You have just pushed a melon-sized human out of your body and now you have to brace yourself for the struggles of baby breastfeeding? Isn’t that unfair?, you must be thinking.
While motherhood is considered to be an exceptionally beautiful journey, it is also messy and challenging, and the early problems of baby breastfeeding like latching pain and cracked nipples are certainly top the list.
While you cannot just skip to the good part, you can, however, discover helpful breastfeeding solutions that will make your and your baby’s life easier.
Here are the top 7 breastfeeding problems that could cause you to wince at first, but later will make you believe that it’s going to be A-okay.
Problem #1: Latching Pain
An issue with the baby’s latch may result in weeks of sore and bruised nipples. But remember that it is a learning curve for both you and your baby, so hang on while you try the below solution.
Solution: The simple technique is to have your baby’s mouth cover more of your areola below the nipple than above. To do so, first, rub your nipple under your baby’s nose to encourage them to open a wide mouth. Next, place your baby such that their bottom lip is positioned well below the nipple. This will cause their chin to touch your breast and lips splayed out while they feed.
Problem #2: Cracked Nipples
Cracked nipples might be a little scary, but know that you are not unique to this experience. It is a common breastfeeding problem that can be caused by an improper latch, inadequate pumping, thrush, or dry skin.
Solution: Make sure that your baby has a deep latch to avoid rubbing your nipple along their hard palate. It is better to ask your doctor about the cause of your cracked nipples, but most mothers find nursing ointments, soothing gel pads, or a mild painkiller (before nursing) relieving.
Problem #3: Congested Ducts
Sometimes when your breasts are overly full or you have taken longer intervals between feedings, the milk ducts can become clogged, resulting in small, hard lumps with the surrounding area becoming red, tender, and swollen. If ignored, it may lead to a breast infection.
Solution: Have your baby feed on the affected side first until the milk is removed. Apply a warm compress to your breast and massage it. Take plenty of rest (ask your partner to help with parenting).
Problem #4: Low Milk Supply
Ideally, the more you breastfeed, the more milk your body will produce. But sometimes there isn’t enough milk supply to feed the baby. One of the reasons could be that you are stretching out the time between feeds, so your breasts would not be stimulated enough to produce more milk.
Solution: Don’t fret by thinking that your baby is not getting enough food and then compensate by introducing them to formula, supplements and solid food early on. Instead, try to breastfeed frequently and pump between feedings to help stimulate more milk production.
Problem #5: Engorgement
Engorgement is the formation of taut and fuller-looking breasts as a result of over-filled milk caused by its inadequate removal. This can be uncomfortable as even putting on a bra sometimes hurts.
Solution: Try hand-expressing a bit before feeding your baby to initiate the flow and using a warm compress to unstiffen the breasts. This will make it easier for your child to latch and access milk efficiently. And obviously, the more you breastfeed, the less likely your breasts will experience engorgement.
Problem #6: Inverted Nipples
If your nipples retract rather than protrude when you gently pinch the areola, then you might be suffering from inverted nipples.
Solution: Get latching assistance from a lactation consultant. What you can also do is pull your nipples out as much as possible before breastfeeding your baby. If that feels difficult, use nipple shields to help the nipples protrude more. Also, use a breast pump to get your milk flowing.
Problem #7: Excessive Breast Milk
An excessive supply of breast milk can cause discomfort due to blocked ducts, engorgement, mastitis (inflammation of the breasts), and hyperactive let-down reflex (fast outflow of breast milk) making your baby fussy and choke.
Solution: Try breastfeeding in a reclined position and let gravity do the work of slowing down the milk flow. You can use nursing pads to stay dry. Burp your baby frequently to make them feel less gassy.
During the breastfeeding phase, some moms might develop a love-hate relationship with their breasts. But hopefully, you are now all sorted with the commonest breastfeeding problems and solutions and will be able to tackle any motherhood challenges better.
Neha Divan is a toddler-mom who works as part of the content team at SuperBottoms, a baby product brand that develops innovative and sustainable products, like the No.1 best-selling reusable cloth diapers in India. She is passionate about empowering parents with her content to help make parenting a little easier and a lot more fun. Art & craft are her things and she also loves coming up with fun and healthy recipes for kids.