Most women know ahead of time that if they plan on breastfeeding, they will at least do it exclusively for the first six months of their baby’s life. The new moms see other women breastfeeding and are filled with confidence that they can do it too. Most of them go as far as attending birthing classes where they are taught how to properly latch a baby and the best position to hold the baby as he suckles. They go ahead to buy books on breastfeeding and join breastfeeding support groups on social media. With all these plans laid down, the expectant woman is finally ready to receive her bundle of joy.
Despite all these plans and all the stories from family and friends, women are never prepared for how hard breastfeeding is. For something so natural, the milk doesn't always naturally come.
We are told that the baby can find the milk supply and start suckling by themselves. The shock of our lives is when we try to breastfeed and nothing happens. The frustrations start and that is when we realize most of what we know is nothing but a myth. So for the first time moms, here are breastfeeding red flags that become dangerous for the baby.
15 Feedings That Last Less Than 10 Minutes
Babies want to feed almost all the time. The more a baby feeds, the more weight he gains and the faster he grows. Weight gain is very important for infants. In order for a child to get the amounts he needs to be full, he needs to feed for between 20-45 minutes. Women tend to think that if the baby is asleep, it must mean that the are content.
Nothing can be further from the truth. Babies breastfeed for two reasons, nourishment and comfort.
According to Romper, if a baby falls asleep in less than ten minutes of the start of a breastfeeding session, yet he had not fed earlier, which means he is hungry, then it could mean that the baby is not getting enough. This is the time to check whether you are letting down enough by listening for the swallowing sound a baby makes as he suckles. Although it may be difficult, if you pay close attention, you will be able to tell when your baby is swallowing.
If he latches on then falls right to sleep, he probably isn’t getting enough milk. Another sign could be that your baby never wants to be put down because he always wants to be feeding or simply needs comfort because he is hungry. If you notice these things, go see your doctor for things that could help you create more milk, or search for other options.
14 Spitting Up Through The Nose And Mouth
One of the scariest things a woman goes through is when her infant child spits up milk through the mouth and nose. It is even scarier when you are trying to put him down to sleep and the nostrils fill with milk. No amount of training or baby classes prepares a woman for this. If this happens too often, then it is time to check the mother's diet. Most foods the mother eats are what constitute the breastmilk. Gassy food leads to gassy breastmilk and a gassy baby. Too much gas leads to spitting up. A gassy baby is fussy and cries, often uncontrollably. The mother needs to check her diet to ensure that these discomforts are minimized for her child.
The three-day elimination rule works in this case by testing food for three days and seeing if the baby reacts to it. In general, anything that tends to give adults gas will give the baby gas.
Remember, that if it makes you gassy, just imagine what it can do to a baby who’s digestive system is not fully developed. Foods such as broccoli, cabbage, spicy foods, some beans and other items. If you had broccoli with dinner, pass on it for a few days and see if baby stops having reflux.
13 Breastmilk Changes Color
A pregnant woman undergoes the massive transformation. It is often said that what a woman looks like when she is not pregnant is not what she will look like after the pregnancy. Some pregnant women get stretch marks on the breasts that may slightly alter the appearance of a woman's breasts. When breastfeeding, any change in color is a sign that all is not well.
Red stripes on the breasts that are not stretch marks are a sign of mastitis, which is hell for the woman. Mastitis is an infection of the breast tissue that causes inflammation, tenderness, and pain.
Women can get it when not breastfeeding, but it is most common at that time.
When a woman is breastfeeding, ensuring the breast is empty is paramount. Not draining the breast can lead to a blocked duct. Proper hygiene is also important because if bacteria enters the breast it could be cause for mastitis. To alleviate the pain, keep breastfeeding to ensure the breast is drained but it is possible that the baby will not feed because the milk flavor has changed. It is advised to see a doctor as soon as one sees the stripes so that she can be prescribed some baby-friendly antibiotics.
12 The Baby Has A Tan
According to Medical News, the term jaundice is used to refer to the yellow tinge seen on the skin, as well as in the eyes of an infant and in some cases, their body fluids. This condition is caused by higher levels of bilirubin in the blood. This pigment is produced during the breaking down of red blood cells.
Under normal circumstances, it is removed by the liver and excreted through bowel movements. If this isn’t happening, the dead blood cells continue to circulate, giving the baby’s skin a yellowish or tan appearance.
The mother removes the bilirubin for the baby when she is pregnant. After birth, it takes a while before the baby can do it for himself and this is where the baby tends to get physiologic jaundice. Breastfeeding babies are more prone to this and the remedy, in this case, is to breastfeed as much as possible.
Unfortunately, when breastfeeding, you really can’t tell how much the baby is drinking. A breastfeeding mother must rely on cues from her child to figure out if he is getting enough nourishment. If the milk supply is low, it is advisable to supplement with pumped milk. With consistent breastfeeding, the condition will clear.
