Breastfeeding is critical to the well-being of an infant and its mother as well. For a new born to gain all the essential nutrients required for its overall development, breast milk is the ideal source of the necessary vitamins, proteins and nutrients. It is also vital for the proper functioning and development of the immune system of the baby. It is no wonder that breast milk has been aptly described as the perfect gift from a mother to her baby.
Studies have also shown that breast feeding offers various health benefits to mothers such as women that breast feed are better able to manage their weight than those women that do not breastfeed. It also helps to lower health risks like ovarian and breast cancer and diabetes. However, breast feeding is not always easy for all mothers, as many face quite a few challenges to do it successfully and in the right manner.
Even mothers that have been breastfeeding their babies properly may experience certain issues despite their experience. These can lead to various problems both for the mother and the baby. In this blog, we examine some of the most common problems faced by breast feeding mothers and ways to cope with them.
Breast inflammation/engorgement: After a woman gives birth, the supply of milk to the breast increases that makes the breast harder. It may lead to pain that can remain for some time and gradually reduces over a few weeks.
Solution: The symptoms can be diminished by nursing the bay more frequently. Another remedy is to make use of cold/hot compressions both before and after feeding the infant. Furthermore, whilst feeding the baby using gentle pressure massage the breasts.
Leaking: This is among the most common complaints among new mothers especially in the second week after giving birth.
Solution: While leaking from the breast is natural and cannot be controlled the best solution is to wear nursing pads until the problem persists. Buy and keep extra nursing pads in advance. Also, choose clothes that are dark in color so that the stains are not easily visible.
Mastitis: When the tissue in the breast gets inflamed it leads to a medical condition known as mastitis. It is generally caused due to lack of proper drainage from the breasts. The primary causes for this are milk ducts that get clogged over time or by bacteria that infects the breasts.
Solution: Consult your gynecologist about the issue and they will probably recommend a course of antibiotics to remedy the issue.
Insufficient milk supply: Another issue many new moms face is insufficient supply of breast milk due to various causes including medical reasons.
Solution: Ensure that the baby latches on to the breast correctly whilst making sure that the baby feeds equally on both breasts and drains them well.
Latching issues: When a first-time mother begins to feed her infant in then early stages there is likelihood of latching issues popping up. This can be resolved by changing the position until the baby is in the right position to grasp the nipple in a correct manner.
Solution: With practice it will become easier to feed the baby in the right manner while ensuring the infant latches on to the breast correctly. Guidance can also be sought from a lactation expert.
Breastfeeding is not as simple as it looks and can pose its own unique challenges especially to first time mothers. However, most of these issues are just temporary in nature and get resolved within a short span of time. If any breast-feeding issue does prolong, it is best to seek the advice of a lactation specialist.