After all the terror in the labor room, the second terror in every mothers thought process is LACTATION. Every mother faces some or the other challenges during this phase of life and feels helpless if she doesn’t have any experience.
So what do you do in such a case?
Here are some quick fixes for the common breastfeeding problems-
Since it’s new to both the mother and the baby, for the initial few hours or even days you may have to express milk in a cup or syringe until the baby finds the right way to suck milk.
• The best way to deal is “SKIN TO SKIN”, try to expose your upper half and baby’s upper half with the minimal clothing and get yourself comfortable in a reclining position by resting your baby on the chest.
• Check if baby’s mouth covers a larger area of the aerola below the nipple than above.
• To confirm if the baby has latched properly check the position of his chin and nose, it should ideally touch the breast, mouth wide open, no pain, while he sucks, will assure you that things are in the right direction.
There can be multiple reasons for cracked nipples but the most common is improper latching of the baby, dry skin, improper pumping can also lead to latching issues.
• Check the latching solutions first and make sure the baby is in the right position.
• Try to start feeding with the breast that’s least affected.
• Avoid cleaning with soaps, alcohol-based cleaning agents, lotions etc. Instead, clean it with normal fresh water. You can even try letting some milk be there on the areola and allow it to air dry as that can help your cracked nipples heal.
• If the above tips don’t help there could be a problem with baby’s mouth anatomy, i.e – he may have a tight frenulum that is restricting the movement of his tongue and restricting the latch.
• Or it can be possible that you are suffering from an underlying infection on your nipple which needs a treatment.
This happens when the milk production in the breast area does not drain off properly. This happens when breastfeeding is not done at right intervals or if the baby has a poor sucking reflex. Another reason can be because of pressure created by wearing a tight bra.
• Frequent feeding from the affected breast can help. If possible place the kid in such a way that his chin point towards the lump.
• Gently massage the area in the direction of the nipples.
• If the production is excess make sure that you express the remaining milk to avoid lumps.
Excess Milk Supply
Excess milk flow makes latching difficult for the baby. Your breast may feel very hard, tight and painful. This happens more frequently during initial days when the body is getting used to the baby’s requirement for milk or when the baby is older and not feeding frequently.
If there is excess flow for a long time, it can cause milk duct block. In such situations, you may find a tender lump in your breast.
• Try to express milk by hand pressing, this will soften the breast and make latching easier.
• Make sure that you feed your child at right intervals.
It is a bacterial infection which may show symptoms like fever and extreme pain in your breast. It happens mainly because of cracked skin, clogged milk ducts or engorgement of the breast.
• Antibiotics are the primary way of dealing with these infections.
• Hot compression and emptying of the breast can also help to improve the situation.
The important part is that even in that condition you can continue to breastfeed your baby.
This too is an infection but it is caused because of yeast; this can even spread to your breast. It can lead to soreness, rashes, and itching.
Antifungal medicine will work the best, you have to apply it on your nipple and baby’s mouth too.
Low milk flow
You may feel that the supply is less in the initial days but once you start feeding the child regularly will stimulate the production of milk.
• Start having foods which will help you increase your milk production, “galactagogues” which are called. Few of them for your reference – Fenugreeks leaves, garlic, ginger, ragi, garden cress seeds, spinach, nuts, fish, oilseeds.
• Increase the frequency of feeds
• Alternate between breast
• Have more fluids.
• Remain stress-free.
Baby sleeps while taking feeds
Baby is sleepy in the initial months as there are a lot of changes happening around him and falling asleep is very common. Baby will start staying awake once it grows up a little.
• Start feeding the child from the fuller breast and switch the breast sooner rather than doing it at the end.
• If the baby is sucking slowly remove him from feeds and stimulate him to burp, to add some fun you can even tickle his feet or rub his back.
• Changing the breast can also make a difference.
Inverted/ Flat nipples
You may be wondering how to identify if you have that problem and if that’s the reason to affect your milk flow, isn’t it? Here is a simple method which can help you identify –
Grab your areola using your fingers, preferably your thumb and first finger and check how your nipple reacts. If it retracts instead of protruding out, oops then there is some problem which can lead to difficulties with feeding.
• Try using nipple shields if there are latching problems
• Use a milk evacuation pump for the initial extraction, you can even use breast shells between the feed.
Don’t forget breast milk is really important for the baby, therefore its important to keep feeding your child, sadly with the difficulties that you’re going through.
Her fitness mantra is “do not start with a diet that has an expiration date, instead, focus on a healthy lifestyle that will last forever”. Disti has completed post graduation in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics. She is also a certified Diabetes Educator.
She is keen on bringing together her acquired knowledge on nutrition and other health aspects with people’s goals to achieve a healthy life. For her fitness is not being better than someone else; it’s about being better than who we used to be. “We don’t have to be great to start, but we have to start to be great”. So give your best!
She can be reached at email@example.com for any consults.