The general recommendation is for babies be breastfed exclusively for six months. With that in mind, most moms would love nothing more than to breastfeed for as long as possible to take advantage of all the benefits associated with breastfeeding, rather than opting to feed the baby with formula.
However, about 70 percent of moms don’t follow the recommendations due to various reasons. One of the most common is having to go back to work. Most moms describe breastfeeding as painful and hard, as well as other reasons moms stop breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding seems like the most natural process, but apparently, it rarely feels that way. Breastfeeding can present many problems because both mom and baby are learning a new skill. Yet, as noted in Parenting, breastfeeding is worthwhile despite the hurdles presented, because the infant receives crucial immunological, nutritional and developmental benefits, as well as getting to enjoy the special bond between the baby and the nursing mom.
Whether the challenges are either long or short-lived, they may thwart a mom’s intention to nurse altogether. It is advisable that a mom watch her baby’s every move while breastfeeding. For a new mom, the challenge could be intense. However, it is advisable that a mom speaks to her baby’s pediatrician if her baby does any of the following 15 things.
15 The Baby Might Go On A Breastfeeding Strike
According to BabyCenter, the baby may go on a breastfeeding strike, which can be triggered by several factors. The baby could refuse to breastfeed for some time despite successfully nursing for months. This could be a red flag and the baby is typically trying to inform you that all is not well. During a breastfeeding strike, the baby may look very enthused when going to the breast, but then begin to cry or act completely disinterested. In some cases, the strike will happen instantaneously, while in others, it is a gradual process. The most common causes of the strike could be:
The baby is experiencing discomfort or pain, maybe due to a sore, teething or an ear infection; Soreness or an injury right after immunization could also cause discomfort while suckling; A stuffy nose or a cold can make it hard for the baby to breath while nursing; Stress or distraction. Long separation from your baby, overstimulation or delayed nursing could increase difficulty while nursing and increase fussiness.
Breastfeeding strikes are normally for a short period of time and a parent needs not worry since it isn’t their fault. The mom should be patient in order to learn her baby’s nursing habits.
A mom can continue to try feeding the baby at different intervals, change breastfeeding positions, try feeding the baby in a quiet room that has no distractions, try cuddling the baby to revive his interest in breastfeeding or solve teething problems by rubbing the gums using your finger or a cool washcloth. If the baby still refuses to feed after this, it is advisable that you take a trip to your baby’s pediatrician.
14 Can't Keep It Down
In the baby’s first months, vomiting is caused by minor feeding problems such as an overly full stomach. However, it is very unlikely for a baby to vomit after the first few months. If the baby experiences an abrupt onset of vomiting, chances are he has a tummy infection probably gastroenteritis, and according to BabyCentre, this specific infection type is normally accompanied by diarrhea. Vomiting can also be caused by a food allergy. Your baby may no longer get sick once you stop feeding him the food item that causes the allergic reaction.
It is, however, crucial to book an appointment with your baby’s doctor before ejecting an item from the baby’s diet. In some cases, vomiting can be a symptom of something more dangerous. Contact your doctor if you observe symptoms such as:
Dehydration, which makes the baby floppy, fewer wet nappies, a dry mouth or no tears; Fever; Forceful or persistent vomiting in a newborn within thirty minutes of feeding, which could be caused by Pyloric stenosis, a rare condition; Shortness of breath; Refusal to take his formula or breastfeed; Swollen abdomen.
13 Baby’s Diaper Stays Dry
A baby’s diaper can be dry for various reasons. The most common indication is dehydration, which can be caused by vomiting, if a baby is ill or otherwise has diarrhea, or if your baby stays for too long in the sun.
If your baby wets less than 6 diapers in a day or diapers remain dry for up to three hours, it is best safe to call your doctor in 12 hours.
However, there are situations that call for immediate medical attention and may require intravenous (IV) fluids to re-hydrate the baby. If you observe that your baby hasn’t wet a diaper in over six hours, you need to rush them to the hospital and even if the baby had diarrhea or vomiting, it is advisable that you feed the baby regularly. For older infants who have started taking solids, taking white grape juice or water should do the trick.
12 A Cycle Of Latching And Unlatching
This is probably of the most common problem many breastfeeding moms experience with their babies. Despite following the instructions on positioning and trying to get the baby to breastfeed, the baby may refuse to open his mouth, takes the nipple in his mouth but not suck, or fails to grasp the breast.
This may have been a challenge from birth or your baby could have initially fed well, but now he won’t. Initial latching problems could be a result of medications the mom took while in labor, they could also be caused by holding the infant’s head to support him while he latches, forcing the infant to the breast, or by suctioning during birth.
The baby could also have underlying health problems. Inverted nipples can also prevent a baby from achieving a proper latch. However, women who have inverted nipples rarely experience breastfeeding difficulties. Todays Parent stresses that skin to skin contact assists the baby to latch on spontaneously, a mom can also express her breasts regularly to increase and maintain production or otherwise feed the baby from the bottle until he can feed on the breast again. However, it is important to see a pediatrician to identify any other underlying problems preventing the baby from breastfeeding.
