Breastfeeding can be a wonderful experience. It is the best nutritional start possible for your baby. But breastfeeding isn't always easy, comfortable or pain free. The following explains some common problems and how to cope with them.
Early Difficulties Breastfeeding
By Melissa D. Jaramillo
You've made the decision to breastfeed your baby. Good for you! It can be a very wonderful experience for you both, along with providing your infant with the best nutritional start possible. This does not mean that it always comes easy and most women will experience some discomfort and even pain during the early postpartum days.
Here are some of the more common problems and methods for coping:
This is one of the most common issues of breastfeeding that occurs within the first few days postpartum. Basically, when your milk comes in (normally on the 2nd or 3rd day following birth), the glands of your breast become filled (engorged) at a point before a stable production schedule has been established. When breasts are not sufficiently drained the results can be quite painful -- and the cycle begins. Tenderness, swelling, warmth, and pulsating pressure may occur. At times the inflammation may cause the breasts to feel feverish and hard lumps may startle the new mom to become concerned.
- First bit of advice is to breastfeed your baby often...and then breastfeed some more. Honestly, the more you nurse, the greater the relief. At this particular point creating the proper demand/supply balance is what you are after. To stabilize your supply you will need your baby's help. Remember, the two of you are a team!
- Second, don't skip feedings during this time particularly. While it is understandable to feel exhaustion and the thought of "it's just one bottle" is quite tempting, the outcome will serve to defeat your efforts to battle engorgement. Even pumping is not nearly as effective as your newborns suckling.
- Third, if your areola seems too large or hard for your infant to latch onto, try applying warm compresses or even hand expressing prior to your nursing session.
- Fourth, wear a supportive nursing bra -- even overnight -- until you are more comfortable.
- Fifth, massage your breasts (or have your partner do so), when you are completely relaxed. Doing so while in a shower is particularly soothing.