Being able to breastfeed comfortably is not an easy feat; there are many worries and anxieties surrounding breastfeeding. Is your newborn taking in enough nutrition? Are your breasts engorged or sometimes get too hard which causes pain? Are your nipples too sore? Providing for our children is always a priority for parents, and making sure that you have ample supply of nutrition for your newborn can be stressful.
What are breastfeeding problems?
Breastfeeding takes some time to learn and sometimes, things don’t always go as expected.
Problems could arise due to health reasons, but most breastfeeding problems come about because women don't recognise problems when they start to emerge. Getting help early is the best way to avoid some of the more serious breastfeeding issues.
Recognising problems early can be tricky because sore nipples are often considered an inevitable part of learning how to breastfeed; aches and pains associated with mastitis might be confused with the tiredness of being a new mother.
What are the causes of breastfeeding problems?
These are some common breastfeeding problems that you may face:
Breast engorgement is when your breasts get too full of milk. They may feel hard, tight and painful. Engorgement can happen in the early days when you and your baby are still getting used to breastfeeding. It can take a few days for your milk supply to match your baby's needs.
Engorgement can also happen when your baby is older and not feeding so frequently, perhaps when they start having solid foods.
Sore or cracked nipples usually can happen because your baby is not well-positioned during breastfeeding. Putting up with it could worsen the pain or discomfort of breastfeeding.
Blocked milk ducts (Mastitis) can lead to breast inflammation. This happens when a blocked milk duct is not relieved. It makes the breast feel hot and painful, and can make you feel very unwell with flu-like symptoms.
Insufficient milk supply or oversupply of milk could be due to a few factors such as a change in the feeding schedule and habits. Low milk supply could be due to a reduced frequency of feeding for example, supplementing feeds with infant formula. While oversupply of milk would arise from frequent feeds and the need to produce more milk.
Thrush is a common yeast infection that can be passed between the mother and the baby during breastfeeding. The yeast thrives in warm, moist areas such as the baby's mouth and the mother's nipples.
Symptoms of yeast infection in the mother are deep-pink nipples that are tender or uncomfortable during, and right after, nursing. White patches and increased redness in the baby's mouth are symptoms of a yeast infection in the baby's mouth. The baby may also have a diaper rash, a change in mood, and will want to nurse more frequently.
How are breastfeeding problems treated?
Each condition will require a specific treatment. It is important to get an accurate diagnosis to know the steps you need to take to return to breastfeeding for your child.
When should I see a doctor?
Breastfeeding is not always easy for mothers and their babies. If you are experiencing any of the problems listed above, seek advice from your doctor early to identify the issue for an accurate prescription, and get your baby the nutrients they need to grow!
Dr Jesse Hu: Breast Specialist in Singapore
Dr Jesse Hu is a breast specialist and experienced breast surgeon in Singapore. With a commitment to excellence and a focus on patient well-being, Dr Jesse Hu brings her expertise to the field of breast health. Whether you're seeking preventive consultations or surgical solutions, trust in Dr Jesse Hu's expertise for compassionate care that prioritises your needs.