A lot has been said about breastfeeding in the past few years - raising awareness about it, encouraging women to embrace it, highlighting the benefits of breastfeeding but not a lot of light has been shone on problems that breastfeeding women face and how they can be solved. Here are top 5 breastfeeding problems and effective home remedies to cure them.
Problem 1 - Low breastmilk production
You might be facing this issue because of certain medications that you’re taking or improper diet. Try incorporating foods rich in carotenoids like apricots, carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans, peas, tomato and leafy vegetables. These vegetables will help increase and even sustain lactation.
Barley and saunf water: This is an excellent remedy that has been used by many breastfeeding women around the world. Soak around half a cup of barley in 2 cups of water overnight and then strain out the water into a separate container the next day. You can also do this by boiling the water and barley for a few minutes and then separating the two. You can use the leftover barley for other purposes. Store the strained water in the refrigerator and drink it by boiling it to heat and adding a spoon of saunf/fennel seeds in it. Do this every day to see drastic results.
Problem 2 - Engorgement
This is due to the excessive filling of the milk and blood in the breasts and fluid retention in the same area. Engorgement is most commonly seen during the first 2 or 3 weeks of breastfeeding.
Hot/Cold compress: Soak a towel in hot water for a few minutes and then place it on your breasts for about 10 minutes before you breastfeed. Herb-infused tea such as chamomile or sage tea is also known to show decent results for engorged breasts. If you feel that your breasts are heavy, the best way to relieve yourself of the discomfort is to feed your baby or if your child is not hungry then you can use a breast pump and save the milk for later.
Problem 3 - Cracked/Sore nipples
In extreme cases of cracked nipples, you might even see some blood. Improper breastfeeding and latching positions are the most common reasons for sore nipples.
Breastmilk: No, you didn’t read that wrong. Breastmilk is a great way to ease your nipple pain. Just dab a little breast milk all over your nipples and let it air dry. It’s antibacterial and healing properties will reduce cracks and heal your nipples. Apart from this, you can also try the same warm compress method as mentioned above for engorgement.
*This is not a natural remedy but calendula creams are known to work wonders for cracked and sore nipples. Ask your doctor about it and give it a go.
Problem 4 - Blocked/Clogged ducts
If you are able to breastfeed, then try not to do it in long stretches and make sure that all the milk is drained completely by using a breast pump. But most women with blocked ducts have problems breastfeeding normally.
Coconut oil: Take a hot shower and then follow it with a breast massage using coconut oil. Use only organic coconut oil so that you don’t have to wash your breasts before you breastfeed. This won’t harm your baby in any way. The combination of hot compress and the massage will improve blood circulation and free up the clogged ducts.
Problem 5 - Mastitis
Mastitis is a bacterial infection in your breasts which is accompanied by symptoms like fever, fatigue, and vomiting. You might be prescribed a few ointments and pills if you consult with your doctor but there are a few remedies you can try right in your home.
Cabbage leaves: The sulfur compounds in cabbage leaves help reduce inflammation and swelling. Cooldown cabbage leaves by keeping them in the refrigerator for half an hour then place the leaf on the infected breast. Keep replacing it with new leaves once the coolness of the leaf reduces and becomes room temperature.
Eating a couple of garlic cloves every day is also known to fight the infection and make your breastfeeding more comfortable.