Breastfeeding is indeed the best option for infants. Not only does it provide the most complete form of nutrition, but it also improves a baby's immune defense, develops intelligence, protects from various illnesses and allergies, and lowers the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). No matter how hard formula milk proponents try, nothing can still come even close to what breast milk can offer to little ones.
Now here comes a question that most people are wondering about. If breastfeeding is so beneficial to the baby, how come some mothers still opt to feed their young ones with formula? With all the wondrous health benefits of breast milk, wouldn't they want the best for their babies?
Before you judge these mothers, it is important to know that breastfeeding doesn't come without a challenge. There are various problems associated with this activity that can make it uncomfortable or even painful, keeping mothers from nursing their children. The good news is that these problems come with solutions. Here are some of those that any mother should be prepared for.
Many mothers who try breastfeeding would find their nipples sore, red and pointy. Sore nipples are not a staple of breastfeeding. In fact, these are all indications that a baby has not latched on properly. When feeding your baby, insert your finger into the corner of his mouth to break the latch when you feel that the sucking has become painful. Try latching on once more, encouraging your child to take at least an inch of your areola into his mouth. Air-drying your breast after feeding and using lanolin-based creams can reduce nipple inflammation.
Sometimes, even when your baby has latched on properly, you can still have a painful lump in your breast. This can be due to a blocked milk duct or an infection called mastitis. Even though you possibly have an infection, you can still continue to breastfeed. If the pain is due to a plugged milk duct, alleviate the problem by applying heat compress on the breast for 10 minutes thrice per day. You can also try massaging the breast while you take a warm shower. For an infection, treat it with heat compress and bed rest. A doctor may prescribe you with an antibiotic cream.
Yeast infection may not be as painful as lumps or sore nipples, but this can also be uncomfortable especially on the breast skin surface. It can also affect your baby. Flaky, red or pink breast skin is a sign of yeast infection. A baby may have white spots inside the cheek or persistent diaper rash if infected. You don't have to stop breastfeeding but you need to seek medical help immediately.
This is the most common problem among breastfeeding mothers, which usually occurs during the second to sixth day after the breastfeeding starts. Relieve this condition by applying cold compress on the breast. This will help reduce the swelling. Before you breastfeed, apply a warm pack to help the milk flow. Avoid taking warm showers that can increase swelling and dilate blood vessels inside the breast.