11 Unexpected Diaper Surprises
Discovering mucus and blood in your infant’s stool is understandably scary and alarming. According to information from MomTricks, blood could indicate that there is bleeding in the baby’s lower digestive tract. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be blood. The color may be caused by a recent change in the baby’s diet.
A little mucus in the stool is okay, however, an excessive amount that also contains blood can be a sign of a digestive system issue or an infection. Infections can be caused by certain bacteria including Shigella, E. coli, Salmonella or parasites that cause mucus and blood in the stool. If a baby has such an infection, he experiences diarrhea, vomiting, a fever and a tender belly.
Feeding your baby with food or fluids contaminated with germs that cause diseases may cause these infections.
Treatment varies depending on the precise cause of the infection. Call the pediatrician as soon as you discover your baby has blood in the stool with or without mucus.
10 Pounds Don't Go Up
A breastfeeding baby can struggle with weight gain. Either the baby isn’t gaining any weight or gaining weight at a rate not healthy compared to the growth curve. A doctor is normally concerned about your baby’s weight and he offers suggestions or checks for underlying medical problems.
Breastfeeding Support states that the main reason for a baby not gaining weight is lack of enough breast milk, which can be caused by breastfeeding from one breast at each feed on a schedule, a poor latch, hormonal problems, or inadequate glandular tissue. Another reason your baby could not be gaining weight is underlying medical issues such as cardiac or breathing problems, a milk allergy, neurological problems, a genetic syndrome, anemia, an undiscovered tongue tie, or a high or low muscle tone.
An overweight baby is normally very sleepy and disinterested in feeding or could be very eager to feed then fall asleep quickly while at the breast, rather than feed. This will, in turn, affect the mom’s milk supply causing a drop, further complicating the slow weight gain.
9 Alternating Between Gulping And Fussing
Some moms produce more milk than the baby can handle or take in. If the milk will normally flow really fast and by force, it seems that he is attempting to drink from a fire hose. JustMommies informs that these babies experience green frothy poop as well. A mom can switch sides every three to four minutes to equalize the milk flow, or try block feeding. This is feeding your baby from only one breast every four hours for instance. This causes the other breast to be quite full and this signals the breast to process less milk. The mom will then switch to the fuller breast for the next feeding.
Most babies will fuss, pull away from the breast and cry because they need to burp. It is best to attempt a burp after a feeding or between breasts, but if the baby looks content and doesn’t burp, he’s probably okay. Bottle-fed babies tend to take in more air compared to breastfed babies, therefore breastfed babies burp a few times. Burping is essential during the initial months, but once the baby begins to move freely, the gastric gas becomes easier to relieve.
If the baby has difficulties burping, try walking around or placing the baby on his stomach to apply pressure on his tummy.
8 Spitting Up After Each Feeding
Babies will sometimes spit up, and boy some spit up quite a lot. Most infants will spit up in intervals, whereas others will spit it all at once because infant’s digestive tracts are immature, which is normal. If a mom has overactive letdown, this is probably how her baby gets rid of excessive milk. If the baby is what we call a happy spitter, meaning he doesn’t look distressed and his weight gain is okay, do not fret, he’s doing okay.
If the baby seems to be gaining weight and growing and seems comfortable with spitting, he is doing fine even though the spit looks more than you assume it should be. All you need is a towel, it will come in handy. However, if your baby looks uncomfortable and miserable while spitting up, does not gain weight, or the spitting up is so forceful it hits a wall is six feet away, you need to see a doctor to examine the baby for any medical issues, such as allergies or digestive issues.
7 Thin Line Between Crying And Bigger Problems
Crying will get on any mom’s nerves and cause distress as she tries to figure out what could be wrong with her baby. Whether a newbie mom or a seasoned veteran, she could feel helpless or get extremely frustrated trying to decipher her infant’s cries. A parent would be glad to identify the signs their baby is in pain; this is because no parent wants to discover they ignored their baby’s cry for help assuming it was just a cranky phase.
If the intense cry reduces suddenly to a whimper, chances are the baby is too ill and lacks the energy to cry loudly. Definitely, time to head to the doctor.
Based on information from Science Alert, an intense cry could be a sign of pain, it may look obvious, but some parents may ignore an intense cry assuming that their child is just grumpy. According to Michigan University's Health Department, pain in infants can cause them to cry for a long period of time, the cry may sound higher pitched and intense.
6 One Minute Sessions
If a baby seems to feed for a very short period of time and falls asleep even before he is done feeding, he is probably not getting adequate milk into his mouth and the best wake up call is a filling his mouth with milk, which can be done through encouraging milk flow through breast compressions. Gently squeeze the breast between the fingers and the thumb and the baby will automatically respond since he will have to suck and swallow.
