Common Breastfeeding Pain Problems and Solutions
Breastfeeding is an enjoyable activity for both of you and your baby. Besides the fact that breast milk is absolutely the best milk for babies, it feels very heartwarming to witness such kind of mother-and-baby bonding moment. But let’s face it; breastfeeding sometimes causes pains or discomfort, especially in the first few days or weeks or for first-time mothers.
Some breastfeeding pain problems are normal, while there are those that need special attention.But don’t worry; most of them can still be treated. You can ask suggestions from a lactation consultant, who specializes in breastfeeding. It is better though if you enquire him before you give birth.
Meanwhile, below are the most common concerns along with the solutions that you can solve all by yourself.
Cramps during breastfeeding
It is normal to feel strong cramps in your uterus during the first few days to weeks after you give birth. This is almost as painful as menstrual cramps, but can be more painful during breastfeeding. This is because the act of breastfeeding itself causes contractions that helps shrink your uterus, which means your belly will now go back to its normal form. Therefore, breastfeeding can even help you to recover because the uterus shrinks back quicker. In most cases, drinking more water reduces the pain.
Sore nipples when breastfeeding
Most of the time, sore or cracked nipples occurs when your baby takes your nipple in his mouth. This is called latching, which can cause only 30-60 seconds of nipple pain if your baby is on the right position. However, an improper latch can cause your baby’s mouth structures to be rubbed by your nipple, thus leading to soreness. If this happens, remove your baby and reposition him and start feeding him again. For your next breastfeeding session, make sure that your baby is in the right position.
Sore nipples due to biting of your baby
Some babies chew or bite the nipple once they start teething, which can also cause sore nipples. To help avoid this, give your baby something to chew a few minutes before breastfeeding, such as a cold, wet, and clean cloth. Repeat the same technique before you feed your baby on the other breast. In some cases, a baby also bites if his mother has a fast let down because biting can control the flow of the milk. To reduce the milk flow, try pumping for a few minutes before breastfeeding.
Sore breasts due to over supply of breast milk
If your baby gets less milk from you, chances are you will have sore breasts because of over-supply of breast milk. Some parts of your breast may be heavy because they are not being drained enough during breastfeeding. In that case, you can try feeding your baby more often or improve your baby’s position during breastfeeding and make sure he is getting enough supply of milk. You can also pump your milk before you breastfeed him to help reduce the weight of your breasts.
There are other causes of breastfeeding pain problems and you should not ignore them. If you feel continuous pain on your nipples or breasts, immediately ask help from a lactation consultant or consult a doctor.
How to Wean Off Breastfeeding
There are lots of opinions about how and when to wean a baby from breastfeeding. Here are the two main approaches on how to wean off breastfeeding:
Your baby decides when to stop breastfeeding. Your baby may give you signs that he is ready to stop nursing, such as being distracted while nursing, being fussier than usual, or being more interested in solid foods.
Mom decides when to stop breastfeeding. This approach can be a bit more difficult than baby-led weaning since you are in control in this situation and your baby may not be as comfortable.
Many breastfeeding mothers experience judgment, criticism, or simply an overload of other peoples “good-intentioned” advice. For instance, people may tell you that you shouldn’t breastfeed so often. They might tell you that your baby is too old to still be breastfeeding. However, despite what others are telling you, you are in charge of your life. You can choose when and how to wean your baby from breastfeeding. You know your baby best.
When you decide to wean off breastfeeding, whether it is at your baby’s will or your own, here are some tips to make the process go more smoothly.
TIPS ON HOW TO WEAN OFF BREASTFEEDING
Make the transition a slow process
If the baby is big enough, introduce more solids with one meal/snack at a time (while taking away one nursing session at a time). This will help prevent problems with your breasts (such as from becoming engorged). It will also help baby adjust to the change.
Comfort and bond with your baby in other ways
Especially if your baby is used to breastfeeding for comfort, weaning will be much better if you connect with your baby in different ways that still make him feel calm and cared for. For instance, try distracting him when he wants to breastfeed by playing with him or try to offer a drink out of a sippy cup.
Support baby’s bond with Dad (or another adult, if he isn’t around)
Breastfeeding moms have a strong attachment and bond with their babies. There is something so special about this relationship. But it is okay to allow Dad to be close to the baby as well. If the baby is wanting to breastfeed, let Dad take care of him for a bit. He could cuddle him or play with him to distract him.
If weaning seems too difficult for your baby, it is also okay to try again in a few weeks.
Weaning can be difficult for mom and baby. If you feel like your baby is really having a tough time, especially if he is ill, you have recently moved, or there are other things going on that might stress him, you could consider giving it a bit more time. Weaning will happen eventually whether you press it or not.
The breastfeeding experience is a precious thing, but it has to be weaned at some point, so now that you have more information, you can make an informed decision about how and when to wean off breastfeeding.
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