Breastfeeding is a beautiful and natural way to provide your baby with the nutrition they need to have the best start at life. While your baby is born with some instincts as to feeding, this doesn’t mean the breastfeeding process is painless (far from it, usually) or without its own pitfalls and hang-ups. But if you’ve got breastfeeding problems, the good news is, there is often a solution out there.
The Problem: Your Baby Won’t Latch
The Solution: The right latch is vital to breastfeeding success, but it can sometimes feel as elusive as the perfect pair of jeans. The solution is most often to go skin-to-skin with your baby, which stimulates their natural pull toward the breast. Take off your clothing from the waist up and leave baby in just their diaper. While in a reclining position, place your baby on your chest or stomach. Your baby will likely start doing the “breast crawl” toward your breast. You can then offer your breast to your baby, gently squeezing the breast like holding a sandwich. This will make your nipple protrude and can also express some milk, which will further stimulate your baby toward your breast.
If you try these tips and your baby still will not successfully latch, you may need to consider other feeding issues, such as inverted nipples or tongue-tie that keeps your baby from achieving the desired latch effect.
The Problem: It Hurts When Baby Latches On
The Solution: New moms can expect that latching on may uncomfortable as you and baby adjust to breastfeeding. However, feelings like “sensitivity” or “tender’ are normal at first, but pain isn’t. First, consider if your baby is latching onto enough of the breast. Signs that your baby’s latch is enough around the breast include the head is leaned back, chin is tucked into the breast, and nose is away from the breast. You may also want to consider applying an ointment after each feeding to reduce breast tenderness. Doctors will often prescribe an ointment that can be made at a compounding pharmacy that has an anti-fungal component to prevent breast infections. However, if you experience shooting pain in your breasts or your nipples are cracked or bleeding, these could be infection signs and warrant a trip to your doctor.
The Problem: Your Breasts Are Engorged
The Solution: Breast engorgement occurs when there is an excess of milk in your breasts. It can cause feelings of tightness and discomfort. Usually, having your baby feed will help this. However, if your breasts are very full, it’s tough for baby to get a good latch because your breasts are hard. Also, engorgement can result in a forceful let-down that may cause baby to gag and resist the breast. One way to reduce these effects is to hand-express milk or use a breast pump briefly before you feed your baby. This can reduce that initial forceful experience. As time goes on, your breasts should start to match production to your baby’s demand.
If our solutions still don’t prove the answer to your breastfeeding difficulties, contact your doctor or lactation consultant. Scheduling an appointment to discuss feeding at any age can help your baby have a better breastfeeding time – no matter what age or stage your baby is at.