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Breastfeeding Failure

What is breastfeeding failure and what are its problems

When a mother is not able to breastfeed her baby, despite her wishes, it is considered breastfeeding failure. If the baby does not suckle and empty the breast, it could result in engorgement and infection of the breast.

What are the causes of breastfeeding failure

Nipple Confusion from bottle feeding
If water, artificial milk, glucose water, or even expressed breast milk, is given through a bottle, the baby may get used to the nipple of the bottle and may not make the required effort to suckle and empty the breast.  This is the most common cause of breastfeeding failure.

Supplementing breast milk with formula milk and other fluids
Mothers are always concerned about whether their production of breast milk is sufficient for the baby.  Many times, they decide to supplement their own milk with either formula milk or other liquids.  As the baby starts getting satisfied with feeds other than breast milk, he may lose interest in breastfeeding.  This will eventually lead to a failure of breastfeeding.

Inverted nipples of the mother
Very often, women keen on breastfeeding their baby, have great trouble in doing so because their nipples are inverted.  They could try expressing milk so that the supply is maintained.  But if the situation does not improve, then the mother has no choice but to give up breastfeeding, much against her wishes.

Engorgement, breast infection, sore nipples
If the baby is not being fed in a correct position, and her mouth is not covering the lower part of the areola while feeding, the mother's nipples could become sore.  While the soreness heals, if the mother is not breastfeeding because it is too painful, she should express milk so that her supply is not reduced.  If she does not express milk and the soreness continues for a couple of days, her supply may dwindle and eventually lead to a failure of breastfeeding.

Sickness in the mother
Breastfeeding should not be considered if the mother has cancer and is being treated with radioactive compounds and anti-cancer drugs. It may also not be possible if the mother has been hospitalized due to a serious illness.  Very often, however, mothers stop breastfeeding their babies even when they are down with illnesses that are not contra-indicated to breastfeeding, like fever, cold, cough, typhoid, cholera or tuberculosis.  Not feeding the baby would then lead to a reduction in the supply of milk, and consequently a failure of breastfeeding.

Can I feed my child even if I have inverted nipples

Yes, you can. Doctors often recommend that women with this problem start preparing their nipples in the last trimester of pregnancy by gentle massaging them each morning.  Mothers can also use nipple shields available in the market to feed their baby until their nipples gradually come out.  But managing with breast shields alone for the entire duration of breastfeeding is not a realistic solution 

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