Babies have this amazing ability to let you know when things just aren't right….they wail like a fire engine! Yes, they sure know how to get our attention. So, when a baby consistently cries while breastfeeding, a mom's maternal instinct kicks in and starts to hypothesize a thousand reasons why her baby is crying at breast. Could it be that my baby doesn't like the taste of my milk? Does my baby not enjoy breastfeeding? Do I not have enough milk? And the list goes on and on….. It is enough to drive a mom crazy, which often exacerbates the initial issue.
So what is a mom to do if her baby is consistently crying while feeding?
First of all, I would recommend meeting with a lactation consultant. Sometimes it is the position that is causing the baby to cry while feeding. Sometimes it could be thrush in the baby's mouth. A lactation consultant will watch your baby feed and should be able to figure out what is going on. In the meantime, here are a few reasons why a baby will cry while breastfeeding and a few quick ways to remedy the situation. This is in no way an exhaustive list, nor should it be taken as a substitute for professional lactation assistance from a lactation consultant or pediatrician….it is just a little glimpse into why your baby might be crying while breast feeding.
Thrush: The beasty-yeasty! Oh, the amount of thrush I saw this past summer could last me a lifetime. Sometimes when a baby has thrush, s/he will have white patches in her/his mouth which may itch or burn. Ouch! Look for white patches on your baby's tongue, inside cheeks, roof of his/her mouth, or on her/his gums. If it cannot be rubbed off, like milk tongue, it is probably thrush. Sometimes a baby will have a diaper rash. Sometimes there is no visible yeast at all. Check your nipples to see if they are pink and/or burning while feeding. A yeast infection can make it very uncomfortable to feed, which can explain lots of crying at breast. If your baby has thrush, you can start taking probiotics to fight off the 'bad' yeast and get your body back in check. Definitely make an appointment with an LC or your baby's pediatrician as a follow-up. Babies usually don't need to be placed on medication when they have thrush, as there are many herbal remedies that can take care of the yeast situation.
Check back next week when we discuss reflux and fast let-down.