The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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The Solutions: It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by breastfeeding problems, especially when you’re recovering from childbirth, adjusting to first-time parenthood and getting to know your baby. Here are some tips to make it easier.
If you’re in pain The best solution is to seek advice from a lactation consultant, says Kendall-Tackett. “Pain from breastfeeding is not normal and is an indication that something — usually quite fixable — is wrong,” she says. “At this point, you may need some professional help.” A lactation consultant might help by demonstrating how a simple adjustment to the baby’s position can help prevent or relieve sore nipples, explaining how chilled cabbage leaves can relieve engorgement or giving tips on how to help speed recovery from a breast infection.
If you’re exhausted “When moms are tired, it makes them more prone to breastfeeding difficulties,” says Kendall-Tackett. So in addition to following the tried-and-true advice to sleep whenever the baby sleeps, learn how to breastfeed while lying down so you can get the rest so critical for establishing your milk supply. Also consider sleeping within easy reach of the baby; many moms say that getting up to fetch him and then returning him to his crib adds to their fatigue. Finally, line up someone to help with meals, errands and household chores for the first few weeks, if possible. Grandma and dad are great in this role, but you may also want to hire a doula.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed For women accustomed to a schedule, baby’s inconsistent nursing patterns require a major readjustment of expectations. But the payoff is well worth the effort, according to Sears. “Breastfed babies do not schedule easily, and they wake more often at night, but remember that the more you put in, the more you get out,” he says. “Breastfeeding is a lifestyle choice.”
Today, I’m happy to report that all of my breastfeeding bugs have been worked out, and I thoroughly enjoy the tranquil, special moments I spend with my son. I wouldn’t trade my decision to breastfeed for anything in the world, and I’m happy that I stuck to it.
As you and your baby learn how to breastfeed, know that it will get easier. As your baby grows, so will your experience and confidence, and in just a few short weeks, you’ll be a seasoned pro.