You’re holding your little bundle from heaven with the delicate little fingers & toes in your arms, & watching him breastfeed serenely. But, a thought nestles its way into your head. What if, the way you breastfeed isn’t correct? What if, the breastfeeding schedule you’ve drawn up for your newborn isn’t appropriate? What if, you’ve been making many breastfeeding mistakes?
If your little one has been acting up a lot lately, crying out of hunger or just plain refusing to feed properly, these thoughts might very well have a basis.
In this article, we hope to shed light on the few mistakes new mothers might inadvertently make while breastfeeding their infants. Read on to know more.
Mistake #1: Shying away from asking for help
For new mothers, breastfeeding can be especially stressful, difficult & complicated. Your little one may not latch properly, you may experience pain, sore nipples or breast milk supply issues among others.
What’s important is for you to remember that it’s totally normal to have breastfeeding issues & make breastfeeding mistakes in the beginning, & that there should be absolutely no shame in asking for help.
While talking to family, friends & your partner might be helpful in the short run, for more complex medical issues like breast pain, it would be better to consult a practicing lactation expert or your gynaecologist.
Not only can consulting with a doctor help you with the breastfeeding troubles you’re facing, but you can also get many valuable breastfeeding tips from them, some of which you might not have known at all, & which might help you with some of your breastfeeding issues.
For mothers who are not facing any of the above-mentioned issues but want to learn better breastfeeding tips, or are looking for a support group to share their thoughts with, online communities of new mothers can be of immense help.
These communities abound in plenty throughout metro, tier-1 & tier-2 cities & are easily accessible to anyone with a working internet connection.
Besides, new mothers can also get a lot of advice & help from YouTube videos teaching them how to breastfeed properly for the first time.
Truly, the options & the support available, is plenty. All you’ve to do is tap into the resources!
Mistake #2: Treating Breast pain casually
While it’s normal to experience some amount of breast pain when you’re breastfeeding for the first time, prolonged breast pain should never be ignored or overlooked.
Breast pain or discomfort that stretches well beyond acceptable durations, is generally a sign of other health issues that need to be addressed promptly for ensuring the health & well-being of both the new mother & her baby.
The first step you should take is to try & find out the imminent cause of the breast pain. The obvious reasons might be a poor latch, breast engorgement & troubles with your baby’s tongue among others. Wrong breastfeeding positions & techniques might also lead to breast pain. It could also be related to abnormal or irregular breast milk supply.
Watch more about how to increase breast milk supply at:
However, in case you fail to pin down any of these reasons for your breast pain, it’s advisable to see a doctor at the earliest to prevent any further complications, & to keep the health of yourself & your newborn intact.
Mistake #3: Following a rigorous Breastfeeding Schedule
While it’s generally a good practice to follow a certain schedule for breastfeeding your baby, it isn’t a very smart decision to stick like glue to it & not be accommodating when the need arises.
Although there are directions & nutrition charts that tell you how much & how often should your newborn be fed, it pays to keep in mind that every baby’s nutritional needs, hunger pangs & wants are different, & no one shoe can fit all sizes when it comes to breastfeeding.
For one, babies are pretty darn good at letting you know when they’re hungry & want to be fed, simply by throwing a fit or crying.
Secondly, while timings & nutritional needs should be paid attention to, it’s always much better to chalk up a breastfeeding schedule that is better tailored to you & your baby’s specific needs & requirements, rather than following a doctor given tried & tested feeding formula. As they say, whatever fits best, you should wear it!
Mistake #4: Stressing unduly about the latch
No latch is perfect. It’s important for you to understand that your baby’s latch might not resemble that of a photo in a maternity magazine, but if it allows your baby to feed to its heart’s content, then it’s as good as perfect!
Try not to stress yourself out or worry too much about your newborn’s latch, & keep in mind that it is influenced by multiple factors including the shape & size of your baby’s mouth & that of your nipples.
