Why is breastfeeding so difficult?

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If we were to jot down a list of all the things people don’t tell you about becoming a mom, we could probably fill half a book on the topic of breastfeeding. One of the most beautiful and bonding acts you can enjoy with your baby can also come with some of the most negative strings attached… for a while. 

Here are some of the things that can affect your breastfeeding rhythm or routine in the first few weeks 

  1. Nipple Pain 
  2. Latching problems 
  3. Not producing enough milk 
  4. Engorgement 
  5. Leaking breasts
  6. Mastitis 

For each of these issues there are solutions and we can guarantee that these issues will not last forever mama, as with everything these are temporary phases and with the right attention can be gone before you know it! 

Struggling with nipple pain? 

This is a most common problem as newborns tend to feed at least 8-12 times a day and that’s a lot of action for such a sensitive area! Some tried and trusted methods to help you through this stage ( as it will most definitely pass) are nipple cream, cold gel pads, breast shields or air drying after each feed. 

Baby not latching correctly? 

Now this can most definitely also be a cause of nipple pain, if your baby is not latching correctly there are methods you can try such as trying different holds and positions for both you and baby to secure a better latch, or if your problem is caused by flat or inverted nipples a nipple former can do the trick or the use of a breast shield. The best gift you can give to yourself is to speak with a lactation consult if having latching issues. 

Feel like you’re not making enough milk? 

Initially you’ll make a small amount of breast milk because the hormonal changes that trigger your milk production happen slowly, and won’t be finished until around day two to four. This may cause you to worry your baby isn’t getting enough, but as his/her stomach is only tiny and he/she feeds frequently, it’s not a problem. During the first few days you only need to be concerned if your baby is losing more weight than expected and producing too few wet and dirty diapers, or is showing signs of dehydration.

Feeling a bit over-full in the chest area? 

Feeding, pumping or massaging your breasts,  even just a small amount,  will help to resolve engorgement pain. 

Help, I’m leaking! 

Some moms can go their whole life without ever experiencing the embarrassment of leaking breasts – for the rest it’s breastpads to the rescue, cheap and easy to use just slide these into your bra ( and a few spares in your purse) and you’ll be good to go! 

Pain just too much to bare? 

Mastitis is an inflammation of breast tissue that sometimes involves an infection. The inflammation results in breast pain, swelling, warmth and redness. You might also have fever and chills. There are some home remedies such as over the counter pain killers, breast massage, heat therapy and cold cabbage leaves, but we recommend if you are experiencing these symptoms to consult your healthcare professional as soon as possible. 

Breastfeeding does not come easy to everyone, but if you can push through the initial pains and struggles you will find yourself in the great position of successfully breastfeeding your baby. It’s tough at the start but eventually it will be second nature and you will revel in the bond that you can share with your baby.