Breastfeeding is one of the best gifts any mother can give her children. For however long, it provides children the perfect and best food along with numerous benefits to not only the baby but to the mom as well.
Though breastfeeding may be the most natural way for mothers to feed their children, it is a skill that needs to be learned. It takes a lot of commitment and a whole lot of perseverance to breastfeed your child especially in the beginning and if you plan to breastfeed well over your child’s 6th month or one year mark. It also is not without its own problems and obstacles that need to be overcome. As a mother gets more skilled and more adept at feeding her child though, breastfeeding becomes easier and simpler.
The truth is, breastfeeding is not really a walk in the park, especially in the beginning. One of the biggest breastfeeding hurdles is really getting into it, because it may not seem simple or natural to most mothers. The first few weeks can be a trying period while learning the process and getting used to it. Here are some of the obstacles to overcome in the first few days:
1. Difficulty in latching This may be one of the most common problems mothers and their babies face at the onset. A wrong latch can lead to sore nipples and pain during breastfeeding so it is important that latching be done right. Lactation consultants may help in giving tips and tricks to proper latching. Trying different nursing positions may also help. Putting baby to the breast often and not giving up though, are the two most important things to do so that both mom and baby can quickly learn the skill.
2. Sore/cracked nipples and breasts Just as mom and baby are adjusting to the new experience of breastfeeding, so will a mother’s breasts. It is not uncommon for mothers to experience a little pain for the first few weeks because the breasts are still getting accustomed to the pressure and friction on the sensitive skin of the nipple area. This can be aggravated more by improper latching.
Just remember that the best treatment for sore nipples is breastmilk or plain water. Nipple shields can also help if breastfeeding with sore or cracked nipples is too painful. It is also best to remember that it does baby no harm even if they breastfeed on sore or cracked nipples; just keep on breastfeeding and surely this obstacle will resolve itself soon.
3. Engorgement This is when the breasts produce too much supply of milk. It is very uncomfortable and almost painful because of the pressure on the breasts. To help overcome this is quite simple: put the baby to the breast often. Soon enough the mother’s body will learn to adjust to the needs of the baby and produce just enough. To help relieve the pressure, pump a little or express a little until the discomfort is gone. Make sure though that not too much is pumped or expressed; doing this will send the message to the mother’s body that more milk must be produced, instead of just helping the mother feel more comfortable. Another tip is to take a warm bath. The warmth can stimulate letdown and relieve the pressure from engorgement.
4. Feeling inadequate when it comes to supply New moms may be anxious about the amount of breast milk they produce in the first few days because it seems like such a small amount. This is not something that moms should worry about because babies don’t really need much in the beginning. Their stomachs are about the size of our thumbs and so long as moms put their babies to the breast often and on demand, there will be enough breast milk to satisfy and nourish the baby.