So baby has been home for a couple of days already and we all know breastfeeding is natural. But, let us remind ourselves that natural does not mean easy.
When you start nursing your newborn, it’s common to feel tenderness on your nipples after breastfeeding. Some women report having cracked nipples. Others report blood and sometimes even blisters.
There are specific creams and ointments and cooling pads to help with the pain, but how do you overcome the problem if you’ll need to breastfeed again in the next two hours?
Even if your nipples are bruised and bloody, the baby can keep breastfeeding without any risks. The maternal comfort factor, however, must be considered.
Not enough breast milk?
Some women feel like they have little milk and that the baby doesn’t eat enough. Keep in mind that there’s no such thing as little milk production, given that the mammary glands work off stimulation – in other words, the baby’s suction maintains and regulates milk production.
It’s important to note: some factors can reduce the amount of breast milk produced. Sometimes a milk duct can become clogged. Sometimes, the problem can be resolved on its own when the child “unblocks” it while breastfeeding. Rubbing a towel on the nipple can also help remove the “layer” of skin cells that grew over it and may block milk flow.
Another reason why the quantity of milk might be reduced is due to stress. If the mother is anxious, the brain releases substances such as cortisol, which interfere in producing the hormones responsible for producing milk, prolactin, and oxytocin. Did you know that drinking tons of milk won’t help increase milk levels? Nor will drinking dark beer, as some belief. It’s the hormonal alterations that are responsible for breastfeeding. However, certain substances – alcohol, nicotine, and some medications – can get to the baby through breast milk.
Therefore, try to identify what’s been causing your anxieties, ask for help, talk to your doctor, or seek whatever solution you believe will help your case.
In fact, you should ask your doctor about the possibility of taking medication or supplements that can stimulate the production of milk – they will guide you accordingly.
However, in many cases, it’s the way the baby latches that can cause issues because it can be wrong. The most recommended position is placing the baby completely facing you, with their head level to the nipple, resting on your elbow, touching bellies. The baby shouldn’t just suck on the tip, but on the entire areola, with their mouths wide open. The newborn’s lips should be slightly turned outwards, and the chin should touch the breast.
Feeling cramps while breastfeeding is normal because the act releases hormones that stimulate the uterus to contract. Don’t worry. This uncomfortable feeling should go away in two or three weeks.
Finally, the type of nipple also influences the way you breastfeed. There are three different types: the first one is normal or protruding. With a prominent nipple, it hardens when stimulated. If the nipple is too wide, the baby can latch on the wrong way, sucking only the nipple, causing fissures. To avoid the problem, try breastfeeding in more than one position: inverted (the baby’s feet point to the mother’s back) or the “horseback,” where the child sits on the mother’s thigh with their legs open.
Plane nipples are the ones that aren’t either “out” or “in.” Before breastfeeding, pinch the areola with your fingers. If the breast is too full, it’ll look plain. It would be best if you milked the breast a little so the nipple can surface.
Also known as the umbilical, the inverted or pseudo inverted nipple turns inward. The nipple can “come out” with a little bit of stimulation. It can create an obstacle during breastfeeding since the milk won’t come out as easily. Stay calm and try different positions for the baby. It’s worth remembering that the child sucks on the areola, not the nipple, so that this characteristic won’t get in the way of breastfeeding.
And, always remember:
- Position the baby, so it’ll latch on to the areola the right way.
- First, the baby should breastfeed on one breast until it is “empty.” Afterward, if possible, also feed on the other one.
- Always start the feeding from the last breast the baby fed from the last time.
- Is the newborn gaining weight? Then the feedings are working.
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