Throughout pregnancy, mamas often picture themselves snuggled with their newborn in a chair or on a couch, blissfully breastfeeding. As the majority of mothers discover after the birth of their little one, however, breastfeeding doesn’t always come easily.
Whether you’re facing challenges now or want to be prepared for them in the future, we’ve put together a list of the leading troubles nursing mothers face and how they can be overcome.
Challenge 1: The Baby Won’t Latch
We’ve all heard magical stories of babies successfully navigating their way to their mother’s breast and latching on mere moments after birth. This may or may not be the case for you, but many other mums will have a baby who simply won’t latch.
The best way to increase your chances of having a successful latch is to go skin-to-skin with your baby. Remove all clothing from your baby (leaving on the diaper) and settle yourself in a semi-reclining position. Place your baby on your chest. When the baby is ready, they will likely shift down to your breast and latch on.
If your baby doesn’t scoot down to feed, don’t panic. You can still provide them with your nourishing milk by expressing your milk and offering it in a cup or a syringe.
Challenge 2: The Latch is Painful
Many mamas with latching babies will find that the latch is painful. Over time your breast may become sore, cracked, or even bleed as a result.
Breastfeeding may result in some sensitivity or tenderness in the nipple at first. But if you continue to feel pain days after you start to feed, it’s likely that your baby is not getting enough of the breast in their mouth.
Make sure your baby’s mouth is open wide prior to latching on (you can encourage them to open up by rubbing your nipple across their top lip). Their chin should be pressed into the breast, and head tipped back so that the nose is away from your body.
You can also help reduce the amount of pain you feel by applying a cool compress to your nipples after each feed. Placing breast shields inside your bra can also help prevent nipple irritation.
Challenge 3: The Baby Falls Asleep
Baby and mama feeding times are soothing and comforting. It’s no surprise that a lot of babies doze off during this special time!
Most newborns will nurse between eight to 12 times a day. Many mothers become concerned about whether or not the baby is receiving enough milk. Parents should generally only be concerned about how much their baby is eating if they haven’t yet reached their birth weight.
To encourage nursing, remove your infant’s clothing (leaving the diaper on) and place a light blanket over the top of the baby so you are skin-to-skin. You can compress your breast between your thumb and fingers to encourage flow. If your baby isn’t sucking, then stroking beneath their chin can help.
Challenge 4: The Non-Stop Nursing Baby
As frustrating as this can be for new baby mamas, it’s normal and natural for babies to “cluster feed” (this means feeding once every 45 to 60 minutes). It’s exhausting, but the best thing to do is to go into it prepared.
Keep the television remote, a book, and your smartphone nearby for entertainment, and make sure there is always a nutritious snack and a bottle of water within arm’s reach. Take your comfort into consideration and treat yourself to some nursing clothing so that you can feed privately anywhere and at any time without privacy concerns or the worry of catching a chill.
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