For nursing mothers, ensuring that you have an ample supply of breast milk available for your baby is a constant concern. Fatigue, poor diet, stress and dehydration can all play a role in decreasing your ability to lactate optimally. Fortunately, there are several ways you can increase your breast milk supply naturally.
For many pregnant women who plan to breastfeed, one of the biggest concerns is, “will it hurt?” The answer is that the early weeks of breastfeeding are different for everyone. Some women might have just a little soreness, and still others will be lucky enough to not experience any discomfort! You can’t predict how your body will adjust to breastfeeding. You’ll have to wait for that first latch to find out. You can, however, gather as much information as possible so you can know what to do if you do experience some challenges in the first few days. Knowing that what you are experiencing is normal can be comforting and less isolating. Some tenderness is normal when you first begin breastfeeding. But if that turns to pain that won’t go away, adjustments should be made. Nipple soreness and pain are often cited as the main reason women discontinue breastfeeding, and many moms think that soreness just comes with the territory. But that’s not the case! Breastfeeding done right can be comfortable, and if you can believe it, even a calming, soothing experience. There are a few different things you can try to ease the discomfort.
A highly rewarding experience with many health benefits for your child, breastfeeding may also come with its own set of problems for mothers, including breast and nipple soreness.
Nipple pain is generally caused by nipple trauma such as cracks, abrasions, blanching, vasospasm (blood vessel constriction) and milk blisters. The baby's latch traumatizes the nipple, causing painful injury or a blockage of pores and preventing the flow of milk.
Breast pain problems include engorgement, plugged ducts, mastitis and thrush. Engorgement occurs when the breasts get very full and hard and sensitive. A plugged duct, in which the flow of breast milk gets blocked, may feel like a hard, tender area on one of your breasts. Plugged ducts are often a precursor to mastitis, which occurs when an infection leads to an inflammation of the breast. Mastitis can be very painful and is usually accompanied by a fever of 101.3 degrees F. According to Maureen Minchin in "Breastfeeding Matters," mastitis occurs in 1/5 of breastfeeding women in the West.
But, there are ways to relieve each of these problems, so that you can continue feeding and bonding with your baby.
One of the characteristics of all mammals is the mother's ability to produce milk to nourish her baby. This milk production takes place within the mammary glands. It is controlled by hormones within the mother's body and delivered to the baby through the mammary glands via the nipple.
Medela and Ameda both produce a variety of well-made, quality, functional breast pumps for different pumping situations. Choosing the right pump for your needs can improve your pumping output and make it easier to leave your baby the milk he needs when you cannot be with him. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of each pump when you choose the one that is right for your needs.
If you're breastfeeding, it's important to know how long to nurse your child so as to get the optimal health benefit for your baby. Most current research on the health benefits of breastfeeding centers on the first six months to a year of life. After this point, the medical data on extended breastfeeding--breastfeeding beyond a year old--tapers off, and the decision to breastfeed becomes a personal one.