Tips for Feeding Baby

Common Feeding Problems

Feeding your baby-whether by breast or bottle-will not always go smoothly. But rest assured, both you and your baby will learn to cope as you go along.

Breast-feeding Woes

Many new mothers have some trouble breast-feeding. If you do, too, you might find the solution here. If you have any other problems or questions, consult your pediatrician or a lactation specialist. Or contact the La Leche League at 1-800-LALECHE (1-800-525-3243).

Your Baby Refuses Your Breast or Spits it Out

Try these solutions:

  • Gently pull your breast back from your baby's face. Your breast may be covering his nostrils and making it difficult for him to breathe.
  • Try to calm your baby by rocking or singing to him. After he has calmed down, try again. He may just be too fussy to feed at the moment.
  • If he's a newborn, be patient and try again. He may still be trying to get the hang of feeding from the breast.

Your Baby Falls Asleep Soon After Beginning to Feed

Try these solutions:

  • If he's a newborn, let him sleep. He'll wake again when he's hungry.
  • If he's more than a few days old, let him sleep for half an hour or so, and then wake him and try again.
Your Nipples Are Sore

Try these solutions:

  • Make sure your baby is taking the nipple and the areola fully into his mouth. He may be sucking solely on the nipple.
  • Make sure you are holding your baby perpendicular to the breast. If you hold him too low, he will have difficulty taking in the areola.
  • Keep your nipples dry between feedings.
  • Try feeding your baby only from the pain-free breast for a day or so. Gently express milk from the sore breast for bottle feedings.

Your Baby's Sucking Causes a Sharp, Shooting Pain

If you're experiencing this problem, you probably have a cracked nipple. Stop feeding your baby from that breast until it has healed. You can still gently express milk from that breast.

Your Breasts Feel Too Full, Swollen, Hard, Tight, Hot, and/or Painful

Engorged breasts are not uncommon in the early weeks of breast-feeding, when your baby is still learning how to do it. Try these solutions:

  • Consult your doctor, who may prescribe an ointment to prevent infection and speed healing.
  • Try expressing some milk before feeding your baby. (Your baby will have difficulty latching on if your breasts are so full that they feel hard.)
  • Take warm baths to stimulate the flow of milk.

You Have a Small, Hard, Painful Lump on Your Breast

If you have this symptom, you probably have a blocked milk duct. Try these techniques to solve the problem:

  • Before feedings, apply warm washcloths to the breast and gently massage it.
  • Encourage your baby to feed more often.
  • Feed your baby from the blocked breast first.
  • Make sure your baby empties your breast at feedings. If he doesn't, try expressing milk to empty the breast.
  • Make sure your bra is not too tight.

You Have a Hard, Red, Painful, and Throbbing Area of the Breast. You May Also Have a Fever.

If you're experiencing these symptoms, you probably have a breast abscess (usually caused by an infection that entered the breast through an untreated crack). Immediately consult your doctor, who will prescribe antibiotics. If caught early enough, you can continue breast-feeding as usual. If you delay, however, the abscess will become extremely painful and you may need to feed your baby only from the uninfected breast.

Caring for Your Breasts

Taking proper care of your breasts will go a long way toward eliminating many feeding problems. Keep your breasts clean by washing them daily with water or baby lotion. You can use moisturizer if you like, but avoid soap. (Soap can make a sore or cracked nipple even worse.)

Support matters, too. Choose a supportive nursing bra that opens in the front. Washable (or disposable) breast pads or a soft handkerchief that fits inside your bra can protect your clothes from leaks of milk, but change pads often to keep your breast and nipple dry.

More on: Babies


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Bringing Up Baby © 1997 by Kevin Osborn. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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