Common Breastfeeding Problems

10 Common Breastfeeding Problems and How to Fix Them

Let’s look at some common breastfeeding problems you may have. 

You have likely arrived at this article because you may have these common breastfeeding problems and you are looking for solutions. 

Many mothers struggle with these common breastfeeding problems. They can often be solved with simple means. 

So stick around till the end of the post. Because I will be sharing some common breastfeeding problems and how to fix them.

Shortly after birth, many mothers start to experience breastfeeding problems such as: 

  • Too little milk or too much milk. 
  • Sore nipples
  • The baby drinks very long or very often
  • Illness and fever
  • Later, breast infections, breast refusals, or suction problems occur again and again. 

Let’s take a look at these common breastfeeding problems and how to fix them.

10 Common Breastfeeding Problems and How to Fix Them

Common Breastfeeding Problems

1- Too little milk: my child is not satisfied

Too little milk

When babies grow fast, they are more hungry. 

Growth spurts often occur between the second and third, the sixth to eighth week of life, and the third and fourth month of life. 

This is why your breast may not have enough milk at the beginning and your child may not get full immediately. 

During this time, you must place your child on the breast more often. 

In this way, the amount of milk can be increased and adapted to the needs of the baby. 

Because milk production works according to the demand-supply principle: 

The more the baby drinks, the more milk is produced.

Also make sure to eat a healthy and balanced breastfeeding diet, drink plenty of fluids, and stay relaxed. 

Mothers who are under stress can also produce too little milk. 

Anxiety and stress could lead to the release of adrenaline, which inhibits the breastfeeding hormone oxytocin, which is responsible for the milk donor reflex.

RELATED POST: HEALTHY BREASTFEEDING DIET

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2- Too much milk: my breast is leaking

Too much milk

After birth, some women produce too much milk. The amount must first adjust to the baby’s demand. 

A troublesome common breastfeeding problem: the milk runs out of the breast all the time. 

Nursing pads  made of cotton or silicone or drip trays that you can insert into the bra are helpful. 

If the other breast runs out while breastfeeding, press your finger on the nipple. This suppresses the milk flow.

It makes sense to find a breastfeeding position in which the baby’s head lies over the chest so that the milk has to flow against gravity. 

Place the baby on one side only per meal. That regulates milk production.

3- Sore nipples: I have pain while breastfeeding

Sore nipples: I have pain while breastfeeding

Painful or sore nipples often occur when the baby is not sucking properly or is not well-positioned to reach the nipple. 

Other reasons can be a tongue band that is too short for the baby or flat and hollow nipples in the mother. 

Ask a midwife or a lactation consultant about breastfeeding the child. 

You can also try the following things to fix the sore nipples:

  • Change breastfeeding positions several times a day and do not always give your baby the same breast to protect the nipples.
  • A massage of the nipple or breast before breastfeeding can help the baby latch properly. Get advice from a specialist.
  • After breastfeeding, you can spread some breast milk on the nipple and let it dry.
  • Wash your nipples with water once a day.
  • Breastfeed your baby frequently.
  • If you want to take your baby off your breast, you should use your finger to release the space between his mouth and your nipple.
  • You pump breast milk by hand for 24 hours to relieve the breast pain and pressure.

You can learn more about sore breastfeeding problems in this article:  Causes of Sore Breastfeeding and Simple Remedies

 4- Breastfeeding refusal

Breastfeeding refusal

Some babies scream at the breast from one day to the next. 

A breastfeeding refusal, also known as a nursing strike, can have many causes. 

Your baby may be too overexcited. In this case, ensure rest and more sleep. Carry your baby often. 

Your child may also have pain, a stuffy nose, or bloating. A saline solution can clear the nose. 

An unusual taste of breast milk can lead to breastfeeding problems. 

Did you eat something new? Did you smoke or take medication?

How to fix breastfeeding refusal.

Here are a few things you can do to manage breastfeeding refusal according to Mayoclinic. 

  • Keep trying. If your baby is frustrated, stop, and try again later. You might try feeding your baby when he or she is very sleepy.
  • Change positions. Try different breastfeeding positions. If your baby is congested, it might help to suction his or her nose before feedings.
  • Deal with distractions. Try feeding your baby in a quiet room with no distractions.
  • Cuddle your baby. Skin-to-skin contact between you and your baby might renew your baby’s interest in breast-feeding. See if your baby will latch on while taking a warm bath together.
  • Address biting issues. If your baby bites you during breastfeeding, stay calm, and slip your finger into your baby’s mouth to quickly break the suction.
  • Evaluate changes in your routine. Think about any changes in your routine that might be upsetting your baby. Are you stressed? Are you taking any new medications? Has your diet changed? Are you using a new perfume or fragranced soap? Could you be pregnant? Focus on taking care of yourself.

If you have a breastfeeding refusal, seek advice from a midwife or breastfeeding consultant.  They can best judge the cause of breastfeeding problems. 

5- Exhaustion of the mother: The baby drinks very long or very often

Exhaustion of the mother

Some babies want to be breastfed very often or for a long time, especially in the evening.  

A breastfeeding meal can last for hours. 

This is very tiring for the mother and can lead to exhaustion. It is therefore essential to get help. 

Can your husband go for an hour out in the evening with the baby while you sleep a little? 

Try lying down during the day when the baby is sleeping. 

Can your parents or a friend take care of the household?

6- Illness and fever: breastfeeding despite medication

Illness and fever: breastfeeding despite medication

You don’t have to stop breastfeeding if you are sick. (e.g. cold, flu, gastrointestinal flu) are generally not a contraindication to breastfeeding. 

