Here’s an in-depth interview with a physical therapist, who specializes in breastfeeding, on how to start breastfeeding.
New moms might find it hard to start breastfeeding. Some moms feel there’s not enough milk, and some babies refuse to suck. These problems are common and sometimes can be fixed with just a little discipline.
There are usually two types of problems new moms have: not enough milk and clogged duct.
Not having enough milk: This is a very common problem in the first feedings. Your body probably hasn’t learned to produce enough milk, or it’s producing according to the baby’s needs, but it just seems small because you were expecting more. Your body will naturally produce milk in accordance with the baby’s intake. At first, newborns usually drink small amounts but more often, so your breast may feel engorged but only release a small amount of milk.
Clogged duct: If you have this condition, you would feel lumps on your breasts. Some moms feel discomfort, swelling, redness, and higher temperature in the area or a slight fever. Your breastmilk will also decrease significantly.
There are 2 types of ducts in your breasts: main duct and small ducts
Clogged small ducts: If your small ducts are clogged, you might see hard, white lumps around your nipple overnight, called white dots. Your breast will feel hardened, and there will be no milk leaking from the white dots. You can easily fix this by wiping your nipple and having Your Child suck on it, or pump until milk comes out.
Clogged main duct: If your main duct is clogged, the duct would get smaller and smaller, and your breast will feel hard from the inside. Physical therapists usually have to use an ultrasound machine, which releases heat waves, to help create blood circulation and undo the clog.
What can you do?
There are four basic things you can do to help make sure that Your Child will always have enough nutritious milk to stay healthy and strong:
Drink Water: Breast milk is made out of blood and water. Each time you feed, you dehydrate, and your blood volume reduces. While your body can reproduce blood anytime, it can’t generate water, so you need to keep drinking. If your breast milk starts to smell like blood or fishy, it means you’re running out of water. Try to drink at least 1 glass of water per hour.
Eat good food: In the first 3 months, avoid sweets, greasy food, bakery, and coconut milk-based food. These foods will thicken your milk and make it harder to flow through. Your Child will need to put extra effort to suck, which could be upsetting, and may stop the feeding process altogether.
Feed or pump regularly: In the first 3 months, you should try to feed Your Child every 2 – 3 hours to stimulate milk production. Your Child’s saliva contains chemicals that trigger your body to make more milk. If you are away from Your Child or unable to breastfeed, you can pump regularly in order to induce milk production.
Don’t put pressure on your breasts: Your breasts contain delicate milk ducts that easily get clogged. Wearing tight bras, with or without wire, can be too hard on the ducts. Choose a loose bra while you’re breastfeeding to also make room for your engorged breasts.
Pumping wrongly can also apply too much pressure. Don’t press too hard on the pump; it will not help with the milk flow. Just press hard enough to create a vacuum space.
Watch your sleeping position to make sure you don’t put any weight on your breasts or squish them with your arm when you’re asleep. The side of the breasts has the longest and biggest ducts, so if you like sleeping on your side, it’s better to place your breast directly on the bed, not on your arm.
The last thing to be careful about is the way you hold Your Child. New moms usually put their babies over the shoulder, then the head slides down on the breast. While that seems very soft and comfortable, the head is the hardest part of the baby, only half an hour would apply enough pressure to create a clog.
If you can follow these four basic instructions, you should be able to easily provide rich nutritious milk for Your Child.