/ by Emily Robinson, APRN
The bond between you and your baby established during breastfeeding is unique and wonderful, but having a newborn who depends on you for growth and development can become stressful when issues arise.
As a certified lactation consultant, I help guide and support mothers who choose to breastfeed as well as answer questions and offer tips for a successful breastfeeding experience.
Here are some steps you can take to solve some common problems associated with breastfeeding.
Baby won’t latch
This is an issue with many root causes, including the mother’s nipples or breasts or the baby’s mouth, tongue or lips.
Exercises and devices for inverted or sore nipples are available and can help fix this problem, but remember to bring your baby to a healthcare provider so that they can assess for any oral issues, such as tongue tie.
Lactation consultants can also help you with this concern by teaching you different nursing positions.
Low or no milk supply
The first one to two weeks after you give birth are imperative for establishing milk supply. Several maternal factors can affect milk supply, including long labor, pre-eclampsia, post-partum hemorrhage, history of PCOS or infertility, and breast anatomy. Milk production initiation is affected by even the first few hours after delivery, so you should try to start breastfeeding within the first hour after delivery.
The more your breasts are stimulated, the more they will produce. You can even use a breast pump in the first few days after giving birth as long as you have nursed your baby first.
Too much milk or engorgement
While some women have trouble producing even a little milk, others produce too much. Too much milk can cause your baby to have an upset stomach or difficulty latching, which will only worsen engorgement.
Not only is engorgement harmful to your baby, it can be harmful to you, too, by causing plugged ducts, leading to mastitis and breast infection.
There are several physical maneuvers to help your baby latch to an engorged breast, which lactation specialists can help with as well.
Baby is not gaining weight
Is your baby latching and nursing but not gaining weight? This could be because of a lack of actual transfer of milk from breast to baby, even though your baby seems to be nursing.
At a lactation visit, a specialized scale is used to weigh your baby before and after a nursing session and will tell exactly how many milliliters of breast milk the baby transferred during a normal nursing session.
Is it OK to supplement?
Sometimes it’s necessary for breastfeeding mothers to use supplements. This can be done in a way that doesn’t disrupt the establishment or continuation of breastfeeding, but it can sometimes reduce milk supply and cause nipple confusion.
Mothers requiring supplements should use syringe, cup or paced bottle feeding.
Is it OK to not breastfeed?
Yes! All mothers who try to breastfeed and fail are not failing as mothers. Breast milk is a fantastic option for baby and well-known as the best nutrition, but formula can still help babies grow and develop.