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4 Common breastfeeding problems and their solutions

Tips for Parent By Meenakshi Chaudhary , Onlymyhealth editorial team / Oct 28, 2015
4 Common breastfeeding problems and their solutions

Breastfeeding is the most crucial thing for a newborn and the mother as it is supposed to be the only source of nourishment for the child. Learn how to deal with breastfeeding problems.

It is a common belief that breastfeeding comes naturally to new mothers and newborn babies. But, what you may not know is breastfeeding may not be as easy as it may appear for some women. Breastfeeding problems not only affect the baby but can cause harm to the mother too. Here are four common causes that lead to breastfeeding problems in new moms despite proper lactation and ways to resolve them.


breastfeeding problems


Engorged breasts

Breast engorgement may occur between the 2nd and the 5th day after delivery. You can blame inability to nurse and feed the baby frequently or unable to drain the excess milk produced in the breast for engorged breasts. After the childbirth, a mother’s breast produces enough breast milk to provide nourishment to the newborn. However, there are times when the mother is unable to drain the milk completely even after adequately feeding the baby. The presence of excess milk causes engorged breasts, making them look swollen, full and hard.


Problem of engorged breasts should not be ignored as it could create problems for the mother making it difficult for her to feed the baby despite the breasts.


What you can do

If your breasts become hard or full even after you have fed your baby to his satisfaction, try to pump out some milk from your breasts manually. Feeding your baby more often will also help you get rid of this problem.   



Cracked nipples

Sore or cracked nipples is a common problem among new mums, especially during the 1st week of breastfeeding. Improper latching or incorrect positioning of the baby during a feeding session is the main reason behind this problem. Besides, use of artificial nipples like teats or a pacifier during the early days breastfeeding or frequently taking the baby off the breast without breaking the latch would also lead to soreness.



What you can do

You can continue breast feeding the baby despite the soreness or cracked nipples. However, you need to make sure that you position the in such a way that he gets more of the areola in his mouth. This will help reduce pain due to soreness and promote healing soon. Instead of using over the counter ointments to treat cracked nipples or soreness, apply your breast milk and let it dry.



Blocked or plugged ducts

When the production of breast milk and suction by the baby don’t match each other’s speed and frequency, it causes blockage in milk producing duct. When the duct gets blocked, you will experience swelling, lump on the breasts that could appear hard or painful when touched. Do not ignore this situation, as it could lead to either mastitis or abscess.



What you can do

Nursing your baby often is one of the easiest and effective ways to get rid of the milk build-up in the breasts. You can also massage you breast in such a way that you point the lump towards the nipple while massaging. Doing so will help the duct to empty with proper suction and feeding techniques. Try different feeding positions to drain your milk effectively from a blocked duct.



Flat nipples:

For proper breast feeding it is important that your nipples are protractile enough for your baby to latch on them.  New moms with inverted or retracted nipples find it difficult for the feed their baby properly.



What you can do

Use a disposable syringe to retract the flat nipple. You can do it by cutting the nozzle part of the syringe and placing it on the nipple. Now pull the piston out and hold to that position for few seconds to protrude the nipple out. This method is known as inverted-syringe technique.


Now feed your baby by putting him on the breasts when the nipple protrudes out a bit. It helps you baby to latch better, hence, saving you from engorgement and blockage. In order to deal with problem, you can try it several times a day. You can also try massaging your nipples to protrude them out.



Image Source: getty

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