Some women are lucky and have no breastfeeding problems. This, however, is a rare thing. Most women will, at minimum, experience the discomfort of engorged breasts or the pain of a cracked nipple. Some women have more serious problems such as postpartum depression or a breast abscess.
Why is breastfeeding so problematic? Well, one problem is that today’s new mothers have very little support. It’s likely that your own mother and grandmother used baby formula, so they don’t know what to do either. Guess what… some doctors/pediatricians have never breastfed babies so they are no help either. Sure, they’ve read about it and they’ve taken a class on it, but they have no hands-on experience.
Another reason why women experience breastfeeding problems is because we have very tender and delicate breasts. Face it, our breasts have a life of comfort; they are surrounded by soft fabrics and are padded against wind, rain, and sun. When it’s time for breastfeeding, our delicate breasts get a shock of their lives. Suddenly, there is a baby latched on 10 to 12 times a day!
Fear not – you can win. Attend La Leche League meetings, talk to other moms, read books and get informed. Know what to expect and know how to fix any problems that may occur.
Possible breastfeeding problems :
- Engorged Breasts
- Leaky Breasts
- Blocked Milk Ducts
- Painful Let-Down
- Sore nipples
- Cracked Nipples
- Breast infection (mastitis)
- Breast Abscess
- Postpartum Depression
I don’t want to be ungrateful, but my major breastfeeding problems was caused by my doctor. It was right after the baby was born. I had severe pains in my chest and a fever. I called my doctor to ask for help. He told me to take warm showers and to massage the breast to encourage the milk empty out. That didn’t help at all.
I called the doctors the next day, but he was busy and could not come to the phone. The secretary said that he would call back after 5pm when the patients have all gone home. I waited until 5:30 but he did not call. When I called the office to check, there was no answer – they had gone home for the day. The next morning, I called the office again and the doctor said that I probably had mastitis but that I would be OK if I continue to take warms showers and try to empty the breast of milk by expressing it. After another day of pain and suffering, I called again to complain. The doctor said that I was due for my 6-week postpartum appointment, so I should just come on Tuesday to get it checked (it was Friday).
By the time I went into the office on Tuesday the skin on my chest had turned the color of dried blood. I was a wreck. I didn’t even get to see the doctor. I saw the nurse first, she took one look at my chest and scheduled me for IMMEDIATE surgery. The mastitis had developed into a breast abscess.
I truly believe that if I had proper support, the whole disaster could have been avoided. A simple case of breast infection could have been resolved quickly and painlessly instead of the torture (and danger) that I endured.
The good part of the story is that the doctor who performed the surgery encouraged me to continue breastfeeding despite the deep incision. Through his care and advice, I did continue to a sweet breastfeeding experience which I will cherish and value forever.