Breastfeeding has amazing benefits for both the mother and the baby, but there are some common issues that may be experienced when breastfeeding. Remember, that you should always consult your physician if you are experiencing any issues that may affect your health and/or your baby’s health.
Inadequate Milk Production
Low milk production is rare, but it is a very common fear in many mothers. In most cases, your body will know how much milk it needs to produce for your baby and during the early periods of breastfeeding your baby may want to nurse quite frequently. This does not mean they are not getting enough milk, it is likely part of the process of your body to learn how much milk it needs to produce. However, cases of low milk production can be caused by certain risk factors like; premature birth, obesity, pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, abnormal breast development, and poorly controlled diabetes. You, therefore, may need to consult your physician about supplementing with formula.
Unlike low milk production, sore nipples are a very common problem and are completely normal in the first few weeks of breastfeeding. To help ease the soreness you can place an ice pack against the nipples and consider letting your nipples air dry after feedings. If the soreness doesn’t subside over time or it gets worse contact your physician.
Keeping your nipples dry is key to preventing dryness and cracking. Meaning, you should change your bra pads often and only use cotton pads. You should also avoid any soaps, lotions, or perfumes that contain alcohol, which can cause dryness.
Blocked Milk Duct
A blocked milk duct may appear as a single sore red hot spot on the breast. You may be able to release the duct by massaging the area. More frequent breastfeeding can also help.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Mastitis is an inflammation of breast tissue that sometimes involves an infection. The inflammation results in breast pain, swelling, warmth, and redness.” This can be caused by a blocked milk duct or bacterial infection. If you think you may be experiencing mastitis you should seek medical attention.
When the breasts become too filled with milk they can feel hard and lead to discomfort. This usually occurs after birth when your body is still trying to adjust to how much milk your baby needs. More frequent feedings and pumping can help. If this condition persists you should contact your doctor.
Baby Won’t Latch
This issue is a bit more complex and there isn’t a simple answer. You may experience issues immediately after birth or after some time of breastfeeding. Some possible explanations may include; inverted nipples or your baby may be ill. Increase skin-to-skin contact with the baby, as this may encourage your baby to spontaneously latch on and try new positioning of your baby while trying to breastfeed.
Additional Issues or Questions
If you’d like to learn more about breastfeeding be sure to read our article, “Answers to Common Breastfeeding Questions”. You and your baby’s health are the most important thing. If you are experiencing additional issues or have questions please contact your physician.