Common Breastfeeding Problems

Sore Nipples-This comes from your nipples getting used to to day in and day out use for breastfeeding.

  • Prevention:

    • Practice proper attachment (latching) to prevent soreness

    • Position baby directly facing your breast, support baby and your arms with pillows to maximize comfort.

    • Bring the baby TO you and don’t lean into the baby

  • Comfort Measures:

    • Start on least sore side first

    • Vary positions you use for nursing; cradle hold, football hold, lying on your side, etc.

    • Use black tea (i.e Lipton); soak tea bag and leave on nipple for 5 minutes then air dry.

    • Coat nipple with colostrum (or breast milk) and let air dry.

    • Nipple creams, etc have NOT proven to be effective but some moms find them soothing; avoid products that have to be washed off before your baby feeds.


Engorgement- You breast tissue may become swollen and tender 3-4 days after delivery. This discomfort will not harm nor affect your baby in any way. Engorgement is not a permanent state and only lasts 24-48 hours. When you are pregnant your breasts are filled with colostrum by the 4th month. After delivery colostrum is your babies first food. You milk gradually comes in 3-5 days post partum. You may notice that your breasts become full, warm, and heavy while milk is coming in this is normal. When your breasts are engorged they become very hard, HOT, and painful. Engorgement occurs because baby does not fully empty your breasts. Engorgement is due to mismanagement of milk.

  • Prevention:

    • Nurse (feed) frequently- Minimum 8 times in 24 hours

  • Comfort Measures:

    • Use warm moist heat before feeds (to aid letdown).

    • Hand express or pump to soften areola (to aid in proper latching).

    • Use ice or cold moist cloths after feeding if it feels good.

    • Use pain medication if prescribed

    • Hand express or pump gently if the baby won’t wake enough to feed well; just enough to make yourself comfortable.


Fatigue or Feeling overwhelmed- It can be a common problem to feel overwhelmed, exhausted, or tired in the first days and weeks of parenthood especially if you are a first time breast feeder.

  • Comfort Measures:

    • Rest, Rest, Rest and sleep when your baby sleeps, day or night

    • Get some help with the cooking, preparing meals, the shopping, the cleaning, etc.

    • Keep eating well and drink a lot of water

    • Avoid too much company

    • Avoid a lot of activity for a week or two