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Exploring Common Breastfeeding Problems and Solutions

By Complete Care Specialist January 16, 2019

Mother Breastfeeding BabyOnly about 43% of moms who are 20 and younger breastfeed while 65% of moms aged 20 to 29 breastfeed. Moms over 30 have the highest breastfeeding rate, at over 75%. But regardless of age, all mothers should know the facts about breastfeeding as well as some potential problems they may face along the way. Fortunately, many of these problems often have easy fixes. Here are just a few common breastfeeding problems and solutions to be aware of.

Not Producing Enough Milk

Many experts say that this is one of the most common problems mothers face while trying to breastfeed. However, it's often misdiagnosed or over-exaggerated, i.e., mothers think they aren't producing enough when they actually are. In any case, there's an easy way to determine whether this is actually an issue:

"Weigh your baby before and after a feed. You'll be amazed at how the number on the scale goes up (and up!). If your baby is gaining weight.. you're producing enough milk. Don't be fooled by the pump. Some women don't let down easily when expressing milk," says Kristen Finello and Nancy Gottesman on Parents.

If you determine that this is, in fact, an ongoing issue, talk to your doctor or specialist to see what you can do. You can also try using a hospital grade pump, we recommend an ameda or Medela pump.  See if you qualify for a free breast pump by Filling out our Free breast Pump form If you do not qualify, a hospital or rental outlet will rent you one or we can sell you the product you want. If you would like to buy a breast pump call (800)-503-7604

Sharing Feeding Responsibilities Too Early

For mothers with multiple children, it's often tempting to give into pleads of letting your children feed the newborn with a bottle. After all, you could use a quick break, right? Not exactly -- experts say that sharing the feeding responsibilities too early could lead to a reduction of hormones that should normally build up during the first several weeks of feeding and help with milk production. Similarly, experts say you shouldn't pump until you've reached four to six weeks.

Just wait about six weeks before you pump or share the responsibilities. Those six weeks are crucial for milk development and easier nursing through breastfeeding. 

Sore or Cracked Nipples 

Having sore or cracked nipples is normal, but breastfeeding should become comfortable for you and your baby. A very common cause of cracked or sore nipples is improper positioning of your baby during breastfeeding. 

Make sure your baby is latching on correctly, they should be nursing from most of your areola and the nipple. If it is not a good latch or hurts, try again. Use these tips from womens health for getting a good latch, here. If your nipples are cracked, try rubbing a few drops of breast milk on your nipples after feeding. Breast milk has natural healing properties and contains oils that will help soothe the area. You can also try these nipple shields that help improve comfort, check them out here. If you are still experiencing issues, you could have an infection and you should talk to your doctor or specialist, such as a lactation consultant. 

Plugged Ducts 

A plugged duct feels like a sore or tender lump in the breast. This is caused when your milk duct doesnt drain properly, causing pressure to build and inflammation of the surrounding tissue. Usually, a plugged duct only occurs in one breast at a time. 

The key to fixing a plugged duct is loosing it up and keeping milk flowing. You can aim your baby's chin at the plugged duct which will focus their suck on the area and loosen it up. You should also massage the area between feeds, starting behind the sore spot and moving in a circular motion towards the nipple. Warm compresses will help as well. If the problem persists or keeps coming back, talk to your specialist or seek a lactation consultant. 

So, now you know -- if you've experienced any of these common problems, you're certainly not alone, and there's often a simple solution. Don't hesitate to meet with a lactation consultant to find the methods and strategies that work best for you. For more information about free breast pumps for moms and other medical supplies, contact Complete Care Medical.

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