Breastfeeding might be the most natural way to feed your baby, but it’s not always easy. You might encounter some breastfeeding problems. Breastfeeding is a learned skill, so allow yourself to get comfortable and confident, and find solutions that work for you.
If you are encountering breastfeeding problems, or your baby is unsettled at the breast and doesn’t seem satisfied by feeds, it may be that they are sucking on the nipple alone, and so are not getting enough milk. You may need to change your baby into a better feeding position.
If your nipples hurt, or you are encountering breast pain during breastfeeding, take your baby off the breast and start again. If the pain continues or your nipples start to crack or bleed, ask for help so you get your baby latched on comfortably.
During the first period after delivery, the breasts are usually full, hard and warm; when that occurs it is said that the breasts are full of milk and the scientific term for that is breast engorgement or engorged breasts.
For the first few days after giving birth, a new mother’s breasts remain tender and soft. Breast engorgement is normal but the extent and duration of it varies depending on the mother. Many women face a mild case of breast engorgement which is easy to deal with and that usually lasts around a day. However, engorgement for other mothers may be more severe and can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.
Some moms produce a large quantity of milk early on, while other moms face the issue of swollen breasts; which is why the period of breast engorgement may seem more difficult for those moms and their babies. With the passing of time the breast adjusts and produces the appropriate quantity of milk for the baby.
Milk can build up in the ducts for a variety of reasons. The most common are wearing a bra that is too tight, missing a feed, or a blow to the breast. It’s important that you deal with a blocked duct as soon as possible so that it doesn’t lead to mastitis (inflammation of the breast).
Mastitis is an inflammation in the breasts due to blocked ducts causing them to feel hot and tender. Symptoms include noticing a red patch of skin on the breast which is painful to touch, feeling ill as if you have the flu, or getting a fever. Mastitis can happen quite suddenly, however it is very important to carry on breastfeeding as this will help with the healing process. Contact your doctor or midwife if you notice any of these symptoms.
Inflammation of the breast may also indicate an infection. If there is no improvement within 12 to 24 hours, or if you feel worse, contact your doctor who might prescribe you some antibiotics that are safe for women who are breastfeeding.
If you continue to face breastfeeding problems, we recommend that you consult your doctor
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