12 Breastfeeding Solutions to Common Problemsby Dianna Graveman
The decision to breastfeed your baby is a personal one. But even the most determined and confident new mother may experience some difficulties along the way. Below are twelve common problems you may encounter and some solutions to deal with them.
1. Low milk supply: Many women worry they are not supplying enough milk for their babies, but often that fear is unfounded. If you suspect you have a hormonal imbalance or other health issue, see your health care provider. Otherwise, consider letting your baby nurse when she is hungry for as long as she wants to (if possible, giving your work conditions). Encourage her to nurse at one breast until it is empty before nursing at your other breast. Try to avoid giving your baby a bottle in between nursings. You can also try expressing any leftover milk after nursing so that your breasts are emptied each time and will continue to produce more milk.
2. Blocked ducts: Make sure your baby firmly latches on so that milk flows smoothly. Try warm compresses on your breasts, taking warm baths, or giving your breasts a gentle massage. Vary the positions in which you hold your baby to feed. If you don't get relief or if you begin to experience other symptoms, consult your health care provider. He or she may also suggest you try using ibuprofen for the pain.
3. Cracked or sore nipples: Try lanolin on your breasts, instead of lotion, which will allow the sore area to heal without forming a scab. Use only plain water until your nipples heal.
4. Too much milk: An overabundance of breast milk is rare. If necessary, express a little bit of milk before you nurse to slow down the flow and make it easier for the baby to latch on.
5. Leaky breasts: Purchase breast pads to wear inside your bra, and carry dry extras with you. Patterned blouses may help hide the occasional leak; carry an extra top with you to change. You may be able to stop a leak when you feel your milk let down in public by discretely pressing down on your breasts with crossed arms.
6. Thrush: You may have thrush if your nipples are sore and have shiny, reddish skin with white areas. You may experience pain that lasts for up to an hour after nursing, itchy or sensitive skin, or a burning sensation. If you have thrush, your doctor will usually provide an antifungal medication.
7. Engorged breasts: Remember to wear a supportive bra at all times. If possible, feed your baby whenever he wants. Make sure your baby is latching on firmly at each feeding, and don't cut down on your own intake of fluids. It won't help and can have adverse affects on your milk production and your health.
8. Mastitis: If you breasts are hard, sore, and feel extra warm to the touch, you may have mastitis. This condition can also cause chills, fever, and exhaustion. Your doctor will probably provide an antibiotic. Warm compresses and baths can help.
9. Toxins: Reduce the amount of toxins in your breast milk by eating a balanced diet, buying organically grown foods (washing and peeling them before eating or cooking), trimming fat from meat before cooking, eating low-fat dairy products, and eating limited amounts of fish (two portions per week). Avoid shark, swordfish, marlin, liver, or fish liver oil supplements.
10. Reluctant Baby: If your baby does not seem to want to breastfeed, it may be because she is not latching on properly and isn't getting enough to eat when she nurses. It is also possible your baby could have thrush (a sore mouth), an ear infection, a head cold, or has begun teething. Consult your health care provider for additional support or inquire about a support group or the assistance of a breastfeeding specialist. In the meantime, try to keep disruptions to a minimum by nursing in a quiet, dimly lit room. Try breastfeeding when your baby is sleepy and less interested in her environment. Rocking or walking with your baby may help, too.
11. Biting Baby: When your older baby begins to get teeth, he may bite while breastfeeding for various reasons, including curiosity or distraction. If this happens, calmly say the word, "No," and separate your baby from your breast. Hopefully, he will realize the bite caused the separation, especially after a few times, and not repeat the behavior. Learn to recognize when your baby is finished feeding, and remove him from your breast if he is falling asleep.
12. Criticism: You may be able to avoid some unwanted advice and criticism by being discrete while feeding your baby in public. Cover your breast with a blanket over the shoulder or find a quiet space apart from the crowd. When others offer unsolicited opinions, remind yourself--and others, if you are comfortable doing so--that you have made the choice that you feel is best for you and your baby.
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