Solutions To 8 Common Breastfeeding Struggles Written By: Dr. Ankita Shah, Edited By: Manisha Gogri, Oct 2020

my baby have a tongue tie

We commonly hear new mums complaining "Breastfeeding is supposed to be a natural process, why can't we achieve it easily?.” They feel so dejected and unsatisfied with their breast feeding journey that they come to a breaking point.

They are unable to experience this beautiful journey, hence they reluctantly switch to other means like giving bottles and formula milk to their infants in the fear of poor weight gain and nutrition.

No doubt breastfeeding is instinctual as the baby roots and latches onto the breast. But sometimes this process requires assistance and help from an expert like a lactation consultant (IBCLC).

Every mother and baby is unique and their struggle with breastfeeding could be different.

Based on the encounters and experiences faced by the mothers, we have briefly covered the most common breastfeeding difficulties and the solutions to them.

1) Poor or shallow latching - "My baby has latching issues?"

This is probably the most common issue that we have seen and heard.
Solution - Adjust the angle and position of your baby to help ensure a better latch. Try different feeding positions with the help and advice of a lactation consultant. If this doesn't help then check with a lactation consultant or pediatric dentist who specialises in tongue function to check for interference due to the tongue ties or lip ties.

2) Painful and sore nipples - "It is extremely painful when my infant latches and I get bruised/bleeding nipples at times".

Solution - Take help from a lactation consultant to work on a good latch and correct position. Also apply expressed breast milk on the nipples to promote healing and if symptoms do not subside there may be an underlying issue that needs to be addressed such as a tight tissue of the tongue or lip .

3) Colic/reflux symptoms in infants - "My baby is very restless and gassy"

Solution - This generally happens when your baby is swallowing more air than milk. The baby needs to be burped after every meal. Also get the baby evaluated by the IBCLC for any other underlying issues. Please avoid giving any reflux medicines as they have proven to be harmful for the baby's bone density .

4) Mastitis - "My breast is enlarged, tender and has red dots ".

Mastitis is a breast infection that can feel a lot like a clogged duct but can be accompanied by a fever or flu-like symptoms and feel warm on touch.
Solution - Apply a hot compress to the clogged duct or massage it lightly under a hot water shower and nurse frequently. Try emptying the breast after every feed in order to avoid engorged ducts. If symptoms do not resolve within 24 - 48 hours, contact your doctor for further examination and treatment.

5) Baby feels unsatisfied and frustrated at the breast - "My baby falls asleep during nursing ".

When babies fall asleep during mid-nursing, mothers are always wondering if they get enough milk.
Solution - Try to make sure your baby is not overdressed in layers (warmth + breast milk induces sleep). Gently stroke your baby's face /ear to activate sucking. If nursing continues for long hours and the baby still gets tired and frustrated at the breast, get the baby examined by the IBCLC for any tight frenulums which is preventing your baby from getting his reward(i.e the milk) in spite of him/her trying his best to suck and this effort tires them.

6) Is my baby getting enough milk - “I have a reduced milk supply.”-

A very common and concerning issue faced by mothers. One should understand that breastfeeding is a demand and supply process.
Solution - If you truly have a reduced milk supply and your baby's weight gain is the concern then you can consult a lactation consultant for taking supplements to increase the supply.Probably the baby isnt suckling enough to withdraw the milk. In order to adjust the demand supply process avoid using bottles and formulas. Also get the baby examined by the IBCLC for any tight frenulums which are preventing your baby from suckling well.

7) Engorged and swollen breasts- “I’m engorged with way too much milk and feel like exploding!”

This generally occurs 3 days after the delivery when milk production kicks in and is formed in a generous quantity.
Solution - Gently massage and compress the breasts in between feeds. Try cold compresses to reduce swelling. Try expressing milk if the breast hasn’t emptied enough. Visit an IBCLC or lactation consultant to check for reasons why the baby is not emptying the breast.

8) Chewing/biting on nipples - " My child constantly chews on my nipples".

This happens as the child isn't able to get a good latch.
Solution - Continue working on getting a good latch and correct feeding position. If this doesn't help then check with a lactation consultant or pediatric dentist who specialises in tongue function to check for interference due to the tongue ties or lip ties .

These are few of the many other difficulties that mothers face early during their breastfeeding journey.

NOTE: This list can be treated as a resource and not a self diagnosing tool.

If you’re struggling with breastfeeding, the absolute best thing you can do for yourself and your baby is to know YOU ARE NOT ALONE AND DO NOT LET THIS GET YOU DOWN!

We encourage you to reach out to a lactation consultant or a pediatric dentist with advanced specialisations into tongue or lip ties and have a holistic and team approach towards you and your babies breastfeeding problems.

We would be more than happy to help and assist you through your Breastfeeding journey !

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