Mother's milk is best food for a newborn but there are many problems linked to latching such as pain in nipples, mastitis, infections, engorgement etc. which can increase the problems of the baby and the mother.
Engorgement: Symptoms of engorgement are swelling in the tissues, breasts become warm to touch and woman may suffer from fever. Its treatment to give immediate breastfeed to the infant. Women can use pumps to soften the tissues around the nipples to allow the baby to take the feed. Hand expression, pressing inwards and cold compression can be used to remove excess milk to prevent engorgement.
Sore of the nipples: Nipple soreness is seen in women after some seconds of first feeding but as the infant starts latching, it may improve. If the infant is unable to latch correctly mother may suffer from nipple bruising or blistering. This form of nipple pain should reduce in seven days of childbirth and nursing. It can be caused by injury, trauma, improper positioning of the infant or by infections. One can use nipple ointment to prevent soreness.
Plugged ducts: It happens when the flow of the milk is blocked and it can result in the formation of a thick area inside the breasts which is called galactocele. It may not cause much discomfort and it can be cured by emptying the tissues to allow milk flow. Warm shower helps in release of the milk and proper positioning of baby during latching can also promote milk flow.
Mastitis: Infections can cause pain and swelling in tissues, which also causes fever to the nursing women. Other symptoms are chills, feeling ill and muscle aches. Woman can use oral medicine for mastitis and she should take complete rest. There is no effect of mastitis on the infant taking the feed.
Bloody discharge from nipple: Nipple can have bloody discharge in a few days of childbirth and the fluid coming out of the breast can be brown or rusty in color. The problem should resolve in a few days. But if there are other causes for blood in milk such as cracks in breasts caused by trauma or if the stool of the infant shows red color, one should contact a health practitioner. In extreme cases, it indicates breast cancer.
Change in nipple color: Nipples can become white or painful if the mother suffers from narrowing of blood vessels, which can be caused by extreme cold or sensitivity to temperature changes. Warm compress and medication can cause the problem and one can take high blood pressure medication not prevent it.
Dark meconium: Meconium is infant’s stool which changes color from dark to green brown and to curd like color in a few days of birth. But if the change is not seen, the infant is not getting proper milk supply and you may have to contact the healthcare instructor to increase the milk supply.
Milk ejection: In overactive milk ejection reflux, the infant may cough and push the breasts away. It can happen because of improper positioning or excess milk flow, which does not allow the infant to easily swallow the milk. Mother can use compressing or hand express to reduce flow.