11 There's Too Much Milk
For women who have been there, having no milk can be distressing. Women take flasks and flasks of fluids, undergo some rigorous meditation therapies to try and help with the milk let down. Some may include taking herbal medications that they would normally not touch, in a bid to try and increase the milk flow. For these women, all they want is at least a chance to increase their supply. It can be heartbreaking for the woman who is not able to produce enough milk to feed her child adequately.
The women with an oversupply have the other kind of problem. Their babies easily get full, but the chances of the tiny one choking on the milk are high. If the milk is too much and comes out too quickly, women are advised to pump out first before the child is breastfed. This way, the breasts are not so full and the baby will not be overwhelmed by the milk trying to pour out. Proper latching will also reduce chances of the child choking as they learn naturally how the control the flow of milk into their mouth. While this may not seem serious, babies have been known to choke to death due to oversupply and therefore this should not be taken lightly.
10 Cracks In The Supply
Stories are told of women bleeding from the nipples as a result of breastfeeding. Cracks appear on the areola of the nipple, making a situation that should be loving and sweet into a living nightmare. Cracked nipples can lead to infections as bacteria can enter the body through the nipples. The moisture and saliva from the baby’s mouth have the effect of breaking down the skin around the nipple.
In addition, any milk on the nipples provides a perfect breeding ground for bacteria (which can lead to mastitis).
This is why it is paramount that mom cleans her nips before and after breastfeeding.
Pain, as you breastfeed, can make a woman give up on breastfeeding or dread it, which may bring about some negative feelings towards her child. Breastfeeding should not be painful.
If a woman cannot seem to find the right way to breastfeed she can find help from a lactation consultant. Proper latching is the key here. Ensure the aurora is in the baby mouth fully. The aurora is the dark part of the breast around the nipple. To remove the nipple from babies mouth, do not pull rather use a thumb to gently push the chin and he will let go.
9 Uncomfortable Yeast Infections
‘Ouch’ is a common sound a woman with a yeast infection makes each time she visits the bathroom. Most women even prefer to hold it in for as long as possible just to avoid the burning sensation that peeing brings. Imagine that pain on the nipples. Yeast infections, though not life-threatening is an extremely uncomfortable and painful experience for a woman to go through. If a baby has thrush in his mouth, this can lead to cracks in the mother's breasts, which aside from being painful, can lead to a yeast infection.
These infections can lead to bleeding, as well as itching and in extreme cases, the infections can lead to mastitis. While we all carry yeast in our bodies as a normal course, it can sometimes get out of control when the immune system is not up to par. As many newborns lack a strong immune system, some are prone to yeast infections.
Doctors can help alleviate this problem by prescribing medication to the mother and baby to get rid of the problem. Some babies are prone to the infection while others are not, and it is not known why this is. Just know, that although it looks awful, it is not serious and is easily treated.
8 Feedings That Last Too Long
Moms want the baby to feed and other times they want him or her to sleep. Women are weird when it comes to babies. If the woman is extremely tired after hours of rocking the baby and the baby is now sound asleep, you would think that most women would sleep or watch a movie but no.
Mothers can put a baby down only to watch him sleep or wake him up to feed. Shorter breastfeeding sessions are an indication that things are not okay and by that logic, one would think that longer feeding sessions mean the champ is a happy camper. One would be wrong.
Feeding sessions that take too long are an indication that the baby is not getting any milk and if he is, it is not enough. A baby that wants to be on the breast all the time could be hungry and there are chances of him getting dehydrated, which is extremely serious. Remember, a typical amount of time for a breastfeeding session is between 20 to 45 minutes. Anything shorter or longer than that could indicate there is a problem with the milk supply and it is best to check with the baby’s pediatrician.
7 Few Or More Diapers
As much as we love babies and are prepared to take care of them, the nappies that come with babies, not so much. Some of us felt true relief when the diapers came into play.
Imagine our relief when a baby’s diaper stays dry. This relief is not such a good idea.
According to About Kids, fewer nappies mean the baby is not feeding well and is probably starving, while too many diapers mean the baby has a runny tummy. It is normal for a newborn to soil as much as ten nappies a day. However, as the baby gets used to the new environment and his digestive system matures, the number of diapers goes down to about four in a day.
If the number of diapers goes down to one, then the child is not getting enough and if it suddenly surges up, there is cause for concern as the child could have an infection and could become dehydrated due to diarrhea. Diarrhea in a small child can become life-threatening very quickly. If the baby is not wetting at least 3 to 4 diapers a day, he might not be getting enough nourishment.
6 Too Exhausted To Feed
There is a grave danger that lurks around new moms. This danger comes right after the baby is born and is known as postpartum depression. According to BabyCenter, this is a concerning state of affairs that comes with excessive worry about the baby, anger, and irritability that is unexplainable. Lack of interest in the newborn, as well as extreme exhaustion and a desire to just stay in bed, can be symptoms of this serious disorder.
This condition is rarely understood and most people wonder how a mother can lack interest in the child or why she is behaving so ‘whacko.’ The pain endured during childbirth, lingering pain from a C-section or episiotomy, and fatigue and lead a new mother to actually resent her newborn baby or simply have no real interest or affection for it.
