12 Common Breastfeeding Problems, How To Solve It: A Complete Guide
By Space Coast Daily // March 26, 2021
Now that you have opted to breastfeed your baby, You must also understand that acing breastfeeding will only be acquired with time and practice. Understand that it’s new for both, you and your baby, and no matter how natural the process is, it isn’t always easy to crack naturally.
However, while you are getting the hang of the nursing bliss, it is important to also know of the various common breastfeeding problems that you might come across in due course, as listed below.
These are essential as we at Parenthood bliss have curated this article with not just the problems, but with the solutions as well, for a healthy experience.
Read on to unravel and know more!
12 most common breast milk feeding problems and solutions via a lactation consultant
Irrespective of the mentions, one need not have to experience them all! So, brave yourself while we list the common breastfeeding problems that most women face, especially at the beginning of the postpartum period.
1) Sore nipples
This is a common problem that most women face. While many report this as a “pins and needle” tingling in the first 30 seconds, this is generally caused by trauma from your baby and an uncomfortable sensation during breastfeeding. However, although they are short-lived, they could result in a nipple injury due to the baby’s poor latch, a barracuda suck, and/or due to the placement of the breast pump.
■ Allow your nipples to heal while the baby can drink from the other breast
■ Let the nipples air dry post-feeding before applying an ointment using a nursing pad
■ Apply cool wet tea bags or cold compress
■ Consult your doctor for a pain reliever
2) Baby’s poor breastfeeding latch
It is very important for your little one to have a good latch in both, the nipple and the areola to allow a good milk flow. The correct way is to allow the baby’s chin and the tip of the nose to touch your breast with the lips flanged out.
■ Try to decide if it’s a good latch by hearing the clicking noises
■ Use a nursing pillow
■ Try to position the baby in a proper way or there could be a painful bruise
■ See if the baby is becoming too fussing, chewing, and gaping to understand if they are getting a good milk supply
3) Breast engorgement
This is when the breasts become rock hard as the milk supply ratchets up to an extent where even wearing a bra could be problematic, but only lasts 24 to 48 days. This is observed generally in the initial days postpartum, especially in first-time moms.
■ Try to nurse frequently
■ Apply a warm and cold compress, before and after feeding, respectively
■ Massage the breasts while feeding
■ Switch positions
■ Wear nursing bras
4) Leaking breasts
Leaking breasts, as the name suggests, is when milk’s supply is at its peak and you notice your tops getting wet in the breast areas. Or, could be when the baby isn’t drinking much, in this case, you need to consult your doctor.
■ It is medically reviewed that leaking breasts get better every four to six weeks, that is, when the baby begins to drink enough milk. Until then, try to store your milk in milk storage bags
■ Wear nursing pads
■ Try to wear dark-colored tops or ones that can camouflage the milk stains
5) Clogged milk ducts
This is when the flow of milk is clogged that causes the milk to back up, resulting in a red and tender lump. However, blocked milk isn’t quite serious, but is ignored. there are chances of a breast infection. So, make sure you talk to your doctor.
■ Apply warm compress before each feeding
■ Massage the lump while nursing
■ Post-feed, drain the affected breast using a breast pump
■ Soak your breast in warm water
This is a breast infection in the breast tissue that results in fever, muscle, breast pain, and redness that usually occurs when a milk duct gets clogged with bacteria from your baby’s mouth. This is normally experienced in the first few weeks of delivery.
■ Consume antibiotics or antifungal medication prescribed by your doctor
■ Try a pain reliever after consulting a doctor
■ Apply warm compresses
Thrush is a breast infection that makes the breasts look pink or crusty and is caused due to the baby’s mouth. The signs of this yeast infection are white or yellow irregularly-shaped patches on the gums, tongue, sides, and the roof of the mouth.
■ If you think you may have thrush, it is recommended to seek the help of a medical provider who will prescribe you a topical antifungal cream or gel
■ Or, consume prescription antifungal pills
8) Uneven breasts
It is possible that your baby wants to get their feeding from one breast and not the other, leading to lopsided or uneven breasts.
■ Pump daily to increase production on the less-favored side
9) Milk bleb or blisters
This is a plugged duct situation where the nipple pores become blocked as and when the milk ducts become clogged due to which the breast milk gets thick and hard. These are usually white or yellow spots on your nipple with the skin surrounding red and inflamed.
■ Apply moist heat for 10 to 15 minutes before you feed your baby
■ Do not try to open the blister yourself or the clogged duct will get infected
■ Visit your doctor to clear it out using a sterile needle
10) Nipple vasospasm
Nipple vasospasm occurs when the blood vessels get tight and don’t get enough blood that results in restricted milk flowing with pain, burning, or numbness. These could also turn white or blue and return to pink as and when the blood returns to normal.
■ Apply warm compresses
■ Hand expressing
■ Massage the areola with olive oil
■ Stretch muscles around your breasts several times a day
■ Try pain relievers that are safe to use during breastfeeding
11) A low milk supply
A low milk supply is when there is not much milk in the ducts while breastfeeding which is also a major sign of why most moms stop breastfeeding and switch to formula or stretch between feeds. On the other hand, there are other women who have breastfeeding problems like thyroid disease who face problems in producing milk. The best way to know if your baby is not getting the required quantity of milk is by keeping a close look at the weight of the baby.
■ To help treat low milk supply is to check for the baby’s latching
■ Increase your breast milk supply by taking necessary precautions
■ Pump between feedings to stimulate the milk production
Lip-tie involves upper lip and gum has a connective tissue attachment also known as maxillary labial frenum. It restricts the movement of the upper lip that makes it hard for the baby to latch on properly.
■ Try lifting the upper lip to check for a lip-tie
■ Consult with a lactation consultant to work with specific positional techniques
When to look for breastfeeding support?
The good news is that most breastfeeding problems are fixable, so, there is always a chance to work around it. Here are a few supports that you can look up for if facing any of the breastfeeding problems:
■ A doctor or a midwife
■ The baby’s pediatrician
■ A lactation consultant
■ Your partner
It is important to know that breastfeeding is a complex experience and it only requires time for you to get used to it and learn of the ways to deal with it if at all any of the above-mentioned occurs. Therefore, never choose to get dishearten, know that you are doing the best you can, and always seek help if in need.
Other than that, you must know that Parenthood Bliss is always here to be your friend and guide. So, feel free to reach out to us if needed!
FAQs: 12 common Breastfeeding concerns and how to solve it: A complete guide
1) How can I solve breastfeeding problems?
■ Seek support from a lactation consultant or a breastfeeding specialist
■ Consult your healthcare provider
■ Feed as and when the baby needs to
■ Take good care of yourself
■ Try expressing
2) What are the problems of breastfeeding?
■ Sore nipples
■ Breastfeeding latching
■ Breast engorgement
■ Breast leaks
■ Clogged milk ducts
3) How do I overcome breastfeeding problems?
You must know that it’s only natural for you to have these breastfeeding problems and be gentle and patient.
Let the little munchkin rest and digest the milk, both during and after you feed them. Try to slowly and mentally rock them