“My baby won't latch.”
Twenty to 30 seconds of slight pain or gentle tugging when initiating nursing is normal, but if that pain persists longer, a bad latch may be to blame. Those early weeks of breastfeeding weren't pleasant for Carrie Lenkenhoff, a 30-year-old mother of three. A nurse in the hospital told her to hold her breast like a hamburger, not a cigarette, but the advice stopped there. “I felt like it was my first act of motherhood, and I'd failed,” Lenkenhoff says. “It took a few weeks before my baby and my breasts formed a relationship.” Try letting baby initiate a latch on his own. Too often, moms take control, positioning babies horizontally and pouring their boobs into babies' mouths. Acker recommends mom and baby lay together skin-to-skin; baby will show readiness for food by lifting his head. Gently guide his head toward your breast, but let him stay in the driver's seat. Gravity will help ensure a deep latch, beyond just the nipple. Lanolin cream, hydrogel pads and breast milk (just rub it on and let it dry) can soothe sore nipples.
“Formula is everywhere.”
“We hear from moms who are angry at the hospitals, doctors and nurses for undermining their attempts at breastfeeding by quickly recommending formula when it's not medically indicated,” says Bettina Forbes, co-founder of Best for Babes, a breastfeeding advocacy group. Her solution? “Be resourceful and ask a lactation consultant for a second opinion,” Forbes says. If you plan to deliver in a hospital, find out beforehand if it has strong pro-breastfeeding policies.
“My baby has reflux.”
Just because baby is spitting up doesn't mean she has reflux. Look for the signs: discomfort when eating or swallowing, crying before spitting up or an arched back while crying. Acker suggests shorter and more frequent feedings. Hold your baby upright after a feeding and offer a pacifier, which can help keep digestive juices down instead of coming up. Talk to your pediatrician about whether your diet could be affecting baby.