Everyone talks about the benefits of breastfeeding. But what happens when things aren’t so easy? Many new moms find that breastfeeding isn’t as simple as it seems. The road can be full of challenges and difficulties, leaving new mothers feeling confused, frustrated, and even ashamed at times.
If you’re also facing some breastfeeding challenges, read on to know more about them. In this article, we will explain the most common issues new moms face while trying to feed their babies with breast milk. We will also help you understand why these problems occur, how you can prevent them if possible, and how you can tackle them if you find yourself dealing with one or more of them right now.
Hormonal Changes Caused By Pregnancy
Breastfeeding can be more challenging after pregnancy because your breasts might be very different from what they used to be. This is mainly due to the hormonal changes that your body goes through when pregnant. Most women find that their breasts become much larger (and heavier) during pregnancy. This is because of the increased amounts of pregnancy hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin.
These hormones stay in your body for a few weeks after pregnancy, and that is when your breasts become fully engorged with milk. They stay that way until you start breastfeeding. The breasts also seem to become more sensitive to touch, especially during the last few weeks of pregnancy. This is due to the higher levels of estrogen that your body produces during this period.
Discomfort Due To Breasts Being Tender
Breastfeeding can be painful if your breasts are tender. This might happen if you’re breastfeeding for the first time and your breasts haven’t yet fully developed the network of milk ducts that they need. Breasts usually take about a week to 10 days to get fully engorged with milk after you start breastfeeding. In some cases, they might remain tender until they fully develop. This is often because the baby doesn’t latch on properly, or because the mother has a bad breastfeeding posture.
Breasts that are tender can also be a sign that your baby is not feeding enough. If this happens, you should consult your doctor to find out what you can do to improve your baby’s feeding.
Slow-growing babies are rare, but they can sometimes happen. The taste, smell, and nutrients in breast milk change as your baby grows. Breastfeeding problems caused by slow-growing babies may include the following:
- A newborn who doesn’t seem interested in breastfeeding
- A newborn who doesn’t gain enough weight
- A newborn who has lots of gas, especially after breastfeeding
- A newborn who has frequent loose stools
- A newborn with a very dirty behind
- A newborn who seems fussy and irritable
If your baby has one or more of the above symptoms, he or she might be growing too slowly. This can be caused by premature birth, low iron levels, too many or too few feedings, or a milk supply that is too low.
Baby Has A Hard Time Latching On
If your baby has a hard time latching on and seems unable to get a proper breastfeeding latch, you might have sore and swollen breasts as a result. Possible causes of this breastfeeding problem include:
- A baby who is born with a weak suck
- A baby who is born with a tongue-tie
- A baby who is born with a cleft palate
- A breast pump that is not used correctly
If you experience one or more of the above breastfeeding problems, you should consult your doctor. He or she will be able to help you solve the issue by suggesting possible fixes and solutions.
Pain From Engorgement And Mastitis
If your baby feeds well, but your breasts become engorged anyway, you might be at risk for developing mastitis. Mastitis can happen when your breasts become too full, and the milk backs up into your milk ducts.
Breastfeeding problems caused by engorgement and mastitis include pain and swelling in one or both breasts. The skin may also feel hot and look red. Breastfeeding problems caused by engorgement and mastitis can usually be fixed by following the tips listed below:
- Massage your breasts regularly to keep the milk flowing.
- Use warm compresses on your breasts to help the milk flow.
- Avoid wearing tight bras.
- Nurse your baby often.
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach.
- Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking.
Breastfeeding can be challenging for new moms. Hormonal changes that happen during pregnancy, as well as discomfort and tenderness in the breasts, can make breastfeeding feel painful. If you have a slow-growing baby, they may not be getting enough milk. If your baby has a hard time latching on, they may not be able to get a good latch and maybe suck improperly. Pain from engorgement and mastitis can also happen if your breasts become too full and the milk backs up into your milk ducts. If you follow the tips in this article, you can reduce your risk of experiencing these breastfeeding challenges.
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