Breastfeeding may be natural, however, it does not necessarily mean that it is easy. Or that new moms know how to do it the first time!
Just like raising your little one, there is no such thing as the perfect breastfeeding journey. And when nursing, there are mistakes that you will probably make. However, knowing these mistakes and knowing how to fix them can give a better chance at a successful and happy breastfeeding journey!
9 Common Breastfeeding Mistakes You Need to Fix
1. Pain Is Nothing… Ow!
If you think that breastfeeding means surviving a few minutes of painful tingling sensations as your toothless newborn sucks away, then you’re gravely mistaken!
It is a major sign that something is totally wrong and it should be addressed, pronto!
Take breastfeeding like any other normal body function— taking a pee or breathing. If such normal functions become really, really painful, then you need to see the doctor and figure out why!
Nipple pain can be a sign that there’s something off with the latch. Fortunately, this can be usually fixed by changing the angle that you are nursing at. Or perhaps something like a tongue tie that needs to be released for your newborn to nurse effectively.
Meanwhile, if it is your whole breast that hurts and not the nipple, then you might be experiencing vasospasm. It is often associated with burning and throbbing sensation in your breast, caused by a sudden decrease of blood flow because of a tight latch.
When the blood flow returns after your little one is off your breast, this burning sensation starts and you’ll start to feel like needles and pins poking at your breast.
You should never ignore such pain. A bad latch can mean that your newborn is not fully draining the milk and could lead to blocked ducts and even result in an infection in your breast called mastitis.
2. One Breast Only, Dear!
Probably one of the most common breastfeeding mistakes that new moms make is feeding their little one from one breast which can lead to pain and sore nipple in that particular breast.
Doctors often advise new moms to alternate between both breasts while breastfeeding in order to ensure a proper breast milk supply for their little one and help prevent latching problems.
In general, it is important to start feeding on one breast and then finishing it on the other, allowing enough time for the other to produce its share of milk supply.
3. I Want Sleep, Not Food!
Breastfeeding can take a toll on your body. In order to produce milk, your body will have to take nutrients from your muscles, your bones, and your blood.
In simpler terms, it steals from mom— the breast milk supply is fine, but mom will end up being deficient of nutrients. And, so it can affect you mentally and physically, making you feel more tired than usual.
You’ll want to sleep more instead of taking a bite. And while we still advise that you take enough sleep as you can, you also need to eat and hydrate at the same time. Eating and hydrating can help your body keep up and replenish all lost nutrients from making your little one’s lunch.
Fight your drooping eyelids and take a bite whenever you can, particularly after breastfeeding. Up your nutrient intake by continuing on your pre-natal vitamins, so you won’t have to feel drained, physically and mentally, every after feeding!
4. Tight Schedule To Follow
Although it is usually a good practice to follow a particular breastfeeding schedule, it is not a smart decision to just stick to it like crazy and not accommodate your little one when the need arises.
Even though there are nutrition charts and directions telling you how often and how much should your little one be fed, you also need to remember that every newborn’s nutritional needs, wants and hunger pangs are different.
A general rule?
Feed your little one when he’s hungry without looking at the clock. This is especially true, during the first few weeks after birth when you’re still building your milk supply.
Feeding your little one on schedule can be quite frustrating for your baby. Not only will you have to survive loud tantrums and crying, but following a tight breastfeeding schedule can actually reduce your milk supply and lowering its fat content.
5. Here Comes The Bottle
Most new moms make the mistake of introducing their little one to bottles and pacifiers too soon.
Giving your little one a bottle before you can even successfully established breastfeeding can set you up for failure. This is because it is much easier to suck milk from a bottle than your breast, so your little one would prefer feeding in a bottle for ease.
In addition, giving your little one a pacifier too soon can cause nipple confusion as well as messing up your milk supply since your little one will spend less time at your breast.
It is advisable that you wait for at least a month before you introduce a bottle and pacifier to your little one.
6. Fell Asleep On My Breast = She’s Full
Your baby falling asleep on your breast is not an indicator that she’s full. Most moms even make the mistake of putting their little one down and end up having an upset baby five minutes later.
When they are not getting enough milk, babies tend to fall asleep without being full since they are putting more energy than they are getting in return.
Unless your baby is not showing enough signs of good health, such as doing enough poos or pees or gaining enough weight, not getting full is not necessarily a problem. However, you still need to learn how to make feeding more efficient. This is so your little one can fall asleep soundly and make it easier for everyone. A full baby means a longer break for you.
To get your little one feeding longer and having enough, use breast compression to keep the milk flowing. When your little one slows down, switch to the other breast so they can continue feeding rather than just nibbling then falling asleep.
7. It’s Not a Tongue Tie
A newborn with a tongue tie will not be able to open her mouth widely and can’t properly latch. This significantly affects your baby’s ability to suck milk.
More often than not, tongue-tie is dismissed as “not a tongue-tie” or moms think that it is not a big deal.
Investigating your little one’s tongue, it is crucial that you look for its upward mobility and not just how far it can stick out. Remember, the back end of the tongue is that one working hard when breastfeeding. So, regardless of how far back it is, if it is restricted, then it is a big deal.
It is better that you consult an expert about this.
Tongue-tied babies tend to feed in a short amount of time since they really can only get initial letdown and then can’t get milk anymore. This kind of restriction can affect your milk supply. Tongue ties decrease the signal to your body to produce more milk.
8. My Milk Supply Is Low
This is probably the most common wrong thought moms make. As a matter of fact, a study revealed that 60 percent of women who began breastfeeding has stopped altogether within the first few months.
One of the reasons for this is that they worry they are low on milk and start to introduce formula. Often times, their milk supply is actually fine. However, once they started giving their little one formula, their current supply also starts decreasing.
If you really think that your milk supply is low, then you can contact a lactation expert to help you. In addition, there are lots of natural remedies that can help increase your milk.
9. No Thanks, I Got It!
For new moms, breastfeeding can be quite complicated, difficult and stressful. Your baby might not be latching properly, you’re having issues with your breast milk supplies, or that searing pain and sore nipples.
Remember, you’re not alone!
Making breastfeeding mistake is normal in the beginning and there’s absolutely no shame in asking for help.
While talking to your mom, family or partner can be helpful in the short run, for the more complex medical problems like breast pain, make sure to consult your gynecologist or a practicing lactation expert.