Breastfeeding is known to be the best way to feed your newborn baby as it contains everything your baby needs, naturally. There is a common misconception that because it is natural, it is easy. Well this is not the case. Quite a few things go wrong. . .
Sore nipples, throbbing and swollen breasts, cracked nipples, leaking breasts . . . these are a few common things revolving around breastfeeding.
Have you ever heard of Milk Fever? In technical terms it is known as “Mastitis”. This is a non-infectious or infectious inflammation of the breasts. It can affect one or both breasts, and commonly occurs within the first few weeks of breastfeeding. It can also re-occur if not taken care of properly.
You will need to seek medical attention, as it usually occurs very suddenly, with the side effects being a fever, sore, swollen breasts and flu like symptoms. You can phone your gynae to write up a script for anti-biotics and pain medication, but also get a pro-biotic to prevent thrush often caused by anti-biotics. You will also need to express your breass (using a breast pump) and feed as often as possible to keep the flow of milk going, and prevent blockage. This can be excruciatingly painful, but the more you persevere the better for you and your baby.
Some women give up at this point, but you should urge yourself to keep breastfeeding, it is worth it in the end. You save on formula and your baby gets the best nutrients naturally.
Sore nipples are a common, unavoidable problem. However nipple creams such as Bepantham do help with sore and cracked nipples. These creams also do not need to be washed off prior to breastfeeding. They are safe for babies.
You can also buy nipple guards that you put over your nipple before feeding. This is made of silicone, and closely replicates the nipple, so that the baby will still latch on. It protects the nipple. A must have item!
Sstock plenty breast pads. They are disposable and prevent any milk stains on your bra’s and shirts.
Swollen and throbbing breasts can be prevented by doing a few things such as:
1. Stuff your bra with green cabbage leaves
Keep them in a fridge and apply them as cold compresses. There is a property in the cabbage that helps reduce the swelling caused by engorgement. As ridiculous as this sounds, it works. Do not use too often, as it can reduce your milk supply. See link for more info: http://breastfeeding.about.com/od/CommonProblems/qt/Cabbage-Leaves.htm
2. Apply a hot compress, such as a barley stuffed beanbag that you heat up in the microwave
3. Take a hot shower and massage your breasts
Try and express some milk to relieve the swelling. Once out the shower, massage your body cream in to your breasts. This should stimulate the flow of your milk.
One last problem you can experience is thrush on your babys’ tongue. It looks like small, white milk spots on the tongue. It can cause your baby some discomfort, and means both you and your baby need to be treated. You can ask your pharmacist to give you Nystacid (oral suspension), which is given orally by means of a dropper to your baby, 4 times a day. And you will also need Nystacid ointment to be applied to your nipples, which is an anti-fungal, for all types of fungi and yeasts.
As you can see there are a few hiccups along the way. But this first-hand experience will set you apart from the rest. If you can breastfeed, try stick to it and don’t give up. If you need any further advice and help, contact La Leche League, who have a 24/7 help line for breastfeeding:
Jhb: 011 485 2656 (Camilla) or 011 431 1638 (Ellen)
Pta: 012 345 4898 (Nicole)