Post-delivery breastfeeding is another phase of a woman’s life. Though breastfeeding is natural and essential for both mother and baby, sometimes a mother faces difficulty. Low breast milk production may be an issue, difficult to hold the child and a mother not able to cope with her work responsibilities and looking for an option through which she can breastfeed are common issues. First, it is important for you to realise that you are not the only one. Numerous women face these issues and it is best that you consult specialists to address your apprehensions and issues.
Here are some common breastfeeding problems:
- Low or reduced milk supply:
It occurs at any time during breastfeeding. After C- section many mothers face delayed supply or no milk in the initial phase. Stress, medical interventions during delivery, breast surgery, inverted or flat nipple, and certain medications may contribute to this condition.
Solution: Scientific informational guidance during pregnancy is helps. Good nutrition, hydration, comfortable and relaxed mood, good support, frequent nursing, pumping, skin to skin contact with baby, initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of delivery, certain drugs like domperidone are found to increase the milk supply along with home remedies like Shatavari, methi dana, and milk thistles.
- Painful nipples:
Some mothers may feel a pinching or throbbing pain at nipple site that subsides within few seconds with proper sucking by the baby. But if the pain persists then it is time to rule out the cause. This is mostly due to incorrect latch or improper position of both mother and baby.
Solution: In the beginning, see the latch of the baby at the breast. For correct latch baby’s belly should be in the skin to skin contact or near to mother’s belly. Baby’s head should rest on your arm near elbow joint. The mother should have proper back support. The maximum portion of the areola (dark portion of the breast) should be in baby’s mouth. Baby’s lips are flanged and tongue is visible if lower lip is pulled down.
3. Sore or cracked nipple:
It is mostly due to incorrect latch. The other factors are tongue tie, thrush, bacterial infection or eczema.
Solution: Try to correct the latch of the baby. Express milk with hands to stimulate let down and breastfeed less on the sore side. In case of severe soreness, use nipple shield and lanolin cream under the guidance of lactation consultant but continue breastfeeding.
- Breast engorgement:
It can be due to incorrect latch, inadequate transfer, mixed feeding of baby and improper nursing. The mother may feel generalized heat and swelling of breast, pain, breast tenderness, the hardness of breast and slight fever.
Solution: Correct latch, the proper position of both mother and baby, frequent unrestricted nursing, hand expression of milk prior to latching, breast massage, cool packs between feeding, warm shower with massage, pumping with a good breast pump, lymphatic drainage massage, and still continue breastfeeding.
It is an infection related to overgrowth of the yeast, candida albicans. The mother may feel pain despite correct latch and proper position of the baby, achy breasts, sore nipples, white blistery or dotted nipples, and sometimes may be asymptomatic.
Baby may show gassiness or crankiness, white spots in the mouth, pearly white saliva, refusal to nurse, puffy-red diaper rash.
Solution: it is best to have a lab test for confirmation
- Plugged or blocked ducts:
Common in mothers with abundant milk supply. Causes are inadequate drainage of the milk during feeding due to improperly fitted underwire or constructed bra, skipped feeding, improper latch, poor nutrition, and stress. It may be associated with milk bleb. Mother feels sore, swollen and painful breasts.
Solution: Continue breastfeeding, correct latch and position, use warm, moist compression, massage the duct, avoid tight clothes, take medication by the advice of the medical professional, plenty of fluids and adequate rest.
- Mastitis is the infection of the breast by Staphylococcus aureus. The affected breast has redness, hardness, soreness, and swelling. The serious sign is high-grade fever with chills and fatigue.
Solution: Seek medical help as soon as the symptoms occur. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory can help along with continued breastfeeding.