Issues With Breast Feeding
April 2, 2015
Many women who are new to breastfeeding have concerns about nipple soreness, confusion, and nipple type. Let’s look at these three conditions and how they can be treated.
Sore nipples are perhaps the most common complaint from moms, and it can discourage them from continuing to try. Below are some things you can try for this condition.
The first and most common cause of nipple pain is that the baby latches on incorrectly causing pain. If this happens, just insert your small finger into baby’s mouth to break the suction and try again. Latching on is the hardest part of breastfeeding but once the baby understands what it needs to do it disappears. You can talk with your lactation consultant or doctor if it seems that your child is continuing to have difficulty. This issue is usually settled by the time you leave the hospital.
- Let your nipples air dry rather than towel or cloth drying.
- Offer your baby who ever nipple is the least sore first. The suction used by the child is strongest at the start of the feeding.
- Try changing the position and if possible position the sore section at the corner of the baby’s mouth.
- Wash your nipples daily using just warm water. Many soaps and lotions contain alcohol and may dry out the nipple causing greater pain.
- Try feeding more often.
- Some women swear that lanolin applied to the nipples is an enormous help.
- Nipple Confusion, What Is It and How Do I Prevent It?
Nipple confusion occurs when an infant tries to use the bottle-feeding technique to the breast. The two techniques are not the same, and most babies will find the bottle method easier and so will prefer it.
Nipple confusion is an easier condition to prevent rather than correct. To prevent it do not let your baby use an artificial nipple whether on a bottle or pacifier.
Symptoms of Nipple Confusion
- The baby thrusts its tongue forward while sucking and pushes the breast out of its mouth.
- He suddenly won’t open his mouth wide enough to take in the aureole.
- She becomes fussy and irritable during the feeding
- Your milk supply suddenly begins to decrease.
How Do I Unconfuse my Baby?
If your child needs supplements, you can ask your doctor or another specialist about methods that don’t require an artificial nipple. They do exist so give them a try.
Feed only when the baby seems most calm
Watch for latch on problems
Use the show and tell method. Open your mouth wide making sure the baby can see your face. Even newborns will attempt to imitate your facial movements.
The best method, however, is to not use an artificial nipple unless you have to. Some babies will adjust well to using both techniques, but many will not want go back and forth. In severe reactions, the baby may refuse the breast. At this point, you will need help in learning techniques to helping the child adjust back to the breast.
What about Flat or Inverted Nipple?
A flat nipple is just that a nipple that doesn’t protrude. A flat nipple shouldn’t cause difficulty once the baby has learned to latch on properly. You can try massage or nipple stimulation to get it to protruded enough that the child can take over. Often this problem will correct itself since the suction from the baby will gently stretch the tissue causing it protrudes better.
The Inverted Nipple
Many women think that they may have an inverted nipple, but the actual condition is rare. If your nipple folds inward but will protrude with stimulation, you don’t have the condition. Just apply stimulation to bring it out, and there should be no more problem.
Some women though do have a genuine inverted nipple, also called an invaginated nipple. The condition is caused by an internal adhesion that is holding the nipple inside. Often the baby’s suction will pull the nipple outward but this process can be painful. You can try to feed primarily from “the good side” while pumping the side with the inversion until it begins to protrude.
In all honesty, nipple problems are a concern to many new mothers. Most can be corrected with time and patience. If you feel unable to continue feeding due to pain talk with your doctor first as stopping suddenly can cause an infection of the breast. In these cases, the milk ducts become plugged, and the milk will harden. You will notice pain, redness, swelling and even pus coming from the nipple. Immediately call a doctor and apply an ice pack for the pain.
Still most women can successfully continue to feed despite nipple problems. Breast size makes no impact on ability to produce enough milk for a healthy baby unless you’ve had an implant. It’s possible for earlier breast surgeries to affect the amount of milk the body can produce.