As breastfeeding moms, you have a lot on your plate. Every parent is different, which means your breastfeeding experience will differ from the other moms around you. While some moms have an easy time breastfeeding and never experience any issues with their milk supply or comfort, other moms will find themselves unable to breastfeed for one reason or another. Some moms fall somewhere in between. It’s important to realize that no matter who you are or what you’re experiencing, your feelings are valid and solutions are out there to help you.
Whether you decide to go for formula every once in a while or seek out solutions to the issues, it shows that you care deeply about the health of your child and your own body. Just remember that you’re not alone in any of these issues, no matter what you’re facing.
For plenty of moms, breastfeeding can cause soreness both in the nipples and in the breasts themselves. The good news is that this discomfort often subsides. As your body adjusts to the routine of breastfeeding and your baby learns to latch, the soreness in your breasts and nipples will likely subside after the first week of breastfeeding. If the discomfort persists over time, you may be dealing with engorged breasts or an improper latch.
2. Ineffective Latch
There are a few reasons why your baby may not be latching easily. If your baby is just fidgety and can’t seem to latch based on temperament, skin to skin contact and nursing at particularly calm times might help them get the hang of it. Sometimes it just takes a week or so for them to latch. However, there could be more physical problems at play. If your child has a lip-tie or tongue-tie, some moderate medical intervention could be the key in helping with latch. If that happens to be the issue, tongue-tie and lip-tie surgery could be an effective route for solving the latch issue — that way, your baby will feel more comfortable and get the nutrients they need easily.
3. Work Obligations
Unfortunately, not every mom can stay home all day to breastfeed. Perhaps financial obligations require that you return to work shortly after giving birth, or you happen to be a busy working mom who loves your job and you want to show your little ones that you truly can do it all. Either way, offices and workplaces aren’t usually the best places for babies to hang out — but this doesn’t mean you can’t nurse. You can pump milk throughout the day to bottle feed when you’re apart and nurse once you’re reunited to get that skin to skin connection.
New mom anxiety can impact your routine in all different ways, and breastfeeding might be one of them. Postpartum anxiety can often manifest as feelings of dread, excessive worry, racing thoughts and trouble concentrating. Although anxiety and stress can impact your milk supply on a physical level, the trouble can be mental, too. Worrying about your milk supply and other nursing details can often be its own problem by stressing you out and throwing you off your game. Speaking to a mental health professional or even your OB/GYN about your postpartum feelings might yield some positive solutions.
5. Low Milk Supply Breastfeeding Moms
While sometimes low milk supply can be caused by definitive sources like stress or diet, plenty of moms tend to have a naturally low milk supply. Sometimes, low milk supply can be a bit of a mystery. Luckily, no matter the source of the issue, there are plenty of solutions that can help you boost your flow. From lactation teas to herbal supplements, you can increase your milk supply naturally, often in a matter of just a few days. Fenugreek in particular is a great herb that many mothers turn to for lactation support.
6. Fussiness or Biting
Sometimes, babies don’t want to sit still, even when they’re hungry. While some babies need to nurse in more calm, quiet environments, others simply need a bit of time to get used to the flow and sensation. Be patient and attentive as your baby is nursing. Sometimes, they’ll calm down after a few minutes. If your baby is a biter — even just with their gums — pulling them in a bit closer or putting your finger in the corner of their mouth can relax them a bit and keep them from clamping down.
7. Cracked Nipples
Sometimes, it’s not soreness of the tissue, but of the skin itself that causes discomfort. This is fairly common for many new moms. If you’re experiencing raw, cracked nipples as a result of nursing, try out a warm compress, saltwater rinse or lanolin ointment to soothe the skin and give you a bit of relief.
Nursing Your Way
Although you may run into some issues when nursing, you’ll find the methods and solutions that are right for you. Whether that means pumping from your desk, downing some fenugreek tea or taking extra care of your mental health, your baby will get the care and nutrition they need while you care for your own health, too. Every journey is unique, and you’ll surely find your flow.