Even though breastfeeding offers most babies the best nutrition possible and can help minimize your child’s risk of developing certain health conditions both as a child and down the line, only one in four infants is breastfed by the time they’re six months old.
At The Center for Advanced Pediatrics in Darien and Norwalk, Connecticut, our providers understand that breastfeeding isn’t always easy. That’s why our team offers round-the-clock support for breastfeeding parents.
We help address any challenges you face when nursing your little one. And our lactation consultants, physicians, and nurse practitioners help you avoid future struggles by creating a personalized lactation plan that adapts to your baby’s changing needs.
In the meantime, keep reading to learn about four of the most common reasons women stop nursing and our tips for avoiding them.
The most difficult time to breastfeed is the first few days after your baby arrives in the world. Not only are you exhausted from childbirth, but some babies have a harder time latching on than others, which can make those early days even more of a struggle and even cause some women to give up.
If you’re getting ready to give birth, you can avoid this common breastfeeding issue by talking to your medical team before having your baby. Be sure they know you want to breastfeed, and ask questions about whether the hospital or birthing center has lactation consultants who can help.
You might also consider taking a breastfeeding class or workshop for expectant parents, or meet with a lactation consultant for a prenatal office visit to review any questions you have. This can help you prepare for breastfeeding your newborn when the time comes.
Unlike a bottle, which comes with markers so you know how much milk you’re giving your baby, when you breastfeed, it’s challenging to know how much milk you’re producing. This can lead to parents worrying about whether their baby is getting enough to eat.
You can help support a healthy milk production by letting your baby eat whenever they’re hungry. Newborn babies generally eat 8-12 times a day (24 hours) or more. This number typically decreases as your baby grows, but may increase again when they’re going through a growth spurt. This means your baby may feed every hour or every 2-3 hours. This is normal.
You can also make sure your baby is getting what they need by offering both breasts at every feeding. Don’t limit their time at the breast, which can decrease milk flow and make it more difficult for your baby to nurse the next time.
Babies need a deep latch onto the breast with the nipple positioned at the roof or upper palate of the baby’s mouth. This allows the baby to compress your breast tissue to nurse. When this doesn’t happen, and a baby has a shallow latch with just the nipple in its mouth it can lead to sore nipples. Not latching on correctly while breastfeeding can trigger this.
Other times, sore nipples can be caused by issues with the nursing position or problems with your baby’s tongue (e.g., tongue-tie). Always talk to your provider if you’re struggling with nipple soreness to uncover the cause.
The good news is that for most women, it’s much easier to prevent sore nipples than it is to treat the issue once it develops. The best way to do this is to make sure your baby is properly latched on, and if they’re not, remove the baby and start over.
You can also avoid sore nipples by changing nursing positions frequently, letting your nipples air dry after breastfeeding, and then applying nipple balm to help prevent cracking. If you wear bra pads between feeding, be sure to change them frequently to keep your nipples dry.
Breastfeeding isn’t always easy, and if you’re trying to nurse without support, it can feel even more challenging. If no one in your friend group or family is breastfeeding and you’re the only one trying to deal with nursing in public or pumping at work, you might feel even more alone.
At The Center for Advanced Pediatrics, we know many mothers and their babies struggle with breastfeeding or feel overwhelmed and alone. That’s why our team offers support for nursing mothers and their children.
We’ve partnered with Tiny Tummies Lactation Consultants to offer personalized, 24-hour-a-day support to breastfeeding moms. Our team of breastfeeding consultants can give you practical, step-by-step advice to help address challenges you face while nursing.
Get help for any breastfeeding challenges you’re facing by scheduling an appointment online or over the phone with a provider at The Center for Advanced Pediatrics.