So often I have encountered mothers who despair at symptoms which are presented when they are breast feeding:
- The baby pulls away from the breast soon after latching.
- The baby gulps and in so doing swallows excessive air.
- Baby seems to be plagued by regular abdominal discomfort.
- Baby vomits regularly and sometimes hours after the last feed.
Even an enthusiastic breast feeder often considers weaning the baby from the breast.
I am always thankful that I am consulted before the desperate mother weans the baby.
Let’s go through each of the symptoms and see if we can make a difference.
If the baby pulls away from the breast soon after latching it could be due to the tension in the breast and the milk squirting down baby’s throat.
To ease this symptom I usually recommend that mum expresses about a tablespoon or two of milk out of the first breast before she latches baby. This could relieve the tension & lead to a more relaxed feed. The second breast will leak and should not squirt.
The second symptom of gulping could also be eased by the expressing of milk before the feed.
The abdominal discomfort is usually due to incomplete burping of baby after feeding.
If your baby is vomiting, be very gentle with your burping. Rock baby gently on your lap and avoid shaking.
Also leave the baby in the upright position for at least a half an hour after the feed. When the baby is then flattened to sleep, I recommend that you put the baby in the left lateral position.
NEVER put an ‘oopsing’ baby on his or her back unattended.
For that abdominal discomfort I usually revert back to my favourite treatment…. the warm bath!
It need not be a soaping, washing bath, it rather takes the form of a warm spar soak. The warm water helps to relax those painful abdominal muscles.
I am aware that some babies have a mechanical reason for vomiting. This is believed to be due to an immature valve at the stomach entrance. This problem will usually be self-rectifying so should not cause too much stress. Just treat with the same gentle handling and protect yourself and any other person who handles the baby!
© Teresa Denton