some problems for the mother. There are some common problems associated with breastfeeding that one out of every two mother faces. While some problems disappear in due course of time, there are some that need professional help. Given below are the causes and solution to some of the common breast-feeding problems.
Common Breastfeeding Problems
Insufficient Milk Supply
The baby may want to keep feeding all the time as he/she is not positioned properly and there is insufficient supply of milk. In the initial days, the baby may insist on feeding continuously, simply because he/she enjoys it and breastfeeding is very comforting for him/her. It could also happen if the baby is trying to increase the supply of milk. If this activity is a change from his/her normal feeding pattern, it may return to normal in a day or two. Make sure that you position the baby properly and let him/her feed on demand.
This happens because the baby is sucking your nipple and not the breast as a result of bad positioning. Dislodge the baby by inserting your finger gently into his/her mouth to break the grip. Reposition your breast, so that the breast and not just the nipple go inside the baby’s mouth. Try different positions. Express milk and rub it on the nipples as this will help in healing. Use the less sore side to feed the baby.
Thrush That Doesn’t Heal
White marks or sore nipples that don’t seem to heal are known as thrush. It can appear when either you or the baby have taken a course of antibiotics or may appear without any particular reason. Both of you may have to take oral medication or use anti-fungal cream.
Flat Nipples/Lumpy, Hard & Full Breasts
Primary engorgement takes place when milk first 'fills in' on the third or fourth day. Secondary engorgement takes place when the baby reduces the number of feeds he/she takes, maybe because he/she has started sleeping for longer hours at night. If this is the case, your body will reduce the amount of milk it is producing. Feed the baby more often to reduce engorgement. If baby is unable to latch on properly, express some milk to help him/her do so. Wear warm flannel clothing to ensure milk flow or have a warm shower before feeding to ensure the same. Using chilled cabbage leaves inside your bra can reduce the swelling.
Lumps In The Breast
Free movement of milk is stopped because of a block in some duct of the breast. This can happen because you have slept in a wrong position, sat for a few hours with the seat belt across your breast or a tight bra. Massaging the area or using warm compress on the area will help the lump to dissolve. If possible, position the baby in such a way that his/her jaw is near the lump, so he/she can feed and help in dissolving the lump. Feed from the sore side, if it doesn't work express milk from the breast.
Inflamed, Red Areas On The Breast
Inflamed, read areas on the breast along with flu symptoms like temperature, aches, sore breast that is full; this condition is known as Mastitis, which is an inflammation of the breast when milk leaks into the breast tissue. Rest as much as possible, but continue to feed the baby, starting with the sore side. Use of warm and cold compress will reduce the swelling. If there is no improvement, go to your doctor, who will probably prescribe painkillers or a course of antibiotics.
Baby Refuses To Be Fed From The Breast
There could be a number of reasons for this: