As a new mother, one of the common challenges you might have to deal with is breastfeeding problems. Breastfeeding is one journey indeed filled with its ups and downs, especially during the first few days. The best thing is that it always gets easier with time and some practice. To help ease this journey, it is best to be equipped with the right information. It allows you to know what to expect and how to deal with the challenges that come with breastfeeding.
It's worth noting that there are solutions to these issues. Depending on the nature of the problem and the severity, you can seek medical help or use some hacks to make the process easier. This article will dive into some of the issues that breastfeeding mothers encounter and the different natural methods to overcome them.
The common breastfeeding problems are:
1. Low Breast Milk Supply
Theoretically, the concept of breastfeeding is based on supply and demand. The body should produce milk depending on the demand, so if you breastfeed more, your body should produce more milk.
Low breast milk supply can be a result of several issues. The most common one is dehydration. If you fail to keep hydrate, your body may run out of fluid to make breast milk. It can easily contribute to low breast milk production.
Another reason behind low breast milk supply is the mother consuming insufficient amounts of food or not eating. Failing to eat can result in the body lacking enough calories to produce enough milk for the baby. To fix this issue, you should ensure that you eat enough food. It would be best to eat foods with a high number of calories to ensure that your body has enough calories to produce enough milk.
Another reason for low milk supply is not breastfeeding for a prolonged period, especially during the night. Although the amount of milk that breasts can store varies from mother to mother, prolonged periods may reduce milk production. The reduced milk supply is lowered by prolactin (the hormone that stimulates milk production) during extended periods of not breastfeeding. You can fix this problem by introducing breastfeeding or pumping at night.
There are breastfeeding supplements that can help with low milk supply. Examples of such supplements are Liquid Gold, Pump Princess, Milkapalooza, and Lactivist from Legendairy Milk. These are natural herbal products that stimulate better milk production among lactating mothers. Each product comes with different instructions, some for use during pregnancy, while some are safe to use during breastfeeding.
2. Oversupply of Breast Milk
Naturally, a mother's body should adjust to the baby's milk requirements in around six weeks. However, this is not always the case. At times, the mother's body may continue to produce more milk than the baby's need, a condition known as 'oversupply.' It can be stressful for both the baby and the mother.
To naturally solve the problem of oversupply of breast milk, a mother can try the 'block feeding' method. It is an effective method of stopping oversupply in a short period. Block feeding is done by selecting a specific period, usually in a span of 3 to 4 hours apart, then breastfeeding the baby only during that period. Furthermore, you should feed the baby from one breast during the period. After the 3-4 hours have expired and it's time to feed the baby again, use only the other breast.
Problems With The Baby
3. Poor latching
Latching refers to how your baby takes to your areola during suckling. There is a common myth that a baby is born with a natural knowledge of breastfeeding and proper latching. That's not true. Having proper latching takes time, practice, and a lot of trials and errors. It's even common for you to have sore nipples and other problems accompanied by poor latching.
Having a proper latch is of absolute importance to you and your baby. For you as your mother, proper latching stimulates your breast to produce more milk. Furthermore, poor latching can contribute to cracked nipples which can be painful for you as the mother. For the baby, proper latching allows him/her to get enough milk to satisfy their body's needs and stimulate proper growth.
You can fix the issue of poor latching using a simple natural technique. Here, you hold the baby in the right position, then using your other free hand, hold your breast. You will then use your thumb to guide the baby's nose to touch the breast. You will then use your index finger to ensure that the baby's chin touches the breast. You should encourage the baby to open their mouth wide enough because a wider mouth enables proper latching. Now, allow the baby to suckle. Repeat the procedure for a few days or weeks until the baby learns proper latching.
A tongue-tie is a condition in which the lingual frenulum, a thin membrane under the tongue, inhibits the baby's tongue's movement. In some instances, the tongue-tie can be severe, completely inhibiting the tongue movement and ultimately preventing the baby's ability to breastfeed correctly. The condition affects up to 11 percent of newborn children.
A tongue-tie can be problematic for both the baby and the mother. A tongue-tie can lead to malnutrition for the baby because the baby doesn't get to suckle well. The reason is that the baby cannot properly take the breast or the areola in their mouth. A tongue-tie can be problematic for the mother because it can result in nipple trauma and sore nipple. It can also lead to low milk supply due to poor latching resulting in reduced production of prolactin.
To solve a tongue tie, you can try softening your breast using the baby's saliva. Doing this makes the areola more hospitable for the baby, and they can connect with the breast better. For severe tongue-tie cases, you can opt to use a bottle to feed the baby because it is easier to suckle on than on a nipple in such cases. You can also opt to have corrective surgery done using a razor or laser. You should consult a lactation specialist to get a better evaluation of the severity of the tongue-tie.
5. Lip Tie
A lip-tie occurs when the frenulum, a tissue found behind the upper lip, is too thick or stiff, inhibiting the upper lip movement. It is quite similar to a tongue tie because both inhibit activity in the mouth, affecting speech and a baby's ability to breastfeed. Furthermore, the treatments are identical. However, lip ties are less common than tongue ties.
Commonly, tongue ties affect a baby's latch ability on a breast and make it difficult for the baby to breathe during breastfeeding. You might find your baby continually falling asleep during nursing, losing weight, and showing signs of fatigue during breastfeeding.
As the mother, you might experience some pain or sore nipples during or after nursing, blocked ducts, mastitis, or fatigue during or after nursing, even if your child doesn't feed enough.
To solve the lip tie issue naturally, you will have to be strategic to ensure that both you and the baby are comfortable. You can begin by making your breast more hospitable for the baby by applying the baby's saliva on the areola before latching. It will soften the breast and allow the baby to connect better with the breast. You can also choose to consult a lactation consultant to help you breastfeed your baby better. In severe cases, you opt for therapy or corrective surgery to help the baby breastfeed better.
By continuing the same routine for a few days to a week, you should begin seeing a reduction in the milk production levels. Block feeding inhibits the production of prolactin, resulting in reduced milk production.
6. High palate
The palate is the top part of the mouth. It is a crucial part of breastfeeding because it allows your baby to connect appropriately with the breast. At times, the palate can be slightly arched or placed too high, interfering with suckling. It is a condition that a baby is born with, or at times brought about by excessive thumb-sucking.
Whatever the cause, a high palate can be problematic for the baby because it inhibits their ability to breastfeed effectively. It can contribute to weight loss due to poor feeding and issues with growth and development. A high palate can result in sore nipples and low milk supply due to short feedings for the mother.
There is no known solution to a high palate. However, you can work with a lactation consultant to help you breastfeed your baby better. One of the common ways to breastfeed a baby with a high palate is by holding the baby lower. That way, they will have to meet the areola from below, increasing latching.
7. Exaggerated Tongue Thrust
Having a tongue thrust is a regular thing. Just try touching your baby's lips, and you'll see them thrusting their tongue out to suck on your finger. However, some babies push their language a tad too far, unintentionally trying the nipple out of their mouth. It makes it hard for the baby to breastfeed, which can be problematic for both the mother and the child. An exaggerated tongue thrust makes it hard for the baby to grip the areola, inhibiting breastfeeding properly.
You can naturally fix an exaggerated tongue through a simple procedure repeated over some time. All you have to do is wait for your baby to open their mouth during breastfeeding, then gently place your clean index finger at the center of their tongue. Gently push down at that point, remove your finger before she tries latching. You should repeat this procedure for a few days or weeks until the baby learns to thrust its tongue normally.
8. Cleft Palate
A cleft palate is a condition in which the palate has an opening that doesn't seal before birth. A cleft can prevent a baby's ability to generate suction from the areola, depending on the cleft's size, severity, and location. It can be a problem for both the baby by preventing proper feeding and the mother, resulting in low milk supply due to the baby not suckling.
You can solve the cleft palate condition in infants using a special milk bottle that allows your baby to feed effectively. However, the permanent fix to the cleft palate is having corrective surgery.
Breast Function and Structure
9. Sore Nipples
Sore nipples are quite common among new mothers. Some women complain of sharp pain, like pins or needles piercing their nipples, especially during the first few seconds of suckling. Typically, if the sore nipples result from breastfeeding, the pain is likely to last throughout the entire period of breastfeeding.
The good thing is that naturally, sore nipples do not last long. You begin feeling comfortable in a few weeks. However, they can affect suckling and bring about some issues to both the mother and the child.
The first and easiest method of solving the issue of sore nipples is by air drying them after feeding. You can also use our NIP DIP Nipple Cream during the period and covering them with a nursing pad. If the situation persists, you should visit a doctor.
10. Breast Engorgement
Breast engorgement is when your breasts grow and grow during pregnancy, making it uncomfortable to wear a bra or tight clothing after birth. The condition is common among first-time moms because their breast tissue is not used to the changes.
The good news is that breast engorgements do not last long. Typically, the pain will be gone in a couple of days to a few weeks. However, you can ease the discomfort by breastfeeding gently or wearing a nursing bra. You can also try massaging your breasts during breastfeeding or gently massaging your breasts with a warm towel before breastfeeding and a cold one after breastfeeding.
11. Leaking Breasts
Leaking breasts are quite common, too, especially during the first few weeks of breastfeeding. During this time, your body is still determining the right amount of milk to produce. In other words, the demand-supply cycle is not well established. You might find that thinking about your baby or even hearing him or her cry or coo might make your breasts leak.
Typically, the leaking breasts issue gets better with time, around 2-4 weeks after giving birth. However, you can go around this issue by wearing a nursing pad as you wait for your body to establish the correct demand-supply ratio. However, please keep away from waterproof-lined pads because they can lead to irritation and skin problems around your nipple. Besides, do not try pumping because it will only stimulate the production of more milk.
12. Clogged Milk Ducts
The milk duct may become clogged at times, resulting in red, tender lumps in your breasts. Clogged ducts cause breast milk to stagnate, and if left untreated, it could result in breast infection.
Don't stress out. If you keep on breastfeeding, the clogged ducts will become unclogged, and milk flow will resume. However, you can hasten the process by massaging your breasts with warm water. Also, ensure that you drain your breasts after breastfeeding, either using a pump or manually. You can also soak your breasts in warm water. You can also go for Organic Sunflower Lecithin from Legendairy Milk to solve the proper of blocked ducts.
Mastitis is a condition in which the breast tissue becomes infected, resulting in fever, redness, breast and muscle pain, and general discomfort in the breasts. It is a result of blocked ducts that get infected by bacteria from the baby's mouth. Almost 10 percent of breastfeeding women experience it, especially during the first few weeks after giving birth.
Mastitis can be solved by breastfeeding effectively and draining your breasts after you're done breastfeeding. You can opt to visit a doctor to evaluate the extent of the infection, but they can only give you antibiotics and pain relievers. The best solution is breastfeeding and draining your breasts to reduce milk clogging in your breasts.
Thrush is a yeast infection that results in your nipples turning pink, crusty, painful, and itchy way. Scientifically, there is no known cause of thrush. However, it is thought to be brought about by the baby's mouth. You can see signs of oral thrush in your baby's mouth, such as yellow patches and sores on the gums, tongue, and palate.
A thrush infection is severe and demands the attention of a doctor. It would help if you visited a doctor who will prescribe an antifungal ointment or medication. However, it is best to ensure that you wipe off the ointment and wash the area before breastfeeding. Besides, you should ensure that the antifungal medicine is not harmful to the breastfeeding child. It would be best to take your child to a pediatrician to check and treat the oral thrush.
15. Uneven Breasts
At times, children prefer one particular breast to the other. It can easily result in a lopsided breast. The 'non-favorite breast, over time, begins to produce a reduced quantity of milk, affecting the baby's feeding. It can result in an underweight child due to insufficient feeding.
You can solve this issue by either offering the baby the lopsided breast or pumping to get rid of the milk. However, it is worth noting that the baby may not take the bait if you opt to go with the first option. Therefore, be ready to pump. It solves the lopsidedness. You can also use Lechita from Legendairy Milk to boost milk production in the lopsided breast. It is perfectly safe for both the mother and the baby.
16. Milk Blisters
A milk blister is a result of blocked milk ducts. It leads to nipple pores becoming blocked and eventually producing thick breast milk around the nipple pores. At times, some skin may develop over the blister in the form of a whitish or yellowish spot. However, the general area around the nipple becomes red and painful.
Commonly, a milk blister goes away on its own within 48 hours, but you can hasten the process by massaging the area using a warm piece of cloth or towel for up to 15 minutes. You should then keep on suckling the baby.
17. Nipple Vasospasm
Nipple vasospasm is when blood vessels in a nipple constrict, preventing the flow of blood. It is accompanied by pain, numbness, and burning itchiness. Women who suffer from the rare Raynaud's disease, a disorder that causes veins to become narrow when one is stressed or cold, are more susceptible to nipple vasospasm.
The best fix to nipple vasospasm is dressing warmly, especially after breastfeeding. Alternatively, you can massage the nipple with olive oil to promote blood flow. You can also rub the nipple using warm water to encourage blood flow.
Breastfeeding can be challenging, especially in the first few weeks. As we have seen above, a mother can use many tips and tricks to overcome some of these breastfeeding problems.
Several supplements can help solve some of these problems too. Legendairy Milk is one of the best places to find such accessories to improve your lactation. Legendary Milk's products are made with 100% organic ingredients and are formulated by a mother and a certified breastfeeding specialist. We have over 10,000 positive reviews from mothers who have tried our products and seen encouraging results.
Are you a mother facing one or more of these breastfeeding problems above? We at Legendairy Milk have some of the top breastfeeding supplements to assist you during this period. Visit Legendairy's website for more information about our products.