Breastfeeding is a beautiful journey between the mother and baby. But it does come with a lot of potential problems. Not every mother’s milk starts coming in easily the second they have a baby. For some, it starts way before that. Others may have to struggle for a decent supply.
If you’re an expectant mother or know someone who is, reading up on some breastfeeding problems might help to prepare for the baby’s arrival. We’ll be talking about some of these below, along with their possible solutions:
1. Swollen Breasts
Problem: Breast becomes hard, resulting in pain even when you’re not breastfeeding. This is more of an issue with first-time mothers.
Solution: Getting into a feeding pattern with the baby can help to manage the milk supply. The pain should fade within 48 hours. In the meantime, use warm compresses before feeding and cold compress afterward. Massage the breasts while nursing, switch positions often, invest in a well-fitted nursing bra, and try pressing by hand to relieve the tightness.
2. Sore Nipples
Problem: Constant nursing can take a toll on your nipples, especially in the first couple of months. The soreness can lead to a tingling or outright pain in the first half minute of nursing.
If the reason for sore nipples is trauma from the baby’s latching, the situation will likely get worse as the breastfeeding session goes on. If the issue doesn’t resolve itself within a few weeks, the main problem might be a nipple injury bite. This could be because of poor latching, barracuda sucking, or a high setting on the breast pump.
Solution: Work on proper latching, nurse on the side without injury or soreness, and let the nipples air-dry after a feeding session. A lanolin ointment or cool compress on the nipples will also help.
3. Improper Latching
Problem: The baby is latching in a way that’s painful to the mother. They might be chewing the nipple, only sucking the nipple, or sucking on the wrong part of the breast.
Solution: Make sure the baby’s chin and nose tip are touching the breast, with the lips splayed out like a fish’s mouth. This will ensure that the milk ducts are compressed for starting milk flow.
Problem: Breast milk can leak when the mother hears a baby’s cries or even thinks about them.
Solution: The issue should resolve itself in around 6 weeks. In the meantime, nursing mothers can try nursing pads, wear dark colors, or apply some pressure to stop the flow.
Problem: It’s a breast tissue infection that results in redness, muscle pain, and fever. This is due to clogged milk ducts and the trapped milk getting infected with the baby’s mouth bacteria.
Solution: A prescription of antibiotics to fight the infection along with a continuation of breastfeeding even when taking medication. OTC painkillers and warm compresses on the affected area can help to soothe the pain.
Problem: A yeast infection can be transferred through the baby’s mouth. Signs include yellow or white patches in the baby’s mouth.
Solution: See a doctor and get a prescription for an antifungal gel or cream. Pills might be another possible solution. Also, consult the baby’s pediatrician for confirmation and get treatment for them.
7. Clogged Ducts
Problem: Milk backs up and produces a painful lump. If ignored, the duct can lead to an infection.
Solution: Keep breastfeeding to maintain flow and unclog the ducts. Massage while nursing and apply warm compresses before breastfeeding sessions. After the session, drain the breast by hand or with a pump.
Breastfeeding has a lot of perks but the obstacles are definitely there. Don’t let them weigh you down, though. Try the solutions above and consult a lactation expert if things get too tough!