What are the Most Common Problems in Breastfeeding?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 12 January 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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Many women feel that breastfeeding is the healthiest and most practical way to feed their babies. When problems in breastfeeding develop, the new mother may feel frustrated or confused. Some common problems in breastfeeding include sore breasts or nipples, an inadequate milk supply, or blocked milk ducts. Infection may also occur. Fortunately, there are several methods that may help to make the breastfeeding experience more comfortable for mom and baby.

Sore nipples are among the most common problems in breastfeeding. Sore nipples are particularly common during the first few days of breastfeeding, as it takes a little time for the nipples to toughen up. Experimenting with different feeding positions may help to alleviate some of the nipple soreness. Dry, cracked nipples can also cause soreness or tenderness. Applying vitamin E oil to the nipples several times per day can often keep this from happening.

Sore breasts may lead to problems in breastfeeding. This may be due to the breasts being too full of milk, something that often occurs when a woman's milk first comes in a few days after giving birth. This may also occur if a feeding is skipped or if the baby is not allowed to take turns nursing from each breast. Frequent feedings can often ease some of this soreness, but if the problem persists, extra milk can be pumped and stored for later use. Alternating between warm and cold compresses may also help to relieve some of the soreness.


An inadequate milk supply can cause problems in breastfeeding. Stress and not getting enough rest may contribute to this problem, so the new mom must learn to properly take care of her own needs so that she can provide for her baby. It is also important to eat a well-balanced diet and drink plenty of fluids in order to ensure an adequate milk supply. As long as the baby is gaining weight, chances are good that the mom is producing enough milk. Any questions or concerns about whether the baby is getting enough milk should be discussed with a doctor.

Blocked milk ducts or a breast infection, known as mastitis, may cause problems in breastfeeding. For blocked milk ducts, gentle breast massage may help to clear the blockage. A breast infection is typically treated by oral antibiotics. Warm, moist compresses used several times per day may also help to alleviate some of the pain. If blocked milk ducts or an infection are suspected, a doctor should be consulted so that proper treatment can begin.



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