What’s on my mind today?
Today, I got a text from my friend, describing how the idea of exclusive breastfeeding has provoked anxiety and frustration into her life as she can’t sleep well and has to face various challenges every day. Have you experienced similar or different challenges while breastfeeding your little one? According to a recent study, the day-to-day experiences and realities of nursing are quite different from a new mother’s expectations. When a mom’s discomfort, weariness and anxiety increase, her well-being—as well as that of her family—repudiates the goal of exclusive breastfeeding.
Why do women quit breastfeeding their little ones?
Most of the women stop nursing or introduce formula in an attempt to make the situation better, leading to feelings of failure and guilt. What should you do if you are caught up in a similar situation? Well, here’s an important thing to remember: Any amount of your milk provides significant health benefits to your baby. Where exclusive breastfeeding is strongly recommended by experts, at the same time, new mothers should not feel stressed nor if they had to supplement with formula or stop nursing.
Common hurdles faced by a new mama:
I’m shortlisting some common challenges faced by new mothers. Even though exclusive breastfeeding is highly recommended for your infant, it does have its challenges. :
Nipple soreness, pain, and irritation:
During the early days of this most tiring journey, your body is still getting used to nursing your child. Due to inappropriate guidance and latching techniques you may feel the soreness of your breast (even though it shouldn’t be too much) which is the number one cause why most women quit breastfeeding.
It is completely normal for your breasts to feel heavier, become larger than usual, warmer and maybe a little uncomfortable 2-5 days after birth. It is due to an increase in the milk quantity known as engorgement. It doesn’t usually last more than 24 hours. You can place cool compressors and use hands to manually express milk or try massaging toward the nipple while feeding as it may be due to a plugged milk duct.
Low milk supply:
New babies should be fed 8-12 times every 24 hours. If you are worried about not producing enough milk, consider these factors;
- Poor latching techniques
- Not getting enough rest, fluids and food
- Not feeding often enough.
Oversupply of milk:
It can be stressful for both the mother and the baby due to overfull breasts. You may face leaking breasts and may land into embarrassing situations. Try not to miss feedings or increase the duration between feedings. You can use disposable breast pads in a situation where u can’t feed.
Strong let-down reflex:
This can happen along with an oversupply of milk. Hold your nipple between your index (first) and middle fingers or with the side of your hand. Lightly press on milk ducts to decrease the force of the milk ejection. If the baby chokes, unlatch the baby and let the extra milk spray into a towel. Try side-lying position and the football hold position.
It may also be called lactation mastitis because it usually occurs in women who are breastfeeding. The mother may present with breast pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness along with fever and chills. You would need to go to your doctor and take appropriate antibiotics.
Fungal infection caused by Candida organism can occur, also known as thrush. Causes of a fungal infection include:
- Thrush in your baby’s mouth, which can pass to you.
- Nipples that are sore or cracked.
- Receiving or taking antibiotics or steroids (often given to mothers during labor).
- A chronic illness like HIV, diabetes, or anemia. How can you know if it is a fungal infection? If the soreness of the nipples persists after a few days despite good latch or sudden soreness after pain-free breastfeeding. A few other signs may include pink, flaky, shiny, itchy, or cracked nipples or deep pink and blistered nipples. You could also have achy breasts or shooting pains deep in the breast during or after feedings.
This means that your baby was taking your feed for several months without an issue but suddenly refused to breastfeed. There may be something wrong but you do not need to stop and be a little patient. There may be different reasons for this e.g. distracted by sounds or voices around during feeding, having a cold making it hard for the baby to breathe, Ear infection, pain from teething or even after a strong reaction from mother after biting her and many more.
I hope this article would help many struggling mamas out there. Drop your feedback and share the most tiring experiences you faced during this commitment of providing your child with the most nutritious milk ever!