Ways to prevent and treat your discomforts if you’re having a tough time nursing.

How to avoid 4 common breastfeeding problems

You experience more together with your newborn when you breastfeed, but this doesn’t mean it’s easy or even comfortable. A feeling of tenderness in your boobs is normal, but you’ll need to address the issue if the pain is agonising.

Here are four common nursing problems to take note of…

1. Cracked nipples

It’s usually due to a poor latch. If it hurts to feed in one position, try another. Moisturise sore nipples with lanolin-based creams. Avoid soggy breast pads and tight bras with rough seams that rub against your skin. If possible, go top-and-bra-less for a few days. You can even use the healing properties of breastmilk — express a few drops and rub it over your nipples.

2. Swollen breasts

A poor latch can also lead to engorgement. Try expressing a little milk at the start of a feed and gently massage your breast, working down towards the nipple. A warm compress before feeding helps milk flow, while massaging in the shower eases pressure. Also, feed on demand and don’t miss feeds.

3. Blocked duct

A blocked milk duct can sometimes result in hard, tender red patches on your breast. Check your latch, make sure your bra isn’t too tight and continue nursing. Massage over the lumps, towards your nipple, to clear blockages.

4. Mastitis

Affects almost 10 per cent of breastfeeding women and is caused by a blocked or infected milk duct, leaving you with painful, swollen breasts and flu-like symptoms. Consult your GP at once. Wearing cool fabrics, such as cotton, can soothe the pain as can a warm compress on your breast to boost milk flow. Feed regularly to keep breasts as empty as possible and soothe your soreness by wearing cold, raw, washed cabbage leaves inside your bra (change every two hours).

Photo: INGimage/ClickPhotos

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