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Breastfeeding: Common Problems

Amy Long Carrera, MS, RD, CNSC, CWCMS
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist | Shield HealthCare
04/22/14  9:21 PM PST
Breastfeeding problems

Breastfeeding protects your baby against illness and nurtures the bond between mother and child. It may not always be easy at first, but once you and your baby get the hang of breastfeeding, you’ll find it a rewarding and comforting experience.

 

What if My Baby Has Trouble Latching On?

  • Call your Certified Lactation Consultant. If you don’t have one yet, ask your health plan or health care provider for a referral. Find one in your area on the International Lactation Consultant Association’s website.
  • Keep skin-to-skin contact with your baby as much as possible.
  • Try hand-expressing drops of milk from your nipple to encourage your baby.
  • Continue to pump milk 8 to 10 times daily to keep your milk supply going.
  • Ask your health care provider about a nipple shield.
  • Hang in there! Some babies may take weeks to learn to breastfeed successfully.

 

What If My Nipples Become Sore?

  • Try nursing on the least sore breast first.
  • Increase the number of times you feed each day.
  • Make sure you are maintaining correct positioning so your baby can latch on comfortably.
  • Alternate your position throughout the feeding.
  • When your baby is done feeding, break the suction by putting your index finger in her mouth towards her cheek.
  • Apply expressed breast milk to your nipples and allow them to air dry after nursing.
  • Keep your nipples dry with breast pads or shells.
  • Some initial soreness is normal and should subside after 7 to 10 days of nursing.

 

How Do I Prevent Engorgement

  • Nurse or pump 8 to 12 times daily.
  • Avoid using bottles or pacifiers while your baby is learning to feed.
  • Pump if your baby misses a feeding.
  • Apply a warm compress to your breasts before nursing or pumping.
  • If your breasts are very swollen and sore after feeding, apply a cold compress.
  • Massage your breasts in a circular motion prior to nursing or pumping.

For more information about breastfeeding:

Womenshealth.gov

La Leche League International

This information is for educational purposes only and does not replace the advice of a physician or other health care professional. If you have questions about your health or your baby’s health, please contact your health care provider.

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