Common Breastfeeding Problems Tips

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Reaction to Milk

Some mothers find that their normally happy, healthy, nursed baby has developed some digestive issues. The baby might be fussier than normal, have an extreme amount of gas, or strange stools, some of which could even contain a little blood. If any of these symptoms occur, call your pediatrician, but don't stop there. It would be a good idea to begin a log of what mother is eating. If you begin to notice a pattern in baby's reaction when you have eaten a certain food, it could be a food allergy. You might want to avoid this food. If any reaction is serious, make sure you take the baby in to see if any serious food allergies exist and if any foods such as gluten or dairy must be avoided altogether.


What To Do About Biting

Although they understand that they are part of you again when nursing, babies do not comprehend that they might be hurting you. As you nurse older babies or teething babies, biting can then become a problem. Instead of letting your baby bite you because they don't know any better, teach them better. Tell your baby 'no' gently and remove them from the breast. After you've composed yourself again, you can allow them back on. If the baby continues to bite, take a break from the baby so that they associate biting with losing nursing priveledges. Make sure you are helping with teething pain in other ways as well with either teething tablets, toys, or other soothing methods.

What can I do to ease the pain after weaning?

Alleviating Pain from Weaning

Many women choose to breastfeed, it can be a great nutritional choice for your baby.

Many times when a woman chooses to stop nursing, her breasts become engorged and painful. This happens often with women who make the change from breastfeeding to not breastfeeding.

There are things that a woman can do to help alleviate the pain involved with weaning a baby from the breast.

-Pumping: Women can either manually express milk from her breasts when they become full or choose to use a breast pump. Pumping the milk out of the breasts can help with the engorged, painful feeling that can come with weaning. Be careful not to express too much, as you do not want your breasts to continue to make milk, which may happen if milk is being expressed often.

-Hot showers or warm compresses over engorged breasts often feel good on breasts that are weaning a baby. Be careful, if you are severely engorged, heat may make your breasts feel worse.

-Breast massaging can help. Start massaging your breasts at the armpit and work your way down to your nipple.

-Acetaminophen can help with the pain also. It is always wise to check with your doctor before taking any pain medication.

-Cabbage leaves can also help with the pain. Cabbage leaves placed inside your bra may help reduce engorgement and lessen your milk supply. Make sure the leaves are cold and cleaned before placing inside your bra.

There are many things a woman can do to help alleviate pain from weaning. Trying each of the ideas until you find one that works for you is best. As always, check with your doctor if you are having severe pain or discomfort.

Can you breastfeed if you have flu/cold type symptons?

Breastfeeding Can Safely Continue When Mom is Sick

Most illnesses do not necessitate the cessation of breastfeeding. During an illness like the common cold, flu, fever or stomach flu, you can continue to nurse your baby without worrying that it will make the child sick. Although your breast milk will not transmit your illness to your baby, it does pass on antibodies that can help baby ward off the infection.

Maintaining your nursing schedule while you are sick is the best way to help your baby stay healthy, while at the same time maintaining your milk supply.

If you visit your doctor while you are sick, be sure to remind him that you are breastfeeding. This knowledge will help him prescribe medications that are safe for nursing moms and babies. It is also important to do your best to stay hydrated. Illness and dehydration can both decrease milk supply, as can certain medications. Even some over-the-counter medications, like antihistamines, can affect your milk production.

How can I help my congested baby to nurse?

Nurse In An Upright Position

If you are breastfeeding and your baby is congested, it can help to allow him/her to nurse in an upright position...such as sitting on your lap facing you. This allows for better sinus drainage, easier breathing, and the baby can obtain milk easier.

Can I breastfeed when I have the flu?

Breastmilk is the best medicine

If you have a cold or the flu, you can continue breastfeeding. Your baby will benefit from the antibodies in your milk.

What is a nursing strike?

What is a nursing strike?

Nursing strikes occur most often in babies older than 3 months of age. Typically the baby has been nursing well and then suddenly will refuse to nurse for no apparent reason.A nursing strike usually lasts just a few days but may persist for a week or two. Even though a lot of mothers do choose to wean during a strike, most babies can be coaxed back to the breast with some patience and determination. The following may result in a strike: teething, illness, sores in the baby's mouth, a change in the taste of the milk, prolonged separation between mother and baby, the frequent use of bottles or the pacifier, low milk supply, etc.

What if it hurts?

Don't give up

If nursing is painful, it is likely a fixable problem. Try different holds or talk to other nursing mothers before you throw in the towel. Breastfeeding is a learned art.

How can I end a nursing strike?

Naptime Nursing

Nurse when the baby is sleepy. Nighttime nursings are especially good for this.

How do I know if I have thrush?

