Breastfeeding Problems: (Pssst It Doesn’t Have to Hurt!)

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Ummm… ouch!

Breastfeeding problems. Ugh, just what no new mom wants to be faced with. But believe it or not, it’s waaaay more common than you thought!

Just when you’re figuring out how to take care of a new precious life, suddenly your breastfeeding journey isn’t what you thought it was going to be.

You might start to worry, or worse – you’re in pain!

Did you start breastfeeding and you’re wondering why and how women do this?!

I promise – it doesn’t have to hurt (that much).

Breastfeeding can be challenging, but with the right tools and support, you can still succeed!

For your full 6 Day Breastfeeding Crash E-Mail Course and monthly newsletter sign up here:

Common Breastfeeding Problems & Tips To Solve Them

If you find you’re having breastfeeding problems, you are not the first woman to experience this. You are doing a great job momma and it’s awesome that you want to give your baby such a great healthy start with breast milk.

Many new moms experience breastfeeding problems and often there are simple solutions. How good is that to hear?

We all need, one less thing to worry about – so let me make breastfeeding problems one of those for you!

1. Sore

I hate to break this one to you, but unfortunately, you might be a little sore when you start breastfeeding.

While your body is made to be able to breast feed, it just isn’t used to it. YET.

I know it may seem hard to believe in those first couple weeks when even the shower hitting your nipples hurts, but I PROMISE – it really does get better and your body becomes used to it.

You’re in the toughest stage of breastfeeding right now and that’s figuring out how to feed your baby and having your body adjust to the new changes.

Now, just because you’re sore, doesn’t mean you have to just “deal with it”. There are products and tips to help you through the sore stage!

The Solution To Your Breastfeeding Problems:

Try a nipple cream or rubbing breast milk on to help your nipples adjust and heal.

I swear by the Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter – it worked like a dream and I only needed to use in for the first couple weeks!

When To See A Professional for your Breastfeeding Problems:

If you notice more severe pain or bleeding, it’s likely due to an incorrect latch. Check with your doctor or lactation consultant – or click here to make sure your baby is latching correctly.

2. Teaching a Proper Latch

Many babies are born and know exactly how to breastfeed.

It’s amazing.

They know just what to do and are pros at it right off the bat.

However, some babies need a little help learning what to do and a proper latch is the key to success.

When your baby latches properly they’ll nurse more effectively and you’ll have a lot less pain! Which means one much happier momma, and one more full baby.

The Solution To Your Breastfeeding Problems:

To make sure you’re getting a proper latch there are a few tips you should keep in mind.

The Hamburger Hold:

Start by offering the breast in a hamburger way to get the most breast tissue in your baby’s mouth. I get that this sounds totally weird, but it is SO important!

So what does this mean?

You know how you’d grab a hamburger and squish it to fit in your mouth?

Yeah. Same idea, but with your breast to go into your baby’s mouth. This helps your baby have the best opportunity to get a great latch and be positioned correctly.

Positioning – “Nose to Nipple”: 

After your breast is positioned like a hamburger, you need to insert your breast into your baby’s mouth in the right spot.

The nipple should be positioned at the top back of your baby’s mouth. Think of it as directing the nipple to your baby’s nose or upper lip.

Many mom’s naturally want to just place the nipple right in the middle of your baby’s mouth – but they actually have a harder time latching this way, and may latch incorrectly.

Getting Your Baby To Open His/Her Mouth

Tickle the side of your baby’s cheek and mouth to get him/her to open his/her mouth.

Once their mouth is open wide, bring them to your breast.

Start with your baby’s bottom lip at the base of your areola and insert the breast.

It’s so important to remember that the areola needs to go in your baby’s mouth too, not just the nipple! You will have pain if only the nipple is in your baby’s mouth, as this is not a proper latch.

Keep in mind that your baby’s lips should be pursed out.

Removing Baby from the Breast

It is incredibly important to remember to never pull your baby off the breast.

If you need to remove your baby to get a better latch, slip your pinky gently between the corner of your baby’s mouth and your breast and slowly break the seal. This will help prevent any trauma or pain to your breast.

Nipple Shield

Depending on your nipple type, your lactation consultant may also suggest a nipple shield to help you get a proper latch. This one from Medela, is really popular and highly rated.

It also comes in a variety of sizes, which I’m a huge advocate for! If you haven’t read about the importance of having pump parts that fit you correctly, check it out here.

When To See A Professional for your Breastfeeding Problems:

If you are struggling to get a proper latch, stop stressing momma, and go see your doctor or lactation consultant! It’s their job to help you.

Don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed. Latch issues are so common, and can be easily solved with the right help and support!

It’s also not easy to always see for yourself if your baby is properly latched. I remember several times asking my nurses and my husband if it was a “good latch”, because I couldn’t get my head in the right position to see for myself! (Trust me, I tried ;))

3. Engorgement

Engorgement. Sounds annoying, right?

