If you have just welcomed a new little one or are expecting a new addition soon and are planning on breastfeeding, then you may have some concerns about the common issues that can arise. This blog focuses on some of the problems that many nursing mothers face and the highly recommended solutions accompanying them.
Overall, when done right breastfeeding should be a comfortable, comforting and a wonderful bonding experience. In fact, the two major causes of sore nipples and latching pain comes either from an already existing abrasion, or improper positioning and latch of the baby. Sore nipples can lead to a breast infection, so getting a good latch is something very much worth spending time on. Your nipple should always look the same way going in as it does coming out; round and long, not flat or compressed.
You ideally want to direct your nipple downwards towards the baby's throat, as an upward angle is what often leads to pain. Your baby should have a large portion of the lower part of the areola (the dark skin around your nipple) in her mouth when they feed, with your nipple against the roof of her mouth, cupped gently underneath by her tongue. You can pull down on their chin to unhinge an infant's jaw and widen their mouth as a good way of ensuring their lips are not turned under. If you do notice them biting, see that their cheeks are caving in (i.e. they're sucking their tongue) or hear them gulping air, the best thing is just to remove your baby from the breast and try to re-latch. If you are still experiencing discomfort or need some more guidance your midwife, health visitor or a lactation consultant will be able to help.
If you are already suffering from sore or cracked nipples then you may like to try Lansinoh's nipple soothing cream or organic nipple balm. These natural remedies don't even need to be wiped off before you feed your baby again
If you are already suffering from sore or cracked nipples then you may like to try Lansinoh's soothing nipple cream or organic nipple balm. These natural remedies don't even need to be wiped off before you feed baby again.
We're fairly certain this is the go-to, imagined concern by those less knowledgeable about nursing, but it is indeed a real possibility. Even when it feels like there's a good supply, you can have that nagging feeling that your baby is not getting enough. The best way to know the flow is to check your little one's weight and growth. If they are gaining approximately one ounce a day during the first months, then they should be getting enough nourishment, but you can always use other measures like the number of wet or soiled nappies, their overall mood after feeding, and of course you can always check with your doctor.
There are a number of ways to help stimulate milk supply and to ensure it's being used to its best. Feeding frequently, in shorter bursts preferably, will improve not only the volume of intake but the milk's quality too in terms of calorific benefit, it’s all about supply and demand. A newborn only has a tiny stomach and so feeding frequently will help your supply, the more you feed the more your body will produce. You should only switch breasts when your baby has had their fill of one, ensure that they're actually swallowing rather than just sucking and limiting or even stopping dummy use can also help things out. Alcohol has also been proven to reduce the volume of milk, so it’s a good idea to avoid it.
It's a given that breasts will become a fair bit bigger and heavier when they begin making more and more milk, but sometimes they can get hard and very painful. Other undesirables, like swelling, tenderness, worrying warmth, reddening, throbbing and flattening of the nipple are all symptoms of engorgement - the result of your breast milk coming in or building up. It's a regular occurrence between days three and five after birth, but it can happen after this time also (particularly if milk isn't being removed due to a missed or skipped feed), or if you're using a breast pump too frequently.
Often confused with an infection, aside from just being uncomfortable, it can make latching more difficult. Applying cold compresses can decrease the swelling, whilst a warm shower or washcloth are recommended before nursing to stimulate letdown which will help to ease the engorgement and make feeding a little easier. You could use a breast pump to express away a little milk to help alleviate the discomfort before you feed. Breastfeeding frequently is the best solution and you should also make sure you are not becoming sleep deprived and the swelling and pain should subside.
This is a breast infection, often referred to as puerperal mastitis by doctors, it can be caused by bacteria entering the breast through an open sore on the nipple or other area, or by a plugged duct (due to a build up of milk) becoming an infected area. The breast can become inflamed and painful, and is usually accompanied by a flu-like fever.
The most important thing to do is to carry on breastfeeding. If you stop, it is likely to make the blockage and the symptoms worse. Medical attention is necessary to treat Mastitis, so you should consult a GP as soon as you think you may have some or all of the symptoms. The diagnosing process usually involves demonstrating your breastfeeding technique; something you should not feel uncomfortable about doing. Mastitis is easily treated with antibiotics with a quick recovery time. You may find a warm flannel, bath or shower will help or you could also try gently massaging the affected area if it's not too painful.
Even after months of successful breastfeeding, you may find your baby refusing the milk. This 'nursing strike' is their little way of letting you know something is wrong, and shouldn't be taken as a rushed sign that they're ready to wean. Figuring out a case of nursing strike is tough as all babies will be different - some may just be fussy - and the causes can be so subtle you might have trouble remedying the situation.
Common causes for nursing strike include painful infections in the baby's ear or mouth, teething, an injury on their body, stressful changes to their usual routine, a blocked or stuffy nose or they may have a change in preference after bottle supplementation. Just as with a lacking milk supply, the signs can be seen in your baby's weight and dirty nappies. Nursing strikes are often temporary and there are various the solutions you could try ranging from regularising your nursing schedule, nursing in a dimmed or quieter room, nursing when baby is sleepy or just waking up, having lots of skin to skin contact and generally doing what you can to make breastfeeding a more comforting and peaceful activity for both of you.
What were some of the major breastfeeding concerns you've had, and how were you able to overcome them? Particularly if you're in need of some sound advice, let us know in the comments, and don't forget to share your concerns with us on our Facebook page. In the meantime you may like to take a look at our extensive range of breastfeeding products here.