Common Booby Traps for Breastfeeding Mothers
Common Booby Traps for Breastfeeding Mothers
Never is there more truth in a statement than, “If I knew then what I know now.” Though this statement applies to most things in life, it holds exponential truth when it comes to most all things pertaining to motherhood. Whether you are an experienced mom who has breastfed before, or a new mother nursing for the first time, you may run into a number of common problems.
Let’s explore some of the most common booby issues breastfeeding mothers face and what some solutions are to fix them.
After you deliver a baby, your body is still very much hard at work. It now has two new missions: Helping your body heal and getting food for your newborn.
At first, your breasts will produce a yellow thick fluid called colostrum. It is rich in antibodies and minerals, and precedes the production of true breast milk. Colostrum is packed full of protein and has everything your baby needs to build a strong digestive system. It is sometimes also referred to as foremilk.
Three to 4 days after labor, your body will start to produce breast milk. The milk is stored it in your breast tissue. The first time your milk comes in, your breasts can become engorged, or filled with too much milk. They feel warm and heavy, and tenderness and swelling may extend to the armpit.
WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT ENGOREGMENT:
Engorgement is unfortunately common and can be quite painful. It can cause additional problems because your little one may have trouble latching because of the hardening of the breasts. Once milk starts to come into the breast ducts, there is also a flooding of lymph fluid and blood, which causes the tissue in the breast to swell. Swollen tissue pushes down on the milk ducts causing the ducts to sometimes clamp shut. When milk can't be expressed, it builds up inside the breast and engorgement occurs. Your best solution is to place cold packs on the breast, along with clean washed cabbage leaves. Leave these on your skin for about 20 minutes. Both can help reduce the swelling and allow the ducts to open back up.
Showers are not recommended when you have engorged breasts. The warm, pounding water can dilate blood vessels, in turn further increasing the swelling and congestion in your
breast. The very best thing you can do is to continue to nurse or pump. The more milk that is expressed in any mode, the less chance you will have of experiencing engorgement.
You can develop sore nipples when your baby is not taking the nipple deeply enough into his mouth. For breastfeeding to be comfortable, the baby needs to have the entire nipple and part of the areola is in his mouth, so that the nipple is near the back of his mouth where the palate is soft. A good latch is more likely to happen if baby latches on with his head tipped back so that his chin is pressed into the mother’s breast and his nose is away from the breast. Every baby and every breast is a little different, so you may need to adjust the positioning to find what works best for both of you. The most common cause of nipple soreness is improper latch on and positioning. Remember that your baby is just as new to breastfeeding as you are and has to learn how to nurse correctly. It can take some time for a newborn to master the mechanics of nursing. The slightest improper movement of baby’s lips, tongue, or gums can rub the nipple tissue and cause soreness. This occurs most often in the first stages of breastfeeding and can be the reason why some women give up breastfeeding altogether early on not realizing that with every feeding, the chances of perfecting the feeding technique increases greatly and in no time, both mama and baby are breastfeeding in harmony.
WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT NIPPLE SORENESS:
Experiment with different feeding positions. Always feed baby on a schedule so that baby is not at a feverish pitch of hunger. A super hungry baby will always take the breast more aggressively and with less care as to how well he is latched on. His latch will be one of desperation. If you continue to experience pain while breastfeeding, seek the help of a breastfeeding expert. By this point, you may have compounded issues that need a variety of treatments to work through to get you on track. You can find many free resources for help with breastfeeding within your community.
Thrush is an infection of the mouth caused by the candida fungus, also known as yeast. Candida infection is not limited to the mouth; it can occur in other parts of the body as well, causing diaper rash in infants or vaginal yeast infections in women. For women who are breastfeeding, thrush can lodge in the nipples, areolas, and breasts, causing significant pain. This may be more likely to occur if your nipples are cracked and open. You may also be more likely to get thrush in your breasts if you have a vaginal yeast infection. Nursing babies can get thrush in their mouths and on their tongues. This is referred to as oral thrush.
