Most medical professionals, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, agree that breastfeeding is the best feeding choice for both baby and mother. Many mothers have an idealistic view of how the breastfeeding relationship will be when her child is born. In reality though, breastfeeding is not always as easy as it sounds like it may be. There are several things that can cause breastfeeding problems. If you are set on continuing to breastfeed your child, overcoming these obstacles is vital.
Talk with a lactation consultant about the particular issue you are having with breastfeeding. Lactation consultants are able to give you resources, tips and encouragement to help with the most common problems that face a breastfeeding mother. If you did not see a lactation consultant while in the hospital after giving birth, call your local La Leche League to inquire about breastfeeding counseling.
Explore different nursing positions to find the right fit for you and your baby. try lying down to nurse, holding your baby in the football hold -- where his head faces the front of your body and his feet extend beyond your side towards your back -- the cradle hold or try feeding him while he sits up in your lap with your arms supporting his back and neck. Use a nursing pillow to help position your baby, which may also make you and your baby more comfortable while nursing.
Use a warm compress on your breast if you are having engorgement issues. Engorgement is the collection of blood and milk within your breast that makes the breast difficult to compress and the nipple difficult to latch onto for your baby. A warm compress may release some of the built-up milk. Massaging the breast and hand expressing some milk by gently squeezing the breast may lead to some comfort for your breast pain. Engorgement is common when you go to long periods between feedings or do not empty the breast at each feeding. For more immediate relief, use a hospital-grade or electric breast pump to express milk when the engorgement becomes painful. Apply a cold compress between feedings to reduce swelling and help with the pain according to Dr. Sears.
Invest in lanolin cream or use olive oil to relieve the pain of sore and cracked nipples. Nipple soreness is common in the first few weeks of feeding and can happen when your nipples are moist or compressed throughout the day. Poor latch and an incomplete suction release at the end of the feeding may also lead to sore nipples; at the end of a feeding, gently insert one finger between your nipple and your baby’s mouth to release the suction.