Tips From a Lactation Expert

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For first-time mothers, breastfeeding is a novel experience. But it can also be challenging, especially during the early days, to get accustomed to the routine. The challenges of breastfeeding vary from one mother to another – many mothers face one or more challenges, but there are also other who do not seem to struggle at all. At times, women may face a problem with one baby but not with the second or third baby.

Here, some of the problems related to milk supply and nipples have been listed out, with a few handy tips.

Challenges related to milk supply

ChallengesWhat is it?What can you do?
Low milk supply

Most of the mothers usually make ample milk for their babies. But some may face a problem of not making enough. A child’s weight and growth are the best ways to know that your baby is getting enough milk.

  • Be certain that the baby is positioned appropriately and latched well.
  • Opt for frequent breastfeeding and let the baby decide when to stop.
  • Offer both the breasts.
  • Avoid giving the baby any cereals (at least till the baby is six months of age).
Oversupply of Milk

An overloaded breast can be stressful and difficult for both mother and baby.

  • During each feeding, offer only one side.
  • While doing so, if the other breast feels full, hand express the milk.
  • Feed the baby before he/she becomes very hungry, to avoid aggressive sucking.

Challenges related to the nipple

ChallengesWhat it is?What can you do?
Sore Nipples

Many mothers face the problem of tender nipples, but once they are comfortably breastfeed with a good latch, it relieves the soreness. Even then, it is still possible to have sore nipples occasionally.

  • A good latch is most important.
  • Avoid delaying the feeding due to soreness; consult the doctor soon as delay can worsen soreness.
  • Try to alter the position each time you are set for breastfeeding.
  • After feeding, apply some milk on the nipples.
  • Avoid tight clothes and bras.
Inverted, Flat, or Very Large Nipples

Some women have nipples that turn inward rather than protruding, or they can be flat and not protrude. Inverted or flat nipples can make breastfeeding difficult. Large nipples can make feeding difficult and the baby may not get enough milk.

  • Consult the doctor if you are concerned about the nipples.
  • Use your fingers or some device to try and pull your nipples out.
  • Large nipples will get better over a period of time.

TIPS FROM LACTATION EXPERT: Challenges associated with the breast

Some mothers may face problems while breastfeeding related to the milk supply and the nipples. Other challenges can also include those related to the breast.

Here, some of these problems have been listen out, with a few handy tips.

Challenges related to the breast

ChallengesWhat it is?What can you do?
Plugged Duct

It is a common problem faced by breastfeeding mothers. It occurs when the milk duct is not drained well. A plugged duct is usually associated with a tender and sore lump in the breast, but not with fever.

  • Feed frequently from the affected side (every 2 hours), so the plug in the duct can be loosened and to keep the milk moving freely.
  • Massage the area in a circular motion, starting behind the sore spot going towards the nipple.
  • Use a warm compress.
  • Wear a well-fitting supportive bra which is not too tight.
Breast engorgement

It is normal for the breasts to become large, heavy, and slightly tender during lactation. But sometimes, this fullness can result in “engorgement”. Basically, engorgement is the result of the milk building up.

  • Frequently breastfeed the baby and for as long as the baby wants.
  • Breastfeed frequently from the affected side.
  • Hand express or pump a little milk before breastfeeding.
  • Massage the breast.
  • Use a cold compress.
Mastitis

Mastitis is breast infection in which there is soreness or a lump in the breast. It is accompanied by a fever

and/or flu-like symptoms.

  • Breastfeed from the affected side frequently (every 2 hours).
  • Massage the area.
  • Use a warm compress.
  • Opt for a well-fitting supportive bra.
Fungal infection

A fungal infection is also known as a yeast infection or thrush. This can form on your nipples or in your breast because the yeast thrives on milk.

  • Change the disposable nursing pad frequently.
  • Wash your clothing and towel in a hot water.
  • Wear a clean bra every day.
  • Frequently wash your hands.
  • Keep the pacifiers, bottle nipples, or toys that the baby puts in the mouth in a pot of water, and bring it to a roaring boil daily. Do this also for the breast pumps.

If you are still worried about the challenges you face during breastfeeding, consult your doctor.

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