Common Breastfeeding Problems - Milk Supply Mama

Navigating Common Breastfeeding Challenges

Last Updated: January 8, 2024By 5 min read

For those who choose to breastfeed, the process can be quite a natural and beautiful experience for both mother and child. However, it is not always easy, and many mothers face challenges when it comes to breastfeeding. These challenges can be frustrating and discouraging, but do not lose hope. Most breastfeeding issues are quite common and there are ways to overcome them. In this article, we will explore some of the most common breastfeeding challenges and provide tips on how to overcome them.

Article Overview

What is Some Common Breastfeeding Challenges?


One of the most common breastfeeding challenges is difficulty latching. This can occur for a variety of reasons, such as the baby having a small mouth or a tongue-tie, or the mother’s nipples being flat or inverted. When the baby is unable to latch properly, it can lead to poor milk transfer and discomfort for the mother.

To overcome difficulty latching, it is important to seek support from a lactation consultant or breastfeeding counselor. These professionals can help assess the baby’s latch and provide guidance on positioning and technique. It may also be helpful to use a nipple shield or breast pump to encourage the baby to latch more easily. In addition, the mother can try hand expressing or using a warm compress to soften the breast tissue before nursing.

Low Milk Supply

Another common breastfeeding challenge is low milk supply. This can be caused by a variety of factors, such as hormonal imbalances, insufficient glandular tissue, or inadequate breastfeeding frequency. When the mother does not produce enough milk, the baby may become fussy and may not gain weight as expected.

To overcome low milk supply, it is important to establish a regular breastfeeding routine and ensure that the baby is feeding frequently, at least 8-12 times per day. Moms can also try expressing milk after feedings to stimulate milk production. Eating a balanced diet and staying hydrated can also help increase milk supply. In some cases, a lactation consultant may recommend using a galactagogue, such as fenugreek or blessed thistle, to help boost milk production.

Sore Nipples

Sore nipples are another common breastfeeding challenge. This can be caused by a variety of factors, such as improper latch, engorgement, or thrush. Sore nipples can be extremely painful and can make breastfeeding a dreaded experience.

To overcome sore nipples, it is important to ensure that the baby is latching properly and to vary the nursing position to avoid putting too much pressure on one area. The mother can also use a lanolin-based nipple cream to soothe sore nipples. It may also be helpful to use a breast pump or hand express milk to relieve engorgement. In cases of thrush, both the mother and baby may need to be treated with antifungal medication.

Breast Engorgement

Breast engorgement is another common breastfeeding challenge. This occurs when the breasts become overly full and swollen, which can lead to discomfort and difficulty nursing. Engorgement can be caused by a variety of factors, such as infrequent nursing, abrupt weaning, or oversupply.

To overcome breast engorgement, it is important to nurse frequently and ensure that the baby is emptying the breast completely at each feeding. The mother can also use a breast pump or hand express milk to relieve pressure and soften the breast tissue. Applying a warm compress before nursing or a cold compress after nursing can also help relieve discomfort.


Mastitis is a painful condition that can occur when the breast becomes infected. Symptoms of mastitis include fever, flu-like symptoms, and a red, tender breast. Mastitis can be caused by a variety of factors, such as blocked milk ducts or bacterial infection.

To overcome mastitis, it is important to seek medical attention and follow the recommended treatment plan, which may include antibiotics and pain relief. It is also important to continue breastfeeding or hand express, as this can help alleviate symptoms and prevent the infection from worsening. The mother can also apply warm compresses to the affected breast and ensure that the baby is nursing frequently and draining the breast completely.

Return To Work

One challenge that many working mothers face is how to continue breastfeeding when returning to work. This can be a difficult transition, as it can be challenging to find the time and privacy to pump milk during the workday.

To overcome this challenge, it is important to communicate with your employer about your breastfeeding needs and to create a plan that works for both you and your employer. This may involve scheduling breaks for pumping and finding a private space to do so. Investing in a good-quality breast pump can also be helpful, as it can make the pumping process more efficient and effective. It may also be helpful to store breast milk in a cooler or refrigerator, and to have a plan for transporting the milk home at the end of the workday.

Emotional Challenges and Mental Health

One challenge that is often overlooked is the emotional challenges of breastfeeding. Many mothers may feel overwhelmed or stressed by the demands of breastfeeding, particularly if they are experiencing challenges such as low milk supply or difficulty latching.

To overcome these emotional challenges, it is important to seek support from loved ones, healthcare professionals, or support groups. It may also be helpful to practice self-care, such as taking time for yourself, getting enough sleep, and eating a healthy diet. Remember that breastfeeding is a journey, and it is okay to seek help when you need it.

Overcoming Common Breastfeeding Challenges

Let’s face it: breastfeeding is not always easy. Many mothers face challenges such as difficulty latching, low milk supply, sore nipples, breast engorgement, mastitis, and the emotional challenges of breastfeeding. However, there are many ways to overcome these challenges, such as seeking support from lactation consultants or breastfeeding counselors, establishing a regular breastfeeding routine, using a breast pump or nipple shield, and practicing self-care. With the right support and guidance, most mothers can successfully breastfeed their babies and enjoy the many benefits that come with it.

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