Nursing Problems and Solutions
Breastfeeding can be a bittersweet experience in the first few weeks. On one hand you want to nourish your newborn with the best food nature has to offer, on the other hand, you are facing a multitude of difficulty when feeding. Here are some problems you may be facing when trying to breastfeed and their possible solutions as advocated by experts.
Delayed Milk Supply
After delivery your milk may not come right away. The first milk that your breast produces is a thick, yellow liquid called colostrum. Once the baby has been delivered and your placenta is out, your body quickly prepares itself to produce milk to nourish the little one. However, it will take at least a day or two for your milk to come in fully.
Solution: Talk with your doctor if the medications you are taking to heal from delivery may be delaying your milk supply. Try not to stress on the first day and give up on breastfeeding before your milk supply comes in. Breastfeeding requires patience but can be infinitely rewarding once you get the hang of it.
Once your milk comes in, you may be facing a whole new problem: engorged breasts. This may occur in two or three days after delivery once milk comes in and your body is full on producing milk to nourish your newborn. Your breasts will feel engorged and hard to touch. Engorged breasts can lead to other problems like lower milk supply in the long run. It is important to address an engorged breast problem right away to avoid future struggles.
Solution: Feed your newborn often and with the proper deep latch, making the baby open mouth wide before attaching to the breast. Change sides frequently to avoid engorgement in any one of the breasts. If breasts feel engorged even after feeding, massage your breasts and run them under hot water before pumping to release the milk. This can provide you relief and also help you to stock up on pumped breast milk if you plan to join work later.
Clogged ducts from milk may be a result of over supply, a shallow latch or a number of other reasons. If left untreated plugged ducts can become infected and lead to mastitis, an infection in the breast which requires immediate medical attention.
Solution: Massage the breasts and run under hot water to soften the ducts. Feed the baby often and as many times as required even if it means keeping the baby on the breast for hours in a row. Ensure a deep latch by allowing the baby to wide open their mouth. If plugged ducts don’t resolve, your breasts start to hurt and you have a fever, seek immediate attention from a doctor as it can be mastitis. The doctor may give you antibiotics to treat the infection and in some cases surgery is required to relieve the plugged ducts.
In the first few days your nipples may crack and hurt severely. The main reason behind it is a shallow latch which puts pressure on your nipples making it painful to breastfeed. Your nipples may even start to bleed from the cracks. It is important to know that this is not normal and proper breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt.
Solution: You may want to visit a lactation consultant near you to learn how to attach baby properly to the breast with a deep latch that will not hurt your nipples. Babies are supposed to take a large part of the breast inside their mouth and not bite the nipple at all. If your nipples are severely cracked, try feeding baby from the other breast. Apply medical ointment to fasten the healing process.
Low Milk Supply
You may feel that your milk supply is not enough. But know that proper milk supply doesn’t mean your breasts will feel engorged all the time. Most often, breastfeeding on demand leads to just the right amount of milk supply as your body develops a unique sense of exactly how much milk your baby needs.
Solution: To get your milk supply on track, feed the baby often and as many times as they want. As per World Health Organization, newborns up till the age of six months are recommended to breastfeed and continue breastfeeding for at least two years or more. Take some time off from other works and focus on you and the baby for some days to build your milk supply up. Feed the baby all day and night if necessary while you stay nourished with healthy fruits, vegetables, proteins and whole grains.