Combating Common Breastfeeding Challenges

Breastfeeding is natural, yet presents its own challenges. Learn how to overcome nursing obstacles for a healthy start to your new baby's life.

Celebrated August 1-7, World Breastfeeding Week focuses on supporting mothers who have made the decision to nurse their babies. The focus on peer counseling is aimed at supporting mothers in sticking with their plan to breastfeed, even if challenges arise.

Some of the common breastfeeding challenges and their subsequent solutions include:

  • Not enough milk – Your body is designed to make enough milk for your baby. If you're concerned with the amount of milk your baby is getting, check their weight to make sure there's no weight loss. Try offering both breasts at each feeding. Avoid using formula or cereal that could cause the baby to lose interest in breast milk.
  • Sore nipples - During the first week or so of breastfeeding, you may experience nipple pain as you become accustomed to nursing. However, it shouldn't continue nor be a deterrent. Try using a lanolin ointment after air drying your nipples. Also, make sure your baby is latching well.
  • Baby won't latch - Sometimes difficulty latching is related to position and comfort. If a traditional cradle position is not working, try lying on your side with your baby facing you, pulling the baby close so that he or she can latch. If latching problems continue, find a lactation consultant to answer your questions.
  • Breast engorgement – Your breasts will become larger and heavier. This is normal. However, when the breasts are engorged with a build-up of milk, the result can be pain, plugged ducts or infection. Try pumping or hand expressing a little milk to soften the breast. Also, feed from the more engorged breast more often.

To learn more about successful breastfeeding, visit our online health library. For answers to your health questions or for a physician referral, call our free Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-888-741-5120.

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