It may be natural, but it’s not always easy.

Mar 14, 2019
It may be natural, but it’s not always easy.
It may be natural, but it’s not always easy.

It may be natural, but it’s not always easy

Ideas of effortless breastfeeding – your baby painlessly latching on and feeding from the perfect supply of milk from each breast – can be quickly crushed when challenges occur. Whether in the first few weeks or months later, conditions can arise which make breastfeeding painful and frustrating, prompting moms to consider going to a bottle. 

We are here for you and can help you through these challenges!

I’m worried that my baby isn’t gaining enough weight by being breastfed. 

First, ask us about us about your baby’s weight gain patterns and we can determine if there is cause for concern. Typically, low milk supply contributes to slow weight gain, but it could be that your baby hasn’t properly latched on to achieve sufficient suction, that your baby doesn’t breastfeed long enough on each breast, or that your baby is not feeding often enough. Make an appointment with one of our Lactation Consultants. We will identify and help solve these problems. 

I’m still using nipple shields. Is that okay?

We recommend nipple shields in certain circumstances only, as prolonged or unnecessary use can actually cause hurt rather than help. Nipple shields can help when your baby is premature, has a difficult time latching on, is tongue-tied, you have flat, retracted or inverted nipples, or you have sore cracked nipples. Using a nipple shield after 4-8 weeks of breastfeeding does indicate a problem and should be discussed with a Lactation Consultant.

My baby prefers one breast and just refuses to feed from the other. 

Alternate the breast you use to start each feeding or alternate breasts for each feeding. It’s important that your baby empties both breasts regularly or you’ll be at risk for painful blocked ducts and breast engorgement. While training your baby to accept both breasts, it may be necessary to pump the rejected breast to not only prevent engorgement but to maintain milk production. If you’re not making any headway, make an appointment with a Lactation Consultant who can help your baby accept both breasts.

My breasts are killing me and I just want to stop!

It’s normal to feel about a minute or so of discomfort each time your baby latches on, but if you’re feeling pain beyond that, you are probably experiencing other issues. Working through these challenges with one of our lactation specialists can help you to continue providing your baby with breast milk for as long as you (and baby) desire. Your pain could be from:

• Plugged milk ducts will cause hard, tender and painful lumps in one of more areas of your breast.
• Hard, red or streaked breasts, along with flu-like chills and fever, can mean mastitis.
• Nipples can become cracked, sore, itchy and burning. You could also see blisters. 

Depending upon the problem, we may encourage you to use warm compresses or ice packs on your breasts, we could prescribe antibiotics, you may be urged to pump and we may talk about alternative positioning of your baby during breastfeeding. Our Lactation Consultants are here to relieve the pain and gently support continued breastfeeding as long as possible.

I’m planning to go back to work and my baby refuses a bottle. Help!

Buy a few different types of bottles and nipples to see which one your baby will most easily adapt to. Introduce a bottle well before your baby actually needs it, about 4-6 weeks ahead of time. Use a bottle once a day, for the shortest feeding of the day, for about a week and if possible, have your caregiver or another person give this feeding. As this breast-to-bottle transition continues, substitute more bottles until the transition is complete. Remember to pump frequently to keep your milk production going and to avoid engorgement. 

Other questions? Our Lactation Consultants are available for in-person appointments and 24/7 phone calls at 203-229-2088. We are here to help make your breastfeeding experience as productive, pain-free and pleasant as possible.