“It is very, very rare for a mom to need to stop breastfeeding for any illness. There are only a few very serious illnesses that might require a mom to stop breastfeeding for a period of time or permanently. Per Dr. Ruth Lawrence, “HIV and HTLV-1 are the only infectious diseases that are considered absolute contraindications to breastfeeding in developed countries” (Lawrence & Lawrence 2001).” – KellyMom

The breastfed child usually does not fall ill or the illness is milder. 

Even medication would rarely be a reason not to breastfeed or to stop breastfeeding. 

However, a small part of the active ingredient is excreted in breast milk. 

Be sure to ask your doctor about medications that can be taken while breastfeeding.

7- Flat or hollow nipples: can I breastfeed at all?

Flat or hollow nipples: can I breastfeed at all?

Some women have flat or hollow nipples that can make breastfeeding difficult. 

Therefore, they are advised to wear nipple shapers at the end of pregnancy. 

With a little practice, babies can pull out the nipples due to the negative pressure created during sucking. 

How to get your baby to latch on with flat nipples

Here are other things you can do to get your baby to latch on with flat nipples by By Donna Murray, RN, BSN (verywellfamily.com)

  • You can wear a product called breast shells between feedings. Breast shells put pressure on the base of your nipple to help them stick out more. 
  • Try using a breast pump right before you nurse your baby. 
  • If your nipples are flat due to breast engorgement, you can try to remove a little bit of breast milk before you put your baby to the breast. 
  • Use a V-hold or a C-hold to gently squeeze your breast and present your nipple and areola to your baby. These holds compress the breast like a sandwich so the baby has something to latch on to.

Make sure to get advice from your midwife or lactation consultant.

For more information about getting your baby to latch on with flat nipples, check out in this article: Getting Your Baby to Latch on With Flat Nipples

8- Breastfeeding in public: How can I breastfeed my baby undisturbed?

Breastfeeding in public is of course not a problem with breastfeeding. 

However, it can be uncomfortable for mothers to unpack their breasts in front of strangers. 

Therefore, put an opaque cloth over your shoulder. You can hide your breasts underneath. 

Nursing cover that protects against prying eyes is elegant. Blouses and nursing shirts make discreet breastfeeding possible.

PPOGOO Nursing Cover for Breastfeeding is a popular and best seller nursing cover on Amazon. Many moms swear by the quality of this nursing cover. 

9- Baby falls asleep while breastfeeding

Baby falls asleep while breastfeeding

It is normal for a baby to fall asleep while breastfeeding. 

Many mothers use this in the evening to calm their baby down and get them to sleep. 

Some babies get tired because there is not enough milk flowing and they have to put a lot of effort into sucking. 

In this case, check the breastfeeding position. 

Does your baby embrace the breast as recommended by your midwife or breastfeeding consultant?

In the first few weeks, many babies struggle to suck milk. So that a breastfeeding meal does not drag on too long.

You can wake your baby up by wrapping him/her in between, massaging his feet or back. 

10- Breast Engorgement

Breast Engorgement

There is breast engorgement if the milk is not released often enough. You can feel this through sensitive breast swelling, heavy or full, and tender or warm to touch.

Here’s what you can do to fix this breastfeeding problem.

  • Breastfeed frequently (about every 2 to 3 hours), or pump.
  • Using a warm compress, or taking a warm shower to encourage milk let down
  • Put on a warm wrap for about 5 to 10 minutes before breastfeeding and a cool wrap for about 15 to 20 minutes after breastfeeding.
  • Massage your breast with circular movements or massage your breast while nursing.
  • Avoid tight clothing.
  • Alternating feeding positions to drain milk from all areas of the breast.
  • Alternating breasts at feedings so your baby empties your supply
  • Hand expressing or using a pump when you can’t nurse.
  • If you do not see any improvement after 24 hours, contact the breastfeeding counselor or, if you have a high fever, contact the doctor.

Final Thoughts About Common Breastfeeding Problems

Common Breastfeeding Problems

Make sure to call your doctor immediately if you experienced the following breastfeeding problems:

  • A lump in your breast
  • A red, sore lump that may feel hot to the touch, which could be a plugged milk duct
  • Dimpling or puckering of your breast
  • Fever or flu symptoms, which could indicate a breast infection (called mastitis)
  • Nipple retraction (the nipple turned inward)
  • Painful breasts (more than the discomfort related to breastfeeding)
  • Rash on your breast
  • Unusual nipple discharge or a bleeding nipple

Do not forget to consult your healthcare provider or lactation consultant for any type of doubt or problem related to breastfeeding. 

It is your health care provider who can best advise you on everything about breastfeeding. 

Having a lactation consultant near you who observe and make recommendations can be helpful in any possible frustrating situation.

If you want to learn more about breastfeeding without leaving at the comfort of your home. I highly recommend this online breastfeeding class provided by a certified lactation consultant. 

Lastly, For additional breastfeeding information, please consult a lactation consultant near you or call Breastfeeding CDC at 800-232-4636

Common Breastfeeding Problems References

  • https://kellymom.com/bf/can-i-breastfeed/illness-surgery/mom-illness/
  • https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/expert-answers/breastfeeding-strike/faq-20058157
  • https://www.verywellfamily.com/breastfeeding-with-flat-nipples-431881
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/breast-engorgement#treatment
  • https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/qa/when-should-you-call-your-doctor-about-breast-problems-after-breastfeeding

Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose, or prevent any disease. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions in partnership with a qualified health care professional. 

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Common Breastfeeding Problems and How to Fix Them

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