When it comes to parenting, queries are welcomed with open arms – especially when it involves the realm of breastfeeding. Despite being considered “natural,” breastfeeding remains a skill to be learned, and the journey can be peppered with questions. To shed light on this important topic, we’ve assembled a collection of your most common inquiries and tapped into the wisdom of a few of our fave lactation consultants, to provide you with the answers you’re seeking.
1. Sensations While Nursing: What to Expect
Let’s get real: breastfeeding can feel quite unusual, unlike anything you’ve experienced before. Prepare to be amazed by the incredible suction power of your tiny human! You will experience a sucking or vacuum sensation and strong tugging/pulling feelings. Embrace this new bodily sensation, as it may take a bit of time to acclimatise to it.
2. Nipple Soreness: Navigating the Norm
Chances are, you and your nipples have never gone through anything quite like this before. Some roughness and dryness is normal as you and your baby find your rhythm. Initial tenderness can arise due to the vacuum created during sucking, particularly in the first few days before milk production increases. However, be on the lookout for unusual symptoms like flaking or scaly skin or a yellow crust, which should be assessed by your medical support team.
3. Painful Latching: Techniques for Comfort
If you are experiencing discomfort during latching it’s likely due to your breastfeeding technique. Try exploring the cradle hold and focusing on how your baby’s face contacts your breast for reduced pain. Micro adjustments in both your baby’s position and your body can lead to an optimal fit. If relief isn’t achieved, trying different baby positions might do the trick.
4. Unpacking the Shallow Latch
A shallow latch occurs when the nipple remains shallow in the baby’s mouth. This can cause discomfort due to compression between the gums and hard palate. An indicator of a shallow latch is a flattened, ridged, or lipstick-shaped nipple tip after breastfeeding. Remember, fine-tuning your hold and position can make all the difference in comfort.
5. The Key to Breastfeeding Success
Early education about breastfeeding techniques before your baby arrives is crucial. Being well-versed in various breastfeeding positions prevents frustration when one doesn’t work out. Steer clear of positions that increase nipple pain, like the cross-cradle hold, and consider cradle hold or side-lying positions for optimal comfort and latch.
6. Flanges and Their Role in Pumping
Ever wondered about flanges? These plastic or silicone attachments for your pump are essential, as the right size is paramount. A flange that’s too large can lead to breast inflammation and shape changes due to excessive suction. Knowing your perfect flange size can save you from potential discomfort.
7. Mastering the Correct Latch
Achieving the perfect latch involves three critical aspects, says Joelleen:
- Mother’s Position: Maintain a semi-reclined cradle hold or side-lying breastfeeding position.
- Baby’s Alignment: Ensure your baby’s entire body faces your torso, spine and head aligned.
- Baby’s Face: Position their face directly over the breast, with mouth opposite the nipple, cheeks pressed into the breast, and chin buried into the breast.
8. Feeding While Lying Down
To nurse while lying down, use pillows to support your head, neck, hips, knees, and baby’s feet and legs. Ensuring proper support and alignment is essential for a comfortable experience.
9. Paced Bottle Feeding: A Gentle Approach
Many lactation consultants endorse paced bottle feeding, which allows your baby to drink at their own pace and take breaks. It involves positioning the bottle horizontally, waiting for your baby to invite the teat into their mouth, tilting the bottle to a horizontal angle while they suck, and offering breaks as needed.
10. Dietary Impact on Milk Supply
Nutrition plays a significant role in milk production, with an estimated 300-500 additional calories needed daily for breastfeeding mothers. Adequate hydration is crucial, as breast milk is over 80% water. Eat balanced meals for hormonal equilibrium and consistent energy. Be cautious of factors like alcohol and dehydration that can reduce supply.
Parenthood is a journey of learning, and breastfeeding is a remarkable aspect that requires patience and guidance. With our insights, you’re equipped to embrace the nuances of breastfeeding with confidence and ease. Remember, every question is valid, and your journey as a parent is uniquely yours to cherish and navigate.