As you and your baby get comfortable in your breastfeeding relationship, you may experience problems from time to time. After all, this is a new experience for both of you.
Here are some tips you can use to keep yourself healthy and happy:
Take care of your breasts. Wash nipples only with water and not soap or rubbing alcohol, which can cause cracking. Leaving milk on the nipple after nursing can also help prevent dry nipples.
Treat your breasts equally. Keep your milk supply in both breasts equal by nursing on both sides at each feeding. Also alternate the breast you start with each time you feed. You can mark your bra strap with a safety pin as a reminder. The cozy, warm feeling of nursing puts babies to sleep. Wake your baby up with a diaper change before offering the second side to feed.
Understand your lactating breasts.
Your milk comes in. About two to six days after your baby’s birth, your milk will come in. For some mothers this can be painful. And for some babies this can make nursing difficult.
Abundant milk supply. You can cope with your abundant milk supply by gently massaging the upper part of your breasts, applying a warm or cool relief pack, taking warm showers and by nursing frequently.
Chapped or tender nipples. Try placing a soothing gel patch inside your bra to prevent friction. The patches cool on contact. To soothe nipples, apply gentle moisturizing balm. It’s a lanolin-free blend of natural emollients. The balm is safe for mom and your baby, so there’s no need to wipe it off before feeding.
Inflamed milk ducts. When one of your milk ducts becomes inflamed, you may notice tenderness or even a sore lump in your breast. Wet or dry heat on the breast can help; so can showers and wearing a looser bra for a few days. Nursing frequently from the affected breast will also help to unplug the duct. Also try changing your baby’s position often. If problems persist, talk with your breastfeeding consultant or doctor.
Leaking breast milk. Leaking is a common issue. To handle leaks when you’re away from your baby, use nursing pads to help keep you dry. The pads come for light, medium and heavy flow.
Feed your baby right. Make yourself as comfortable as possible - surround yourself with pillows, wear comfy clothes and have reading material handy. Make sure your baby is positioned correctly during each feeding. This usually brings relief. She should be lying with her whole body facing you. And your nipple should be covered almost completely with your baby’s mouth, with her tongue on the underside of your nipple. When removing your baby from your breast, remember to break the suction by gently sliding your finger in between your nipple and your baby’s mouth.
Rest up and drink liquids. Now is an important time to get plenty of sleep. When your baby naps, you can nap too. Just as plenty of rest and fluids help build your milk supply, fatigue can reduce it. Nurse often and get plenty of rest. Pay attention to your milk supply as you start getting back to your pre-pregnancy routine. If you notice a reduction, take it easy and drink more fluids. You’ll probably get thirsty while breastfeeding—so keep a glass of water nearby.
While both of you are getting initiated in the process, it’s quite usual to encounter few common problems. Keep the above pointers in mind to tackle them. And make the process more enjoyable and fulfilling.