More than 80% of US mothers decide to breastfeed their newborns, according to one survey. However, aside from the popularity and numerous benefits that breastfeeding offers a new mother and her baby, it can also be quite painful (and even just plain challenging) from time to time. From issues like dry and cracked nipples to a painful clogged milk duct, here are just a few all too common issues that many new moms experience — and how to survive them.
Dry, cracked nipples
While breastfeeding aids in creating a special bond between you and your newborn, it can also lead to dry and cracked nipples. Not only can this be painful when you’re not breastfeeding, but it can make further breastfeeding feel unbearable. Thankfully, there are a number of ways that dry nipples can be treated. For example, using nipple shields or shells can help in creating a barrier between your nipple and your baby’s mouth, thus allowing your nipples to heal. Alternatively, opting to take a break to pump and bottle feed your baby for a few days is another possibility, affording you a bit of a break — and time to heal.
For those who are just beginning their breastfeeding journey and are experiencing painful nipples, issues with getting your baby to latch properly may be the cause. Many may experience such issues simply due to poor positioning, which can be easy to correct (with some time and practice). Hiring a lactation consultant is another worthy option to consider, and can help you to overcome latching issues and other setbacks that may make breastfeeding a bit more difficult, such as inverted nipples.
Clogged milk duct
Experiencing a clogged milk duct is yet another stressful yet common issue that many new mothers may face while breastfeeding. This occurs when a milk duct gets blocked. A number of things, including stress, may be to blame for a clogged duct, which can become quite painful. Symptoms of a clogged duct can often include a lump in the breast, as well as pain/swelling near the lump. However, there are several simple ways to remedy a clogged milk duct, such as simply massaging the area, and even continuing breastfeeding in order to drain the breast often.
Breastfeeding is known to be a special way to connect and bond with your newborn, but there are a number of common issues that many new moms may face along the way. However, whether it’s a clogged milk duct or issues with latching, there’s often a simple solution to the issue.