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(in the first 3 months)


Select your Problem:
Refusing the Breast
Fussiness and Crying
Sore Nipples
Mom or Someone is Sick
Too Little/Too Much Milk (Growth Spurts)
Going Back to Work

Nursing BabyIf your topic is more serious, look under Signs of Needed Intervention.

Refusing the breast by baby is very frustrating. In newborns, it is quite common, and many times a tired and sleepy baby may have had too much of mom's medication before birth. Refusing the breast may be a side effect. To wake baby, try uncovering, changing the diaper, and washing baby's face with a wet washcloth. The last one works well if you are a little vigorous about it. Apply the wet cloth to baby's body but don't let him get cold. Try burping again in case he just feels full and it is really only air.

If baby is really stubborn, here are some things to try:

           -   Insert a clean finger or thumb, pad up, into baby's mouth to see if she will suck on it.

           -   Hold and cuddle next to mom's heart and try again every hour until baby responds. Do not use a pacifier or bottle at this point.

           -   Start over with above techniques.

Fussiness and crying are also very trying. Many times baby is trying to graspfrustrating,crying,fussiness the nipple but these things interfere:

           -   Plugged nose - Nasal congestion can keep baby from nursing as they breathe through their little noses. Use a bulb syringe to clear nostrils. Instructions for clearing nasal congestion

           -   Poor positioning - turn baby's tummy directly to mom's tummy, check to see that the nipple goes straight back into baby's mouth

           -   Flat or inverted nipples - click here for Signs of Needed Intervention

           -   Baby is frantically hungry - try the finger suck to make sure the nose is clear and then try one ounce of plain water to calm baby down. Then switch smoothly to the breast.

           -   Baby's fists or mom's fingers may be too close to the nipple and interfering with a good suction.

Sore nipples can be relieved fairly quickly if caught early. Check to see if you have done the following:

           -   Baby has a proper position and as much of the nipple in his mouth as possible. This keeps him from chewing just on the nipple itself.

           -   Mom is keeping her nipples dry, avoiding perfumed creams and soap when washing. Feel free to express a little milk to gently coat the nipples before and after nursing, as this milk is anti-bacterial. (Oh yes, it is!) After nursing, let the breasts air dry.

           -   Try a little sunlight on the breasts for 30 to 60 seconds. Avoid doing this in the yard, as neighbors tend to frown on this technique. A full-spectrum light bulb can also be used.

           -   Change baby's position to reduce the tension on the same area each feeding.

           -   Numb each nipple with a wrapped ice cube just before latching on baby.

           -   If nipples are not responding in 24 to 36 hours or cracked and bleeding, please click over to Signs of Needed Intervention for more direction.

breast engorgementEngorgement is uncomfortable for the first time mom. This is normal in the first few days after delivery. The baby's nursing will relieve it. If this is not happening, wake baby up every 2 hours and nurse on both sides. You can also use pumping, warm wet towels or standing in the shower with the warm water flowing over the breasts. A crazy sounding tip from Australian midwives also works. Gently tuck a couple of green cabbage leaves in your bra for 2 hours. Don't leave them in for too long as they can really diminish a milk supply. I know, you don't believe me, but it works like a charm; lumpy, but effective.

Cesarean Section delivery does not eliminate breast-feeding but may slow everything down when mom has special needs and medications. Everybody needs to have patience and persistence until baby and mom are awake and nursing well. If mom follows the above suggestions for establishing the milk and uses lots of pillows for comfort and protection, post-cesarean section breast-feeding should not be hindered. Remember to rest more than usual, as this is major surgery. Incisions will heal quickly but the whole body stays tired for a long while. In other words, stay in your nightgown to remind others of this fact.

Mom or others are sick and everyone wants to protect the baby. Mother Nature has built in protection for the breast-feeding infant. The baby is getting immunities from mom.

           -   If baby does become ill, breast-feeding is very comforting and also provides the best nutrition for recovery. Nurse as often as baby will take it to insure against dehydration. Most breast-fed babies recover very quickly without weight loss, even with prolonged illnesses.

           -   If mom has symptoms of something contagious, like a viral cold, baby has already been exposed and there is no need to stop nursing. The pediatrician should OK any medications, including ones mom takes.

           -   Do gently suction baby's nose before nursing if it is runny or plugged. A couple of drops of saline put in first will help. Repeat if necessary to open nasal airways.

           -   It is not a good idea to introduce a formula at a time of illness unless absolutely necessary, such as separation of mom and baby. She should pump milk for baby if this happens. This will also protect her from engorgement, pain, mastitis and perhaps forced weaning.

           -   If baby has to be hospitalized; most hospitals will allow mom to stay and breastfeed. Babies usually need free access to mom at this time. Work with the doctor and hospital to make this possible.

Too much or too little milk probably is a symptom of adjusting to the changing needs of baby such as growth spurts or slowed growing. This is assuming, of course, that no formula or baby food has been started. If you are overproducing and uncomfortable, check to see that you are not over feeding baby by letting him use you as a human pacifier. Try nursing on just one side at a time, or using the pacifier. It may be that baby needs more sucking than he needs the extra milk. If you are worried about under producing milk, then wake up baby and nurse 20 min. on each side, every two hours for 24 hours. Drink your fluids and eat and rest and you should have much more milk the next day.

Going back to work or school takes some prior planning. Most moms who chose to continue to breastfeed full time are able to do so if they can find the time and private place to pump their milk every 4 hours while at work. There is really no need to wean at this time and especially not abruptly. It has been reported that some babies will flip their days and sleep while mom is away and then nurse more at night. Many moms take their babies to class and nurse quietly without anyone knowing. Breast fed babies are usually very contented babies and welcome in the classroom and sometimes at work too, especially at this early age when they are so cute, little and quiet. If yours isn't, well, there's always the baby-sitter route. Get some aid from your local La Leche League or organized support group for methods of making it easier to breast-feed and go to work too.

Robyn's Nest Related Topics
General Guide to Breast Feeding
Signs of Needed Intervention
Home Remedies - Engorgement Relief


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Breast Feeding Common Problems


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