Expert Answers to Common Breastfeeding Questions
Q. What can I do about sore nipples?
Mother’s milk helps to heal the micro-cracking that normally causes sore nipples. Express a little milk and spread it over the painful area. The milk’s high fat content helps moisturize the skin, and its antibacterial properties help prevent infection. Between feedings, you can also spread organic, purified lanolin (available at most drugstores) on the affected skin. Also make sure that your baby’s lower lip is flanged outward while nursing. If the pain lasts, consult a doctor.
Q. What if I don’t have enough milk?
Increasing your milk supply is often a matter of allowing yourself the time to relax with your baby. The more the baby stimulates the breasts, the more milk the body will produce. Try undressing your baby for feeding sessions, as skin-to-skin contact can help trigger the milk-ejection reflex. Stress can interfere with milk production, so try to reduce expectations for housework or entertaining visitors and instead catch up on your rest.
Q. I’m gushing! Is it possible to have too much milk?
If a mother produces a lot of milk and also has what’s known as a fast letdown (when the milk floods from the ducts to the fore of the breast), the baby can appear to gag and swallow a lot of air. This often leads to spitting up, and can make a baby fussy. Try expressing a little milk by hand before each feeding, and position the baby so he’s more upright, allowing him to better control his intake.
Q. I had a C-section. Will this affect how I breastfeed?
You might be more tired, but your milk supply and ability to nurse remain the same. Check that the pain-control medications used during childbirth are compatible with breastfeeding. When nursing, use pillows to position the baby in a way that doesn’t irritate your incision.
Q. What if I just can’t do it?
Don’t beat yourself up about it. A happy mother begets a happy, healthy child.
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