Breastfeeding Problems? Yeah…I’ve been there too. Fortunately, I have some simple and affordable solutions to common breastfeeding problems that you can start using today! Be sure to check out all of my new baby/new mom ideas to help you keep your sanity.
So you’ve just had a beautiful little baby (CONGRATULATIONS! Your life will never be the same!!) You spent some time in the hospital with helpful nurses and lactation consultants positioning your baby and helping you with all your new mommy questions. Buuut, now you are home and the breastfeeding just isn’t going like you expected. No worries….I got your back, girl!! I do want to remind you though, that I am not a doctor or licensed lactation coach, and my solutions come from breastfeeding three little bundles of cuteness, and not a medical degree or license:)
As I sit here cluster feeding baby number three…I want to share some of the easy and (mostly) inexpensive solutions I have found to common breastfeeding problems…let’s do this!
Breastfeeding Problem #1: Breastfeeding is uncomfortable. I can’t quite find a good position to feed my baby and my arm keeps falling asleep while I’m breastfeeding.
I feel you on this one. Yes, breastfeeding is one of the most wonderful experiences and is such a unique and special way to bond with your baby. Also, though…it can majorly suck if you have to deal with breastfeeding problems. In the middle of the night when your back already hurts, sitting up and holding your baby who seems to be going for the Olympic gold medal in the slow eating category can be murder on your muscles. Finding the right position can be tough. Personally, I always have the best luck with the traditional cradle hold and a Boppy pillow. These are a godsend…seriously. It frees up your arms from holding the baby and allows you the movement to position, hold an engorged boob off your baby’s nose or scroll through your instagram feed! Here is my daughter using our bobby to hold my little mister!! (Also, I recommend having at least one extra boppy cover so you can have one washing and one in use)
Breastfeeding Problem #2: My nipples hurt so bad. They are cracking and sore.
Yes…this. Sore nipples are no joke. I had one I swore was going to fall off it hurt so bad. MOST sore nipple problems are the product of an improper latch. It is important to make sure the baby is getting enough of your nipple in their mouth. If he latches on and it hurts really bad, break the latch by putting your finger in the corner of his mouth and when he opens his mouth, insert your nipple in deeper. It helps so much, trust me. Nipples heal fairly fast. Kind of like when you bite your tongue. It hurts like the dickens for a few days, but then is good as new. To help in the meantime, nothing and I mean NOTHING beats lanolin. Seriously…it’s like sweet sticky nectar from Heaven!! There are many different brands of lanolin, but I love the Medela brand lanolin. It’s creamier than some of the others which makes it easier to apply and inexpensive. A small tube lasts for months.
Breastfeeding Problem #3: I don’t feel like my baby is getting enough milk. I’m worried my milk may not be enough. My milk supply is low. I need a natural way to increase it.
This one is a biggie!!! Milk supply is the double edged sword of breastfeeding. It goes up and comes down. What you eat and drink make a difference too. The first thing to do if you are having milk supply issues is to relax. Stressing yourself out will only make it worse. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water and taking good prenatal vitamins (yes you should still take those as long as you are breastfeeding your baby.) Those solutions will make a huge difference in the long run. However, when milk is in short supply, you need a quicker fix. Lactation cookies and Fenugreek are my go to products. I always keep some on hand in case of a dip in supply or a baby growth spurt. I recommend 3 Fenugreek pills, 3 times a day. (Yes, it’s a lot of pills, but is works fast and after a few days, you can stop taking them and the milk increase stays!!)
The Mother’s Milk oatmeal chocolate chip lactation cookies I think taste the best of the brands I have tried.
Breastfeeding Problem #4: I have to go back to work, but I still want to breastfeed my baby. How can I pump at work?
So….you’re going to need to pump. If you don’t pump at work, your milk supply will lessen and you won’t have breastmilk to leave for your baby while you are gone. The first thing you should do is check with your insurance. Medela has a quick search for most major insurance companies. If your insurance doesn’t cover breast pumps. (mine did not, sadly)…there are many community organizations, often attached to the hospitals that rent breast pumps. I would recommend checking with women’s centers in your area. If you need or want to buy your own breast pump, Medela Pump On the Go is a great option at a reasonable price. Make sure you grab some milk storage bags too, so you can safely store and transport your milk.
