Addressing breastfeeding dilemmas
Some women breeze through breastfeeding while others grapple with problems until they succeed. Here are some problems you may encounter during breastfeeding and what you can do to remedy them.
Baby won't breastfeed after bottle-feeding
This is referred to as nipple confusion—babies become accustomed to bottle-feeding and refuse to breastfeed. Sometimes babies will fuss and won’t readily accept the breast if they’ve gotten accustomed to artificial bottle nipples, which are easier to draw from.
Sucking from the breast also is slower and requires a different type of sucking action, so the baby must relearn the process. The primary cause of nipple confusion is bottle-feeding too early, during the first week.
Here are some helpful hints:
- Try to avoid bottle-feeding the first three weeks so breastfeeding is firmly established.
- Express a small amount of milk from your breast by hand or with a breastpump before feeding to soften the areola and stimulate milk flow. This makes it easier for your baby to latch on, so she won’t have to do as much work.
- Contact a breastfeeding consultant for hands-on help in retraining your baby to take to the breast. The breastfeeding professional may decide to use a supplemental breastfeeding system to encourage your baby to breastfeed.
Don’t be surprised if your breasts leak when it’s about time to nurse your baby or when she starts to cry. It’s a normal body reaction.
How to solve:
Use an absorbent breastfeeding pad or clean folded handkerchief inside your bra to catch the drip. Don’t forget to change the pad or handkerchief often. A clean pad prevents growth of bacteria, which thrive where it’s warm and moist.
Sucking stimulates your body to let down (release) milk from your breasts.
To help let-down during your first days of breastfeeding:
- Gently massage your breast with your hand before putting your baby to the breast.
- Breastfeed your baby in a calm, stress-free environment.
- Stay relaxed.
Difficulty latching on
Your baby should be taking approximately 1 inch from the tip of the areola into her mouth. If she is only taking in the nipple, this is incorrect.
To remedy the situation:
- Try breastfeeding your baby in different positions.
- Make sure your baby takes enough of your breast in her mouth. Your baby should take in approximately one inch from the tip of your nipple.
- If you are still having difficulty, talk to your doctor or a lactation consultant.