Top breastfeeding challenges and how to overcome them

Breastfeeding is one of the most beautiful stages of your motherhood journey. However, this lovely stage can have its challenges. In this article, I will tell you about the top breastfeeding challenges and ways to overcome them.

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Sally Al Beer
Published on:Jan 5th 2023 |Updated on:Apr 10th 2024
مشاكل الرضاعة الطبيعية

Breast related breastfeeding challenges

1- Sore nipples

This soreness is mainly due to an incorrect latch, it can be overcome by correcting the baby’s latch to the breast. Another reason is fungal and bacterial infections, that require immediate medical attention.

Tips to treat sore nipples

- Moisturizing the nipples using a lanolin-based ointment, or breast milk.

- Fixing the reason behind this soreness, whether it is an incorrect latch or breast infection.

- Taking breaks from direct breastfeeding and feeding the baby breast milk with a bottle at least twice a day.

2- Breast engorgement

This is one of the most common issues with new moms. Breast engorgement is when the breast becomes heavy, engorged, and warm. It is very common when the milk starts flowing on the third, or the fifth day post-partum. It might also happen during weaning. It is very important not to leave breast engorgement untreated as it may lead to clogged milk ducts and severe infections.

How is breast engorgement treated?

- Continuously emptying the breast, either through directly feeding the baby, or extracting milk through hand compression. Breastfeeding might be a challenge with an engorged breast, but this can be overcome by easing the engorgement through hand compression to make breastfeeding easier.

- Using hot compresses on the breast.

- Breast massaging.

3- Inverted and flat nipples

A nipple might be flat or inverted, but this doesn’t mean breastfeeding is impossible, it is challenging and possible when following the below tips.

- Don’t give your baby a pacifier to avoid nipple confusion.

- Not to give up and bottle feed, instead give the baby the pumped breast milk using a cup or a syringe.

- Attempt to extract the nipple before each feed.

- Repeatedly feed the baby until he is used to the nipple.

Other breastfeeding challenges

 Low milk supply

Mothers might face periods when the milk supply is low or just seems low. The determining factor is the baby’s weight. So, until the pediatrician confirms that the baby isn’t getting enough milk and growing as expected, you shouldn’t worry.

How can you increase the milk supply

- Stimulating milk production through repeated pumping.

- Increase skin-to-skin contact.

- Take supplements prescribed by a doctor that increase the supply of milk.

Nursing strikes

This is one of the most common breastfeeding problems, it can happen due to different reasons, such as the baby getting used to bottle feeding. Or due to some changes, such as the mom's return to work, or for simpler reasons such as the mother using a different soap, scent, or cream. The baby might refuse to breastfeed because the taste of the milk has changed. After all, the mom got her period back or is pregnant.

How to deal with a nursing strike?

- Increase skin-to-skin contact

No matter how old your baby is, this method is guaranteed to have him breastfed again.

- Don’t leave the baby hungry

One of the biggest mistakes mothers do when the baby has a breastfeeding strike is that they keep him or her hungry, to enforce the acceptance of the breast. This grave mistake will only increase the baby’s anxiety and make him insist on the strike. Instead, give your baby pumped milk using a bottle until he accepts to breastfeed again.

Check out What are the breastfeeding benefits for mother and baby?



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Sally Al BeerBreastfeeding Counselor & Newborn Care Specialist

Sally graduated with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from the University of Sharjah. She moved to Ontario Canada where she worked as a pharmacist for several years. Meanwhile, she had two children and received great support from breastfeeding consultants. She enjoyed the breastfeeding journey which drove her to volunteer to help new mothers in this journey as well. She found her passion in the field of mother and baby and continued to volunteer after returning to live in the UAE, until she became an accredited breastfeeding specialist providing support to hundreds of breastfeeding mothers, by helping them overcome the challenges of breastfeeding.

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