6 breastfeeding challenges you shouldn’t worry about

Experts weigh in on the most common breastfeeding fears mums face and give tips on how to ease them.

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As rewarding as breastfeeding can be for you and your munchkin, it can sometimes be a frustrating and even physically painful ordeal. Problems such as mastering bubba’s latch or waiting for your milk supply to come in can threaten to derail your breastfeeding experience even before it begins.

It also doesn’t help that breastfeeding experiences can differ greatly from one mum to the other. This means one woman’s advice may cause more confusion to a mum who’s struggling to breastfeed instead of putting her mind at ease.

The best thing you can do is speak to a medical expert to get the best advice.  Thomson Medical Centre’s senior ParentCraft educator Dr Wong Boh Boi clears the air on some of the most commonly misconstrued breastfeeding problems…  

1) Producing very little breastmilk

THE FACTS While your body will naturally begin to produce breastmilk following bubba’s delivery, it’ll still take some time for your breasts to produce a regular supply. Your body will then take between three to four days and up two weeks to finally start producing a steady supply of breastmilk.

By the way, from as early as 14 weeks before your delivery, you may spot small amounts of yellowish liquid leaking from your breasts. This nutrient-rich liquid is called colostrum and is all your newborn needs in the first few days following his birth.

 

Do make time to feed or pump during the night to make the fullest use of your body’s ability to produce milk.


WHAT YOU CAN DO The amount of breastmilk produced can differ from one mother to the next. Dr Wong lists the possible reasons for your low supply issues:

* Not initiating breastfeeding soon enough As soon as you’re wheeled out of the delivery room and into your ward, Dr Wong explains you should let your baby nurse directly from your breast even when there’s no milk. It gives you the chance to perfect your breastfeeding technique and works as a natural trigger for your body to start producing breastmilk.

* Hormonal issues Pre-existing health conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a common problem affecting breastmilk supply. If you have fluctuating thyroid hormones or you’re suffering from diabetes, these conditions can also jeopardise your milk supply. Remember to let your lactation consultant know about your health issues so that she can give you the best advice.

*History of breast surgery Any reduction in your breast tissue or scarring form any previous surgery may also affect your amount of breastmilk supply. Structural issues like an inverted nipple can also affects baby’s ability to feed properly.                                                     

* Consuming certain herbs Eating large amounts of peppermint, sage and Dang Gui (Chinese Angelica Root) can decrease the quantity of breastmilk your body produces, notes Dr Wong. Watch your diet and reduce the intake of these herbs.

*Skipping night feeds Dr Wong notes that the prolactin levels — a vital hormone for milk production — in your body peaks at night, between midnight and 6am. This is the best time to feed bub or pump to make full use of your body’s ability to produce milk.

That said, while breastmilk should always be your child’s main source of nutrition until they’re about 6-months-old, don’t shy away from supplementing your infant’s diet with formula feeding if you think that’s best for baby.