Feeding your newborn is one of the most critical aspects of caring for a baby. Whether you formula feed or breastfeed, without the nutrition provided from you, your child will not be able to thrive. For breastfeeding mothers, there are a variety of issues and conditions that can negatively impact your ability to breastfeed your baby. Below you will find some brief information on common breastfeeding issues you may encounter on your journey.
There are a ton of reasons a mother may develop cracked nipples which is one of the reasons it made our list of common breastfeeding issues. The presence of cracked nipples can create severe pain during nursing sessions and may not be readily apparent. If your nipples appear dry, bleed, or are visibly cracked, your nipples may need time to heal. One of the ways you can help speed up the process is through the use of a nipple cream like the one made by Motherlove. You may also try shorter feeding sessions that are more frequent to reduce the sucking force your child uses.
One of the most common breastfeeding issues for new mothers (especially in the early days) is not producing large volumes of breastmilk. Unfortunately, this issue is one that is often incorrectly self-diagnosed. In many cases, mom’s assume their supply is low because their breasts are not as full or they aren’t leaking milk. Breastmilk production is a supply and demand process so your body will adjust to meet the needs of your child. However, if you believe you may be experiencing a low supply, don’t hesitate to speak with your pediatrician or seek out the help of CLC or IBCLC.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is engorgement which typically occurs due to the breasts not being emptied frequently enough. While it may seem like the correct course of action to achieve relief but pumping more frequently may make the problem worse. Instead, try hand pumping or expressing between feeds or making sure that baby is emptying one breast before offering the other and try to alternate breasts at each feeding. You may also find relief from a cold compress or moist warmth for a few minutes before feeding.
Since it is a result of many of the other common breastfeeding issues mentioned above, mastitis is a potentially scary bacterial infection. Mothers with mastitis typically exhibit flu-like symptoms and should treat the infection with antibiotics. If left untreated, mastitis can lead to serious complications such as a breast abscess. If you believe you may have mastitis, you should see a doctor as soon as possible to receive treatment.