Five Breastfeeding Challenges You Can Conquer
More women are coming forward to share their personal experiences and struggles with breastfeeding. At Rainbow Pediatrics, we believe that breastfeeding is the best way to nourish a growing baby. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend that infants be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of their life. We recognize that this recommendation can come with challenges and want to help our moms succeed. Here are the top five concerns new moms have when breastfeeding and how to overcome them.
- Problems with latching on or sucking – The way that a baby latches onto the breast to feed impacts how much milk they can remove while feeding. It is common to have issues with latching on initially. However, if the problem doesn’t go away, help is needed. A good latch occurs when the baby takes both the nipple and the areola into their mouth. You can help your baby achieve a good latch by compressing your breast at the areola. A good latch is made when the baby’s chin and top of their nose are touching the breast, and their lips are flanged like a fish.
- Going back to work – Returning to work after having a baby can create a lot of mixed emotions. It is essential to develop a plan for continuing breastfeeding while also pumping while at work. Many workplaces have dedicated spaces for pumping. Here are a few tips to help make the process a little easier:
- Purchase a modern breast pump to make the process efficient and reliable.
- Pump whenever you usually breastfeed to maintain your milk supply, avoid engorgement, and reduce the risk of blocked ducts.
- Prepare a pumping supply kit to include your pump, storage bags, and a cooler bag for milk storage.
- Clogged milk ducts – Clogged milk ducts happen and can be quite uncomfortable. Thankfully, they are relatively easy to resolve. Breasts with a clogged duct will often be a little red and may feel sore or tender to the touch. You will also notice a small hard lump in the breast near the skin. Clogged milk ducts can happen for various reasons, including poor latch or suck, skipping feeding or pumping, and wearing too-tight clothing that restricts the flow of milk. Address clogged ducts by nursing frequently, as this can help get rid of the clog. Warm compresses on the affected breast before each feeding can also help get the milk flowing. Gentle massage can also help! If it does not resolve after a few days, contact your healthcare provider.
- Low milk supply – Your infant regulates your milk supply. Therefore, frequent and complete feedings that drain the breasts are critical for boosting milk production. If you can’t nurse, it is vital to pump whenever your baby usually eats. Issues like not eating the right foods or drinking enough water can also affect milk production. Additionally, supplementing with formula and using a pacifier can affect how frequently your baby is nursing. Pumping can help fill in any gaps in feedings.
- Mastitis – Mastitis most frequently occurs when a blocked duct doesn’t clear, but can also occur due to cracked nipples that introduce bacteria. Tender breasts and fever are signs that you may have mastitis. If left untreated, mastitis can lead to an infection. Depending on the severity, mastitis is treated with rest, fluids, antibiotics, massage, hot compresses, and frequent feedings to empty the breasts. It is important to continue breastfeeding to heal quickly – even if you have a breast infection. Breastmilk has antibacterial properties that protect the baby from infection.
Your success in breastfeeding is essential to us. If you have concerns, we are here to help address them. Want more information on breastfeeding? Give us a call to schedule an appointment today.