Breastfeeding may be natural, but it does not happen without some common problems. Every mother’s experience with breastfeeding will be different, but here are a few of the more common problems and likely explanations.
- Breastmilk leaks through my bra and shirt – Fabric can stimulate nipples enough to leak breastmilk. Hearing an infant cry also causes breastmilk to leak. This is a common problem while breastfeeding. Purchase breastmilk pads to place between your nipple and bra. The pad will soak up any leaking breastmilk; keeping your bra and shirt dry.
- My baby won’t breastfeed after bottle feeding – Nipple confusion is common, especially in newborns. No matter how much a bottle nipple looks like a breast nipple, they simply don’t feel or smell the same. The best solution to nipple confusion is to choose either breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Typically, babies will choose breastfeeding over bottle feeding because it is the natural, instinctive choice. If your baby appears to prefer the bottle there could be underlying factors contributing to the preference, including reduced milk supply or ineffective latching.
- My nipples are sore through the entire feeding – Sore nipples are the most common complaint of nursing mothers. During the first few moments of the feeding, you may experience a slight tinge of pain, but that is where the pain should stop. The most common cause of sore nipples during breastfeeding is improper latching. If baby is latching more on the nipple and less on the areola, the nipples may swell, become sore and even crack. Try to latch baby firmly on the areola to reduce pain.
- My baby has a white rash on his mouth and my nipples are sore – Thrush is a yeast infection that may occur during breastfeeding. If your baby has a white rash inside the mouth and your nipples are sorer than usual, you may have thrush. Contact your pediatrician for treatment options.
- I feel like I have the flu, is it safe to breastfeed? – Some mothers develop mastitis. Mastitis is an inflammation of breast tissue. The condition can cause flu-like symptoms. If a specific are of the breast is sore to touch, hard under the finger or inflamed, apply warm compresses to the breast between feedings. Feed baby more often to keep breast stores to a minimum. If the symptoms don’t resolve within 24 hours, you may have to contact your physician for a course of antibiotics to clear up the infection.
All new mothers have trouble breastfeeding at one time or another. It is best to stay calm and continue breastfeeding unless instructed to do otherwise by your physician. Cutting breastfeeding short leaves baby without the calorie-rich hindmilk that supports fast growth and development.