Do you have any concerns regarding your breasts that you think might affect your breastfeeding ability?

By: - 10th September 2019
baby

Breastmilk probably is the greatest substance on earth. In the animal kingdom mammals depend entirely on milk produced from their bodies to feed their little ones. So, it is sad to see how sometimes we as humans are quick to look for alternatives due to various reasons. Most often the reasons why mums stop breastfeeding and use alternatives is because they worry that they will not be able to provide their little one with enough milk, due to various complications.

Mums need to realize that even though there might be abnormalities in their breasts, this most likely will not affect their ability to feed their little one. The first thing you need to be aware of before you feed your little one is that your breasts should produce sufficient milk. For this, the brain produces a hormone which signals the breasts to produce milk. In addition, as a mother holds the baby close and looks at the little one with love, milk production increases due to the release of prolactin and oxytocin hormones.

Things to consider:

  1. Don’t just offer your nipples for the baby to nurse.

    You should remember to offer the baby the slightly darker area around the nipple called the areola as well. Milk is stored in this area of your breast and as the lips of the infant press on the areola, this will result in the release of milk.

  2. Flat or sunken nipples will protrude as the baby nurses on them.

    If needed:

    • You could press the areola towards your chest to enable the nipple to protrude.
    • You could use a syringe to help protrude the nipple each time before you feed.
    • Ensure that your little one nurses on the entire breast and not only the nipple.
    • You could also use your fingers to stimulate your nipple to protrude.
  3. Smaller sized breasts.

    Each woman will have different shapes and sizes of breasts. This will not have any impact on your ability to express milk. Also remember, the size of the breast will not dictate the volume of milk produced. You can easily identify when your breast is filled up with milk, as it will become warmer than normal and also heavier. Mum, the size of your breast will not be an issue at all. What you need to focus on is making sure that your little one latches onto your breast properly.

  4. Milk clogging or breast infections.

    When milk is not flowing completely from your breast, the veins could get blocked and this can result in infections. To avoid this, you need to increase the frequency your child nurses. You could also use antibiotics and painkillers to treat infections. Don’t stop breastfeeding your little one during these challenging times.

  5. Wounds and scratches on your nipple.

    This happens when you haven't positioned your little one properly to latch on to your breast. To help ease things, apply some breast milk on the nipple after feeding the baby.

  6. Breastfeeding while you are sick.

    You being sick does not impact your ability to feed your little one, so do not stop. Breastfeeding while sick will not cause any unwanted complications for your little one since the antibodies fighting the infection in your body will be transferred to the little one. Do consult your doctor in the event you have AIDS.

  7. Overflow of milk.

    While most mums are concerned about the lack of milk produced, sometimes when there is an overproduction of milk, you need to pay attention as your little one feeds. This is because your little one will find it hard to swallow a large quantity of milk expressed from your breasts. So, you will need to detach your breast from your baby in shorter frequencies to minimize the risk of choking.

An article prepared by Ms. Krishanthi Ganga Kumarihami, Midwifery training nurse (Grade one) at the Premature Intensive Care Unit, Kurunegala Provincial General Hospital.

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