Breastfeeding is one of the most amazing journeys for a woman as it creates a strong loving bond between the mom and her baby. It’s such a beautiful way that nature has intended a woman to feed and nourish her child. It truly is a blessing to be able to provide and meet your baby’s physiological needs and nurture your child’s soul in the process. Most moms dream of breastfeeding their baby the moment they know they are pregnant.
Breastfeeding is a mother’s gift to herself, her baby, and the earth.”
Pamela K. Wiggins
Although nursing is something natural, it’s not always a breeze. Just like how every pregnancy is different, every breastfeeding experience is different too. It can be your first, second or third baby yet it’s not going to be the same for each child. Some lucky mothers are able to have a smooth sailing without a glitch while some might face some issues. So, here are some of the common challenges that mothers out there face in their breastfeeding journey.
1. Sore nipples
Some moms might experience sore nipples due to cluster feeding or wrong latching technique especially in the first few days of birth. These tender nipples feeling can be quite uncomfortable. Applying some natural moisturising cream or your own breastmilk and let them air dry can help aid this issue. The good news is, it gets better with time as you and your baby establish a pattern.
2. Breast engorgement
This is another common problem faced my many breastfeeding moms. Due to the increase in milk production after delivery, your breasts can swell up as hard as a rock which is rather painful. Lucky thing this doesn’t last long and is easily relived by feeding your baby. You can also put some hot towel to compress and reduce the engorgement.
In worst scenarios, a blocked milk duct could also cause engorgement plus if not treated on time can lead to an infection which is known as mastitis. This has more severe consequences where you develop a fever, breast pain and redness. Not something you want to experience we assure you that!
3. Low milk supply
In the first few days after giving birth, your milk might not have kicked in yet. The initial drops of golden liquid that you produce is colostrum which is highly nutritional for your baby. It is absolutely normal to have low milk supply at the beginning as your body hasn’t adjusted to your baby’s needs yet. After you have established a feeding routine, your milk will increase, become stable and be sufficient for your baby. Keep feeding and stop worrying, momma!
4. Nursing strike
This can surprisingly happen after months of feeding when your baby just refuses to latch suddenly after nursing well all this while. If this happens, don’t give up. Always offer the breasts first before deciding on other options like bottle feeding. It could also be a sign that something might be wrong like teething, ear pain or developing a cold. It can get frustrating but try to be patience and this too shall pass.
Nursing does not diminish the beauty of a woman’s breasts; it enhances their charm by making them look lived in and happy.”
Robert A. Heinlein
If you continue to encounter issues that might seem to interrupt with your breastfeeding journey, do seek medical advice or engage a lactation consultant to assist you. Regardless of how challenging breastfeeding may be in the beginning, with persistence, patience and practice, it will eventually become natural, and you will enjoy this bliss. But if it doesn’t work out for you, there are plenty of other options to feed and nurture your baby. Whatever it is, know that you are making the right decisions for you & your baby!