Milk And Breastfeeding: Overcoming Pain And Problems

Happy baby breastfeeding

When your milk doesn’t come in right away.

It’s can be really hard for new moms when they don’t start lactating the moment they welcome their child, like majority of moms do (some even in the middle of pregnancy.) As it turns out, it’s not as easy as giving your nipples to your baby whenever he wants to feed. I know I had a hard time accepting the delay, especially with postpartum depression messing with my head. Not to scare mothers-to-be out there, but I know I cried harder than my newborn baby for a couple of days until my milk finally started coming in.

But the wonderful news is, it will come. Some moms just take a bit longer, about 3-5 days on average, before they’re able to produce at least a drop of milk. But there are a couple of things that you can do to speed things up.

First of all, stay calm and remain hopeful. Next, there are things that you (and your baby) can do in order to help stimulate your breasts and make them produce more milk, and faster. Even if you’re not lactating just yet, it’s important that you start introducing your breasts to your baby, during the first hour since birth if possible. Keeping your baby close to you skin to skin and near your breasts will trigger both your baby to recognize the smell of your milk and start sucking, and at the same time, your breasts to make them produce milk. If persistence doesn’t work and your baby keeps on letting go, you can always use a breast pump and/or massage your breasts with a warm compress in order to stimulate the production. Feeding yourself with a lot nutritious food and gulping liters of water should also help. Before you know it, you’ll start leaking yellowish milk (the healthy first milk called colostrum).

When your nipples get sore or cracked.

Often the reason why moms wean from breastfeeding altogether, despite its wonderful  health benefits for both you and your baby, is the pain that comes with nursing. After a couple of days of letting your baby go to town with your sensitive nipples, you’ll start feeling sore and might even see a couple of red cracks (if not bleeding) on your nipples.

Believe it or not, this is actually normal. The  wounds and pain is generally caused by your baby’s improper latching (sucking on the tip of the nipple rather than including most of your areola) But before you give up and buy that can of milk formula, know that you can help your nipples heal faster so you can get back to nursing faster.

While some moms suck it up (pun unintended) and breastfeed even while hurting or bleeding (because your blood actually isn’t harmful to your baby), you can actually let your nipples heal with the help of warm water compresses before every feeding and/or by applying some Lanolin cream every after feeding. Exfoliating your nipples (even during pregnancy) with a rough towel while in the shower also helps remove dry skin and unplug your ducts, which ultimately leads to the painful cracking, peeling and creations of milk blisters (or blebs).

Good luck, breastfeeding moms!

Photo by Milkwood.net / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

 

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