We like to think of breastfeeding as a delicate dance between mom and baby -- you're both learning how to do this, so be patient and don't give up! For Mamas who need extra support, here are solutions to common breastfeeding problems.
Issue: Painful breastfeeding
Painful nipples are a common issue among new mothers. Nipple sensitivity is expected during the first week of nursing, as your areola stretches with suckling. However, if the pain gets worse or persists for more than 10 days, it's time to investigate!
Solve it: Evaluate your technique by checking your baby's positioning on your nipple, as well as his position to your body. Parents.com has a helpful feature that helps you examine if baby is latching to your breast correctly (with pictures!). Remember: breastfeeding should not be painful.
Issue: Sore, chapped nipples
As you perfect your breastfeeding form, you've still gotta take care of those nipples! If your nipples are in bad shape (i.e.: cracked, sore or bleeding), reach for natural remedies that will relieve your pain and be safe for nursing baby.
Solve it: Research has shown moist environments help soothe sore nipples. Try the age-old practice of bathing nipples in fresh breast milk, which is believed to have antibacterial and healing properties.
Alternatively, reach for a toxin-free ointment like The Spoiled Mama's Fix that Sucker Nipstick. This sore nipple cream is lanolin-free, safe for baby to digest and uses 100% organic ingredients to relieve nipple pain and encourage healing.
Can overproduction of breast milk be too much of a good thing? Sure thing, Mama. An oversupply can lead to stressful feedings for baby, who may choke or sputter on the milk, or clamp down on the nipple completely (ouch!). For mom, overly full breasts can become painful and uncomfortable, and may increase her chances of plugged ducts that may lead to an infection.
Issue: Too much breast milk
Solve it: Interrupt your milk production cycle. Try nursing baby on one breast per feeding. If she wants to feed within the next two hours, try offering her the same breast. Then switch sides and repeat. This method should slow down the rate of milk production to match your baby's true needs. If you need to express breastmilk from overly full breasts, only pump enough to decrease the pressure.
Issue: Too little breast milk
If your low milk production is a problem, your baby may not be gaining enough weight, which can halter or impair physical and mental development.
Solve it: Breast milk is very much a game of supply and demand. In theory, the more often you feed, the more breastmilk your body will produce.
To jump-start your breastmilk production, try pumping between nursing sessions, switching breasts during feedings and drinking a breastfeeding tea made with lactation herbs. One example is The Spoiled Mama's Breast Milk Boost, a lactation tea to increase milk supply with 100% organic ingredients like fennel seed and fenugreek.
Any questions we missed? Check out great breastfeeding sources like La Leche League International and Breastmilk Counts.