Breastfeeding challenges! It’s very common to have trouble breastfeeding. Here are some tips for breastfeeding that may help.
Breastfeeding can be tough— we know that from personal experience.
Unfortunately, many women don’t have the support or information that they need to breastfeed successfully, especially after experiencing challenges.
Current statistics from the CDC show that 84% of moms attempt breastfeeding, but only 35% are still nursing when their babies turn a year old.
If this has been your experience, or you’re planning to breastfeed but are concerned about roadblocks ahead, please know that you’re not alone!
Even with the best efforts, sometimes breastfeeding doesn’t get easier. If this is the case, please know that this is by NO means your fault, and it certainly isn’t a failure. Breastfeeding is hard and this doesn’t reflect on you as a mother.
At PBJs, we believe that “fed is best” and want you to have all the resources you need. Whatever this ends up looking like for you and your babe, you’re doing a great job.
Tips for Common Breastfeeding Challenges
Below are some tips that may help with common breastfeeding challenges.
Please note that this list is by no means exhaustive, nor are the solutions listed. Your best bet if you’re having trouble is to seek the assistance of an IBCLC or lactation consultant.
Pain with Breastfeeding
Pain at various times can be normal with breastfeeding, especially in the beginning, but this normally goes away as you continue to breastfeed.
You may experience sore nipples when you first begin breastfeeding. To help, make sure your babe has a deep, wide latch. A shallow latch will lead to increased discomfort and pain.
If you’re suffering from cracked nipples, try an infant-safe balm or silicone nipple shields.
Ugh, these are the worst!
Apply a warm compress to your breast and massage in the direction of your nipple. Feeding frequently while you massage your breasts may also help.
If a compress doesn’t work, you can also massage while taking a warm shower or bath.
Engorged breasts are expected when your milk first comes in, but this normally subsides over time.
However, breasts can become engorged again for a variety of reasons. This can make it very uncomfortable for you and it can make it hard for baby to latch.
Frequent feeding, hand expressing for relief, or applying warm compresses may help.
Low Milk Supply
The most critical step to improving supply is to determine why it is low in the first place and assess whether the issue can be fixed. In many cases, frequent feeding and pumping can boost supply.
It’s also important to ensure you’re consuming adequate calories and staying hydrated. Consult an IBCLC if you need additional support.
The best approach here is to see an IBCLC as there are many reasons why baby may have trouble latching.
They will be able to observe your baby in action and determine what may be the underlying cause of a difficult latch – and provide you tips for addressing any issues.
Oversupply of Milk
Too much milk isn’t all it’s pumped up to be. In fact, it can make breastfeeding incredibly uncomfortable.
Limit time and frequency of pumping or stimulating your breasts as these can continue to increase milk production. Consider block feeding (only feeding on one side at a time) until supply evens out.
You might even consider donating extra milk. There are several ways to do this, including making a donation to a local hospital or milk bank, using a resource like the Human Milk Banking Association of North America.
Breastfeeding challenges can be super frustrating. Remember that you’re not alone and it’s very common to have trouble breastfeeding. If you find yourself struggling, try some of these tips for breastfeeding, and be sure to seek personalized guidance from an IBCLC.
Chime In: What breastfeeding challenges have you faced? Do you have any other advice for mamas? Share in the comments below!
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