This, in turn, can lead the new mother to feel extreme quilt, perpetuating the feelings of depression. Health care providers can help women who find themselves in such a situation by providing counseling and support so that they are able to enjoy motherhood. A new mother requires help and a bit of monitoring so that some of these preventable issues can be addressed before they balloon into real problems.
5 Inconsolable Crying
There are those babies who wail at all hours for no apparent reason at all. Then there are the babies who cry and twist their bodies, which is an indication that something is not right.
According to Seattle Children, babies who cry for three hours of three days in a week are said to be suffering from colic.
Although the reason for colic has not been completely proven, it is thought to be caused by trapped gas in the baby’s digestive system. You know how uncomfortable you are when you are extremely bloated or even have diarrhea. Just imagine how it feels to a tiny baby whose digestive system isn’t as efficient as yours.
Doctors feel that breastfeeding mothers can reduce the occurrence of these inconsolable episodes by reducing their caffeine intake, as well as the number of gassy foods they eat. A crying baby does not always mean he is hungry, so a mother should check to see if the baby is hungry or bloated. Pumping the baby’s legs like they are riding a bicycle has been known to be especially effective in relieving infant gas. If this does not work, it is advisable to massage the tummy to offer some relief. But overall, a change of diet is the best solution when it comes to this.
4 The Teething Disaster
Every mother who has ever breastfed shivers at the thought of this: her baby biting her breast. Babies who do not even have teeth tend to bite a woman. This can be so painful that one worries about what will happen when the teeth appear.
Most mothers dread breastfeeding because of bites and they consider stopping altogether. Once that first bite happens, they decide it’s time to wean or move to a bottle.
While babies don’t bite deliberately to hurt their mother, they are usually starting to teeth and the pressure feels good to their sore gums. However, babies should be taught that this is not acceptable so that they can learn early.
A baby is said to be a blank sheet of paper and he can be shown how to behave. By consistently removing him from the breast each time he bites, he will learn to rectify his ways and stop biting. He will quickly learn that biting means losing his source of food and comfort and he will stop. It may take several tries, but eventually, the baby will learn proper breastfeeding etiquette. Once a baby becomes a toddler and is old enough to know what “no” means if he bites, that is a different story and is probably dealt with by a short timeout
3 The Baby Looks Smaller Than His Age
When a baby is born, the mother is told how much he weighs and how tall he is, as well as the circumference of the head and so forth. These measurements are supposed to increase as the baby grows. A newborn loses a few grams immediately after birth, but the weight then picks up and at every antenatal clinic, the baby is expected to have gained weight. This weight is what tells the mother and the doctor that the baby is thriving. The baby will gain weight through the food he eats, whether it is breastmilk or formula, and this food should be in adequate amounts to support his growth.
A baby who does not gain weight and looks smaller than his age or just seems to shrivel is often diagnosed with a condition called ‘ failure to thrive.’ Just because he suckles does not mean your supply is adequate. To increase milk supply there are many things that a woman can do and she should also consult her physician. A new mom can eat lactation cookies as well as herbs like fenugreek and any other traditional herb that has good reviews. It is always best to check with the doctor to make sure that anything you take is safe for the baby.
2 Need To Feed
The best way for a mom to bond with her child is through breastfeeding. A breastfeeding mom releases a hormone that helps to soothe the baby and in most cases makes the mom feel sleepy. That is how breastfeeding can be relaxing, or is it? Breast milk is nurturing to the baby, but it can be horrible for the mother. Too little milk is bad and so is too much.
During those first days, the breasts tend to get bigger and heavier as they adjust to the production of more milk to cater to the baby’s demands.
When a woman has more milk than the baby can take, the excess milk left in the breast leads to engorgement and with this, the kind of pain that makes you bite the baby blanket as he suckles to stop you from crying out.
According to BabyCenter, engorgement occurs if the mother is not able to breastfeed the baby to the maximum during the first few days. Breastfeeding moms will learn that there is some adjustment while mom’s body gets used to the baby’s needs. When this occurs, the body will eventually adjust to produce the right amount of milk for the new little one.
1 Mom Is Always Tired And Sleep Deprived
Babies sleep a lot, yes. But not like those who’ve never been through it think. They may sleep a lot, but they also wake up a lot. And when they wake up, they want their diaper changed and they want to be fed. Whoever came up with “sleep like a baby,” must have been referring to how they have no worries to keep them awake.
A new mother is always tired and sleep deprived. When she thinks the baby is asleep she may accidentally knock down a cup in her daze and she has to start soothing all over again and feeding again. For a tiny baby that can almost fit in her hand, newborns certainly seem to eat a lot. Suddenly, a part of her body that was purely hers and her partner’s is now no longer hers.
This little creature now has total control of what happens and even the tiny cries bring with it the let-down effect.
This is enough to make even a saint lose their mind. Some women begin to resent the baby and fantasize about giving up on breastfeeding altogether. With this constant feeling of resentment, a woman is advised to wean the child in order to take care of him in other ways.