Breast Feeding Problems

Breast Feeding Problems



There are many breast feeding problems mums have when they first start nurturing . This is perfectly natural, as breast feeding an infant presents many unusual challenges during the first few weeks of life. Some of these challenges mums expect, whereas others come as a surprise.

Breast feeding a baby takes time and patience. Fortunately most mums and babies go on to enjoy a long, healthy and joyous breast feeding relationship after they solve the most common breast feeding problems.

Below I’ll discuss some of the more common breast feeding problems. Many of these breast feeding problems appear in the first few weeks after delivery.

Here you will find tips for common breast feeding problems; solutions to sore nipples; infections and more...

The main nurturing problems focus on the following:

Sore nipples; breast engorgement or breast fullness; plugged milk duct; thrush; retractile nipple; mastitis.


Breast Feeding Problem 1

Sore Nipples

Sore nipples is a common nurturing problem.It's easier to prevent sore nipples than it is to treat them. The main thing that causes sore nipples is when your baby doesn't latch on properly.

If your baby isn't latched on the right way, you'll need to start over. To take your baby off your breast, release the suction by putting your finger in the corner of your baby's mouth between the gums.My daughter used to do this and she never had any breast feeding problems.

Don't limit the time you let your baby nurse. Putting a limit on nursing time doesn't prevent sore nipples, but it may keep the milk ducts from completely emptying. This breast feeding problem can lead to swelling and pain. Applying crushed ice compresses before nursing can ease discomfort.

Some mums find that rubbing lanolin on their nipples is soothing. If you use lanolin, wash it off before feeding your baby.

Nipple shields are not recommended for sore nipples, because, although they may help temporarily, they usually do not, or they seem to help only. They may also cut down the milk supply dramatically, and the baby may become fussy and not gain weight well. Once the baby is used to them, it may be impossible to get the baby back onto the breast. In fact, many mums who have tried nipple shields find that they do not help with soreness. Use as a last resort only, but get help first. To learn more about nipple shields click here.

Call your doctor if you have a red, sore or painful area on your breast, if you have painful engorgement (overfull breasts), if you have a fever or if you feel achy. These may be signs of an infection. (Breast Feeding Problems Symptoms)

Preventing/healing sore nipples

  • Make sure your baby is sucking the right way. If the sucking hurts, your baby's mouth may not be positioned correctly.

  • Let your nipples air dry between feedings. Let the milk dry on your nipples.

  • Offer your baby the less sore of your two nipples first. Your baby's sucking may be less vigorous after the first few minutes.

  • Change nursing positions.

  • If possible, position any cracked or tender part of your breast at the corner of your baby's mouth, so that it gets less pressure during feeding.

  • Wash your nipples daily with warm water. Don't use soap or lotion that may contain alcohol, which can dry the skin.

  • Avoid bra pads lined with plastic.

  • Express milk until your let-down reflex occurs. This will help make your milk more available so your baby sucks less hard.

  • Breastfeed often to prevent engorgement.Take into account that engorgement is another breast feeding problem that makes it hard for your baby to latch on.

My nipple turns white after the baby comes off the breast".The pain associated with this blanching of the nipple is frequently described by mums as "burning", but generally begins only after the feeding is over. It may last several minutes or more, after which the nipple returns to its normal colour, but then a new pain develops which is usually described by mums as "throbbing". The throbbing part of the pain may last for seconds or minutes and may even blanch again. The cause would seem to be a spasm of the blood vessels (often called “vasospasm” or Raynaud’s Phenomenon) in the nipple (when the nipple is white), followed by relaxation of these blood vessels (when the nipple returns to its normal colour). Sometimes this pain continues even after the nipple pain during the feeding no longer is a problem, so that mum has pain only after the feeding, but not during it. What can be done to solve this breast feeding problem?

1. Pay careful attention to getting the baby to latch onto the breast properly. This type of pain is almost always associated with and probably caused by whatever is causing your pain during the feeding. The best treatment for this vasospasm is the treatment of the other causes of nipple pain. If the main cause of the nipple pain is fixed, the vasospasm also disappears.

2. Heat (hot washcloth, hot water bottle, hair dryer) applied to the nipple immediately after nursing may prevent or decrease the reaction. Dry heat is usually better than wet heat, because wet heat may cause further damage to the nipples.


Breast Feeding Problem 2


Engorgement another nurturing problem, occurs when the breasts swell because of increased milk production. Engorgement is common early on and sometimes late in the postpartum period. Most early engorgement happens

when the breast produce large quantities of milk initially to support a newborn baby. This usually happens when the milk first comes in, somewhere between 2 and 3 days postpartum, though it may take as many as seven days to occur.

Most of the time early engorgement resolves itself in a few days. However if your baby isn’t able to remove the milk enough from the breast, as may be the case when your baby doesn’t latch on properly. Engorgement may continue and lead to more serious conditions. It is important to detect this breast feeding problem in time so as this does not lead to a serious condition.

Signs of engorgement include breasts that are painful and swollen. The breasts may also be rigid and warm. The best treatment for engorgement is frequent removal of milk from the breasts. It is important that your baby have a proper latch on so they can remove milk efficiently from the breast. Sometimes you may need to express a little milk before your baby latches on to help encourage a proper latch on. A soft breast is much easier to latch onto than a rigid one.

Massaging the breasts may also help relieve discomfort caused by engorgement. The best treatment for late engorgement is prevention. You can prevent breast engorgement by encouraging your baby to feed on demand, and allowing your baby to empty your breasts completely each time he feeds. For occasionally flair ups cool compresses may help. You may need to use a warm compress if your milk doesn’t let down quickly enough.

Here are some other tips for minimizing the effects of engorgement:

  • Avoid using your breast pump for longer than 10 minutes at a time. Too much stimulation can contribute to engorgement and promote excessive milk production.

  • Use warm showers to help express milk between your baby’s feedings.

  • If you have late engorgement you can use heat packs to help reduce the discomfort.

  • Sometimes, a tiny white dot can be seen at the opening of the duct on the nipple. Massaging the area and gentle pressure can help to remove the plug.


Breast Feeding Problem 3

Breast Fullness


Lets go to another nurturing problem.Breast fullness is the gradual accumulation of blood and milk in the breast a few days after birth and is a sign that your milk is coming in. Breast fullness doesn't impair efficient breast-feeding because the breast tissues can be easily compressed by the baby's mouth.



Breast Feeding Problem 4

Plugged Milk Duct
A milk duct can become plugged if the baby does not feed well, if mum skips feedings (common when the child is weaning), or if a constricting bra is worn.
Symptoms of a plugged milk duct include tenderness, heat and redness in one area of the breast, or a palpable lump close to the skin.

Sometimes, a tiny white dot can be seen at the opening of the duct on the nipple. Massaging the area and gentle pressure can help to remove the plug.


Breast Feeding Problem 5

Thrush is a common breast feeding yeast infection that can be passed between mum and baby during breast feeding. The yeast (called Candida albicans) thrives in warm, moist areas.

The baby's mouth and mums nipples are perfect places for this yeast to grow. A yeast infection can be difficult to cure, but fortunately this is uncommon. Yeast infections frequently occur during or after antibiotic treatments.

Symptoms of yeast infection in the mum are deep, pink nipples that are tender or uncomfortable during and immediately after nursing. Symptoms of thrush (an oral yeast infection) in the baby include white patches and increased redness in the baby's mouth.

The baby may also have a diaper rash, a change in mood, and will want to suckle more frequently. Contact your physician to get a prescription for an anti-fungal medication for affected members of your family.

Go to   Breast Feeding Problems 2 or Breast Feeding Links






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