Common Breastfeeding Challenges

Posted On: December 27, 2021 By CIW

Expectant parents, especially those planning to breastfeed, face a host of challenges that are both rewarding and frustrating. Childbirth to many can be traumatic while also being a great joy, which is why our dedicated medical team works with people who are pregnant to help manage their expectations about their new life with their child, including specific tasks like breastfeeding.

Not everyone chooses to breastfeed, but those that do or plan to should be aware of some of the challenges many people face. There are issues before, during, and after breastfeeding that can be demoralizing. Here are a few common breastfeeding challenges and what you can do to solve them.

Sore Nipples

Perhaps the most well-known side effect of most parents who breastfeed are sore or tender nipples. Most feedings should feel comfortable once you and your baby have developed a good latch position, but especially in the early days, this may not have clicked yet.

First of all, make sure your baby is not feeding exclusively on the nipple. Babies should be latched on most of the areola as well as the nipple.  Lactation consultants can help troubleshoot and assist with appropriate latching.

To keep nipples moist, there are a few options you have for dry, cracked nipples. First, you can rub a little breast milk around the dry area. Human breast milk has oils and natural healing properties that can help keep skin moist naturally. You can also find special nipple cream or ointment that’s specifically designed to help hydrate and soothe dry nipples.


While it’s totally natural for your breasts to change as a result of pregnancy and childbirth, usually become bigger and a little more sensitive when they begin to produce milk for breastfeeding. However, this can get out of hand, leading to a condition called engorgement, or a buildup of excess milk. It can happen at any time during the breastfeeding period due to not getting rid of enough milk through feeding or pumping.

Engorgement leads to a number of symptoms and other conditions, including:

  • Swelling
  • Breast pain or tenderness
  • Redness
  • Fever
  • Plugged milk ducts
  • Infection

Beyond expelling milk through breastfeeding your baby and pumping excess breast milk, there are things you can do to soothe engorged breasts. Massage and cold compresses can help ease discomfort. Trying different positions to help you baby latch better and drink their fill each feeding can also relieve the symptoms of engorgement.

Low or High Supply of Milk

It’s not uncommon for new parents to worry about whether they’ll make enough milk to properly feed their child. During routine doctors’ visits, you will weigh your baby to see if they’re getting enough nutrition with the amount of breast milk they’re drinking. If they’re not feeding enough, you can try different positions for a better, more comfortable latch to ensure the baby is able to drink their fill. You can also offer both breasts during a feeding to make sure the baby is satisfied.

On the other hand, having too much milk can be uncomfortable and stressful. For unbearably full breasts, you can express some milk to relieve pressure before feeding, as well as using a cold rag or compress to reduce swelling.

Ultrasound Pregnancy Services in New York City

Pregnancy is a time full of uncertainty, expectation, and joy, and there’s much to be aware of during this time. As leaders in women’s ultrasound, Carnegie Imaging is here to be your partner through pregnancy to ensure you have the insight and recommendations you need to raise a happy, healthy baby. Call or contact us online to learn how we can help you today.

Carnegie Imaging for Women blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!

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