Well, when your milk starts to come in, you may feel some engorgement or just feel really “full of milk”.

Your body is adjusting to your new milk supply and your baby’s needs. The sooner your body adjusts, the less often you will feel this. Some women never feel engorged and their milk comes in quite easily.

If this isn’t your case though, there are some great solutions!

The Solution To Your Breastfeeding Problems:

One way to help your body from feeling engorged is to feed your baby on demand.

If that doesn’t feel like it’s enough to relieve your pain, you can hand express or pump off milk to relieve pain as needed.

Just a warning – this will increase your supply as your body thinks it needs to make more milk. But, if you are in pain and need to pump off a little, it’s okay to do so to relieve that pain.

Thankfully, your body should adjust relatively quickly to your baby’s feeding patterns and the pain should go away.

You can also take a warm shower or use warm packs (like the one’s linked below!) to help relieve the pain!

Many momma’s swear by these amazing little hot or cold packs from Lansinoh. As a bonus, many moms even report an increase in their milk supply after heating these up and using them pre-pumping or nursing!


The Pump Station website has more great tips for engorgement breastfeeding problems!

When To See A Professional for your Breastfeeding Problems:

If you are experiencing lots of pain, make sure you call your doctor. You do not want to end up with mastitis.

4. Mastitis

Mastitis just sounds scary doesn’t it?

Well, it can be if not treated appropriately and can often be the reason many mommas choose to quit breastfeeding.

So what is mastitis? Well, to put it simply, it’s an infection or inflammation of your breast.

Since mastitis is an inflammation in your body, you might develop a fever or have a headache, causing you to feel even more miserable.

Mastitis can be caused by a clogged or blocked milk duct.

Unfortunately, mastitis can be incredibly painful and you might notice redness, swelling, or even feel a lump on your breast.

The Solution To Your Breastfeeding Problems:

The best solution to mild mastitis, is to keep feeding your baby, even from the breast with mastitis.

It’s likely going to still be very painful, but by nursing on that side, you’ll help relieve some of the milk that is plugging that area up.

Those awesome little hot packs from above can also be a lifesaver for moms with mastitis.

When To See A Professional for your Breastfeeding Problems:

If you notice that the mastitis doesn’t get better quickly, call your doctor. You do not want the infection to spread or become severe.

5. Worry

Worry and anxiety are hard to control.

Many new breastfeeding moms worry about whether their baby is getting enough milk. Even those who feel like they never worry.

Are there moms that never worry? I’m not sure that’s possible. 😉

When you breastfeed, you can’t see exactly how many ounces your baby is eating, so it can be hard to determine if your little one is getting enough.

So how can you know?

The Solution To Your Breastfeeding Problems:

The trick is to keep nursing and nurse on demand.

Nursing on demand can be easy once your little one is old enough to show you the usual hunger signs. However, when your baby is brand new, they’ll likely be too tired to show some of these signs.

Keep in mind that your infant may be exhausted at first, so be sure to wake him/her for feedings every 2-3 hours and really encourage him/her to eat.

You can do this by undressing your baby, tickling their toes, or increase the stimulation in the room (talk to your baby, turn on the lights).

Count Diapers & Watch the Scale!


You also want to keep track of the number of your baby’s wet diapers and make sure to attend follow-up visits to weigh your baby.

Weight and wet diapers are the 2 best ways to know if your baby is getting enough milk.

When it comes to scales for weighing baby, I love this scale. It’s safe, accurate, and easy to read and use!

If you want to use a regular scale you have at home – use this trick:

Just weigh yourself & write it down, then hold your baby and write that weight down. Just calculate the difference! Try to write down your baby's weight or keep track of it in an app (I love this free one!).

Effects Your Worrying Has on Milk Supply

Stress and worrying can decrease your milk supply.

So as hard as it can be, try your best to relax and enjoy this time with your baby!

Remember that newborns have a stomach the size of a marble on their first day of life, so do not need much milk. The small amount of colostrum (what you produce before your milk comes in) is just what your baby needs. In fact, it’s perfect for your little one!

When To See A Professional for your Breastfeeding Problems:

If you’re feeling very worried or anxious be sure to contact your doctor right away. They can talk with you or help you get connected to counselor. Postpartum depression or baby blues are very real and can occur even months after your baby is born.

Proper Breastfeeding Support is Vital

Having a support system in place is key!

Whether it’s your spouse, your mom, your sister, best friend, lactation consultant, or doctor – just make sure you have someone you can talk to who encourages your breastfeeding choice.

Sometimes it can be exhausting to be the only one able to feed your baby, just remember all those awesome benefits!

If you feel like your baby is still struggling with breastfeeding and think it could be due to a dairy allergy – this post has great information on a dairy free breastfeeding diet.

For your full 6 Day Breastfeeding Crash E-Mail Course and monthly newsletter sign up here:

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