Oral thrush can be painful causing your baby to be fussy or have trouble feeding. Oral thrush is common in infants under 6 months old. Besides pain, additional symptoms in breastfeeding mothers may include:
Pale-looking nipples and areolas, or white areas on the nipples and areolas
Temporary or long-lasting burning sensation in the nipples
Shiny skin on or around the nipples
Flakes on the nipples and areolas
Symptoms of this condition in babies may include:
White, milky-looking patches on the gums, tongue, inner cheeks, and tonsils, which bleed easily when touched
Irritated, red skin in the mouth
Cracked skin in the corners of the mouth
Persistent diaper rash or rash that won’t go away
WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT THRUSH:
If you have thrush, your breast milk, as well as anything that touches your breasts, can spread the bacteria. This includes:
nursing bras and nursing pads
towels and burp clothes
In addition to washing the above listed items on a regular basis, it is important to sterilize pacifiers, teething rings and bottle nipples along with any other items that come in contact
with your babies mouth. If you suspect thrush, it is important to see your doctor as an antifungal medication may need to be prescribed. Antifungal medications come in both a topical cream or in pill form. Thrush may reduce your milk supply. It can take up to two weeks for thrush to completely dissipate so using Grey’s Cowbell Lactation Treats while continuing to breastfeed will give you the best chance at maintaining a good supply while recovering. Continue to take your medication until it is all gone, practice good hygiene and toss out any milk you expressed or stored while you were infected will gives you the best chance of thrush not reoccurring. Grey’s Cowbell offers a wide variety of highly effective and super delicious lactation treats proven to boost milk supply and sustain overall healthy lactation. They offer lactation cookies, muffins, granola, bottled drinks and pancake mix that can be easily incorporated into your daily lifestyle. Find out more here, www.greyscowbell.com
PLUGGED MILK DUCT (MASTITIS)
Mastitis is an inflammation of breast tissue that sometimes involves an infection. The most common indicators of mastitis are symptoms such as breast swelling, pain and tenderness, fatigue, fever, chills and an uncomfortable burning sensation when breastfeeding. Other signs of a breast infection include a sudden appearance of breast lumps, unusual redness, warm skin, and general malaise. One of the most common reasons women develop a breast infection is because of the incomplete drainage of the breast during feeding. This, alongside blocked milk ducts, creates the perfect environment for an infection to take hold. When milk becomes trapped in a duct, it will cause pain and swelling.
WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT MASTITIS
The best way to treat mastitis is frequent nursing or pumping and firm, regular massage with warm compresses. Call your doctor if you notice symptoms of mastitis including:
A red, painful, hard lump on your breast
Rapid heart rate
Red streaks and shiny skin on your breast
Burning sensation during breastfeeding or at other times
White discharge coming from your nipples, sometimes tinged with blood
Your doctor will likely prescribe a course of antibiotics to clear up the infection. Take the full course of antibiotics, even if you start to feel better. Not finishing the antibiotics may make it harder to treat any future infections you get. Keeping milk flowing through your breasts will help to clear the infection and reduce your discomfort so breastfeed your baby as often as possible starting each feeding with the affected breast. Do not worry about the milk harming your baby. Your breast milk is safe for your baby to drink even if you have an infection.
Additionally, staying hydrated and getting extra rest will help your body fight the infection. Use warm compresses to help ease pain in your breasts throughout the day and loosen clogged ducts. Be sure to wear loose fitting clothes as tighter and more form fitting clothes will only further irritate your breasts.
Now you know some common booby traps you may fall into.
Rest assured knowing that many women have come before you and so many will follow after you through this amazing journey of breastfeeding. Knowing what can happen will give you the best chance of preventing it from happening in the first place. But should you find yourself caught in a trap, know that there is an abundance of information, support and resources to get you back on track.
Grey's Cowbell specialises in lactation cookies, lactation muffins and lactation drinks as well as other products. Our primary focus is to provide a superior product that yields a highly effective result. Our cookies, muffins and bottled drinks help breastfeeding mothers dramatically increase and sustain their breast milk supply.