Breastfeeding Problems Remedies
If like many of my mums you find yourself struggling with breastfeeding then there are many simple breastfeeding problems remedies that you can try that may get you and your baby feeding with ease for many months to come.
If you are struggling it may be a good idea to read our breastfeeding tips first here .
I would like to add now though ( and this is for some of my unluckier mums) that if after trying many breastfeeding problems remedies tips to get breastfeeding working well, you are still having problems, and do have to switch to bottle feeding then PLEASE DO NOT feel as if you have failed. You HAVE NOT.
Some mums bodies are great at being pregnant and giving birth but not so good at learning to feed their baby. Some of my mums struggled through a less than happy pregnancy time and had to have a caesarean delivery but nursing baby they found much easier to learn.
What I am trying to say is, if you feel as if you have given it your very best shot, tried many breastfeeding problems remedies, then whatever the outcome after a few weeks, well done you!
Engorgement. If you find yourself with engorged breasts there are some easy breastfeeding problems remedies that you can try at home that should help to ease your discomfort until your body has regulated its milk production.
The following breastfeeding problems remedies may help to prevent engorgement.
- Feed your baby frequently. Try to nurse your baby about 8 to 10 times a day in the beginning and at least every 3 hours after 2 weeks. Wake your baby to do this if she is very sleepy. Your baby may not feed as much in the first day after birth but still offer the breast. Skin to skin contact is very good for baby at this time and its easy for you to see when she is beginning to feel hungry.
- Finish feeding at each breast. Make sure your baby has drained each breast at each sitting before switching to the other side. Your baby may take up to 45 minutes to finish a side in the early days. This is fine and will allow them to get the hind milk ( fatty milk) in each feed that they need to gain weight.
- Try not to skip feeds. In the first few weeks of breastfeeding try not to skip any feeds as this action gives your body very mixed signals as to what its meant to be doing.
- If you have been advised to give your baby a bottle for medical reasons then hand express or pump the feed you would have done.
The following breastfeeding problems remedies may help to treat engorgement.
- Nurse frequently. Feeding your baby every 2 to 3 hours will help to ease engorgement. If you are unable to go this length of time and baby is asleep then gently hand express to relieve the pressure will help. Do not be tempted to express too much though as you will then be telling your body to make more milk that your baby does not need.
- Breast massage. Massage your breast gently while baby is feeding as this will help to stimulate the muscles around the milk ducts and increase the flow of milk to baby. This breastfeeding problems remedies tip will help to relieve sore tight breasts.
- Warm compress. Mums with very hard breasts may find that the warmth of a damp cloth helps to get milk flowing. Only place the warm compress on your breast for a few minutes, as too much warmth may increase blood flow making engorgement worse.
- Difficult latching on. If your breasts are so hard that baby is having a tough time latching onto then just before you feed you could pump or hand express for 2 or 3 minutes. This should soften the areola area just enough for baby to get a good latch and feed well.
- A supportive bra. A good supportive bra can help hugely with very swollen breasts. Any forms of comfort will make you feel better and you may also need to wear one at night. Make sure it is a proper nursing bra and not under wire as this can restrict blood flow and cause blocked ducts.
- Cold compress. A cold compress is a easy breastfeeding problems remedies tip that may help to soothe very swollen painful breasts. Apply the compress 10 minutes before and after you feed your baby. Wrap a pack of peas or some crushed ice in a plastic bag with a clean tea towel or muslin square to make the ideal compress.
Mastitis. If you find yourself with mastitis then there are a few easy breastfeeding problems remedies that you can try at home. Do keep a very close eye on your general well being and if you begin to suffer from flu like symptoms then please get yourself checked out by your doctor or midwife.
The following breastfeeding problems remedies may help in the early stages of mastitis and may prevent more serious infected mastitis from developing.
- Redness, swelling, hot to touch. These can be helped with a cool compress on the affected area of the breast. Much in the same way as for engorgement.
- Massage. If you find a pea sized lump in your breast then massage while in the shower or while feeding your baby can be helpful to work it out and get milk flowing again from the affected area.
- Feed frequently. Nursing your baby often on the affected side is a great breastfeeding problems remedies tip that will help you. The sucking action of your baby should help to unblock the clogged duct
If you find yourself with infected mastitis then the following breastfeeding problems remedies treatments may help.
- Antibiotics. If you are unlucky enough to be suffering from infected mastitis then prompt action is needed. Get yourself to your local Doctor where he will be able to prescribe you with antibiotics that are safe to use while feeding your baby.
- Pain relief. You can also take paracetamol and ibuprofen to help with the pain until the infection has stated to decrease.
- Safe to feed baby. If you have infected mastitis your breast is going to be very sore to the touch but if you can bear to let your baby feed from the infected side then do so, the combination of antibiotics, feeding, and rest will help you recover much quicker.
- Rest up. You will probably have no choice but to do this as mastitis can make you feel quite unwell. Listen to what your body is telling you, get help for older siblings if you have them and give yourself time to recover.
- I cannot stress enough how important it is to get mastitis treated fast. Once you have begun your antibiotics you should start to feel better in a day or two. If you do not and you still have very sore, tender, red breasts and still feel flu like then go back to your G.P. Infected mastitis on rare occasions can cause more serious breast abscesses which require more antibiotics and often surgery to drain the affected ducts of infection. If this is the case, do not worry that you will have to give up breastfeeding. You may have to pump for a few days to keep your milk supply going and supplement just until your treatment is complete.
Blocked milk ducts. Not many breastfeeding mums get through breastfeeding without the odd blocked duct or two. Its knowing what to look out for and acting quickly using simple breastfeeding problems remedies that can save you from developing mastitis and more serious feeding issues.
