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Breastfeeding is one of the most beautiful things you’ll ever do as a mom. But, it can also be one of the most frustrating. When things go wrong, you need to know how to solve your breastfeeding problems quickly.
Rest assured, that most, if not all, breastfeeding problems can be solved just by knowing what to do.
A few tweaks and you and your baby can be enjoying the many benefits of breastfeeding your baby.
HOW TO SOLVE YOUR BREASTFEEDING PROBLEMS QUICKLY
Worried About Not Having Enough Milk?
At some point every mom worries she won’t have enough milk to feed her baby. Coincidentally, it’s the number one reason why new moms wean their babies and switch to formula.
Being concerned about your milk supply isn’t all bad, because let’s face it, making sure our babies don’t starve is our number one responsibility.
So first of all, give yourself credit. You’re thinking about your baby and that’s a good thing! Just don’t let the fear get out of hand.
Thankfully, there are some very simple ways to evaluate and take the guesswork out of nursing so you can relax and enjoy your baby.
- Do you hear your baby swallowing? Listen closely. You should be able to tell if she’s getting milk because you can actually hear her gulp.
- Does she seem satisfied at the end of the feeding?
- Does she have 6-8 wet diapers in a day?
If you’re worried, you can use these questions to evaluate your baby throughout the day.
You’ll feel better knowing you’re keeping your finger on the situation and you won’t be taking shots in dark, wondering if your baby is getting enough milk.
If your answer is no to any of the above questions then there are several things you can do to increase your milk supply.
Too Much Milk?
Some of us have an ultra fast let down reflex and essentially produce too much milk.
It can be really difficult for your baby to keep up.
You’ll know this is a problem if your baby chokes often while nursing, is very gassy, is generally not happy, and fusses while she’s nursing.
If your baby seems to be struggling with your overabundance of milk, there are a couple of tricks you can do:
First, you can pump just enough to stimulate your let-down reflex.
If you don’t have a breast pump, I recommend the Avent Double Electric Comfort Breast Pump. I have used this pump successfully with six out of my seven kids. It’s been a workhorse!
Once your milk lets down, stop pumping and let the milk flow for a little bit until it stops. You’re allowing the milk to flow and waiting for it to stop coming out so forcefully.
This will help your baby stop struggling to gulp it all down, trying to keep up.
After the milk let-down is over, then you can start nursing your baby.
You’ll both be happier.
Secondly, there’s a very simple hack that I’ve used with great success to help my babies tolerate my overabundant milk supply:
Simply lie on your back, or propped up on a pillow. Position your newborn on your belly and let her nurse while on top of you. I know it goes against the flow (ok, really bad pun!) but that’s kind of the point!
That way she’s drawing the milk out, rather than the milk
pouring gushing into her mouth. (Hence, the bad pun about flow, 😉 )
It’ll make a huge difference in the way your baby nurses.
Eventually your milk flow production should slow down according to your baby’s needs.
If you need more help handling an oversupply of breastmilk, you’ll definitely want to read this post.
There are many reasons why a baby could be fussy. (Too hot, too cold, sleepy, wants attention, etc.)
But having a fussy baby (as it pertains to breastfeeding) could be easier to resolve than you think.
If you’ve already evaluated questions one and two and determined that neither is a problem, then the next obvious place to evaluate is your diet.
Unfortunately, whatever you eat goes directly into your breastmilk, so you might have to say good-bye to Taco Tuesday and the double chili peppers. (It’s ok, it won’t last forever! I’ve had to cut food out of my diet while nursing my seven kids and I’ve survived!)
There are other things to consider besides spicy foods:
Your baby may be fussy because he’s reacting to various triggers in your diet such as, dairy, eggs, grains, nuts, etc. It wouldn’t even be uncommon for your baby not to like something in your diet as simple as bananas.
Since there’s really no way to tell, you can keep a simple food journal like the one I described in this article to keep track of your baby’s fussiness with regard to what you ate.
It takes about four hours for a food to go from your mouth to your milk supply, so keep that in mind as you evaluate.
Now, just because your baby can’t tolerate you eating a certain food right now, does not mean he’s allergic or will never be able to tolerate it.
So don’t worry just yet!
She might just need a little time for her digestion to mature. You can test out problematic foods from time to time, being careful to only introduce one food at a time and taking careful notes to see how your baby responds.
If she has trouble with a particular food, eliminate it from your diet for now and try it again in a few months.
Dealing with pain while nursing is not fun at all. In fact, it can be enough to make a new mom quit breastfeeding her baby for good.
Don’t give up!
There are many simple solutions for dealing with breastfeeding pain. If you’re struggling with pain in nursing, then you’ll definitely want to check out this article:
Breastfeeding Pain: What’s Normal and What’s Not
Working through the pain is definitely worth it. And once you do, you’ll be so glad you did.
If all else fails, using a nipple shield like this one might really help. It made all the difference for me when I had cracked nipples with my second baby.
Using the nipple shield allowed me to keep nursing even though it hurt so bad.
