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Breastfeeding Questions and Concerns Every New Mom Should Know
Before your baby is born, check your breasts for lumps or bumps. Place your forefinger and thumb around your areola in a “C” shape, about an inch below your nipple, and gently press your thumb and forefinger together. Your nipple should be pointing outwards. If your nipple has returned to the breast or remains intact, seek advice from your doctor, a certified lactation consultant, or a La Leche League leader.
Wearing plastic bras during the later months of pregnancy can help push your nipples outward. However, some authorities suggest that a properly latched baby will breastfeed effectively, regardless of the size or shape of the mother’s nipples. Either way, it will help you understand the correct position and discuss this issue with a lactation consultant or healthcare provider before your baby is born.
An uncomfortable fullness in the breasts that causes your breasts to feel hard, hot, and painful because the baby isn’t producing enough milk. To eliminate this complication, breastfeed your baby often or use a breast pump. Expressing for comfort or pumping for just a few minutes will not produce enough milk to relax your breasts. Applying cold compresses between meals and/or warm compresses and circular massage before and during meals also help.
Painful sinuses are a common complaint at first. This may be a new experience for you, and may indicate that your baby is not latching on properly. If the pain subsides within a minute and you are comfortable for the rest of the breastfeeding session, there is nothing to worry about. If not, call a lactation consultant or La Leche League president for recommendations.
The causes of pelvic pain are:
- The baby is too close to the nipple, not enough areolar tissue.
- The baby’s lower lip is lowered instead of flapping.
- The baby puts the pacifier in his mouth instead of accepting the breast.
- When the baby comes out of the breast, the flesh of the baby falls on the nipple.
- In the early days/weeks of breastfeeding, the baby puts stress on the tissues and causes pain by trying to push out swollen nipples or nipples.
- Moisture stays on the opposite nipple for a long time.
Too much milk left in the breast can cause a blocked duct. This can happen for a variety of reasons and may result in a sore spot in your breast that is red and slightly warm to the touch.
Treatment measures for a blocked duct include:
- Wearing clothes that don’t tie.
- Many are resting.
- Nurse as much as the baby will cooperate and/or pump between feedings.
- Babies nurse 8-12 times every 24 hours.
- Apply wet or dry heat to the painful area before nursing.
- Every nursing session on the breast starts with the pain point.
- Position the baby so that his chin is aligned with the area of pain.
- Massage the sore spot while breastfeeding.
If you develop other symptoms, such as fever, chills, soreness, or pain in the breast that is common instead of in one area, you may have a breast infection, also known as mastitis. Contact a certified lactation consultant, La Leche League leader, or healthcare provider for advice. Some breast infections will go away with the same treatment you would use for a blocked duct.
If your symptoms persist, or if you have a high fever, you may need an antibiotic prescribed by your healthcare provider. Most antibiotics are safe while breastfeeding, but discuss this with your healthcare provider to be sure.
Is Baby Getting Enough Milk?
Weight gain is the most accurate way to tell if your baby is getting enough milk, so weigh your baby. Normal weight loss is about four to eight ounces per week. As your baby gets a little older, weight gain will become more apparent. If you are concerned about your baby, talk to your health care provider or a lactation consultant.
Also, monitor your baby’s diaper changes because what goes in must come out. At first, your baby will only have one or two wet diapers a day. After your milk supply increases, baby should have 5-7 wet diapers (six-eight if using cloth diapers) and three to five bowel movements per day. Some babies may have a small bowel movement with each diaper change.
The first bowel movements will be dark black, with a thin consistency. Both the color and consistency will change within a day or two of your milk supply. The color of the breast milk column is mostly mustard yellow, but it can vary from yellow to yellow-green. The mixture is loose and seedy and will stay that way until your baby receives only human milk. Also, when nursing, your baby should swallow after every two sips, so pay attention to swallowing. Other signs are that your breasts feel soft after a feed, your baby’s skin feels smooth and firm, and the baby looks full after a feed.