If you think you have blocked milk ducts then the following breastfeeding problems remedies can help your milk to flow freely again.
- Empty each breast. Make sure that baby is empting each breast at each feed before you switch sides. This will stop milk being left in breasts after feeding and lessen the chances of milk backing up in the breast glands.
- Massage. If you find a pea sized lump in your breast then massage is a great breastfeeding problems remedies tip to use while in the shower or while feeding your baby as it can be helpful to work it out and get milk flowing again from the affected area. Massage from the outside of the breast and work towards the nipple. You can also massage in tiny circles over and around the blocked duct to help break it down.
- Warm compress. The warmth of a damp cloth placed on your breast is a breastfeeding problems remedies tip that will help make it easier for baby to feed and get milk flowing. Use a warm compress a few minutes before each feed until the lump has gone.
- Frequent nursing. Feed your baby often is a great way to clear a blocked duct and begin each feed on the side of the blockage as baby will have the strongest suck when most hungry.
- Pain relief. Take regular pain relief that is safe to take while breastfeeding. This will help to lower the pain and inflammation.
Cracked, sore and painful nipples. In my 8 years of maternity nursing and my 20 plus years of looking after children, I can count on one hand the number of breastfeeding mums that didn’t suffer from some degree of nipple pain in the early days.
It is something that you should not have to endure for long and should with the right breastfeeding problems remedies treatments go away very easily and quickly.
- Good latch on. If while latching your baby to your breast, it feels uncomfortable in any way once baby has fully latched on then its best to take baby off and start again. This will avoid more serious nipple injury. You may feel a few seconds of soreness at the very beginning but it should not last longer than a few seconds or for the whole feed.
- Changes in feeding position. This is wise whether you have sore nipples or not as it also helps with lots of other breastfeeding problems. It makes sure that your baby sucks from any side and helps to lessen the rubbing on just one area of your nipple along with helping to use all milk ducts.
- Nipple shields. If you have developed very sore or cracked nipples or you are feeding twins, where you don’t get to rest one side at each feed, then a lot of my mums have used nipple shields for a few days, just until the healing process has really begun. They can provide the barrier that is much needed to lessen rubbing between your nipple and baby’s mouth.
- Nipple creams and ointments. Many women swear by the use of nipple creams. There are several on the market but it all comes down to what works best for you and what your body reacts to the best. The ointments that are very greasy often seem to work well and provide a healing barrier in between feeding. Just gently wipe it off before each feed. Nipple creams and ointments are harmless for baby.
- Breast milk. Most lactation specialists will advise using your own breast milk as the moisturiser needed to heal sore nipples. Once baby has finished feeding, gently wipe your breast dry and then squeeze out a small amount of breast milk to wipe over and around your nipple.
- Air. Air drying your breasts and letting your nipples breath for awhile after feeding is another good breastfeeding problems remedies tip that works well. You cannot be shy doing this as it often involves walking around your house topless just until your nipples are dry.
- Change breast pads regularly. Changing your breast pads regularly to keep your nipples as dry as possible is a very easy but great tip. It also helps to lessen nipple infection risk.
- Camomile tea bags. An unusual breastfeeding problems remedies tip but I have had 2 mums use cold used chamomile tea bags, placed onto the nipple inside the breast pad to help soothe their sore nipples. And yes it did help them!
If you do have very cracked bleeding nipples then it would be advisable to go to a qualified lactation advisor for help.
The main problem with inverted nipples is that baby finds it difficult to latch on at the beginning of a feed. Remember though that you are breastfeeding not nipple feeding so once he has perfected your latch on he will not mind what shape it is once it is in his mouth.
Pumping breast milk
The easiest breastfeeding problems remedies ways to help your nipples protrude enough for baby to find his target is to:
- Pump at the beginning. Use a breast pump to help draw out your nipples for the start of each feed.
- Manually draw them out A few of my mums with flat nipples have used this breastfeeding problems remedies idea to draw out there nipples for baby by gently squeezing the area of the areola together in a circle movement. Working around the nipple to help draw it out.
- There are special gadgets on the market that can help draw your nipple out for you. They usually work like a tiny suction device, helping to suck out the nipple.
- Nipple shields. These can work well in the beginning and give your baby a target to latch onto. Once your baby has pulled out your nipple and is being burped you can remove the shield and continue feeding normally.
Thrush. If you think you or your baby have thrush then quick prompt medical action is the best breastfeeding problems remedies course to take.
It can be quickly diagnosed by your doctor or health care provider and simple anti fungal remedies usually clear it up in a few days. You and your baby will need to be treated at the same time to lessen cross infection.
You will probably be given an anti fungal cream to apply to your nipple while your baby will be prescribed an anti fungal medicine that is applied to the white areas of his mouth with your finger or an applicator.
If you are suffering from breast pain then ibuprofen or paracetamol taken every 6 hours will help with this. As with all medicines taken while breastfeeding please check that your doctor says it is safe to do so.
Thrush can sometimes need two lots of treatment before it is gone. If after your first course you or your baby still have symptoms then please go back to your doctor or health care worker for more treatment.
Occasionally babies with mouth thrush also develop a yeast nappy diaper rash. This again can be cleared up easily with the right cream but it is a different cream that is needed for this area.
I hope you have found my breastfeeding problems remedies page useful. I don’t class myself as a breastfeeding expert but I have helped many mums with breastfeeding issues. I hope I have been of help. If you have any other breastfeeding problems and are still struggling then there are breastfeeding lactation specialists who can help you.
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