What Is A Common Problem Faced By Most Mothers When Breastfeeding? Common Breastfeeding Challenges

Breastfeeding is crucial in the early stages of motherhood. It provides the necessary nutrients and builds a strong emotional bond. While it is a natural process, it is not without its challenges. Breastfeeding can be hard for new mothers, with various difficulties.

6 Breastfeeding Complications: New Moms Should Know

The challenges range from slight discomfort to more severe medical issues. New moms need to be informed about potential complications. It helps with effective management and ensures a healthy breastfeeding experience. This article highlights six common breastfeeding complications that new moms should know.


1. Engorgement

It happens when the breasts become full of milk. This can cause stiffness, swelling, and pain. It typically happens when milk production is more than what the baby consumes. It is common in the first few days postpartum as the body adjusts to breastfeeding demands. 

Symptoms Of Engorgement

The breasts may feel uncomfortably full, firm, and lumpy. They become painful or tender to touch. The skin might appear tight and shiny, and the nipples may become flattened, making it hard for the baby to latch. 

Solutions Of Engorgement

  • Nurse Regularly: Ensure your baby latches well and feeds frequently for nursing. It helps regulate the milk supply. 
  • Warm Compresses and Massage: Before nursing, use warm compresses to the breasts and gently massage them as it can help encourage the milk flow. 
  • Cold Packs Post-Feeding: Applying cold packs after feeding can reduce swelling and pain. 
  • Proper Bra: Wear a well-fitting, supportive bra for proper breast support. Avoid overly tight bras to prevent discomfort. 
  • Express Milk: If necessary, express milk manually or with a pump to relieve pressure. 

2. Mastitis

Mastitis is inflammation of the breast tissue caused by an infection. A blocked milk duct can also cause it. Stasis and inflammation can occur when milk is not effectively removed. 

Symptoms Of Mastitis

The affected breast area may become red, hot, swollen, and painful. Systemic symptoms like fever, chills, and malaise often accompany the local signs. 

Solutions Of Mastitis

  • Frequent Nursing: Continuous breastfeeding or frequent pumping is used to maintain milk supply for nursing.
  • Proper Breast Positioning: Correct latching and positioning to prevent milk stasis. 
  • Warm Compresses: Apply warmth to the concerned area to ease discomfort and improve milk flow. 
  • Rest And Hydration: Get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids to help the body recover. 
  • Preventive Measures: To prevent blockages, regularly change breastfeeding positions and fully empty breasts. 

3. Nipple Pain And Damage

Nipple pain and damage can occur during breastfeeding. Common issues include soreness, cracks, and bleeding. These problems are often caused by mechanical trauma. It is usually due to improper latching, which puts excessive pressure on the nipple. 

Symptoms Of Nipple Pain And Damage

Pain during and after breastfeeding, you may experience pain. The nipple may show visible damage, such as cracks or blisters. It can sometimes lead to bleeding. 

Solutions Of Nipple Pain And Damage

  • Correct Latching and Positioning: Work on achieving a deep latch. Focus on comfortable positioning. 
  • Nipple Care: Use pure lanolin or hydrogel pads for healing and expose nipples to air to dry.
  • Alternate Feeding Techniques: You can temporarily feed from the less affected breast if one nipple is severely damaged. 
  • Seek A doctor’s Help: Consult a doctor or lactation consultant for personalized advice. 
  • Preventive Strategies: Use proper breastfeeding techniques from the start to prevent issues. 

4. Low Milk Supply

Low milk supply happens when the breasts do not produce enough milk. It can result in not meeting the baby’s nutritional needs. Various factors can influence it. Various factors contribute to this issue. Hormonal imbalances can affect the milk supply. Breast surgeries in the past and maternal stress can also be factors that affect milk production. 

Signs Of Low Milk Supply

The baby has slow weight gain and has fewer wet and dirty diapers than expected. The breasts do not feel significantly softer after feeding. 

Solutions To Low Milk Supply

  • Increase Nursing Frequency: Increase nursing frequency by ensuring that the baby fully drains the breasts. Implement a nurse-on-demand policy to improve supply.
  • Pumping sessions: Use a breast pump to stimulate additional milk production.
  • Nursing Supplements: Consider natural galactagogues (foods that promote lactation) and stay well-hydrated
  • Lifestyle changes: Ensure you get adequate sleep and manage stress.
  • Doctor’s Help: Consult a lactation consultant for tailored advice and support. 

5. Thrush

Candida Albican’s overgrowth causes yeast infections called thrush. It can occur in the mother’s nipples and/or in the baby’s mouth. The breast and the infant’s mouth create a warm, moist environment, which promotes yeast growth, especially with nipple damage

Symptoms Of Thrush

Mothers may experience symptoms such as nipple pain, itching, and sensitivity. It can also manifest itself through a pink and red appearance. In babies, look for white patches in the mouth and fussiness during feeds. 

Solutions Of Thrush

  • Treatment and Prevention: The mother should use prescribed antifungal creams. The baby should be given oral antifungal drops as prescribed. 
  • Hygiene Practices: Maintain excellent breast and hand hygiene and sterilize feeding equipment and pacifiers daily. 
  • Dietary Changes: Reduce sugar intake as it can facilitate yeast growth. 
  • Clothing: Wear breathable bras made of cotton fabric. Change breast pads often to keep a dry environment. 

6. Breast Abscess

A breast Abscess is a pocket of pus in the breast. It occurs when mastitis is not treated and leads to infection. It is more severe and less common. 

Symptoms Of Breast Abscess

A painful, swollen, red area on the breast, often with a palpable lump. Systemic symptoms like fever and feeling unwell are common. 

Solutions Of Breast Abscess

  • Immediate Medical Attention: Seek immediate medical attention for diagnosis and prompt treatment. 
  • Surgery: Abscess drainage might be necessary, often followed by antibiotics. 
  • Post-procedure Care: Follow post-drainage care instructions carefully and continue breastfeeding if possible. 
  • Follow-up: Regular checkups with your doctor ensure proper healing. They also help prevent recurrence by monitoring and following up. 

Also Read:- How To Maintain Healthy Breasts? Enhance Your Well-Being With Optimal Breast Care!

Sum Up

Breastfeeding is important in early motherhood, and the babies’ health and well-being depend on it. It provides the baby with the essential nutrients and strengthens the mother’s connection with her child. Breastfeeding has its challenges, like engorgement, mastitis, nipple pain, and low milk supply. Sometimes, the complications can worsen and result in breast abscess and thrush. New mothers must recognize these complications, which helps them manage the problems effectively. 

Dr. Vanessa Rodriguez is a board-certified general practitioner with more than 15 years of patient care experience. She takes an integrative approach to patient care that considers the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and is deeply committed to assisting her patients in achieving and sustaining optimal health. Dr. Vanessa is also a skilled writer and medical reviewer, specializing in preventive care and health promotion. Her articles are written in an approachable manner that is simple to comprehend and implement in one’s own life. Dr. Vanessa’s mission is to equip her patients and readers with the knowledge and resources necessary to live their greatest lives.

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