Breastfeeding Problems

Some common problems you may encounter when breastfeeding;

Breast Pain

Breast pain can be caused by a number of conditions including mastitis and thrush. If you have pain deep in the breast tissue, it is always best to seek medical advice from your doctor. If your pain is accompanied by a temperature it is likely you have an infection and this will need prompt treatment.

Engorged Breasts

When your breasts feel hard, lumpy, swollen and painful, it is likely that they are engorged. You will notice this feeling when your baby id due a feed and it can be very uncomfortable. Feeding will ease the discomfort but if you are not in a position to feed, for example you are away from your baby or they are not interested in feeding, then you can express to ease the awkward feeling. You may find that engorges breasts are more comfortable when the milk is expressed by hand rather than using a pump.


One of the biggest stars of embarrassing breastfeeding anecdotes had to be the unexpected leak. It might be irritating but it is normal. Some leakage is to be expected when you are breastfeeding but the good news is that when you get into a regular pattern of feeding with your little one, the leaking should settle somewhat. You may find that it usually happens when your breasts are engorged or when you hear a baby crying (even if it isn?t yours) as this triggers your let-down reflex. Wear breast pads to absorb leaks and use a muslin cloth to absorb any milk that leaks from one breast while your baby is feeding from the other.

Milk Supply Problems

Too much milk? Too little milk? You may experience either of these problems, or even both at different times. Both of these problems usually settle down when your breastfeeding pattern develops. Getting settled down into a routine is a difficult time and problems with supply are quite common. If you have too much milk which sprays or leaks and baby turns away from the breast, then try expressing a little before a feed. If you feel that you need to increase your milk supply, it could be that your body is settling into your baby’s pattern. Your body produces as much as your baby demands, so the more he feeds, the more you produce. It is rare to have a truly low milk supply if you are feeding on demand but expressing can help increase your supply by increasing the demand. Some Mothers find that giving baby a dummy means they feed less frequently and therefore the milk supply drops.

Blocked Ducts

A blocked duct usually refers to when there is a back-up of milk in the breasts; this can be painful and you may feel a lump in the breast along the duct. This can be the early stage of mastitis but it can be resolved before it develops into mastitis by draining the breast well as each feed, feeding frequently and making sure your baby is latched on well. When skin grows over the opening of a duct, this is also called a blocked duct, but this is less common and more easily dealt with by simply removing the skin (often this happens naturally during a feed)

Inverted Nipples

Feeding with inverted nipples is possible and many women with inverted nipples find breastfeeding easy. Some need some extra help, and a good breastfeeding specialist can help you with this. It can help to soften the breast before a feed by massaging it so that the nipple is easier to draw out.

For every breastfeeding problem there is a solution, and there is usually no need to stop feeding. Seek help from your doctor, midwife, health visitor and any breastfeeding specialists you can access. It can also help to go to breastfeeding support groups or baby cafes where you can get advice from other Mums.