When you are pregnant, you may feel that it is one of the most beautiful and one of the most challenging phases of your life, until the baby comes along. Being a mother can be quite overwhelming as you are now responsible for another beautiful, tiny being. You want to ensure the best for your baby so you go out of your way to make sure everything is all right. You face many challenges when taking care of a newborn, one of them being breastfeeding. Though it is healthy and natural, it does not always come naturally to many new mothers. There are many questions that plague your mind as you transition into motherhood and nurse your little one for the very first time. Here are some of the common problems new mothers face that usually catch them off guard. Knowing about them will help you be prepared for what is to come or will be able to help you if you are already facing these issues.
1. Your Baby May Be Separated From You After Birth
In case of an emergency right after birth, your child may be separated from you, and you may not be able to initiate breastfeeding right away. Under such circumstances, it is important that you or your partner ask the hospital to provide you with a good quality breast pump. Soon after birth, you will have colostrum, the first secretion from your mammary glands that s rich in antibodies and nutrients, which you should pump in order to feed your baby.1 Using a breast pump will also signal your breasts to produce more milk so that you have enough milk when your baby is ready to feed. You should begin to pump every three hours on both breasts. Remember, this is only for those moms who are separated from their baby, but if you have your baby with you, breastfeeding is the best option.
2. Getting Professional Help With Breastfeeding Is Expensive
If you want to be fully prepared when your baby comes along, you may want to hire a lactation professional for private breastfeeding classes and you may want lactation consultation once you are home from the hospital. Though such professional help can be beneficial, they are quite expensive. Instead, depending on where you live, you can get the help of your hospital’s lactation office who may be able to provide you with professional help for free. You can also inquire about local groups in your area who do the same.
3. Your Engorged Breasts May Be Painful
After 3 to 5 days of giving birth, your breasts will become fuller and heavier. This is because your body has now started producing more mature milk.2 Breast engorgement may be painful, which may make you think twice about breastfeeding. But you can treat it naturally without the use of a breast pump. Before each feeding session, dip a cotton cloth in hot water (not too hot), gently massage your breasts with it, and use your hands to gently apply pressure to release small bits of milk. This will soften your breasts and make it easier for you to breastfeed.
4. Your Baby May Keep Falling Asleep While Nursing
Many mothers get concerned when their babies don’t stay awake long enough to finish a feeding. They worry that their babies are not drinking enough, and it can also worsen engorgement. In such situations, you should take the help of your partner, or whoever is there to help you, to remove the baby’s clothing, except for the diaper, and tickle up and down your little one’s spine, base of the skull, and bottom of the feet. Such a stimulation will help keep your baby awake long enough to finish a feeding.
5. Maintaining Milk Supply After You Get Back To Work Is Difficult
If your maternity leave is over and you have to stay away from your baby for an extended period of time, you should use a hospital-grade pump every 3 to 4 hours. This will signal your body to keep producing sufficient amounts of milk when you finally get to feed your baby. You can also massage your breasts before every feeding session to stimulate milk production.3
|↑1||Uruakpa, F. O., M. A. H. Ismond, and E. N. T. Akobundu. “Colostrum and its benefits: a review.” Nutrition research 22, no. 6. 2002.|
|↑2||Hill, Pamela D., and Sharron S. Humenick. “The occurrence of breast engorgement.” Journal of Human Lactation 10, no. 2. 1994.|
|↑3||Morton, Jane, J. Y. Hall, R. J. Wong, L. Thairu, W. E. Benitz, and W. D. Rhine. “Combining hand techniques with electric pumping increases milk production in mothers of preterm infants.” Journal of Perinatology 29, no. 11. 2009.|