Whoever said breastfeeding is easy is either lying or has never tried it before. Getting the perfect latch, knowing when your baby is full, and keeping him awake on the breast are just a few of the hurdles you have to overcome before you can achieve breastfeeding bliss. And it doesn't help that your baby doesn't have the words to tell you whether or not things are going well on his end. If you are worried that your issues with nursing could require some intervention, you should know that there are some breastfeeding red flags that you'll want to call your doctor about.
In the early stages of nursing, you will want to watch your baby closely to be sure he is getting enough milk to maintain a steady level of growth. If your baby isn't gaining enough weight or producing enough wet diapers, you should check with your doctor to see if it is necessary for you to supplement your nursing sessions with formula. You should also pay attention to your own health be sure you are not suffering from any infections which can be passed on to your baby.
If you notice any of the red flags on this list, be sure to check in with your doctor or a lactation consultant to ensure you and your baby continue to have a healthy nursing relationship.
1. Your Baby Isn't Gaining Weight
According to La Leche League International, breastfeeding babies should gain at least 4 to 7 ounces per week for the first six months of life. If your baby isn't gaining enough weight, it's important to let your doctor know so it can be determined whether or not your milk supply is enough. You may need to supplement with formula.
2. Your Baby Has Very Few Dirty Diapers
What goes in should definitely be coming out — in the diaper, that is. Once your milk comes in, your baby should be producing around five to six wet diapers every day, as Kelly Mom pointed out. If you are changing significantly fewer diapers on a regular basis, you should let your doctor know.
3. You Experieince Pain Between Feedings
Breastfeeding can be painful for some women, but if your pain is continuous and is accompanied by flu-like symptoms, you should let your doctor know. You may be experiencing mastitis — an infection of the breast tissue which can lead to breast pain, swelling, and redness, according to WebMD.
4. You Have Flat Or Inverted Nipples
According to Baby Center, inverted nipples can pull in even more if you become engorged. They may also prevent your milk from flowing properly. If you are trying to nurse and your nipples are preventing your baby from getting a good latch, you should let your doctor or a lactation consultant know.
5. You Need To Take Medication
As Baby Center mentioned, most drugs are safe to take while nursing. However, some drugs are unsafe for your baby and others that affect your milk supply. If your doctor prescribes medication for you, it is important to let them know you are nursing.