Once the sucking stops, let go and then squeeze again. Ensure you stroke the baby’s chin to keep him awake and encourage him to continue sucking. If your infant is nursing for too long, he’s probably just fine since babies have a very small stomach can fill quickly. Infants have to eat more often since they have to double their weight in a span of six months.
If a baby takes a long time nursing and cries while at it, there’s a probability there’s either inadequate or no milk being produced causing the baby to become frustrated. If the baby’s weight is okay, he’s pooping just fine, and your nipples aren’t sore, your baby is fine. However, if your baby seems underweight, even after long feedings, talk to your baby’s pediatrician to identify any underlying problems.
5 Still Hungry After Feeding
Most new parents seem to be concerned about the baby’s nursing habits. This is because newborns always seem to want to be fed. This causes moms to wonder whether the baby is being well fed, causing a breastfeeding mother to question if she is making adequate breast milk for her baby. However, this isn’t something to worry about, because newborns especially tend to feed frequently.
This is because newborns have small tummies, therefore needing to fill them up more frequently.
If your baby seems hungry after every meal and seems unhappy about it, there’s a probability that she isn’t taking in enough milk and your milk production could be on the lower side. The baby probably needs a pediatrician to check his weight right away. In the meantime, it is advisable to check if he has achieved a proper latch and position him appropriately at the breast to maximize the milk intake.
4 Frequently Misses Nursing Sessions
If your newborn baby constantly misses sessions and is sleeping the night away, something is probably wrong. What to Expect says that frequent feedings are essential for a new baby because he needs to gain weight. The tummy is small therefore he needs to feed often, and to increase your milk supply.
If the newborn sleeps over four hours straight it is okay to disturb his sleep and encourage him to breastfeed. When a mom’s milk supply comes in, she cannot hear the baby’ frequent swallows; however, the baby occasionally swallows once he starts to nurse, sucks more as he extends a session then reduces the feeding close to the end.
Swallowing is a clear indication of milk ingestion and if the baby doesn’t seem to swallow, you need to inform your pediatrician immediately. If a mom is having trouble waking the newborn up, check his skin and eye color with a tinge of yellow. If it is present he probably has jaundice, which is characterized by excessive sleepiness.
3 Phantom Loads
Most new moms always wonder if newborn babies can get constipation. It is uncommon for breastfeeding babies to get constipation, but it sometimes happens. The moment you introduce solid foods to your baby’s diet, there’s a high chance that they can become constipated. Foods that commonly cause constipation in babies include rice cereal, squash, carrots, cow’s milk, applesauce, and banana.
It is normal for babies to make abnormal grunting sounds and strained faces, but these are not necessarily signs of constipation in your baby. Even though the baby seems to have a runny stool, he might sometimes experience a little difficulty passing the stool through the intestines.
The signs that you need to look out for include hard or dry stool, some streaks of blood in the stool, pellet-like stool, the baby tends to cry during a strenuous bowel movement, or the baby could start vomiting. If the baby experiences hard stool yet you haven’t changed his diet and incorporated solid food items, the mom should consult a doctor.
2 Looser Than Anticipated
A breastfed baby has a lower likelihood of getting diarrhea compared to a baby fed with formula. This is because breast milk contains antibodies, which, according to Very Well Family protects an infant from common childhood diseases such as diarrhea.
Also, if breastfeeding is a baby’s main nutrition source, he has a high immunity, therefore reducing his susceptibility to food and water organisms that cause diarrhea and stomach infections. The more a mom breastfeeds her baby, the higher the chance that her baby is protected from infections.
Exclusive breastfeeding is, therefore, the best compared to both partial breastfeeding and formula feeding. There is, however, no guarantee that breastfeeding will prevent illness completely. An infant will have a number of bowel movements each day. If the poop is soft with seeds and yellowish, that is completely normal.
A mom should be concerned when the poop looks green, wet, watery or loose, has a foul smell and is bloody or contains mucus.
These could be indications of an infection caused by bacteria and viruses.
A mom’s diet could also cause a problem. Some food items consumed could cause sensitivities and allergies for your baby, and the use of stool softeners containing strong stimulants by a breastfeeding mom could cause the baby to diarrhea.
1 A White Tongue
Breastfeeding can be affected by a fungal infection known as thrush. According to Medical News Today, the infection is also known as Candida albicans and can develop on the mom’s nipple and also the baby’s mouth. Candida albicans is a common fungus in our digestive tract and is kept in check by friendly bacteria. Every now and then, however, it can grow and spread causing a thrush infection. Breastfeeding provides an ideal environment for the fungus because it survives in sugary and moist environs, which is exactly what the mouth of the baby is like during nursing. The infection is then passed to the mom’s nipples and the chance of it spreading increases, especially if a mom’s nipples are cracked or already sore, probably since the baby hasn’t achieved a proper latch. Thrush is characterized by white patches that resemble cottage cheese or milk curds and they will appear on a baby’s gums, on the roof of or inside of his mouth and on his tongue. Thrush has to be treated by a doctor to prevent persistent passing between the baby and the mom.