Something I discovered with baby number three that I wish I had with the first two, are the Freemie hands free collection cups. With my first two, I sat and held the pump bottles. While this was a great way to binge watch netflix, it wasn’t so productive. The Freemie cups fit into your bra for discreet hands-free pumping. Seriously…this is milk pumping at its most efficient!!
Breastfeeding Problem #5: I’m uncomfortable breastfeeding in public. I feel like everyone is watching.
So, yes…breastfeeding has become a much more socially acceptable thing in reason years. It isn’t as big of a deal to most people to see a woman feeding her baby. Ther are many women who are comfortable feeding anywhere…and if that’s you, more power to you. It wasn’t me. I WANT to be able to feed my baby on the go, but the idea of doing so in front of people didn’t work for me. So when I discovered Nursing covers….game changer. Not only are they gorgeous…they come in so many different patterns, but they are super stretchy and can be used to cover strollers and car seats and eventually shopping cart seats and high chairs. Multi-purpose and adorable. Yep….these are wonderful. Covered Goods is my favorite brand. They have tons of fabrics to choose from.
Even if you are having one or more breastfeeding problems, this time is so fast and these sweet baby snuggles won’t last forever. Cherish. Each. One. Love that baby, mama. Love that baby!!
Reach out to your doctor, local hospital, or Women Infants and Children’s (WIC) program for help, guidance and support! WIC has been a great resource for me and my family.
If you have been pressured into stopping nursing, look into your options. You can ALWAYS make more milk, and your milk is always strong, no matter what someone tells you. This even applies to women who have had breast reduction surgery!
If you are ill or on medication and have been advised to stop nursing, check into the details. In many cases medications can be compatible to nursing, and illnesses don’t necessarily have to mean completely stopping nursing.
If you have been told that formula would be better than the milk you already have because of your diet, this is false! Same goes for the advice that formula will help your baby sleep better. Don’t believe the hype!
Even if your baby is not latching on or breastfeeding is not the greatest option, you can still opt to pump for your baby if you want them to consume breast milk. Breast milk in a bottle is still breast milk!
It’s hard enough being pregnant without complications. Then add on postpartum issues and breastfeeding problems, that is a lot to handle with a newborn!
Cleft palate, tongue tie, heart issues and other complications can make breastfeeding a whole different challenge. Remember that you can always give breastfeeding a second chance. A few things to consider when stopping nursing are the cost of formula if you do decide to fully stop.
However, check if you are eligible for your local WIC program to receive assistance with formula and other foods for your baby and yourself. You can also combine and alternate nursing with formula feedings to give yourself a break but not break the bank on formula.
If you want to stop nursing mainly so that you can get some more sleep, remember that you still might be up feeding your baby formula! It is a lot easier to feed baby on the breast in the middle of the night than it is to wake up and mix a bottle and feed baby.
Consider only nursing when it is convenient, like before bedtime or through the night. If you decide that you want to stop because of breastfeeding problems, no one should judge you because of that – not even you!
If external pressures are getting you down about your decision to stop nursing, then you might want to turn somewhere else for support. Plenty of babies are bottle fed from the very beginning.
Consider how many babies are born into foster care or situations where they are not breastfed. Those kids are still just as smart, beautiful and worthy of every opportunity given in life.
It is OK to stop breastfeeding! Just like it’s OK to change your mind and get the epidural when contractions really start to hit, or using the pacifier at 3 AM during your baby’s fourth week of life.
It’s OK to give your self another chance and to supplement with formula. Just like it’s OK when you decide to stop feeding on demand and listening to your baby cry. It’s OK!
Of course it is important to try to do your best. But ultimately the decision to stop, especially if breastfeeding is really difficult, is up to you and your baby.
No matter when or why you decide to stop, it’s perfectly OK to make the decision. No matter how much breast milk your baby had, she is still going to be a great, smart, wonderful child.
If you love these tips for overcoming breastfeeding issues, please pin this image to your new baby Pinterest boards:
Conclusion for Solutions to Common Breastfeeding Problems:
Don’t let breastfeeding get you down. Work through these tips step by step, don’t give up. And most importantly…if breastfeeding isn’t going to work for you and your baby, remember all will be okay!
Related posts for Common Breastfeeding Issues:
- Loving Bath Time with your Baby
- Picking the Best Diapers for your Baby
- How to Wean your Baby to Solid Food