The experts always say that breastfeeding is natural, but sometimes it isn’t always naturally successful for all moms.
In fact, breastfeeding can come with tons of struggles along the way that new moms have to learn to overcome. However, if new moms are prepared and know more of what to expect while breastfeeding, they may be able to fix any breastfeeding problems that come their way.
*I am not a healthcare professional so please always consult with your doctor before diagnosing or treating any problems. This page may contain affiliate links, however, I will never recommend anything that I do not believe in and use myself. You can read more about my disclosure policy here.
1. Painful Latching
One of the most common struggles that new moms face when they start their breastfeeding journey is painful latching.
Getting a good latch is crucial for your baby to get enough breast milk and also for keeping you out of pain. When your baby is ready to breastfeed, you are supposed to help guide your baby’s mouth onto the areola (the darker skin around the nipple) to help them start sucking and getting the breast milk flowing.
When your baby has a good latch with a wide-open mouth, there is no pain. However, when your baby latches just on your nipple it can be extremely painful. Trust me getting the right latch is truly what will make or break your breastfeeding journey.
And if you aren’t sure about getting the perfect latch for breastfeeding, I recommend taking some breastfeeding classes taught by a lactation consultant like this one.
2. Lip-Tie or Tongue-Tie
Lip ties and tongue ties are very common among babies and can interfere with breastfeeding and even your child’s speech as they grow older.
- An upper lip-tie is where a piece of skin under the upper lip is short or thick and is attached too tightly to the upper gum. It can restrict the movement of the upper lip. This can also cause problems when breastfeeding.
- A tongue-tie is a short, piece of tissue that is connected from the tip of the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. Tongue-ties can affect many things like eating, speaking, and breastfeeding.
Fortunately, there is a simple fix for both of these breastfeeding problems with great results.
We discovered that our son had a tongue tie at just a few weeks old and when getting it checked by a specialist we were able to get it clipped very easily. This not only helped with breastfeeding but also the total movement of his tongue.
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If your baby is very fussy during feedings and has white patches in their mouth, they may have thrush.
Thrush is an oral yeast infection caused by a yeast or fungus called Candida albicans. It’s kinda like the vaginal yeast infections that women experience but instead in the baby’s mouth. So you can understand how uncomfortable your baby must be.
Thankfully, thrush is easily treated by an antifungal medication. However, you have to be vigilant in treating yourself and your baby since it is contagious and can be passed to your breasts when breastfeeding.
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4. Pain and Soreness
While some soreness is completely normal and expected when you first start breastfeeding, however pain during breastfeeding is not at all normal. And if you are experiencing pain while breastfeeding your baby always check to see if your latch is wrong.
To soothe some of the soreness that naturally comes with the beginning of breastfeeding you can try using some of these cold packs made specifically for breastfeeding moms.
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5. Cracked Nipples
Cracked nipples are so uncomfortable. Most of the time, breastfeeding moms experience cracked nipples due to the fact their nipples are very dry. And with a baby sucking your breasts dry that’s expected.
One great way to heal cracked nipples naturally is by expressing some breast milk after you’ve finished breastfeeding your baby and allowing the breast milk to air dry onto your nipples. Since breast milk is very nourishing it can also be great for your nipples as well.
And if that doesn’t work, you can always try using some nipple cream like this one to coat your nipples.
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At some point, every single breastfeeding mom experiences some degree of engorgement and it’s no fun at all.
Being engorged just means that your breasts are full of breast milk and need to be emptied. The most common reason that breastfeeding moms become engorged is that they may have a period of time where their baby skips a nursing session.
This can be difficult when your breasts feel like balloons that are just waiting to pop.
But luckily engorgement is really easy to fix.
You can either encourage your baby to breastfeed to suck all of the breast milk out or you can express the breast milk yourself. I have down well with both options. There are just sometimes where your baby may not need to nurse but you need to express.
And with a breast pump, you can easily express some breast milk and store it for later.
