Breastfeeding–troubleshooting

We pediatricians spend a good part or our time encouraging young mothers to breastfeed your babies.  The list of advantages to both mother and baby is long and worth reviewing.  Still, there are pitfalls.  Let’s review some of the challenges that mothers face, what it means, and what you can do about it.

  • “Grandpa lips”–the baby’s lips are tucked under as the child does not open her mouth wide enough, resulting in poor latch.  Untuck baby’s lips and consider start feeding before the baby is too awake and alert which may make latching easier.
  • Discomfort in the first few days of nursing is often caused by high sucking pressure.  Lanolin to the nipples; sometimes deep breathing can provide some relief.
  • If baby pulls off gagging and/or with milk squirting from the nipple this can be milk “oversupply.” Try nursing while lying on your back to better control milk flow.
  • Baby’s tongue doesn’t extend beyond the gums? Sometimes this is “tongue tie.” It is usually a benign condition; however in some instances where the baby is causing Mom pain a “frenulectomy” can be performed.  This is a simple procedure where the skin under the tongue is clipped which frees the tongue to be extended more naturally
  • If baby bites late in the nursing episode, this is often his way of saying “I’m full,” so a good place to stop.
  • A white bleb at the tip of the nipple can be a “bleb” and can be simply and gently lanced by your doctor
  • Pink tinged nipples, itching and “shooting” pains can be a candida yeast infection.  See your doctor and me for treatment for mother and baby.
  • Dry, scaly rash on the nipple can be eczema, especially if you have a history of allergies. OTC or prescription creams can help manage this problem.
  • Blisters on the nipple can be herpes.  Do not feed on that side until lesions dry up.
  • If nipples are very sensitive and sometimes change color in response to cold that can be a variation of Reynaud’s phenomenon and should be evaluated by your doctor.
  • If you experience soreness and redness in your breast beyond the nipple area this can be  mastitis and should be evaluated by your doctor.

All of our area hospitals take great pride and dedicate significant resources to assist new mothers to successfully breast feed their new babies.  Be sure to keep in touch with your hospital’s lactation consultants.  They are devoted to helping you raise a healthy baby.  So give them a call–they want to hear from you!

Or you can call your ob or me, and thanks for following.

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