Breast feeding is a natural process. However, the first two weeks of breast feeding can be a difficult time especially for a mother having her first baby. Here are a few common problems faced by some mothers:
- If you do not position your baby properly and put your baby often enough to the breast the breast will engorge.
- Your breast will become swollen, hard, heavy and painful. This can happen especially during the first week of delivery.
- Before feeding, gently express some of the milk to soften the breast. This makes it easier for your baby to grasp the nipple and areola. Also, feeding will be less painful for you.
- After feeding, if your breast is still hard, express the remaining milk. Apply cold compress for comfort.Wear a supporting nursing bra.
- Make sure the positioning is right and baby is sucking effectively and more frequently.
If the baby sucks only the nipple and does not take the areola or does not take part of it, this may cause sore or cracked nipples.
Lack of Breast Milk
- Choose a position in which you feel relaxed and comfortable. Bring the baby towards your breast and not the breast towards the baby.
- Make sure your baby takes the nipple with as much as possible of the areola into his mouth. His mouth should, therefore, be wide open and his chin should be touching your breast.
- It is very important to keep on feeding in the correct position.
- Let the baby suck the least affected or unaffected breast first. When the milk flows readily change to the sore breast.
- After feeding the baby, put the tip of your finger into the corner of the baby’s mouth. Then move your baby gently away from the breast.
- Express some milk and apply it on the sore nipple to help it to heal. Avoid using soap, cream or lotion on the nipple.
- Expose your sore nipple to air as much as possible. Avoid using a bra until the soreness has healed.
- If the nipples are very sore, seek the advice of your health worker. Meanwhile, express your milk so that milk production is maintained and baby is continued to be fed.
Your milk flow will diminish because of lack of stimulation due to the following:
- If you do not let your baby suckle as frequently as he wants to.
- If you start giving supplementary feeding too early or if you bottle-feed.
- If you breast feed from only one breast.
- Your milk will also diminish.
- If you lack confidence in your ability to breast feed.
- If you are emotionally stressed.
- Feed your baby as frequently as you can and as he wants to.
- Try not to let more than 2 hours lapse between feeds.
- Breast feed from both breasts.
- Improve your diet. Eat more body building foods (eg. fish, chicken, meat, eggs, milk, nuts, seeds, peas and beans) and protective foods (eg. fruits and vegetables).
- Have confidence in yourself. You can breast feed.
- Try to relax.