Find out how you can get a FREE Medela Breast Pumps Through Insurance!
7. Clogged Duct
In the breasts, there are ducts that allow the breast milk to travel to the nipple and out to your baby. But sometimes these ducts can become clogged or plugged. When this happens, you may notice a very sore lump on your breast that is tender. This is a clogged duct.
Clogged ducts are usually caused by extended breasts between breastfeeding or wearing nursing bras that are too tight.
Most of the time clogged ducts can become unclogged by your baby breastfeeding, however, if you start to feel feverish and achy this is a sign that the clogged duct has become infected and you should see your doctor.
Mastitis is a bacterial infection that has flu-like symptoms including pain in your breasts and also fever.
Most of the time mastitis is caused by clogged milk ducts, engorgement or even cracked skin. The best way to treat mastitis is by seeing your doctor about treating the infection with antibiotics.
9. Is My Baby Getting Enough Breast Milk?
One of the most common questions that new breastfeeding moms ask is “Is my baby getting enough breast milk?”
Since breastfeeding moms cannot visually see how much breast milk is going into their baby, worrying that they are getting enough breast milk is a huge problem. And when a breastfeeding mom worries that her baby is not getting enough breast milk she is more likely to have breastfeeding problems.
There are actually a few really easy ways to tell if your breastfed baby is getting plenty of breast milk. Here’s how to know for sure.
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10. Low Breast Milk Supply
Although having a naturally low breast milk supply is very rare, there are some things that can truly diminish your breast milk supply over time. For example, not breastfeeding on demand, not getting enough sleep, or not drinking enough water can affect your breast milk supply tremendously.
But if you establish a good breast milk supply from the start you are less likely to have to worry about it later on.
And if you have a low milk supply and are determined to increase it here are 10 ways to double your breast milk supply.
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11. Painful Let-Down
Let-down is when the muscles in your breasts constrict causing the breast milk to move down and out the nipple. Let-down is most commonly caused by your baby’s sucking reflex when latched on to breastfeed.
However, you can also experience let-down just by thinking about your baby or hearing your baby crying. This is completely natural and is just your body’s hormones working to get ready to feed your baby when needed.
Of course, many moms experience a little pain during let-down. I personally had a slight stinging pain every time I let-down during breastfeeding until my son weaned at 15 months. It was a very quick sting and then as the milk slowed down the pain went away.
Unfortunately, I didn’t find any way to make this let-down pain go away, but by just relaxing during the let-down, I did begin to notice it less and less.
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12. Breastfeeding and Biting
All babies get teeth at some time and most commonly during their first year while you are still breastfeeding them. But many breastfeeding moms experience their babies biting them while breastfeeding.
Getting bitten when breastfeeding can be very painful, but most babies are not aware that they are hurting their breastfeeding mom when they bite.
The most common reason that babies bite while breastfeeding is due to teething. Teething can be horribly painful and can make your baby want to bite things to help with the pain.
But the good news is that you can certainly still breastfeed your baby once they start teething just by learning these tricks. And you can also help to soothe your baby’s teething symptoms with a baltic amber teething necklace and or even by trying these all-natural teething remedies.
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13. Baby Falls Asleep While Nursing
Does your baby fall asleep while breastfeeding? This is completely understandable since your breast milk contains hormones that actually soothe your baby and help them to relax.
But sometimes your baby may only breastfeed for a short time and fall asleep which may keep them from finishing their meal.
A few different ways to try to encourage your baby to wake up and keep eating is by hand expressing some breast milk into their mouths if they are still latched on. You can easily do this by gently squeezing the top of your breast to move the breast milk down and out to your baby’s mouth.
Do you still feel like you need more help with breastfeeding? That’s okay. Breastfeeding is not always so easy and can come with a few bumps along the way. I always recommend learning everything you need to know from a certified lactation consultant.
And when you are stuck at home with a newborn baby, it can be so much easier to learn how to breastfeed from the comfort of your home. That’s why The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class by Milkology is the best breastfeeding class I have found online.