How to Breastfeed a Baby

Cures for Three Common Problems

Engorgement

When your milk comes in, your breasts will feel like rocks. Engorged breasts are harder for baby to latch onto, making it difficult for her to get enough milk -- and keeping you engorged. Try pumping before you nurse, or cover your breasts with a cool compress or stand in a warm shower to relieve discomfort and get milk flowing. You'll need to breastfeed frequently to relieve engorgement.

Sore nipples

First, make sure baby is positioned properly -- improper latch-on is the biggest culprit. Begin with the less-sore nipple, so when baby moves to the other nipple, she'll be less hungry and suck more gently. Pat your nipples dry after nursing and keep them covered with plain petroleum jelly when you're not nursing. If the pain is so severe you can't nurse, use a breast pump until your nipples heal.

Mastitis

This breast infection is caused by bacteria within the duct system. Usually just one breast is affected. Symptoms include redness, swelling, and pain, as well as an achy flu-like feeling. Consult your doctor, who will prescribe a safe antibiotic and warm compresses. It's usually safe to nurse on the infected breast. If you choose not to nurse baby, however, you'll need to keep expressing the milk to reduce swelling.

Reviewed 11/00 by Jane Forester, MD

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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