How To Resolve Breastfeeding Problems

It is recommended that women breastfeed their babies for at least six months, and preferably a year. Yet many women don't even come close to six months due to breastfeeding issues. Breastfeeding issues run the gamut from nipple soreness to mastitis and thrush, but there are steps you can take to resolve breastfeeding issues. 

  1. Make sure your baby opens his mouth up WIDE when he attaches to the breast. This will help your baby feed on the areola, not on the nipple. 

  • Make sure your baby has a good latch. This right here is the primary problem of breastfeeding. Poor latch can result in sore, cracked and bleeding nipples. Your baby's lips should be flanged (fish-face) around your areola. She should be feeding on your areola, not on your nipple. Her tongue should be beneath your areola, not on top of it or in front of it. Remember that breastfeeding should never hurt, though it may be uncomfortable in the beginning. If your baby has an improper latch, disengage her from your nipple by sticking a finger in her mouth to release the suction, and then try again. 
  • Get comfortable when you breastfeed. Always bring your baby to your breast. Don't bring your breast to the baby. Go to the bathroom, drink a glass of water and prop pillows beneath your arm for help. 
  • You should be hearing your baby swallow. In the beginning, your baby may only swallow every five to ten sucks, but once your milk comes in you should hear a swallow at each suck. A swallow will sound like a faint click. 
  • If you believe you have mastitis contact your care provider. Mastitis is a special breastfeeding issue. It's an infection or inflammation of your milk ducts. It can make breastfeeding very painful. Symptoms include a tender, reddened patch upon the breast, or entire tender and reddened breast, fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit, chills, headache and fatigue. Mastitis is caused by extra milk in the milk ducts. A circular problem can be created if you try to empty your breasts at each feeding by pumping, since your body will assume more milk is needed and will produce more milk. To avoid mastitis, try not to wear an underwire bra or to miss feedings, and try to get plenty of rest, food and water. Mastitis is treatable with home remedies such as warm compresses, patience and potentially antibiotics.
  • If you believe you have thrush, contact your care provider. Thrush is also called Candida, and it is a yeast infection of the nipples. Thrush is extremely common after a dose of antibiotics, especially if given during labor. Symptoms include nipple irritation, redness, itchiness and burning/shooting pains before or after feedings. Your baby can also get thrush, which is most often seen as white, cottage cheese like patches in the mouth. Thrush can be treated with time and anti-fungal treatments. To avoid thrush, make sure your nipples are staying dry or are being allowed to air-dry; eat yogurt; wear cotton bras; and, in hot water, wash your clothing, washcloths and anything that comes in contact with your baby's mouth and your nipples.    
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