Possible Mother's Symptoms

Mother's symptoms of thrush include: intense nipple or breast pain that occurs from birth, lasts throughout the feeding, or is not improved with better latch-on and positioning,sudden onset of nipple pain after a period of pain free nursing, cracked nipples,nipples that are itchy and/or burning and that may appear pink or red, shiny, or flaky and/or have a rash and tiny blisters, shooting pains in the breast during or after a feeding if the yeast has invaded the milk ducts, nipple or breast pain with correct use of an automatic electric breastpump, or a vaginal yeast infection.

How can I relieve the pain of sore nipples?


After nursing, dry your nipples and rub either expressed breastmilk or a 100% USP modified lanolin preparation, such as Purelan 100 or Lansinoh into them. This is tastless and does not have to be washed off before nursing.

How can I end a nursing strike?

Quiet Nursing

When breastfeeding your baby, it is best to nurse in a quiet, darkened place to eliminate distractions. Any distraction can often disrupt the feeding process.

How do I know if I have thrush?

Possible Baby's Symptoms

Baby's symptoms of thrush include: diaper rash that does not respond to typical rash ointments,
creamy white patches that cannot be wiped off on the inside of the mouth, cheeks, or tongue,
breast refusal, pulling off breast, or a reluctance to nurse due to mouth soreness, or repeated clicking during nursing.
The baby may also be without visible symptoms.

How can I minimize the pain of cracked nipples?

Keep Dry

Change your nursing pads frequently so that your nipples stay dry. If your pad sticks to your nipple, moisten it with water before attempting to remove it. Also avoid nursing pads with plastic linings. They prevent the flow of air which is essential to healthy nipples. Stick with 100% cotton pads or pads made of plain paper.

How can I be sure that my baby is getting enough milk?

Which side first?

Nurse on the least sore side first as this is the side that your baby will nurse more aggressively on.

How can I end a nursing strike?

Assist flow of milk

Try and get a letdown before putting the baby to the breast. It may also be of benefit to make sure that you eat well and get plenty of rest so that your supply remains nice and strong. If you need to, pump to replace feeds.

How can I treat thrush?

Duration of Treatment

The following should be continued for 2 weeks after all symptoms of thrush are gone: vinegar rinse for nipples, antifungal cream,acidophilus for mom and baby,garlic and/or Echinacea,vinegar rinse for diaper area, Nystatin or Lotrimin ointment for diaper area, or if you run out, Desitin or Balm-X ( zinc oxide) will do.Avoid the use of anti-bacterial soaps, which destroy healthful bacteria. Also if your water is chlorinated, fill a pitcher with water and let it sit for 12 hours lightly covered and the chlorine will be dissipated.

How can I end a nursing strike?

Skin Contact

Having alot of skin contact with your baby is important. Nursing in the bath often works very well. You could even give your baby a massage.

How can I end a nursing strike?

Keep baby calm

If the baby gets to excited or distressed, stop nursing and try again later. If you are upset, then try letting someone else, such as the father, settle your baby.

What can I do to minimize sore nipples?

Nurse Frequently

Nurse frequently - at least every 2 hours. Your baby will suck more aggressively at the breast if he/she is very hungry.

How can I minimize the pain of cracked nipples?


You may want to take a mild pain reliever such as Tylenol or Advil about 30 minutes prior to nursing or around the clock until your discomfort lessens or disappears. Both of these drugs are compatible with breastfeeding.

How do I treat thrush?

Treatment for the Mother

Treatment for the mother is as follows: after feeding,
rinse nipples with a solution of 1 T. white, distilled vinegar in 1 C. water. Pat dry and apply antifungal cream (Nystatin or Lotrimin AF).
Expose your nipples to air whenever you can. Take 6 capsules of acidophilus evenly spaced throughout the day. Eat a lot of garlic or take odorless garlic capsules to boost your immune system and help in reducing the yeast overgrowth. Another outstanding immune-system booster is Echinacea. Take Echinacea for 10 days, then off 3 days, resuming for 10 days, etc.

What do I do if it hurts to nurse?

Too sore to nurse?

If you find that you are too sore to nurse, you may opt to feed your baby with an alternative feeding device such as an eye dropper, medicine dropper, feeding syringe, soft flexible medicine cup, spoon, or nursing supplementer attached to your finger while your nipples heal. Bottles are best avoided due to the risk of nipple confusion, especially if your baby is less than 4 weeks old. It is important to find the reason for your soreness, so consult a lactation consultant or LLL leader.To maintain your supply make sure that you pump enough to make up for missed feeds.

How can I minimize the pain of cracked nipples?

Breast Shells

If your nipples become so sore that the pressure of your bra or clothing is painful or irritating, you might want to consider wearing breast shells inside your bra to protect your nipples as they heal.

How can I treat thrush?

Mother's Diet

The mother's diet during thrush should show a reduction of sugar and no artificial sweeteners. You can have some fruits and natural fruit juices, but they will best be consumed with other non-sweet foods. Herbal teas and water are a good choice of drink. Any refined carbohydrates that you eat (breads etc.) will be best eaten with other foods (vegetables,meats)so that they will not feed the yeast. Eliminate dairy products (produced from cow's milk) until two weeks after all symptoms are gone. You can eat plain yogurt (not sweetened or with added fruit) with live acidophilus bacteria if you are certain that you or your baby don't have a dairy sensitivity.

