2 Breast Feeding Challenges & Ways To Fight It

Breastfeeding exclusively for six months is invaluable for the health of both mother and child. Even though many women have no issues with breastfeeding some women face many different problems while breastfeeding.  Also, many women who combat certain issues while feeding their first baby may not go through the same experience with their second or third baby. Good news is that even though frustrating and painful, most of these challenges can be overcome. Lactation consultants will help to find some means to bring down the issues that hinder the normal course of breastfeeding. 

Here are most common and frustrating breastfeeding challenges and ways to combat it:

Challenge #1 Plugged ducts:

Plugged ducts are quite common among breastfeeding mothers. A plugged milk duct feels like a tender, hot, swollen and a reddened lump in the breast. A plugged duct is an area of the breast where milk flow is hindered. The nipple pore may be blocked or the obstruction may be anywhere in the ductal system. The location of the plug may shift. A plugged duct will typically feel more painful before a feeding and less tender afterward A plugged duct happens when a milk duct does not drain properly. As the result of the pressure behind the plug, the surrounding tissue gets inflamed. A plugged duct usually develops gradually and usually affects only one breast.

How to combat:

  • Increase the frequency of the breast feeding from the breast with plugged ducts. Breastfeed often as every two hours. This will help loosen the plug and keep your milk moving freely.
  • Try to place the baby's chin on the plug. This will increase the chances of the baby to suck on the duct that is affected.
  • Use a warm compress on the sore area.
  • Rub down gently the area starting behind the tender spot. Move your fingers in a circular motion and gently move the fingers toward the nipple in circular motion.
  • Wear a well-fitting, supportive bra that is not too tight. Remember, a tight bra can compress the milk ducts. Always opt for a bra without an underwire.
  • If you are experiencing recurrent plug ducts, never hesitate to get help from a lactation consultant.

Challenge #2.  Yeast Infection / Thrush:

A fungal infection also called a yeast infection or thrush, can develop on the nipples or in the breast of the nursing mother. If the condition is not treated, breast and nipple thrush can cause severe nipple and breast pain. Too severe that the mother may opt for early weaning. Thrush (refers to the yeast infection within the baby’s mouth) and yeast infection (When it appear on the mother’s nipples or within her breast) is the infection induced by the fungus that thrives on milk on the nipples, in the milk ducts, and in the baby’s mouth. 

Causes:

  • Thrush in your baby's mouth.Thrush thrives in warm, moist, sugary places, which is exactly what your baby’s mouth is like during breastfeeding. The thrush infection can then pass to your nipples. 
  • Nipples that are already sore or cracked
  • Antibiotics administered to the mother during pregnancy, during labor and delivery
  • A chronic illness like HIV, diabetes, or anemia
  • A long term or frequent use of steroids in either mother or baby
  • Damaged skin allows the yeast as well as bacteria to enter easily.

How to combat

  • Fungal infections are treated with topical medicines that should apply several times a day for about a week. It may take several weeks to clear up, so it is important to follow these tips to avoid spreading the infection:
  • Change disposable nursing pads often.
  • Wash any towels or clothing that comes in contact with the yeast in very hot water.
  • Wear a clean bra every day.
  • Wash your hands often.especially after every time changing nappy.
  • Wash your baby's hands frequently, especially if he or she sucks on his or her fingers.
  • Make sure you sterilise  pacifiers, bottle nipples, or toys, or anything that your baby puts in his or her mouth.
  • After one week of treatment, throw away all pacifiers and nipples and buy new ones.
  • Thrush cannot survive in acidic conditions, therefore, add ½ to one cup of distilled vinegar to baths and final rinses.
  • Make sure other family members do not have thrush or other fungal infections. Never let them care for you or your baby if they show any symptoms of yeast infection, however minor it may be.
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