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3 Common Breastfeeding Complaints And Overcoming Them

1. “I don’t have enough milk...

2. “My nipples are killing me...

3. “My baby is never satisfied...

Solutions:

1. Want more milk? Feed your baby more often. Move more milk out of your breasts.

  • With a proper latch your baby will settle into a rhythmic, continuous suck-swallow pattern. After 5 or 6 minutes she will likely pause, without letting go of the nipple, as your first letdown diminishes.  Deep breathe at this point to stimulate another let down and your baby will begin to suck well again.
  • If she doesn’t resume, after 10 deep breaths, take her off your breast, burp her, wake her up a bit, and relatch with renewed deep breathing.  Your next letdown will be fattier than the last to satisfy her hunger.
  • Encourage your baby to move the most milk out that she can and not sleep at the breast. To stimulate the production of even more milk for the next feeding, pump your breasts as soon as possible after each feeding. If you know that your baby will sleep for at least 3 hours – pump at the halfway mark.
  • I suggest that moms alternate expression methods to determine which is most effective at moving milk out. Manual expression, hand pumping or electric pumping can all be effective, each working its own unique way.

2. Pain, cracks, very sad nipples?

  • It's all about where and how your nipple and breast tissue fit into your baby’s mouth. Painful breastfeeding is not normal. Pain means trauma is occurring.
  • Nip the nipple pain right at the start. If you see a white compression line on your nipple after a feeding, you are at risk for developing a crack there. Cracks are a result of repeated trauma to your nipple when it is compressed between your baby’s tongue and palate.
  • Your nipple should be free floating in the back of the baby’s throat, yes. that far back. The positioning of your baby’s mouth at your breast, getting the breast tissue nearest to your baby’s chin in her mouth along with your nipple, and how you hold your baby to your breast… pressure on baby’s belly, chest and uplifted chin… will determine your pain. The deep latch and the intra-oral pressure (more breast tissue in her mouth means less pain) are key here.
  • Once you fix the mechanics, the injury gets a chance to heal. A lactation consultant is trained to fix issues of positioning and latch. Don’t hesitate to get support at the start.

3.  Baby “eating” for an hour and still showing signs of hunger?

  • The truth here is that your baby hasn’t been eating for an hour. She might have been at your breast, with your nipple in her mouth, she might even have been sucking – but she hasn’t been swallowing.
  • Here’s the pattern of a baby who isn’t eating: suck, suck, suck, suck, suck, stop, sleep.  Jiggle baby, then suck, suck, suck, suck, stop, sleep. This goes on for an hour… baby is still hungry.  
  • No swallowing means no filling belly. The milk transfer only occurs with proper positioning and latch. Sound familiar? A nipple that is pinched between the baby’s tongue and palate cuts off the milk flow into to your baby’s mouth.
  • If your baby gets enough volume with her suck, her brain stem triggers a swallow. If she swallows, she will repeat the effort.
  • Here’s that pattern: suck, suck, swallow, suck, swallow, suck, suck, suck, swallow, suck, swallow, suck, swallow… if she is swallowing after every 1-3 sucks, she will stay awake... eating… at your breast.
  • If you deep breathe each time your baby pauses at breast, stimulating as many letdowns as your baby will swallow, she will come away from your breast satisfied.

Paula Zindler
RN IBCLC

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