How can I end a nursing strike?

Strange Tastes and Smells

Be sure you don`t smell strange to the baby (new soap, perfume, detergent, etc.)
Also evaluate your diet to see if you`re eating something that the baby doesn`t like.

How can I treat thrush?

Baby's Treatment

To treat thrush, after each feeding, (or every 3 hours) apply antifungal (Nystatin) solution to the mouth, gently rubbing it around to cheeks and gums with a finger. The bottle instructions recommend applying every 6 hours, but since yeast grows back in 1 1/2 hours, it will be more effective if you give half the dosage every 3 hours. Don't skip medication at nighttime. Infant Diflucan is very effective in treating yeast overgrowth (thrush). If using infant Diflucan, use as directed.This healthful bacteria will help re-balancing your baby's GI tract.

Don´t breastfed babies wake more frequently?

Babies Benefit From Frequent Night Waking

Because breastmilk is so easily digested, breastfed babies wake up more frequently at night. This frequent night waking is extremely beneficial for both health reasons and developmental reasons. Babies wake up because they are easily aroused from light sleep. When baby needs to eat, needs warmth, or needs you to remove breathing obstructions, he/she will be able to easily wake up and let you know something is wrong. The more time a baby spends in light sleep, the better the brain development of higher brain functions should be. When babies are formula-fed, this alters their sleep behavior so that they do not spend as much time in light sleep.

How can I stop my baby from nursing all night?

Alternatives for the all night nurser

It can become exhausting for a mother to have her sleep constantly interrupted for nighttime feedings.
Breast milk is digested within 2 to 3 hours, so it is not uncommon or unreasonable for a baby to want to nurse at night. One method of dealing with this involves having your baby sleep with you. It is helpful to remember that babies often nurse at night because it is the only time they have mom's full attention.

How can I prevent tendinitis when breastfeeding?

Your Wrist Position Matters

When breastfeeding, many moms use the same hand and wrist positions every time they feed their baby. These positions are the most comfortable and natural, so it is normal for them to be used repeatedly. However, if used repeatedly, tendinitis may occur. Tendinitis is a painful condition which can take several months to heal. Healing the condition also requires limited movement of the hand and wrist, which can make continuing to breastfeed very challenging.

To prevent this, moms should switch their hand and wrist positions frequently when breastfeeding. Even the smallest tweaks can prevent the condition from occurring. Move the wrist slightly up or down. Put the fingers together instead of spreading them. The simple tweaks will help the mother use different tendons and muscles instead of always relying on the same ones.


Jealous Older Siblings

If you have an older child who is still young enough to remember nursing, they may suddenly be curious about it when they see their mother nurse a younger brother or sister. Although you will not want to allow them to nurse again if they have been weaned, you should not banish them for being curious either. Allow them to sit next to you as you nurse the baby and talk to them about feeding the baby. The curiousity might linger, but it might help alleviate some of the jealousy and uncomfortable moments. Some mothers will try tandem nursing as well, where they nurse an older child and a new child continuously.


Securely Covering Up

Older babies that nurse may be bothered by being covered up in public when they are not covered up at home. They enjoy looking at their mother lovingly when nursing and just want to see her face. Many times an older baby will grab the blanket that securely keeps you discreet and yank it right off, exposing you in public. One way to prevent this is by tucking a thin blanket into your brastrap on the side in which you are nursing so that the upper part of your breast is covered, yet your child's eyes are not and they can see your face. The other end of the blanket should be tucked under your arm so that it holds the blanket in place. If your child is a very strong tugger you can always tie the first end into your bra strap just to be sure.


Dealing with leakage

If you are producing a large quantity of milk, or are unable to nurse on a regular schedule you may experience some leakage from your breasts which can vary from a small drop or two, to a very embarrassingly wet shirt. Nursing pads are fairly inexpensive, but hard to keep in place in your bra. If you wear lightweight bras they might also be visible. Many mothers are uncomfortable reusing the same nursing pads over and over despite being washed or find they are easily lost in the wash. However, they can be both cheap and disposable. Simply cut pantiliners into halves and use these as nursing pads. They will not only stick to your bra to stay in place but will be disposable and very inexpensive if you buy the generic ones.


Mastitis symptoms

If nursing is going well for you but then you begin to develop strange symptoms such as severe headache, fever, chills and shooting pains in your breast you may be suffering the onset of mastitis where the milk gland in the breast gets infected. If this happens, contact the lactation specialist at your hospital or your OBGYN immediately. Severe infections can be dangerous during recovery. By taking their advice you may reduce the mastitis or even be rid of it before it becomes dangerous.

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Mary White
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