By Fang L.K(RN)

Problems with breastfeeding are common in new mothers. But it is important to remember that you are not alone, talk to your doctor or nurses at your nearest health facility, family members and friends can help you through your breastfeeding problems. It is like any newly learned skill, it takes time, patience and practice and it does get easier with time.

1. Sore nipples – may be caused by poor positioning while feeding

(a) Make sure your baby latches on correctly.
(b) Use one finger to break the suction of your baby’s mouth after each feeding.
(c) Your baby tends to suck more actively at the start. So begin feedings with the less-sore nipple.
(d) Apply some breast milk on your nipples and air dry after each feeding.
(e) Wear cotton bra and change frequently.
(f) Avoid using soap, cream or lotion on the nipple.
(g) If the nipples are very sore, seek medical advice. Meanwhile, express your milk so that milk production is maintained and baby is continued to be fed.

2. Breast engorgement– caused by an imbalance between milk supply and infant demand

(a) Make sure the positioning is right and baby is sucking effectively.
(b) Feed your baby on demand, do not skip feedings.
(c) Massage or use hot compress on your breasts to promote milk flow.
(d) Release your milk by hand or breast pump if your breasts still hard after feeding.
(e) Wear a well-fitting and supportive bra.

3. Worries about baby getting enough breast milk

(a) Nursing every two to three hours.
(b) After a feeding, your baby seems relaxed and satisfied.
(c) Baby should wet his diapers 6 to 8 times a day with pale yellow urine.
(d) Baby should have several small bowel movements a day, perhaps one after every feeding in the first few weeks. In the first 4 weeks, he should have 2 to 5 diapers with loose, yellowish stool per day.
(e) Baby should be sleeping well and look healthy and alert when awake.
(f) Your baby continues to gain weight. As a rule of thumb, baby’s birth weight will double by 5 months and triple by 12 months.
(g) Do not supplement your baby’s feedings with formula or water. Frequent suckling stimulates breast milk production, the more often you breastfeed, the more milk you will produce.
(h) Improve your diet – well balanced diet and well hydrated.
(i) Plenty of rest and try to relax.
(j) Have confidence in yourself that you can breast feed.

Breastfeeding is a natural, healthy process. Call your doctor if:

• Your breasts become unusually red, swollen, hard, or sore.
• You have unusual discharge or bleeding from your nipples.
• You’re concerned your baby isn’t gaining weight or getting enough milk.

Reference:
1. http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/nursing-basics
2. http://www.babycenter.com/breastfeeding-basics
3. http://www.nutriweb.org.my/index.php?common-problems-in-breast-feeding_del-20101229194737
4. Smart Nutrition for Baby, Breastfeeding Made Simple by Nutrition Society of Malaysia & Malaysian Paediatric Association

*This information is provided for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice or treatment from a health care provider. Like any printed material, it may become out-of-date over time.

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