Some women and their babies take to breastfeeding easily, while others struggle to produce milk and achieve the ideal latch. Breastfeeding difficulties often lead to frustration and a cessation of nursing because some mothers believe they simply cannot nurse their babies. As long as your baby is growing and developing well, it's fine to continue trying to breastfeed. If not, working with your pediatrician and a qualified lactation consultant helps you better choose the feeding option best for you and your baby.
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See a Lactation Consultant
With the approval of your pediatrician, seeking out a qualified lactation consultant helps you learn more about some of the conditions that could be rendering your efforts ineffective. Flat or inverted nipples, a poor latch, mastitis and other conditions could be contributing to your issues and a lactation consultant helps identify and treat those conditions. Lactation consultants often work in conjunction with hospitals, clinics and as separate health care workers to benefit breastfeeding mothers.
Change Breastfeeding Techniques
As long as your baby is still growing and developing without the need for supplementation, it's usually fine to continue nursing, but always check with your pediatrician first. After seeing the lactation consultant, put her suggestions and tips to use and change your nursing technique. A different breastfeeding position, using a nipple shield or preparing for breastfeeding in a certain way all help to improve your baby's latch and increase the amount of calories he consumes through breastfeeding.
Supplement with Formula
If your baby isn't gaining weight and is lagging developmentally due to ineffective breastfeeding, your method of feeding becomes a concern. Meet with your pediatrician and talk about the possibility of supplementing with high-calorie formula. Supplementation is often necessary if your body simply doesn't produce enough milk to sufficiently feed your baby. With this feeding option, you're still able to breastfeed your baby, but you'll supplement with a bottle and formula after each feeding to ensure that your baby gets enough calories.
Pump and Feed
The very act of breastfeeding is difficult for some babies to master. If your baby never forms the right latch or refuses to breastfeed, it's still possible to offer him the benefits of breast milk by using a pump to extract the milk and feed by bottle. Pumped milk can be stored up to six months in a freezer, so if you pump continuously, it's convenient to have a store of expressed milk. Pumped milk is especially beneficial for a baby who is an inefficient nurser, since it's easier to measure how much milk he consumes at each feeding.