Expert Insight- Breastfeeding challenges and Breastmilk Uses
7 minute read, Written By: Momly
Hello, moms! This week is Breastfeeding Awareness Week. This is an excellent way to raise awareness about breastfeeding and its numerous benefits, as well as to promote breastfeeding in our society. Globally, society is making significant progress in educating everyone about breastfeeding, and it is critical to understand the challenges of breastfeeding, how to overcome them, and the uses of breastmilk. We bring in expert insight so that you have authentic information to refer to when you need it.
Why should you breastfeed your child?
Breastfeeding your child is universally regarded as a best nutrition that you could gift your child. Breastfeeding has following benefits:
- Strengthens and promote mother-child bond and emotional attachment
- Increases cognitive function and creative thinking
- Reduces infections and helps combat chronic illnesses
- Builds immunity and gut health
- Helps fill the nutritional gaps by acting as a fine mix of all super foods, necessary for growth and development
What are the common challenges faced by breastfeeding moms?
- Dry nipples – Be careful with soaps or body washes. Stop using them during your breastfeeding period to avoid your nipples from becoming dry or chapped. Just rinsing with water is enough as water is completely safe and does not interfere with your skin or cause skin damage. “Apply breastmilk before feeding or apply a nipple care ointment after checking with your doctor”- says Dr. Shambhavi (Momly mom)
- Low milk supply – Keep yourself nourished with nutrient-rich food to produce enough milk. Do not get anxious but ensure that you sleep as much as possible when your baby sleeps, to balance out the sleep deficiency. Turn away from negative thoughts as your body picks the vibe of your mind. You need to keep yourself positive to make your nursing period easy.
- Engorgement – Engorgement is when your breasts are overloaded with milk. This condition clogs the blood vessels and loads fluid in your breasts, causing you pain around your breast area. Use ice packs or take hot showers to alleviate pain due to engorgement. Massaging and techniques of hand expression can reduce engorged breasts. Also, keep feeding the baby rather pumping– says Divya, Breastfeeding expert
- Sore nipples – This is normal as most breastfeeding mothers feel soreness in the initial days. Use your one finger to separate the suction after feeding. Make sure that you use both breasts as feeding through only one will build the milk ducts which causes pain and uneasiness. For severe issues, hold an icepack to your sore nipples. “Your latch needs assessment. Breastmilk is one option.” – says Divya
- Inverted nipples – This happens when your nipples are not pointed outwards. Either they are flat or point inwards which makes latching difficult. A little stimulation can help your nipples protrude or point outwards but if it doesn’t help then talk to your lactation expert.
- Unsolicited opinions and advice – Though friends and family offer great support, their lenses are colored with their own experiences. They will speak from their own experiences. If you are facing difficulty and unsolicited opinions are blocking your way, causing your mental health to spiral down, do not get drawn into it. Every woman’s breastfeeding journey is different. Better seek a professional or a counselor who will be your anchor and understand your perspective and will put you in touch with a medical expert to help you out in this journey.
How to overcome these challenges?
- Talk to a professional or lactation consultant
- Address breastfeeding positioning and educate yourself about right latching technique that works for you and your baby. Try different positions like cross hold, cradle hold, laid back or upright positions based on the comfort and baby’s response to latching.
- Seek support from mom friends who have been in this journey. Register in Momly group where you can meet many mom friends and establish support from them
- Go slow. Do not be harsh on yourself. Babies take time to find effective latching position. Take one day at a time and celebrate every win.
- Stay hydrated and engage in a balanced diet to boost milk supply
- Effective accessories of breastfeeding like nursing pillows, breastfeeding bra will make you more comfortable while feeding your baby
- For moms who are expecting, enroll in a childbirth class to know more about breastfeeding and lactation
Expert tips for effective latching -
- First reflexes are crucial where baby responses to breastfeed. Babies crawl over the breast and figure out the breast on their own.
- Tease the baby by bringing the breast to baby’s nose. This would stimulate babies to open their mouth. This is one expert tip for effective latching.
- Myth – Pumping increases the milk supply. Truth - Frequent latching and feeding on demand as many times as baby needs and ask for it. That is the signal for the body to satisfy the baby’s needs. When babies are not taking the breast, pumping and hand expression is used as a measure or a signal for the breast to produce that much amount of milk which is pumped.
- Babies latching at your breasts will actually maintain the milk supply and foods good for breastfeeding will only boost the milk supply. So babies are the main ingredient to induce the breasts make more milk.
- If you have to store the milk for a month, keep it in deep freeze. Thaw it before use.
Major benefits of Breastmilk
Breastmilk is considered as liquid gold as a major component of baby’s nutrition.
Let’s look at other uses of breastmilk:
- Eczema or red rashes are treated by breastmilk. It can be used for skin allergies in infants.
- Breastmilk heals nipple cracks and tears in breastfeeding
- Excess breastmilk can be used to make custard or ice lollies
Come, Join us:
Do check Momly Instagram live on breastfeeding for more information on breastfeeding and the challenges associated with breastfeeding. Connect with Momly expert by registering on Momly App and joining our Momly whatsapp group.
(Expert tips are shared by Divya Kapoor, Birth and lactation expert on Momly Instagram live session)