Battling the breast | Breastfeeding challenges to Overcome with your baby

Let’s talk about breastfeeding challenges and how to overcome them. It can be particularly tough and trying when your baby fights at the breast. There are many reasons this may happen, but this does not mean that you won’t be able to continue breastfeeding! In fact, it’s quite simple if you follow the Sister Lilian Centre’s tips.

Causes to troublesome breastfeeding challenges and how can you avoid them

Many moms are reassured when they know why their Baby is behaving in this manner. In the early days, breastfeeding may be negatively affected by a traumatic birth – be it a premature, or complicated vaginal birth with interventions, or a C-section. Mother-baby physiology has had its natural course interrupted; this may affect the hormones of breastfeeding, cause anxiety in the mother and undermine her mothering self-confidence, which Baby picks up on. For this reason, the most important preventative step is to strive for the most natural birth possible!

Another reason a baby may fight at the breast is a bad latch, making breastfeeding more difficult. An incorrect latch at the breast will feed a cracked-nipple and sore-breast cycle, impacting Mom’s anxiety levels, and exacerbating negative effects on the hormonal cycle.

Older breastfed babies often go through periods of seemingly ‘rejecting’ the breast. This can happen after immunisation or a medical procedure, or be due to teething, introducing other milks or solids too soon, a change in Mom’s diet or sensing anxiety in Mom. At times there simply seems to be no explanation and it is probably just a personality quirk!

Ten solutions to your Breastfeeding Troubles

Here’s how you can turn battle time into precious bonding time between you and your baby:

  • Take some pressure off by making sure your environment is peaceful and private, and play soothing music while feeding
  • Make sure you know how to latch Baby well – see the Sister Lilian Centre’s latching blog 
  • Don’t wait till Baby is crying uncontrollably before offering the breast
  • Tap into your newborn baby’s rooting instinct by tickling her lips and the cheek closest to you
  • Cradle Baby in your arms and move around as you allow her to latch; once her body starts relaxing, you can get into a more comfortable position 
  • Hold Baby’s head gently but firmly against your breast when you see her mouth open wide and her bottom lip curl downwards – this will reassure Baby and prevent her from pulling away or turning her head from side to side
  • Hold Baby’s hand while latching, allowing the elbow to bend and breaking body tension
  • Make ‘clucking’ noises close to baby’s ear
  • Nurse Baby skin-to-skin (you can even breastfeed in the bath!)
  • Simply lie next to baby and allow her to ‘self-service’ feed; soon she’ll realise what she wants is right there!

Have a look at our previous blog on breastmilk, worth its weight in Gold

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