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I’ve helped mamas breastfeed for over 10 years. Here are the 3 most common struggles I see.

As a lactation consultant IBCLC for ten years and midwife with almost 30 years of experience, I have been there with countless new mamas as they begin their breastfeeding journey.

These experiences have run the range of emotions from blissful joy to frustrating tears.

And while breastfeeding is a natural process, it can also be extremely challenging for both the mother and baby, especially during the first few weeks.

Over the years, I have seen more mamas than I can count, and while they are all unique - three common challenges continue to come up.

Struggle one: nipple pain or damage

Ouch! Nipple pain is one of the most common issues that new mothers face while breastfeeding. Pain can be caused by many factors, including improper latch, tongue-tie, or thrush. While the “grin and bear it” approach seems to be pretty popular, it is definitely not the way to go.

To reduce pain and prevent nipple damage, it is essential to ensure proper latch and positioning and to listen what your nipples are telling you

If the baby has trouble latching, it may be helpful to adjust the positioning so the baby can latch more deeply. Experimenting with different positions can help find a comfortable and effective way for the baby to latch.

If the nipple is already damaged, it is essential to allow it time to heal. Breast milk has healing properties, so applying a few drops of milk to the nipple and allowing it to air dry can be helpful. Using lanolin cream or other nipple creams can also help with healing and reduce pain. If latching is too sensitive, you can choose to pump to let your nipples recover.

Struggle two:Under/over supply or insecurity about intake/growth

Many new mothers worry about whether their baby is getting enough milk. Weight in days at the consultatiebureau can be super anxiety inducing.

To help address these issues, it is essential to observe the baby's intake. Watching for swallows can be an effective way to determine if the baby is getting enough milk.

It's also important to get to know your baby and your breasts. Understanding your baby's hunger cues and your breast's response can help make breastfeeding easier.

Struggle three: Uncomfortable positioning, tension for mum, or baby struggling/refusing breast

Breastfeeding is a very physical act and tension in your body can make breastfeeding more difficult. Please keep in mind that milk flow is triggered by the famous love hormone Oxytocin.

And you do know a bit about love hormone and how to stimulate it, don’t you? And it surely isn’t stress or being uncomfortable.

To make breastfeeding more comfortable, it's essential to allow yourself to be comfortable. Find a comfortable chair or position and if needed use pillows to support your back, arms, and baby.

If your baby is struggling or refusing the breast, try to remain calm and patient. Breath in, breath out and use the magic of skin to skin. It's essential to support your baby's needs and trust their abilities.

Breastfeeding can be challenging for new mothers, but with the right support and resources, it can be a fulfilling and enjoyable experience. By addressing common breastfeeding issues such as nipple pain, under/over supply, and uncomfortable positioning, new mothers can increase their confidence and make breastfeeding easier for both themselves and their babies. Seeking help from a lactation consultant or breastfeeding support group can be helpful. You’re not alone in there, amazing mamas, call out if you need someone to support you.

Ready to learn more about breastfeeding? Join our upcoming English workshop.


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