Breastfeeding is Taking Too Long
Being a baby and living outside of the womb is new for your little bundle of joy and part of that means learning how to eat.
Remember she’s been eating through the cord in her belly for the last 280ish days, so eating with her mouth is a new concept for her.
As a matter of fact, nursing (at least this baby) is new for you, too.
I’m not one to sit well. I like to do all. the. things. (NOW!)
So I totally understand how difficult a nursing session that goes on forever can be. Or so it seems.
But please, in this time, as you and your baby both learn the art of nursing, give yourself permission to sit and nurse and take all the time you need.
If you can, plan to keep your schedule pretty clear. If you have other kids around, let them play a game together or watch a special movie.
Give yourself grace. It’s OK. What they say really is true. Kids grow up fast. So savor each moment.
I’m Feeling Solely Responsible
One drawback (if you would call if that) of nursing is that the responsibility of feeding your baby really does depend on you (if you choose not to supplement.)
So it’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed at times.
If you’re feeling solely responsible and are struggling, it’s very important to keep open communication with your husband.
You need to let him know how you feel and not feel guilty for speaking up about it. Avoid blaming him and simply let him know that you’re struggling with being solely responsible.
Then develop a plan that includes him.
Maybe he could get the baby and change her in the middle of the night so you only need to nurse.
Perhaps during the day he could hold the baby while you do something for yourself.
Whatever the case, if you keep communication open, you’ll avoid so many problems and your husband can help you understand and deal with your own emotions.
My baby is Having Trouble Latching On
Remember there’s a learning curve with nursing and the learning curve alone, could be the only reason your baby has trouble latching on.
It might just take time.
However, a baby who has trouble latching on could very well have a physiological reason why she’s struggling.
Two of our kids were both tongue-tied at birth and both needed a frenectomy in order to nurse properly.
So it warrants keeping an eye on the situation if your baby doesn’t seem to be able to latch on.
This article will help you learn how to have a proper latch.
If you suspect your baby is tongue tied, seek help from your health care practitioner. If that’s not the case, consider seeking the help of a local lactation consultant.
I Can’t Keep My Baby Awake to Nurse
Brand new babies are snuggly, cuddly, and oh so sweet!
But that means that sometimes, we mamas love to snuggle our babies and make them so cozy, they just don’t want to stay awake to eat.
That can pose a major breastfeeding problem. Early on, if your baby just won’t wake up to eat, there are a few things you can do:
For starters, undress your baby, move her around, and un-snuggle her, (it’s OK! You can snuggle after she’s done eating.)
Sometimes a diaper change will do the trick.
Other times, you might need to get a wet rag and rub it lightly on the baby’s feet or legs.
Just be gentle and careful. I’ve also found that sitting the baby on my lap and dipping her forward will sometimes wake up a sleepy baby. Just be sure to support the babies head very well.
If your baby is jaundice, it can be especially hard to wake her up. Keep an eye on how difficult it is to wake your baby and if you have any concerns, call your doctor or midwife.
Note: make sure not to let the baby just keep sleeping or she won’t get enough to eat and could become dehydrated and you nursing could become very painful if you get too engorged.
My Baby is Nursing so Much I Can’t Keep Up
On the other hand, sometimes babies like to eat like there’s no tomorrow!
If that happens to you and you feel like all you’re doing is nursing, first evaluate question number one and if the baby passes, then just kick your feet back and relax.
Enjoy the cuddles and the snuggles. Your baby may be going through a growth spurt, or might just need some extra comfort.
It’s totally ok to just keep nursing. Remember, they don’t stay little forever.
And in case you’re worried your baby will overeat, have no fear! Babies can actually “comfort nurse” or pacify themselves by suckling without taking in much milk.
I’m Engorged and Swollen
It takes about eight weeks for your milk supply to catch up to or even out with your baby’s needs. So you will have times of engorgement.
Consider the following:
Did your baby sleep longer than usual? Did he nurse for a longer time the last nursing session?
Being engorged is a natural result of the regulation period. Eventually, it will even out, I promise!
Try to avoid pumping if at all possible. If you really need to pump in order to feed your baby, (your baby just won’t latch on) then try to pump only a little bit of milk off the top (so your body doesn’t think it needs to produce more) and then feed your baby.
Use warm compresses to keep yourself from developing mastitis and to simply feel comfortable.
HOW TO SOLVE YOUR BREASTFEEDING PROBLEMS QUICKLY
Hopefully these tips will help you as you go through the bumps of learning how to breastfeed. If you’re struggling, it really will get better, I promise!
And by the way, congratulations on your new little one! 🙂
While you’re on the mend, resting up from having your baby, you’ll definitely want to check out the Ultimate Bundles Parenting Bundle. It’s packed with so much amazing information from potty training (it comes sooner than you think! 😉 ) to parenting strategies! There are 80 resources for you to learn from! Click here to check it out! You don’t want to miss this!
What tips and tricks do you have to solve your breastfeeding problems quickly? Comment below and let me know what you did to help.