The most crucial act for a baby and mother post childbirth is breastfeeding. It is so basic, yet its benefits are many—for both mother and child. The sad truth though is that this beautiful bonding experience can sometimes be problematic. Several women will agree that what’s said to be a natural and relaxing process is actually rife with issues that few folks talk about.

We discuss some of the most common breastfeeding challenges and tell you how to deal with them.

  1. Working Moms: New moms face a terrible dilemma—they can either delay their return to work so they can breastfeed their baby for as long as possible to make them stronger and healthier, but stand to risk professional suicide. Or they can rely on formula and return to work immediately, but deal with missing work constantly to attend to a sickly child. Solution? Breast pumps. They help you express your milk, which can be stored at room temperature for up to six hours, or refrigerated and fed to the baby while you are away at work. These useful devices even come with a special storage compartment. Introduce your baby to bottle feeding as early as four weeks so they don’t reject it when you return to work.
  1. Public Nursing: There is much debate about how appropriate it is for mothers to breastfeed in public. While it is nobody’s business to shame women for this natural activity, you can reduce the potential embarrassment or heckling by doing these simple things.
  • Wear loose clothing with easy-to-open buttons in the front.
  • Drape a small blanket or large scarf over your shoulder so it covers your breast and the baby’s head. You can even get baby slings or nursing covers.
  • Look for a lounge or private room if you are at places like the airport, department store or movie theater.
  1. Pain & Soreness: Not everything about nursing is rainbows and butterflies, so be prepared for a certain amount of pain. Avoiding breastfeeding because of the pain is foolish—it will lead to overfilling of the breast, which is unbelievably painful and dangerous for the mother. Read on to understand the things that can go wrong during nursing and what to do in such cases.

When Your Nipples Become Sore

  • If the baby sucks only on the nipples, position him or her correctly until it feels less painful and try and get them to suck the areola as well.
  • Once you’re done feeding your baby, apply a little breast milk to your nipples to help them heal.
  • Air dry them and always wear loose clothes.
  • Avoid soap, and never wear the same nursing bra over and over again.
  • Eating healthier also helps.

When Your Breasts Become Sore

  • Also known as engorgement, it can happen when your nursing schedule is irregular and your breasts get too full. Make a regular schedule and stick to it.
  • If you’re at work, use the pump in sync with your baby’s normal breastfeeding schedule.
  • Avoid giving your baby anything like juice, water or formula or your child won’t be hungry and will not nurse properly.
  • Use the hand pump for a short while just before feeding to reduce pressure on the breast.
  • Try and get fitted for a good nursing bra.
  • Use a cold compress to relieve pain.
  • Get adequate rest and nutrition.

Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

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Simona is a journalist who has worked with several leading publications in India over the last 17 years, writing on lifestyle topics and the arts, besides interviewing celebrities. She made the switch to public relations and headed the division as PR Manager at ITC Hotels’ flagship property, the ITC Grand Chola, but has since returned to her first love, journalism. Now she writes on food, which she is sincerely passionate about and wellness, which she finds fascinating and full of surprises. When she isn’t writing, she is busy playing the role of co-founder and communications director of The Bicycle Project, a six-year-old charity initiative that empowers tribal children in rural areas, while addressing the issue of urban waste.