Breastfeeding requires little to no effort for some mothers and babies, but it brings a set of new challenges for many others. Even experienced moms who have successfully breastfed multiple babies in the past may have a new baby who finds it difficult to breastfeed. It takes two to nurse, after all. Thankfully, there are several things you can do to prevent breastfeeding problems before they occur. Here are a few recommendations.
#Tummy to Tummy
Many breastfeeding problems can be prevented before they start with proper attention to good latch-on and positioning. In fact, this is often the number one, most important thing. Your baby should be facing you, tummy to tummy when he nurses. He should not be turning his head towards your breast.
Make sure you are also comfortable during nursing. Use plenty of comfortable nursing pillows if you need to, and learn how to nurse lying down in bed so you can get more rest. Poor latch-on can lead to pain and nipple damage. Be sure the baby is opening very wide and getting enough nipple and areola in his mouth. Don’t hunch up your shoulders.
#Pain is not normal
Pain in the nipples and breasts is not normal. It is somewhat common, but it shouldn’t happen. There is a difference between the initial soreness that occurs when the body gets used to a new activity and the pain that makes you cry.
The initial soreness should go away once the baby is latched on well and the milk begins to flow. It should also only last for a couple of weeks. If it’s worse than that, get help. It’s likely something very simple that is causing the problem, and sometimes just a minor adjustment brings about quick relief.
#Breast Fullness or Engorgement
Engorgement, or breast fullness, can be painful and, if not treated, can lead to infection. Engorgement is caused by congested blood vessels and milk buildup in the breast. The breasts feel swollen, hard to the touch, and painful. This fullness also leads to difficulties for your baby to feed since the milk is not letting down, which can be frustrating for both of you.
Try a warm bath or shower to overcome engorgement and express milk yourself to relieve the fullness. To avoid it, try feeding more often or pumping out milk. If difficulties in nursing cause it, try different breastfeeding positions and learn to relax.
Common Reasons Why New Moms Quit Breastfeeding
There is much debate about how long you should breastfeed your baby. This is a question every parent grapples with, and each individual will find their own answers, just as you will have your own individual reasons to stop breastfeeding. There are no hard and fast rules for how long you breastfeed your baby. Many women manage only a few days while others have continued until the child starts school. There is no set time limit, but there are a few things that you can consider when making your choice.
The majority of women plan to breastfeed for 3 to 6 months. However, you may find that you cannot continue for your target length of time, or you may continue much longer than you originally planned. This can depend a great deal on how your experience of breastfeeding unfolds. Some mothers take to it naturally, while others struggle through pain and exhaustion.
Some of the common reasons cited by women when they decide to stop breastfeeding are as follows:
#Health reasons: If the mother has an illness, she is worried about passing on or too weak to continue breastfeeding.
#Baby refuses to nurse: Sometimes, if the baby is not latching on appropriately, he will not get enough milk, and in this case, it may be best to switch to formula.
#The mother does not like it: While this may seem selfish, many women are put off breastfeeding due to the sensations and if the mother forces herself to continue, then there is a danger of resentment towards the baby.
#It is time-consuming: Breastfeeding takes a long time. If a baby spends 30 minutes feeding every few hours, then the time spent breastfeeding soon adds up. This can be impractical if the mother is returning to work or has other children requiring attention.
#Anxiety over nutrition: New moms often worry that the baby is not getting enough food and begin to worry about what they eat if it gets into the breast milk.
#Pain: Breastfeeding often results in sore nipples. While they do tend to toughen up, eventually, for some women, the pain never stops. If the baby is teething, there is the added pain of biting!
Tips for Surviving the First Month of Breastfeeding
Most new moms quit breastfeeding in the first few weeks after childbirth. If you’re also one of them, follow the tips given below to survive the first month of breastfeeding:
- Start breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
- Have skin-to-skin contact with your baby
- Consider co-sleeping
- Always aim for a good, deep latch.
- Eat well and drink a lot.
- Don’t be afraid of cluster feedings
- Avoid caffeinated food and drinks during the entire lactation period.
- Breastfeed on demand
- Avoid breastfeeding in too tight and uncomfortable clothes. Instead, wear loose, comfortable nursing clothes with easy breast access.
- Avoid using bottles, nipples, and pacifiers in the initial months of breastfeeding.
- Steer clear of negative people who discourage you from breastfeeding. Instead, stay with positive people who support your breastfeeding efforts.
- Get as much knowledge as possible about breastfeeding. Take breastfeeding classes, consult a lactation expert, discuss with other breastfeeding moms, read blogs and books, join a local group, and do whatever you can to enhance your breastfeeding knowledge.
Interesting Things You Might Not Know About Breastfeeding
There are many things that no one would tell you about breastfeeding. Some of them are mentioned below:
- Breastfeeding in public is legal—all you need to use non-transparent nursing covers to maintain your privacy.
- An improper breastfeeding latch hurts.
- Breastfeeding burns about 400-500 calories a day.
- Having bigger breasts doesn’t mean more milk.
- Breast milk changes color and flavor.
- Breastfeeding reduces the risk of various cancers in moms.
- Breastfeeding saves you a lot of money as you don’t have to purchase formula milk, breast pump, and other feeding supplies.