7 Real Breastfeeding Questions On Sore Nipples, Lip Ties, & More, Answered By Experts
Breastfeeding can be a hard, isolating, and emotional journey, which is why it's so important to have a community of supporters. Romper has launched a new Facebook breastfeeding community, Breastfeeding TBH, in an effort to help make feeding another human being with your own body a little easier. Every day, readers ask questions because, let's face it, breastfeeding is complicated. Each week, Romper will be speaking with a lactation consultant to answer as many of these questions as possible.
Have you ever asked your friend for help with parenting, diaper rashes, or breastfeeding, and been so confused by their answer that you wish you hadn't asked at all? I think this happens to me most of the time I ask someone else for advice. The reason isn't because you're a jerk who think your friends know nothing, but because everyone has their gut instincts. When you're asking for advice, what you're really hoping is someone will say what you're already thinking. When they offer a completely different solution, it totally throws you off.
Especially when it comes to breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is full of techniques, sure, but it's also a lot of listening to your gut and trial and error. When you're having problems, asking friends can give you conflicting answers. That's why I stand by asking a professional for help. These lactation consultants know their stuff and can give you the answer you're looking for without worrying that it won't work for you and your baby.
1. Teething Baby Biting Down On Nipple
Any advice for babies who are starting to teeth? My baby will act hungry and then just chew on my nipple. He doesn't have any teeth yet, but his doctor said they are coming. He won't chew on a teething toy or anything else but my nipple. It's not fun. Help.
"This can be hard for babies and their moms," Leigh Anne O'Connor, IBCLC tells Romper in an interview. "Often, when a baby is teething, it can be uncomfortable for them to nurse in a horizontal position. Letting your baby sit upright while straddling one of your legs can help keep him interested." She also suggests soaking a soft cloth in your breast milk and freezing it to make a great teething toy. O'Connor notes that babies want to bite down because of the pressure from the erupting teeth, so offering your finger for him to chew on may also help.
2. Baby Needs To Nurse To Fall Asleep
My 8 month old is exclusively breastfeed and has never taken a bottle or pacifier. We have been co-sleeping since birth, but my daughter will only fall asleep in my bed when nursingWhen she wakes up, the only way to get her back to sleep is to give her the boob. She has gotten worse with needing a boob to sleep and is now on the boob almost all night. Please help.
O'Connor says that many older babies get distracted during the day and do not take in enough milk so they make up for it at night. A good solution? Try nursing more often during the day. "If your baby is taking solids, make sure she tolerates all of the food she is taking," she says. "Also, be sure that she gets a decent amount of milk during the day." O'Connor recommends offering your baby a nice long nursing session just before she goes down for the night.
3. Sore Nipples & Low Supply In One Breast
The past couple of days, my nipples have been very sore and I'm not sure what will help the soreness. Also, is it possible that only one boob isn't producing milk like it was? It's almost like I'm drying up already and my baby is only five weeks old.
"This is not a simple question to answer as there could be many things going on," O'Connor says. "Is the soreness related directly to the way your baby latches on to the breast? Is it during nursing or after or both? Is your baby sucking on anything else, like a pacifier or a bottle? This can impact the way he sucks on the breast." O'Connor also notes that it's unlikely that your milk would just dry up unless you're using hormonal birth control, nursing on a strict schedule, or supplementing with formula without expressing your breast milk. Being on antibiotics during pregnancy, your child's birth, or since they were born could also cause issues. She says a consultation with an IBCLC may be in order.
4. Motilium To Increase Supply
Has anyone had any experience using Motilium (domperidone)? It's my lactation consultant's last effort to increase my supply.
"Many moms find this quite helpful when they have a low milk supply and they have exhausted other strategies to increase milk," O'Connor says. "I have had many women use it with a significant increase in milk supply."
5. Painlessly Nursing A Baby With A Lip Tie
Is it possible to successfully nurse a baby with a lip tie with no pain? We didn't have problems until she was around six months old and this month has been hell for me. She is growing fine, but I'm crying when I nurse her. Pumping isn't really an option.
"It is possible to nurse a baby with a lip tie or a tongue tie without pain," O'Connor says. "Babies like this do well in the beginning, but as they grow, if they have not stimulated your milk efficiently, they may pull harder to get more milk or out of frustration. You may find it helpful to see a specialist in your area who can assess and release ties."
6. One Breast Is Larger Than The Other
I'm breastfeeding and one of my breasts is significantly larger than the other. Is there a way to get them to even out or increase my supply in the smaller breast? It makes wearing any tops very difficult.
Whether you're breastfeeding or not, it's pretty normal for breasts to be asymmetric, but the asymmetry can become more dramatic while nursing. "Chances are you are going to be asymmetric on some level, but you can nurse your baby first on the larger breast for all or most of your nursing sessions as this is when babies typically have more vigorous sucking," O'Connor says. "Most likely you notice the asymmetry more than anyone else."
7. Hyperthyroidism Medication While Nursing
Does anybody have experience with having Graves disease or hyperthyroidism and what medications are safe to take for treatment while breastfeeding? I am about to go to the doctor for treatment and am so worried about affecting breastfeeding.
O'Connor recommends consulting your doctor along with LactMed and/or the Infant Risk Center to find out what medications are safe for breastfeeding.