Last week on the blog, I mentioned a few things to be aware of if you’re thinking about breastfeeding. Carrying on with some useful advice, it’s time to move on to looking at a few problems that you may come across, and how to deal with these.
Your breasts are huge and hard – When your baby is first born and you feed them, they are actually drinking something called colostrum: a type of ‘pre-milk’ that’s packed with antibodies. About two to five days after the birth, you will find that your milk starts to ‘come in’, and your breasts will swell up and feel quite hard. This will go away fairly quickly, especially if your baby feeds, but a cool, damp flannel will help any feelings of discomfort.
It hurts to breastfeed – A lot of people may tell you that “If it hurts, you’re doing it wrong”. While this may make you feel rather upset, it’s worth speaking to your midwife or friends & family to see if there’s anything you can do to change your baby’s latch. However, it may be that your nipples are just generally a little sore, and this will get better with time. Also, some mums will have a problem with what is called the ‘letdown’, which is when your milk starts flowing. Just take some deep breaths and this will pass. That said, whatever you think may be causing the pain, speak to someone who knows their stuff as it could be a more serious problem.
You don’t have a routine – At first, you won’t! Breastmilk is digested much quicker than formula, so your baby will feed much more often than one that is fed with formula. The best thing to do is simply to feed on-demand, and try not to over-think how often your baby is feeding. The signals that your baby is hungry include lip-licking, finger-sucking or looking for a nipple, as well as crying. Just remember that feeding frequently in the first few weeks is normal, and it will actually help to build up your milk supply.
Your baby isn’t gaining enough weight – It’s important to remember that breastfed babies are, in fact, leaner than formula-fed babies. They also tend to grow more slowly. Your health professional should take this into account when weighing your baby, but if you do have any worries then be sure to mention these to them. If there are no other medical problems and your latch is correct, then they may suggest that you ‘top up’ with formula, but be aware that this can reduce your own milk supply. Instead, another option is to spend lots of time sharing skin-to-skin contact with your baby, as this will stimulate them to feed and boost your milk supply.
These are just a few breastfeeding problems that may occur, but if you find that you’re in need of some help and advice, it always pays to speak to your friends, family and, most importantly, your doctor or midwife. Another great place for information and advice is the Mumsnet forums. There, you can chat with other parents and get lots of friendly tips and advice.
On the other hand, you can leave us a comment below or chat to us on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ and chat to other Daisy Baby fans!