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Breast Feeding Problems

  • Breast milk is the best food for your baby. It has been proved beyond doubt that the healthiest feed for an infant is breast milk. Exclusively Breast feed your baby for at least 6 months. Breast milk is a complete food source. It contains all the nutrients your baby needs. It includes hormones and antibodies [disease-fighting compounds] absent in any supplementary foods. It may be appropriate to say that the baby doesn't need even water if he is breast fed properly. It reduces the incidence of many cancers, especially breast and ovarian cancers. It helps the mother get back in shape more easily, as it burns lot of calories.

    Breast Feeding Problems

    Breast Feeding & Thrust
  • Thrush is a fungal infection in the mouth of the baby due to constant feeding. The infection can spread to the nipple of the breast and cause soreness and cracks. It causes pain, redness and discharge from nipples. In the baby it causes white patches in the mouth that cannot be cleared. It can also cause nappy rash at the diaper areas.

    What is to be done...?
    1. Personal hygiene of both the mother and baby is the most important part of treating thrush. Keep the nipples dry and clean and wash them after every feed. Wash the bottles, nipples and nappies in warm water frequently. Make sure that all items are kept clean and dry.
    2. Consult a pediatrician as soon as possible to cure the infection with appropriate antibiotics.
    3. You can continue to breast feed during this condition.

    Brest Pain during Breast Feeding
  • Breast pain during breast feeding is a very common problem faced by most mothers. Usually it is due to hormones released during the sucking of nipples. Excess of milk is secreted and the breast gets engorged causing the pain. It can also be due to infection causing blocking of the ducts inside the breasts. Some of the causes include ill fitting bra, premenstrual pain, poor usage of breast pump and incorrect technique of breast feeding.

What is to be done...?
    1. Breathing and relaxation techniques can help you in overcoming this pain.
    2. If there is breast engorgement then squeeze the milk on a towel before the baby starts feed.
    3. If there isinfection contact your GP to get the right treatment.

    Breast Refusal
  • Breast refusal is denial of breast feed by the baby. The common problem is inability to get a mouthful of breast, to feed effectively by the baby. The common causes are Teething, oral thrush or upper respiratory infection of the baby.

What is to be done...?
    1. Correct technique of breast feeding solves most of the problem.
    2. Prompt treatment of the cough, cold or infections of the baby.
    3. Patience and persistence of the mother is important.
    4. Increase the bonding with the baby and encouraging the baby to take the breast.

Cracked Nippes or Bleeding Nipples
This is mainly because of poor technique of breast feeding. What can be done?

What is to be done...?
    1. Don't worry about the bleeding or cracked nipples. Consult your nearest GP to ascertain the cause.
    2. Adjusting your feeding technique can substantially soothe or cure cracked nipples.
    3. You should continue to breast feed.

Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast, which may (sometimes very quickly) progress to an infection. You may notice redness, hardness, soreness, heat and swelling of the breast. You can also notice chills and fever. It is because of milk coming into the blood vessels of the breast. The most common reason for this is a problem with the way your baby latches on. Incomplete emptying of breasts can cause this problem too. Mastitis can occur at any time while you're breastfeeding but it's most common in the first month after giving birth when you are learning about breastfeeding.

What is to be done...?
    1. Don't stop breast feeds as it may worsen the mastitis. It is safe to feed the baby with the affected breast.
    2. Consult your nearest GP for antibiotics
    3. Hot compresses and paracetamol will alleviate the symptoms of the problem.
    4. Good breast feeding technique should be kept in mind.

Low Milk Supply
Many women think their milk supply is low when it is not. This can happen if you stop feeling a strong letdown reflex or lose the feeling of fullness in your breasts, or if milk stops leaking from your nipples. Understanding the breastfeeding process can solve the problem. It is very rare to have low milk secretion. They produce plenty of milk, but because their baby is not latching well and feeding effectively, the baby doesn't get enough. Remember the more the baby feeds the more the milk is produced. Always feed the baby on demand not as routine.

What is to be done...?
    1. First, rule out false alarms about your milk supply
    2. Weight gain of the baby after one month is the best way to confirm that adequate milk is being produced.
    3. Offer the alternate breast each time. Express the remaining milk in each breast and you can freeze it for future use. This can stimulate more milk production in your breast.
    4. In some cases there is an underlying cause-low thyroid conditions, some medications, losing large amount of blood during child birth can cause low milk production. If in doubt always consult your doctor.

Techniques of Breast Feeding
Since feeds can take anything up to half an hour or so, pick a comfortable place for breastfeeding. It is important that the place you choose be quiet and never noisy, as noise can cause the baby to get distracted. Don't be afraid to try different things until you find what works for you. Make sure are completely comfortable while breast feeding.

Points to Note...
    1. Hold your baby in a proper position so that you don't strain your arms and back
    2. Take care of your back and ensure that you don’t bend forwards
    3. If it hurts when the baby latches on [it usually is when the baby latches on only to the nipple], get the baby to let go by inserting your little finger between the breast and the baby's mouth and try to make the baby latch on properly
    4. The baby should take in a big mouthful of your breast. If the baby is just latching onto the nipple it will hurt-this technique is improper
    5. Burp her before resuming the feed and also once you finish the feed. It can prevent stomach fullness which cause pain

    If you have any doubts or apprehensions do not hesitate to discuss them with your doctor. Remember that these issues are not only important for your health, but even more important for the well being of your baby.

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