For some Mamas, breastfeeding comes so naturally. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle which has been already finished for you. For others, it can take more time, more help and more adjusting to make all the pieces fit together.
Below are some common challenges and a few of our favourite tips to help make both yours and your babies breastfeeding journey a relaxed one.
LATCHING PROBLEMS - If your baby isn’t latching correctly it can cause all sorts of issues such as cracked nipples, weight loss in your baby, blocked ducts and an irritable fussy baby.
Helpful tips -
- Strip yourself and baby off, let your little one use the power of skin to skin to naturally find your nipple and attach themselves.
- Make sure your baby is awake for feeds as if they are sleepy their attention to their latch won’t be as good.
- If you have inverted nipples, try pumping briefly before a feed to bring the nipple out which will, in turn, help your baby get a correct latch.
- Engorged breasts can also affect a latch. You can express a little milk out prior to a feed to soften the breast making it easier for your little one to get their mouth around.
- Have a lactation consultant or doctor check that your baby doesn’t suffer from a tongue or lip tie. This can be easily fixed but can really affect your babies ability to feed.
SORE CRACKED NIPPLES - This can be incredibly painful. You will hear hundreds of times, “if it hurts remove and attach bubs again because it’s not meant to hurt”. This is true. If your little one isn't attached properly this can lead to sore cracked nipples. Keep in mind in the beginning, this is new to your nipples. The initial pain should wear off as you and bubs both become more established at breastfeeding. If you don't find this is the case, always seek professional help.
Helpful tips -
- Make sure your baby has a good latch. If you are unsure of how to get this or even what a good latch should look like and you have already left the hospital, your lactation consultants or maternal health nurses are the perfect people to consult.
- Change positions when feeding. Feeding sitting up baby across your chest is only 1 way to feed. Try mixing up your positions as this may help with your little one's attachment.
- Gels Pads and nipple creams can help. There are plenty of creams you can purchase which are perfectly safe for bubs to feed with. Your local pharmacist will be able to point you in the right direction.
- Count to ten and wriggle your toes. We know this sounds so simple but it is incredible how sometimes you just need to get through the initial new attaching feeling and then it should ease off.
LOW MILK SUPPLY - During the duration of breastfeeding your milk supply can change based on your babies demand and need for milk. You may get to a stage where you feel like your little one just isn’t getting enough milk. It is always a good idea to take your bub to get checked out and make sure they are gaining weight as this is a great indicator of your milk supply. If you do need to boost your supply there are plenty of ways to do so.
Helpful tips -
- Make sure your baby is latching properly to the breast. This can affect the amount of milk they can take during their feeds.
- Nurse frequently until your little one is no longer actively feeding
- Consume Galactagogue promoting herbs. These herbs help increase breastmilk supply. Our MAMA'S MILK blend is full of these incredible herbs to boost and maintain a healthy supply.
- Offer both breasts during the feed. Feed one side until your baby is no longer actively feeding and then switch sides.
MASTITIS - This can occur from a blocked milk duct or via an infection passed through a cracked nipple. Mastitis is an infection which causes soreness and lumps in your breast and can cause you flu-like symptoms of aching and feeling run down. Whilst infected you may also experience vomiting, nausea and it can leave your breast feeling hot to touch in the affected area. Sometimes these infections can fix themselves within 24 - 48 hours and in other cases, they need medication depending on the severity. At the first sign you feel these symptoms, or think you may have an infection, please do not try to be a tough warrior Mama, go and get checked out right away. Mastitis is something you don't want to leave too long to tend to!
Helpful tips -
- Take a visit to your doctor to get checked out
- Feed often on the affected breast, this will help the milk flow
- Massage the breast or lump with the palm of your hand in a downwards motion whilst under the warm shower
- Do not wear tight bras such as a sports crop top. Wear supportive looser fitting bras and tops.
- Get plenty of rest. The more rest you get, the quicker your body will have a chance to recover. We know this is hard with a little one but accepting help from others may be the difference between needing medication or not.
- Make an appointment with your doctor to get checked out.
These are just a few common problems some Mamas run into during breastfeeding. If you are having any problems with breastfeeding, your maternal health nurse will be able to point you in the right direction to find many helpful services. You never need to feel alone in this journey, there is so much help out there if you feel your baby is not feeding properly or you are struggling with breastfeeding. Sometimes all we need is a few little reminders or hints to get everything back on track.
Always remember that even on the hardest days, you’ve got this Mama!
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