March 29, 2023 4 min read
Breastfeeding and breast pumping can be an incredibly rewarding experience for both mother and baby. However, the journey presents a number of challenges along the way.
In this blog post, we will explore some of the most common challenges faced by breastfeeding and breast pumping mothers, and provide some tips and tricks for coping with them.
Challenge #1: Engorgement
One of the most common challenges for breastfeeding mothers is engorgement, which occurs when your breasts become overly full of milk. This can be painful and uncomfortable.
If you are breastfeeding, engorgement can make it difficult for your baby to latch on properly. If you are pumping, attaching the flanges and pumping can be severely uncomfortable.
To cope with engorgement, try using warm compresses or taking a warm shower before feeding, and massaging your breasts to encourage milk flow. You can also try expressing a small amount of milk by hand or using a breast pump before feeding to help soften your breasts and make it easier for your baby to latch on.
Challenge #2: Nipple pain and cracking
Nipple pain and cracking is another common challenge faced by breastfeeding mothers. This can be caused by a number of factors, including an improper latch, a tongue-tied baby, or an infection like thrush.
To cope with nipple pain and cracking, make sure your baby is latching on properly. You can also use a breastfeeding-safe nipple cream to soothe sore nipples.
Nipple rashes can be caused by dampness in the area. You can try air-drying your nipples after feeding. The best way is to use breast pads that soak any dampness and keep the area clean and dry. This also helps avoid the risk of rashes and infections.
Challenge #3: Low milk supply
Some mothers may struggle with low milk supply. It can be caused by a number of factors including stress, dehydration, or certain medications. Common symptoms of low milk supply are if your baby is constantly hungry, is not gaining enough weight, not enough wet diapers, or does not seem to be satiated after feeds.
To cope with low milk supply, try drinking plenty of water and eating a balanced diet rich in protein and healthy fats. You can also try using a breast pump to stimulate milk production and consider taking supplements like fenugreek or blessed thistle to boost milk supply.
Usually, the problem of low milk supply resolves on its own as the baby suckles more. Breastmilk supply is dependent on demand. And as long as your body gets the signals that your baby needs more milk, your supply adjusts.
If you are not breastfeeding frequently, an electric pump that mimics suckling motions can help. Keeping your baby’s picture near you if you are pumping at work can be a good idea to improve breastmilk supply during pumping. Breastmilk production is linked with the love hormone oxytocin which is secreted when you feel affection.
Challenge #4: Finding time to pump
Breast pumping can be a great way to provide breast milk for your baby when you can't be there to breastfeed. However, finding time to pump can be a challenge for busy moms.
To cope with this, try pumping at the same time each day, and consider using a hands-free pumping bra so you can multitask while pumping. You can also pump in the car during your commute or during breaks at work. Consider using a portable breast pump if you need to pump on the go.
Challenge #5: Balancing breastfeeding and work
Balancing breastfeeding and work can be a challenge for working mothers, especially if their workplace doesn't provide adequate support for pumping.
To cope with this, try talking to your employer about your needs, and consider advocating for better pumping facilities or flexible work arrangements. If your work schedule allows you to take breaks for breastfeeding, that can be a huge help.
If you cannot be present with the baby for all breastfeeding sessions, you can consider storing pumped breastmilk which the baby can be given in your absence. You can also try pumping during your lunch break or during other breaks throughout the day, and consider using a hands-free pumping bra so you can continue working while pumping.
Challenge #6: Breastfeeding in public
Breastfeeding is a natural process to feed the baby. However, some women might find it a little uncomfortable to breastfeed in public places.
Today, many public places such as airports and shopping centers have nursing rooms that you can use (Check out the Top 8 nursing rooms in Singapore). You can also use a nursing cover to breastfeed or pump in public. It helps create a private bubble for you on train rides, in restaurants, or by the beachside so that you can conveniently nurse the baby or use your breast pump.
Breastfeeding and breast pumping can present a number of challenges, but with the right approach, it is possible to overcome them and enjoy the many benefits of breastfeeding.
Remember to take care of yourself, seek support from loved ones or a lactation consultant, and be patient with yourself and your baby as you navigate this new experience.
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