However, if your baby shows any of the following symptoms, contact your healthcare provider immediately:
- A faint cry
- Skin without resistance (when it is scratched, it remains wrinkled and visible)
- Dry mouth and dry eyes
- Fewer than normal tears
- Minimal urine output (less than two wet diapers in 24 hours)
- The fontanel (soft spot) on the baby’s head is lowered or depressed
If you have had breast surgery in the past, be sure to tell your healthcare provider. Many mothers were able to fully breastfeed their children after breast surgery. However, it is important that your health care provider is aware of your history and previous breast surgery(s) so that you and your baby can be monitored closely to make sure your milk supply is good and the baby is gaining weight.
Increasing Your Milk Supply
The amount of milk you produce depends on how much and how often milk is expressed from your breasts. As baby’s demand increases, your body will increase its supply, but if you’re concerned about your milk supply, you may find the following suggestions helpful:
- Nurse the baby during each nursing session.
- Nurse the baby twice on each breast during each nursing session.
- Sometimes use a sleeping pad to help you rest while nursing.
- Nurse at the baby’s early signs.
- Drink plenty of fluids (according to your individual needs).
- Use a breast pump between feedings.
- Consult a certified lactation consultant for a complete lactation evaluation.
The baby constantly wakes up at night
There are many reasons why a child wakes up at night. You may have a newborn who is a light sleeper and wakes easily. Plus, human milk breaks down twice as fast as formula, so breastfed babies get hungrier than bottle-fed babies.
Baby Is Always Sleepy
Some medications used during labor and delivery may cause the baby to become very sleepy. If the baby sleeps continuously in the first week, it is important to wake him up to nurse, so that your milk can be established and the baby will grow and gain weight normally. Try nursing more often at night when it is quieter. Contact another mom or a lactation consultant for tips on waking a sleeping baby.
Breastfeeding and Maternal Medicines
Most antibiotics and pain relievers are compatible with breastfeeding. However, you should always discuss any medications with your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
The potential risks of medications, whether prescription or over-the-counter, must be weighed against the risks of breastfeeding and formula supply.
When to Ask for Help with Breastfeeding
When to seek help:
- Your newborn has five to seven really wet diapers, or three to five bowel movements every day, even after your milk supply increases in the first week.
- Children’s urine is dark in color or has a strong odor.
- Nipple or breast pain worsens and continues between feedings.
- Breastfeeding is painful. (A little soreness is normal at first, but it should ease as your baby learns to breastfeed.)
The baby looks full of gas You may have heard of babies reacting to foods in their mothers diet but this is very rare. Infant formula is more likely to cause a problem rather than reacting to the mother’s diet.
Baby massage can often help soothe a gassy baby, so you can read books on baby massage to find a technique that your baby likes. You might also try holding the colic to see if that helps make the baby more comfortable. Place your baby face down on your shoulder with his head in the corner of your lap, your hand around his waist, and his legs down.
Supplements and Artificial Nipples
Supplementing with water or formula in the early weeks of breastfeeding can cause low milk supply, prolonged constipation, jaundice, or cow’s milk allergy or intolerance problems for both you and your baby.
Avoid artificial pacifiers and pacifiers as they can confuse your baby as he learns to breastfeed. A child uses the mouth and tongue differently when holding a bottle or a pacifier against a person’s breast. Among other things, artificial nipples are firmer than your breast, and the baby holds them in his mouth. If the baby does the same while breastfeeding, he may not use enough suction and not produce as much milk.
Your nipples may become sore during this process. Some very sensitive babies also refuse to breastfeed after using artificial nipples.
Since there’s no way to tell in advance whether your baby will be able to roll back and forth easily, it’s best to avoid artificial nipples until your baby is nursing well for at least three to four weeks and the likelihood of confusion is reduced. . If you need to feed your baby other than breast, use an alternative to bottles, such as a spoon, an eye dropper, or a small feeding bowl. Consult a knowledgeable lactation consultant about these options.
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