Is breastfeeding still possible?

L’allaitement, est-ce toujours possible ?

In this podcast, Carole Hervé talks about breastfeeding and the difficulties that can be encountered in this process. What advice to adopt in postpartum to succeed in breastfeeding, how to get help and where to find answers to your questions? Carole tells us everything today! To accompany you in postpartum you can discover our period pantiesand to make your breastfeeding easier, our Adèle bra specially designed for the occasion!

Breastfeeding: what do you need to know?

Breastfeeding is first and foremost a desire of the mother for her baby. It is a personal choice. To begin and live breastfeeding well, it is essential to have access to the information you need and to be surrounded by a network of people who support you. This includes health professionals as well as those close to you, such as family, friends, etc. Finally, the breastfeeding process can be long and sometimes difficult. All women (except for specific cases which we will discuss later) can breastfeed.

Is it possible to never succeed in breastfeeding?

In theory, all women are physically able to breastfeed, and have been since prehistoric times.

But in some cases, and in particular in the case of certain childhood pathologies such as galactosemia, it can be much more complicated.

What is galactosemia?

Galactosemia is a childhood pathology that occurs upon ingestion of galactose (milk sugar). It is caused by a deficiency of the enzymatic activity, which is essential for the metabolism of carbohydrates. In the case of this condition, the infant must be given a suitable diet. Babies with galactosemia do not show any symptoms until they ingest galactose. From that point on, symptoms such as vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, growth problems and the development of jaundice appear.

Other illnesses such as cancer may prevent breastfeeding. Women who have had a double mastectomy will unfortunately not be able to breastfeed.

This is also the case for patients who have a developmental defect such as insufficient glandular tissue or hypoplasia of the mammary gland.

Finally, women who have had breast reduction or breast augmentation surgery may have difficulty breastfeeding (depending on the surgery performed). Breastfeeding will not be impossible, but partial breastfeeding or mixed breastfeeding may be recommended.

Is it possible to breastfeed with a breast prosthesis?

Wearing a breast prosthesis does not generally prevent breastfeeding. But it all depends on how they were placed. There are several ways to place breast implants, the implants are either placed behind the mammary gland or under the pectoralis major muscle (in case the mammary gland is not sufficiently developed and does not allow to cover the breast implant). These two positions do not affect breastfeeding and do not interfere with the milk supply since the implants are not located in the mammary gland. However, there may be some complications in terms of breastfeeding, if the implants were placed through an incision close to the nipple. This can potentially alter the transport of milk, or cause hypersensitivity or insensitivity of the nipple, which disrupts breastfeeding.

But don't worry, breast augmentation is very conservative, many women who wear breast implants breastfeed without experiencing more problems than women without implants.

How to manage painful breastfeeding?

First of all, it is important to keep in mind that breastfeeding pain is a symptom. Pain can be caused by a number of factors.

It is possible and normal to experience increased sensitivity in the days following delivery and when your milk comes in. However, it is not normal to feel pain after a few days or weeks of breastfeeding.

Most of the time, pain on the nipples is the result of :

  • either a bad breastfeeding position

  • or a bad sucking of the baby, which can be caused by a tongue-tie that is too short for example

Both of these causes can lead to cracks that are painful for the mother.

Nevertheless, as said before, there are many causes. There are also :

  • engorgement, i.e. stagnation of milk in the milk ducts

There can also be residual tensions which will prevent the baby from opening the mouth well, in particular if it was born with instruments.

  • thrush, i.e. candidiasis, an infection that will make the mother's nipples crusty, bright pink, burning, irritation, itching, bright pink nipples. In the baby, thrush will manifest itself by the presence of white spots in the mouth.

  • In the case of candidiasis, both mother and child should be treated, even if only one is showing symptoms. It is quite possible to continue breastfeeding, the pain is reduced in one or two days.

There are many causes of pain, but in no case is pain "normal" or even a "fatality".

What to do if you can't breastfeed? How to successfully breastfeed?

As previously mentioned, pain is not inevitable. Some women realize that with a breast pump, they don't feel pain, but when they are breastfeeding, they do. In this case, the causes of bacterial infection, nipple fungus, etc. are eliminated. In order to successfully breastfeed, it is necessary to know the origin of the pain.

Beyond the pain, and the difficulties ofbreastfeeding linked to the positioning of the baby or the mother during breastfeeding, the difficulties of breastfeeding can be due to neuro-endocrine disorders that will delay the start of a milk secretion.

If you encounter difficulties during your breastfeeding journey, do not hesitate to seek help and support from health professionals, pediatricians or lactation consultants.

Pain is not normal, it is not inevitable, and you must get help until a solution is found if you want to breastfeed.

What to do when the baby refuses to breastfeed?

Sometimes a baby may refuse the breast. This is called breast refusal.

There are many reasons for breast refusal:

  • Mouth ulcers

  • Laryngitis

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

  • But also the child who has interpreted that his mother has too little milk

What about reflux?

Of course, most babies regurgitate, most of the time this reflux is a normal and physiological phenomenon, destined to disappear after a while, especially with the adoption of a sitting and standing position. Babies regurgitate because the physiological mechanisms of gastric emptying are immature, and the cadria lacks tone.

But, some babies will actually suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a phenomenon that causes stomach contents to chronically back up into the esophagus. The esophagus can be irritated by contact with acidic liquid and this creates great pain for the baby.

Breast milk is the first anti-reflux medicine. Often, when a baby suffers from reflux, doctors suggest that the solution is to stop breastfeeding and switch to using thickened milk. To help relieve reflux, the use of a thickener can be a solution to help the stomach contents stay in the stomach :).

The infant can also be treated with medication to relieve pain and help him sleep better!

What are the consequences of returning from childbirth and a decrease in lactation?

During breastfeeding, the body produces a hormone, prolactin, which will maintain the production of breast milk after the birth.

If you are not breastfeeding, your prolactin level returns to normal two weeks after the baby is born. In general, the return of the diaper arrives 1 month to 12 months after the birth, it depends if you breastfeed or not and it also depends on the rhythm of your breastfeeding. If it is exclusive or not!

Many women come back from their diaper rash when they reduce the frequency of breastfeeding, either by switching to mixed feeding, or diversifying their diet or if they have decided to wean their baby.
Returning from diapers does not prevent you from continuing to breastfeed, only that your milk supply may decrease.

All mothers who want to breastfeed can breastfeed. Even if it is not natural and breastfeeding may be subject to certain injunctions. Keep in mind that breastfeeding is a learning experience for the mother, but especially for the baby, who, when he or she comes into the world, discovers a whole new world, very different from the one he or she has lived in your womb for 9 months.

Some moms are discouraged bybreastfeeding because the beginning can be difficult. Don't worry, don't hesitate to ask for help!

Of course, each mother is free to breastfeed or not, for as long as she wants, there are no periods to follow, each one does as she wants.


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