Breastfeeding Problems Breastfeeding is supposed to be one of the most natural things in the world. However, sometimes it can become painful for the Mother. This can lead to feelings of sadness, uselessness and even depression; why should something so natural be so hard? Despite it being a natural thing to do, breastfeeding is still something that needs to be learned, by both Mum and baby. Babies naturally know how to suck to feed, however their suck is so intense and so strong that if they are not latched on properly, it can cause pain and discomfort. If these pains are ignored, further problems can occur, leaving Mum in even more pain. When latching your baby on for a feed, baby should open his/her mouth wide and take in the whole of the nipple and some of the areola too. When baby begins to suck it can feel intense, but it shouldn’t feel painful. If it feels painful, try to detach baby by slipping a clean finger into his/ her mouth and taking baby away. Then try again. It’s a good idea to try to start a feed when Mother and baby are both calm. Once baby becomes extremely hungry, they will naturally fuss more at the breast, making it harder to get a good latch. This can frustrate the Mother, which baby will pick up on and it quickly becomes a viscous circle, rarely leading to a pain-free, successful feed. Flattened, white or wedged nipples after a feed, suggest baby has not properly been latched on. Thankfully, help is at hand for breastfeeding, with lots of centres offering breastfeeding support. There are groups, phone numbers or drop in centres available, and generally, regular appointments on offer. Getting support as early as possible will help your success rate, and prevent problems with cracked nipples or affecting your milk supply. The most common reason women stop breastfeeding is due to sore or cracked nipples. Sore breasts and nipples are common three to seven days into breastfeeding as your milk comes in and they often feel extra sensitive. You may feel let down pains at the beginning of a feed, but this is very different to nipple pain and passes as the feed progresses. If you find yourself tempted to stop feeding because of sore or cracked nipples, seek help as soon as possible and try to continue feeding in the meantime. Ensure you have a good nipple cream, breast pads, and a supportive maternity bra without underwire. Advice is conflicting on nipple shields or guards, but they may get you through a tough time whilst you wait for a professional to observe your feeding technique. If you feel you are unable to continue to breastfeed while waiting for help, try to express, either by hand or with a pump, to keep your milk supply up. It’s amazing how guidance from a professional can help you and it’d be a shame to stop when you are capable and willing and help is at hand.
Article written by Emma
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