Many new mums struggle with breastfeeding but for most it does get easier. In the early days, you’ll both be getting used to a new technique and it can take time to get the hang of it. Most breastfeeding problems can be solved in the first couple of weeks and it will start to become easier.
Breast is best
Mums are advised to exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months.
Not only does breast milk contain all the nutrients needed to support a growing baby, but it’s also packed with antibodies to protect your baby from disease.
Many mums choose to continue beyond the six-month period, supplementing solids with breastmilk until their baby reaches their first year.
Making breastfeeding easier
The first few days of breastfeeding can be a battleground for new mums but most problems can be solved with simple solutions. Here’s a list of common issues and how to deal with them:
Sore or cracked nipples
This is one of the most common breastfeeding problems. It usually crops up within the first week and can be down to the baby’s positioning. Ensuring they have a good latch and are positioned correctly will help so seek advice from your midwife or health visitor. There are some good over-the-counter treatments that will ease painful nipples.
Mastitis and engorgement
Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast tissue or mammary gland and is caused by engorgement. It is common in the first few days when your baby is getting used to feeding and your supply needs to meet demand. Continued feeding is the best way of easing the pressure and helping your supply to even out.
Problems with latching
Your baby needs to learn the art of breastfeeding. If they still seem hungry after a feed or you’re finding breastfeeding particularly painful, it could be a problem with positioning. Your health advisor or GP will be able to offer advice on ensuring they have a good latch.
Not enough breastmilk
Many mums worry that their baby isn’t getting enough milk. Learn the signs that show your baby is full at the end of a feed. Feeding from each breast in turn will ensure that your baby receives fresh supplies of both the foremilk and hindmilk to keep them satisfied. There are ways you can boost your milk supply but monitoring your baby’s weight will also offer reassurance that they’re receiving enough food.
If you are experiencing breastfeeding problems, contact your GP for advice on local breastfeeding clinics that can help.