When you choose to breastfeed your baby, you’re making a decision that will benefit both you and your baby. There are so many nutrients and antibodies in breast milk that you just can’t get from formula, no matter what the package says. There really is no replacement for natural breast milk.
Although it’s the most natural and beneficial way to feed your baby, breastfeeding isn’t always a smooth ride.
Here are some of the most common issues you could encounter while breastfeeding your baby, along with some good solutions.
Mastitis is one of the most common issues that arises from breastfeeding your baby. The data shows that between 10 and 20 percent of lactating parents will experience mastitis at least once while nursing.
Mastitis is basically inflamed breast tissue, and it may come with a visible redness on your skin. Even if you can’t see it, you’ll experience a tender and firm area on your breast and will likely feel flu-like symptoms that include fever, body aches, chills, and severe fatigue. This issue can appear seemingly out of nowhere and, if left untreated, could lead to infection, having to wean your baby, and other medical issues for you.
If you experience these symptoms, seeing your doctor is important. Don’t rely on your own judgment or an internet diagnosis to determine what’s wrong. However, once you’ve confirmed what’s going on, you’ll be relieved to know that mastitis treatment is possible at home when you have a personal lactation consultant (IBCLC). If you don’t have one yet, it’s worth looking into because they will be your biggest ally and support throughout your breastfeeding journey.
Challenges with pumping at work
When you pump to store up milk ahead of time for your baby, it can be challenging to do this at work. You can’t always predict when you’ll need to pump, and if you don’t do it when needed, it can cause problems for you. However, some employers are not accommodating even though they are required to be by law.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are required to allow you to pump when needed, and you’re also entitled access to a shielded area that is not the bathroom. If your employer doesn’t already have something in place for you, it’s your right to request that they create a private space for you to pump.
Hopefully, you won’t run into any issues and your employer will support you and make it easy for you to take breaks to pump when needed. If that isn’t the case, consider contacting the labor board to learn about your options. You might have to file a formal complaint, and while that may seem risky, if you can’t pump at work, it’s not worth trying to hold onto that job.
If you are denied your legal right to pump at work when needed, get an attorney and file a lawsuit against your employer. If you win, the compensation you recover from a settlement will likely cover you until you can return to the workforce.
A low milk supply
If you wait too long to start breastfeeding, you might end up with less milk than your baby needs. This can also happen when your baby fails to attach properly or you aren’t feeding frequently.
It’s possible that you might not be producing enough milk for your baby, but that’s not always the case. The good news is there are signs you can look for that will tell you if this might be what’s happening. For example, your baby should be gaining weight and you should have a good amount of dirty diapers to change. However, just because your baby nurses for short periods of time doesn’t mean your milk supply is low.
If you’re not producing much milk when pumping, that doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t producing an adequate supply of milk. Babies are much better at getting milk from your breast than a pump, so don’t take this to mean you have a dwindling milk supply.
Since there are many signs that get misinterpreted as low milk, this particular issue is best sorted out with the help of a healthcare professional. Talk to your baby’s pediatrician or lactation consultant to help determine what’s happening.
Meet your challenges with a lactation specialist
There’s no better support than having a lactation consultant to talk to when you’re experiencing issues with breastfeeding, especially if you’re a new parent. Although it’s natural, it’s not always easy, and a lactation consultant will help you handle every bump along the way.