You should remember not to fret unduly about getting your baby’s mouth around the whole of your areola, as it’s more important for the area beneath it to be covered than the whole of it.
Looking at it from a broader point of view, if your baby is feeding regularly, looks & feels healthy and happy, and if you feel no discomfort, then you really have no reason to worry.
Mistake #5: Neglecting to take care of yourself
It is of utmost importance to take care of yourself while breastfeeding, as your health vitally affects your ability to breastfeed properly.
It’s important to remember that your breast milk is 80% water, so you should drink at least 36 ounces of water every day for a healthy, uninterrupted breast milk supply.
Besides drinking plenty of water, it’s also essential to eat a well-balanced diet & get proper amounts of rest to keep yourself healthy.
Although getting 8 hours of sleep might be difficult for a new mother, you should still try your best to squeeze in as much rest as you can between the hours, as sleep deprivation can lead to breast milk supply issues & constant irritation among other problems.
Mistake #6: Rushing to introduce the bottle
Many new mothers make the mistake of introducing the bottle & artificial nipples/pacifiers too soon, which might lead a very young baby to become confused & scared at the sight of a new, unfamiliar toy.
It’s advisable to wait at least a month before introducing your baby to a pacifier, & to give both you & your child enough time to develop an affinity for the foreign object.
There is also a danger of your baby refusing to breastfeed once he/she gets used to the bottle, because of the better milk flow & latch. If this happens, try to gently persuade your baby to breastfeed the natural way by reducing the bottle usage slowly.
Mistake #7: Wearing the wrong nursing bra
Wearing the right bra while you’re breastfeeding is extremely important for the health of your breasts. A bra that is too tight might lead to sore nipples, breast pain & may cause complications around the sensitive areola skin, hence you must always choose the perfect sized bra for this utterly sensitive time.
Mistake #8: Restricting the feeding to one breast
One of the most common breastfeeding mistakes is to only feed from one breast, as it can cause sore nipples & pain in that particular breast. This is a very popular breastfeeding myth that you might have heard somewhere.
Doctors advice new mothers to alternate between both the breasts while breastfeeding to ensure proper breast milk supply for the baby & help with latching issues.
The general rule, is to start the feeding from one breast & finish on the other, as it allows for enough time for one breast to produce its share of milk.
Breastfeeding mistakes are common among new mothers, & nothing to be ashamed about. There is a lot to learn when it comes to taking care of a newborn, & we are dedicated to helping you cross over this essential time of your life with the right information, utmost care, understanding & help. Keep following us for more information on motherhood & newborn-care.
Watch more about the importance of breast milk at:
FAQs Related To Breastfeeding Mistakes:
1. Is it okay to just pump and not breastfeed?
It is completely fine to just pump your breastmilk and feed it to your little one in a bottle a few months after birth. Pumping is a great method to feed breast milk to your child without putting her to the breast. You can either exclusively feed your baby with the pumped milk or you can alternate between both breastmilk supply and infant formula.
2. Is sweating during breastfeeding normal?
Yes, there are few cases where mothers face the problems of sweating and fatigue after breastfeeding and it is completely normal to have such issues. Postpartum sweating is caused due to low levels of estrogen because the levels keep changing as your body is still adjusting to not being pregnant anymore.
There are two key hormones namely progesterone and estrogen that are released during pregnancy. Changes in these hormones after delivery is the major cause of sweating while breastfeeding. To tackle this, try to breastfeed your child in a cooler environment.
3. What food should a breastfeeding mother avoid?
Although breastfeeding mothers should consider eating a variety of foods which makes breast milk more nutritious, these are some of the food items which can be harmful to both mother and child:
- Excessive consumption of chocolate.
- Foods with excessive spices such as cinnamon, garlic, curry, chili pepper, etc.
- Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits. Try avoiding their juices too.
- Fruits like strawberries, kiwifruit, pineapple, etc.
- The “gassy” vegetables such as onion, cabbage, garlic, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers, and peppers.