Help for breastfeeding challenges
Breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your baby, but this doesn’t mean that Mums won’t experience a few challenges when breastfeeding. With the right help and advice you can make it through and continue breastfeeding for as long as you want to. In this section we provide information on some of the challenges Mums most commonly experience, give you some useful self-care tips and highlight when you may need to seek professional help and advice. Take a look at these videos where Bernadette, Carolyn and Leslie share their breastfeeding stories.
- How do I get out and about with my new baby?
Breastfed babies are extremely easy to travel with. All you need to take with you are some nappies, wipes, a bib and some spare clothes for baby.
- What is postnatal depression?
Postnatal depression may affect up to 1 in 7 mothers, although some experts believe it affects more than this. Symptoms may start as baby blues and get worse or they may take some time to develop.
- Should I be worried about breast lumps?
If you have a lump in your breast that is not going away or getting smaller over more than a coupe of weeks – contact your GP.
- My baby is refusing to feed, what can I do?
This is sometime call a breastfeeding or nursing strike. It tends to be more common in babies older than 3 months. Usually a baby has been feeding well and then suddenly will refuse to feed or become very fussy at feeding time.
- What can I do about sore nipples?
A poor position or if your baby is not latching on well can cause nipple pain or sore nipples in the early days.
- What can I do about engorgement?
This is where your breasts feel very full, and sometimes quite hard. Many Mums experience engorgement when their milk first comes in.
- My baby feeds a lot in the evening, why is this?
Some babies feed very frequently at one particular time of the day, often in the evening. This is called ‘cluster feeding’ and is quite normal.
- How do I manage mastitis?
Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast. It can be caused by engorgement or poor feeding, a blocked duct or infection.
- What is a bleb or blister?
A bleb or blister is usually painful, and is one reason for nipple pain that starts later than the first few days of feeding. The pain is caused by either a small blister on the nipple or a small block at the very tip of a milk duct.
- How do I manage a blocked duct?
With a blocked duct Mums will usually notice an area of breast that is sore and feels hard and painful when pressed. A blocked duct can happen when the milk is not flowing freely from that milk duct in your breast.
- How do I wind and settle my baby?
Some breastfed babies rarely have wind. Other babies can suffer from frequent bouts of wind and need winding after every feed.
- How do I know my baby is getting enough?
Babies can lose an average of 7% of their birth weight in the first 3 days after birth, here are a number of ways you can tell if your baby is getting enough breast milk.
- How do I feed when separated from baby after birth?
Occasionally, for medical reasons, mum and baby have to be cared for separately in the first hours or days after birth. Breastmilk is important for ill or premature babies, so giving your baby expressed breastmilk is the next best alternative to feeding yourself.
- Can I breastfeed after a Caesarean Section?
There is no reason why breastfeeding can’t be successful for mums who have had a Caesarean Section.
- How do I feed twins?
When you are breastfeeding your twins it may take a little time to find a position that you like and feel comfortable with.
- My milk has come in but I’m finding it difficult latching on
Some Mums find ‘latching on’ a little more difficult in the first few days after their ‘milk comes-in’. Their breasts may feel very full and sometimes hard – often called engorgement.
- What if I find breastfeeding painful?
Feeding should not be painful. While you and your baby are learning to breastfeed you may feel some discomfort or tenderness when the baby first latches to the breast. This sensation should fade quickly after starting to feed and from then on it should feel comfortable.
- How do I know I am making enough milk for my baby?
Your baby’s stomach is only the size of a cherry in the first few days, so the small regular amounts of colostrum your baby gets will be more than enough to fill their tiny tummy. Find out more about the amounts needed in the first few days.