Welcoming a new baby into the world is one of the most exciting times of your life. Tiny clothes, pretty carriers, adorable diapers, and sweet coos all come together to make your child’s babyhood a joyful time you’ll never forget.
Unfortunately, with all of the good comes a bit of bad. From tiny coughs and colds or colic and gas, babies have their fair share of issues and no real way to communicate them to you.
Often, we see some of those problems manifest themselves in the form of nursing struggles. If you have ever had a child who can’t or won’t nurse, you know just how discouraging, frustrating, and even downright scary that situation can be. If you are dealing with nursing issues now, here are a few things you should consider in order to resolve your problem.
Check Baby’s Latch
Much of a successful breastfeeding relationship relies on a good latch. Signs of a poor latch include curled-in lips, extremely sore nipples (beyond the normal soreness common for mamas with newborns), a clicking noise from baby’s mouth during nursing sessions, and a crease across your nipple after feedings.
To correct a poor latch, try holding your breast by cupping your hand under it and placing your thumb above the areola. Squeeze the breast slightly to make the shape more closely match the shape of your baby’s mouth. Tickle baby’s nose or cheek to encourage their rooting reflex, and quickly, while their mouth is still open, bring the baby to your breast.
In a good latch, your little one’s mouth will cover your areola entirely or almost entirely. Additionally, their lips will be flanged out, like a fish’s. Feeding a baby with a good latch should not be excessively painful.
Look for a Tie
If your little one has tried and tried and just cannot get a good latch, you might want to check for a tongue or lip tie. While only a medical professional can tell you whether or not your child has one for sure, there are signs you can look for in order to know whether or not to get them checked. These signs include difficulty latching, choking on milk, gumming nipples, colic, poor weight gain, and gas, to name a few.
If you suspect your child is suffering from a tongue or lip tie, it is important to have them checked as soon as possible in order to maintain your breastfeeding relationship. Dr. Bailey Coleman is a great resource for evaluating or revising suspected ties.
Avoid Waiting to Nurse
Many new mamas are nervous about nursing in public. Others don’t know how to recognize that their baby is hungry before the crying begins. However, if your child has trouble latching, it is important to feed them before they are wailing for food. This is because a frantic baby has a much more difficult time latching than a calm, hungry baby.
Some of the ways our tiniest family members let us know they’re hungry include rooting (searching for something to latch onto with their lips and face), fussing, and smacking their lips. Feed your baby as soon as you see these signals in order to get a good, strong latch and avoid listening to your sweet baby scream.
Take Care of Oversupply
If your new addition is constantly choking on your milk, you could be producing too much for your child to handle. In this case, it is a good idea to reduce your supply a little in order to keep your baby from choking.
If you have a mild oversupply, just offering one breast per feeding for a few days may be enough to bring your supply down to a level for you and your baby that is more managable.
Watch for Thrush
Sometimes babies acquire a yeast infection in their mouths, referred to as oral thrush, and is actually quite common. This infection can cause babies pain while sucking, which in turn causes them to avoid feedings. If you see a cottage cheese-like substance in your little one’s mouth, you will want to seek treatment.
Join a Support Group
A group of local moms experiencing the same problems you are, and who understand your excitement each time you succeed at something new, is a wonderful way to boost your confidence and learn from the experiences of others. Support groups can be found all over the country, and Oklahoma City is no exception. Find a group you enjoy and make it a point to attend on a regular basis. Thrive Mama Collective offers two Milk Moms support groups per week!
If none of the tips above do the trick for you and your little one, it might be time to contact a lactation consultant or certified lactation counselor. A good lactation professional can help you and your baby establish the best nursing relationship possible.
To book with the Thrive Mama Collective lactation team click here. We’d love to help you get your breastfeeding journey off to a great start!