Here Are Some Tips To Get Through Nursing When It Doesn’t Come ‘Natural’ Or ‘Easy’ To You

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Anyone who says breastfeeding is “natural” is either a magical unicorn or has never actually tried it before. It’s natural in the sense that it comes out of a mother’s breast, unaltered, but beyond that, nursing can be anything but natural. The learning curve is awfully steep, particularly if you’ve never done it before. However, even an experienced nursing mom can have setbacks. For my own part, I pumped for my daughter for a few months because she wouldn’t latch and I nursed my son well past a year. Many of these setbacks happened to me, as they could to any mom.

Flat Nipples If your nipple doesn’t come out far enough, the baby might have trouble latching on and boy, is that a good time. A nipple shield can solve this issue. I had to use one for the first few weeks until my son…um…conditioned my nipples (Dad — stop reading, like, now.) After a while, they were coming out enough that I did not need it but holy wow, that thing was annoying when I had to fumble for it at 2 am feedings. I’m glad it exists because it easily solves the problem but it can be a pain to keep it clean and readily available!

Low/Over-Supply Low supply is a big one that obviously causes a lot of moms to stop nursing, and that’s totally understandable. Some women simply do not produce enough milk to sustain a growing baby. There are ways to increase milk supply, should you choose, but nothing is a guarantee. However, having too much milk can be an issue also leading to painful engorgement or a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. The baby receives the high-lactose, lower calorie foremilk first and gets full from it and misses out on the higher fat hindmilk that comes afterward. Usually, limiting baby to nursing on one side per feeding can fix this issue. It helps make sure that he gets the creamier, higher fat milk at the end of the feeding. If that doesn’t help, definitely work with a lactation consultant to see what else can be done. I had a friend who would pump for a bit to get rid of some foremilk before latching her baby but of course, that’s not always practical. Babies receiving too much foremilk are also getting a lot of lactose so they may be gassy and uncomfortable. In other words, it’s an issue that needs to be fixed for everyone’s happiness!

Tongue Tie I never experienced this with my son but I have friends that went through it. A tongue tie can cause a baby’s latch to be very painful to the mother. The tongue is not free enough because it is too connected to the frenulum and it makes proper latching very difficult, if not impossible. Having it snipped by a doctor under local anesthetic is the best way to fix the issue and most of the time, nursing is easier immediately after the procedure. If you think your baby has a tongue tie, definitely let the pediatrician know.

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