thirsty work:
your breastfeeding questions answered

Whether you're a first-time mum or a breastfeeding pro, there are lots of little niggles that can crop up when you first try to feed your newborn. It's important not to get discouraged: most teething problems can be sorted out quite easily.

what can i do if my baby won't latch?

You're not the only one who has to learn how to breastfeed: baby does too. If they're having trouble latching onto your nipple when breastfeeding, try a bit of skin-on-skin contact. Get naked from the waist up and strip your little one down to their nappy. Sit back with your baby on your chest, relax, and have a cuddle. When they're hungry they should scoot down and root around for a nipple. It can take some babies longer to figure it out than others, but pumping your milk helps keep your supply up.

it hurts when my baby feeds: why?

It is common for many new mums to suffer some soreness when breastfeeding for the first 3 to 7 days after the birth, but it shouldn’t continue. To prevent soreness you need to try changing your baby’s feeding positions, ask you midwife or health visitor for help and to watch you feed. If it’s getting too painful, wait until your little one yawns and move your nipple a bit higher, so that their mouth is over the lower part of the areola (the dark skin around your nipple). If it's too painful to wait for a yawn, get them to open wide by tickling their chin (any excuse!)

how can I soothe my sore nipples?

If it's feeling unbearable, the best thing to do is to chat to your midwife of health visitor for advice, you can also try some lanolin cream (specially made for nursing mums) which may help. If your nipples are cracked, speak to your midwife or doctor. This could be caused by thrush or infection, or something as innocent as your baby's positioning.

what do I do if my baby dozes off with my nipple in their mouth?

Breastfeeding can be tiring for baby. If you notice your little one has dropped off before they've finished dinner, help them along. Squeeze your breast (gently) to squirt a bit of milk into their mouth. This should get them sucking and swallowing again. When they stop sucking, squeeze again, or they may have simply had enough.

it feels like they want to feed all the time

If your baby won't leave your breasts, don't worry. Babies have tiny stomachs and they need a lot of food: they're going to double their weight within six months, after all. As long as they're gaining weight, have frequent wet nappies and are pooing three or four times a day, it's perfectly fine. If you're still concerned, have a word with your health visitor.

i think i have a blocked milk duct: what can I do?

If you have a blocked milk duct, you'll know all about it. Your breast will be tender in the area around the blockage. The best thing to do is get your baby to latch onto that breast and then massage it gently to get the milk flowing again. If you develop any flu like symptoms at the same time it could be mastitis which mean you need to speak to your GP.

Like everything else, practice makes perfect. The most important thing is to enjoy those special moments when it's just you and your little bundle.