Breastfeeding can be tricky. Often times we run into a variety of breastfeeding problems. Here are some breastfeeding problems and solutions to try!
How to Handle Breastfeeding Problems
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I remember as a new mom I was pretty clueless about breastfeeding. I just assumed babies would know how to breastfeed from the start. Little did I know about all the breastfeeding problems that were out there. Here are some tips to help you with the most common breastfeeding problems.
Breastfeeding is a wonderful way for your baby to get the nutrients he or she needs, but sometimes babies don’t get the hang of nursing right away. This can be frustrating for you and baby. There are many reasons why a baby won’t breastfeed, and it may take time and patience to figure out why. The following are different breastfeeding problems as to why babies won’t breastfeed, starting with possible foods that could be affecting your baby.
Foods to Avoid
There are no set recommendations of foods that you should avoid while nursing. Mostly, limit foods if they seem to affect your baby. Some common foods that might cause issues for baby are:
Caffeine is okay in moderation, but too much caffeine might affect your baby. A cup of coffee, tea or your favorite cola probably won’t bother the baby. One way to avoid its effects is to drink after you nurse, it will be out of your system by the next time the baby is ready to eat again.
Almost all fish contains trace amounts of mercury but carry no risk to you or baby. There are ones to avoid while breastfeeding because of higher levels of mercury. These include shark, swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel. About 12 oz/week of other fish is okay.
Spicy Foods and Garlic
If you ate spicy foods and garlic while pregnant, your baby is probably already used to these types of foods and won’t have a problem. But if they are ones you avoided and your baby seems to be having problems, they might be ones you will want to limit. They can change the flavor of your milk making it unpalatable for your baby.
If your baby shows signs of allergies or sensitivity, try eliminating cow’s milk from your diet. Cow’s milk is often the culprit when it comes to allergies in infants.
Soy, Wheat, Corn, Eggs, or Peanuts
These foods are common allergens in babies. If your baby is fussy, try eliminating these food products from your diet. Then for two to four weeks start adding them back in one at a time to see if one or more is causing problems for your little one.
Other Common Breastfeeding Problems
Foods aren’t always the reason why we encounter breastfeeding problems. My second child had difficulty breastfeeding from the very beginning. Having already had one child who had breastfed successfully, it was a frustrating time for me. My little guy was diagnosed with a “disorganized suck” and “a failure to thrive.” I spent six weeks training him how to eat by pumping and squirting milk into his mouth with a syringe every time he sucked my finger correctly. Feedings sometimes took up to two hours! I was exhausted and about to give up when one day when I gave him the breast, he started nursing and never looked back. I was so relieved.
Here are some other reasons why your baby may struggle with breastfeeding.
Sometimes breasts can become engorged and are too full of milk. This makes the nipple difficult for baby to latch onto. Your baby may become frustrated and refuse to breastfeed. You can express a little milk before nursing to soften your breast so baby can latch on.
Babies who are fed from a bottle also may have a hard time latching on. The differences between the nipple of a bottle and beast, combined with the amount of flow, can cause confusion for baby. They may begin to prefer the bottle and refuse to nurse. To avoid this hold off giving your baby a bottle until a well-established pattern of breastfeeding is in place.
If your baby isn’t latching on properly, it won’t get any milk and will get frustrated. Getting baby to encompass the nipple and the surrounding areola area of your breast produces a good latch. There are specialists available to help teach baby to latch on properly. Ask your doctor about a lactation consultant if you continue to have problems.
Flat or Inverted Nipples
Babies are able to latch onto flat or inverted nipples, but there are some who do have problems. There are a couple of ways to correct the problem. You can stimulate your nipples or you can get a breast pump and pump just before nursing. You can also consider using a breast shell—a breastfeeding product used to help with flat or inverted nipples.
If your baby won’t nurse, just remember to stay calm and be patient as you run through the different possibilities that could be causing the problem. Consult with your doctor for advice, if necessary. Breastfeeding has many benefits for you and your baby, and you won’t regret taking the time to figure things out.
For more tips on breastfeeding check out our post on Breastfeeding helps!
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Eveliina is an intern currently working with us! She is on her way to getting her degree in Marriage and Family Studies! Eveliina is a wife, a mom, and a grandma. She loves every moment of life. She also has a love for photography and reading!