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4 Common Early Breastfeeding Challenges (and How to Overcome Them)

4 Common Early Breastfeeding Challenges (and How to Overcome Them)

August is National Breastfeeding Month, so it’s a great time to remind parents about the many benefits that breast milk provides their babies. It’s also the perfect time to highlight common breastfeeding challenges many moms face so you know you’re not alone.

At Alpha OB GYN, we provide comprehensive pregnancy care that includes breastfeeding guidance and support in the days after childbirth. Our highly skilled OB/GYN Sowmya Reddy, MD, FACOG, values the time she spends helping moms bond with their babies and supporting successful breastfeeding.

Dr. Reddy can help you overcome any breastfeeding challenges you face to ensure your baby develops properly and continues to thrive.

Four common breastfeeding challenges

Here are four early challenges many women face when breastfeeding and some tips to help you navigate them:

1. Low milk supply

A big concern for many moms is whether or not they can produce enough milk to nourish their baby. Your body generally makes the right amount of milk, even if you feel unsure.

If you’re concerned that your baby isn’t gaining weight or doesn’t have enough wet or dirty diapers, there are things you can do to increase your milk supply, including:

Dr. Reddy can also evaluate how well your baby is latching to your breast to ensure they can access the milk.

2. Painful nipples and breast engorgement

Many moms find breastfeeding difficult when their breasts are very full, or the skin on their nipples is dry or cracked.

Breast engorgement is uncomfortable and can lead to other complications. Try breastfeeding more often and express your milk frequently, especially when you’re not with your baby.

You can apply warm compresses to ease soreness in your nipples. If your nipples become painful, schedule an appointment with our team to ensure you don’t have an infection or other complications before applying creams or other products to your skin.

3. Physical exhaustion

Caring for a newborn can take all of your time and energy. Breastfeeding can become challenging if you’re not getting enough sleep or feel overwhelmed by the changes a new baby brings.

Self-care is especially important for moms, especially during the first few months of their baby’s life. Be sure to get as much rest as you can when you can. It’s helpful to sleep whenever your baby sleeps.

Try to go to bed early when possible, and don’t hesitate to enlist the help of your partner or other loved ones to care for the baby when you feel exhausted or overwhelmed. 

4. Reluctance to breastfeed

Babies may suddenly stop breastfeeding for several reasons, including illnesses or being distracted by other things. These episodes are common and known as a nursing strike.

It’s important that you keep offering them your breasts and provide them with some extra comfort. Also, stay alert to any other changes in their behavior or physical health when they seem reluctant to feed. If your baby continues to refuse your breast, speak with Dr. Reddy or your pediatrician about your concerns.

While these challenges are common for many moms, every woman experiences their own unique breastfeeding hurdles. Know that with the support of our team and your willingness to move forward, you and your child can successfully navigate this journey together.

Call the Alpha OB GYN office in Cumming or Alpharetta, Georgia, to schedule a breastfeeding consultation or book an appointment online today. 


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