Lactation consultant Carey Haupt outlines the top five breastfeeding challenges that many mothers encounter.
Breastfeeding is natural and super important for mom and baby. Most mothers start out wanting to breastfeed and then along the way they stop.
Why would a highly motivated mother stop breastfeeding? She may have had a boobie boo-boo that made breastfeeding difficult and unpleasant.
I would like to share with you the five most common boo-boos that I see in my practice and how you can prevent them.
- Knowledge boo-boo
Knowledge is power and this is true for breastfeeding. As a society we rarely have an opportunity to learn and see breastfeeding. This is why it is so important that before you have your baby, you and your partner learn about breastfeeding.
You can book a session with the lactation consultant online and learn about what to expect in the first few days of breastfeeding. If you are confident and knowledgeable you are more likely to have fewer problems and a more pleasant breastfeeding experience.
- No milk boo-boo
The perception of not having any milk in the first few days is inaccurate. Your body starts to make colostrum (the first milk) in your second trimester.
Colostrum is the thick, yellowish sticky milk that you will start to notice in the first few days. It is so full of nutrients that your baby does not need much of it. With only a few drops, the colostrum can maintain your baby’s blood sugar.
If you are worried about blood sugar you can practise skin-to-skin with your baby. Skin to skin is when you have your baby in only a nappy directly on your chest. This helps to maintain your baby’s temperature, blood glucose, and give your baby assess to milk whenever he needs it. It also helps you to make more milk. As your baby breastfeeds, your body will make more milk and slowly the colostrum will change into mature milk.
- Rock hard boo-boo
On about day three to five your breasts will become hard. This is normal as it your body regulating how much milk your baby needs.
To correct for the fullness, you need to continue to feed your baby on demand. This empties your breasts and helps your body to work out how much milk your baby needs.
Now the boo-boo comes in with formula top ups and scheduled feeding. If your breasts are not emptied (due to baby having a formula top-up or waiting for three hours) they will get fuller and fuller. This can become extremely uncomfortable and can lead to a blocked duct.
Here you will need to act fast with emptying your breasts, using heat and massage to help drain them and allowing baby to feed often or using a breast pump to help drain the breast.
- Shallow latch boo-boo
This can be among the most painful boo-boos. If after the first initial few seconds of breastfeeding you still feel pain, see a white line across your nipple or it changes shape or looks flat, these are all signs of a shallow latch.
A shallow latch can lead to stopping breastfeeding, blocked ducts, bleeding nipples or a decrease in milk supply. This is relatively easy to fix, so contact a lactation consultant to help you with getting a deeper latch while breastfeeding and all the problems mentioned above can be prevented.
- Do it alone boo-boo
We need to support each other, listen and show up. It is very difficult to do this if a person is trying to “go it alone”. Be real with your friends and family – let them know if you need support and share your experiences because you just never know who it might help.
These five boobie boo-boos are all available or can be corrected with the correct information and support. So if you find yourself in the middle of one of these boo-boos, you can reach out for help. We want to help you and keep you motivated to breastfeed.
As a mama who has had two very different breastfeeding journeys I can vouch for the fact that knowledge and the right support are key aspects to a successful breastfeeding journey.