Breastfeeding is not always easy. Many moms have to deal with lots of different challenges along their nursing journeys. In this guide, we’ll cover some of the most common of these challenges, offering solutions that you can employ to fix each one.
Here are some common breastfeeding problems and how to solve them:
1. Latching pain
Problem: While it is normal to feel a bit of pain the first time you breastfeed, if the pain lasts longer than a few seconds, there is likely a problem with your baby’s latch.
Solution: Ensure that your baby is taking in part of your areola as well as your nipple as they breastfeed. Try having their mouth cover more of your areola below the nipple than above.
2. Low milk supply
Problem: Low milk supply can occur because of a large number of reasons. Consult your doctor to determine the cause.
Solution: Breastfeed as often as you can and pump frequently during the day. Stay hydrated as well.
Problem: Engorgement occurs when your breasts become overly full. They may feel hard, tight, and painful.
Solution: Hand express before nursing to get the milk flowing. Also, consider breastfeeding more frequently to ease the buildup.
4. Clogged ducts
Problem: Clogged ducts can occur when your breasts become too full for too long or when you go too long between feeds. There will be a hard lump on your breast, and you may experience some soreness or reddening of the skin.
Solution: Get lots of rest. Try feeding your baby from the affected breast more until the clog clears. You can also apply a warm compress to your breasts and massage them to break the blockage.
Problem: Mastitis is a bacterial infection that presents itself as a worse form of clogged ducts. You may notice pain in your breasts as well as flu-like symptoms or fevers. Mastitis can also occur as a result of other breastfeeding problems like engorgement or cracked nipples leading to a bacterial infection.
Solution: The only way to treat mastitis is with antibiotics. As you take your antibiotics, try to empty your breasts as often as you can.
6. Cracked nipples
Problem: Cracked nipples can occur as a result of several different things: poor latching, improper pumping, dry skin, or thrush.
Solution: Make sure your baby has a deep, proper latch. If your baby is latching properly and you are experiencing cracked nipples, moisten your nipples with ointment or breast milk after every nursing session to soothe them. To prevent bacteria build-up, wash your cracked nipples twice a day with soap and water.
7. Baby sleeps at the breast
Problem: Sleeping at the breast is common in the early weeks because newborns tend to spend most of their time sleeping. However, it may also indicate that your baby is not getting enough milk from the breast to keep them engaged.
Solution: Start feeding your baby from the fuller breast first. You can also stimulate them by tickling their feet or burping them as you feed them.
8. Baby is constantly nursing
Problem: Your baby may be feeding more frequently, a process called cluster feeding, right before certain milestones or rapid weight gain.
Solution: This may not actually be a problem. As long as your baby is gaining weight well, pooping as expected, and your nipples are not sore, there is nothing to worry about. If there are any problems with their weight gain despite constantly nursing, consult your pediatrician.
9. Baby spits up after every feeding
Problem: Your baby spits up almost every time they feed.
Solution: Babies spitting up is normal. If you have an overactive letdown, your baby may be getting too much milk and only getting rid of what they do not need. If they are spitting up but not distressed and gaining weight well, there is nothing to worry about. However, if they are spitting up a lot, vomiting forcefully, miserable or crying while they do it, or if they are not gaining weight properly, consult your pediatrician.
That completes our list of common breastfeeding problems and their solutions. If you are still having problems, consult your healthcare provider. They will provide personalized advice that is unique to your situation.