HomeHealth articlesbreastfeedingHow Can a Mother Overcome Breastfeeding Challenges?

How to Overcome Problems With Breastfeeding

Verified dataVerified data

3 min read


Women come across many challenges while they are breastfeeding. Learn how to overcome breastfeeding problems through this article.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar

Published At October 5, 2022
Reviewed AtDecember 20, 2022


A woman goes through various physiological changes in their body while they are in the pregnancy phase and breastfeeding. Some signs may indicate normalcy and happen because of biological differences, while some symptoms could cause the abnormality. It is evident and typical to have some worry during the lactation phase as it is a new experience. Establishing a bond between mother and baby is essential for a smooth and successful breastfeeding experience.

How Can a Mother Overcome Breastfeeding Challenges?

It is usual for a new mother to feel uncomfortable during the early stages of breastfeeding while a mom and the baby adapt to breastfeeding. However, breastfeeding must be pain-free, and any feeling becoming problematic for you and your baby needs to be corrected. Sometimes some simple modifications help to breastfeed mothers, while other times, you may need the guidance of a breastfeeding counselor or lactation specialist.

Sore Nipples:

A new mom may experience some signs of soreness in the breast during the postpartum period. It can be considered normal and part of the changes happening with all women during the initial days of breastfeeding. However, if the difficulties increase and your nipples develop soreness, cracks, blisters, or bleeding in your nipples associated with pain, you should immediately seek help from your lactation specialist.

The causes of sore nipples include:

  • Improper baby latch technique and positioning.

  • Fungal infections.

  • Nipple trauma.

  • The formation of milk blisters.

For treating sore nipples, the causative factors are first determined by discussing the signs with the mother. Symptomatic treatments are then recommended like improper latch can be corrected by changing the positioning and learning proper latch techniques. Milk blisters can be removed by massaging, applying warm compression, and extracting the extra milk.

Improper Latch Technique:

Good latch develops with practice, but it is crucial to adapt to the best suitable positioning for you and your baby to maintain a milk flow and avoid any complications in your breastfeeding.

Different known holds like cradle hold, cross-cradle, football hold, or side-lying can be tried to know the best suitable hold for you and your baby. You may also seek help from other experienced mothers or consult some lactation specialist or breastfeeding counselor to learn the most appropriate position for you and your baby.

Engorged Breast:

Breast engorgement is a painful and distressing condition for women. It is normal to have this feeling in the initial few days after delivery. You may have developed engorgement in your breast because you are keeping a large gap between breastfeeding, becoming more dependent on formula milk, practicing improper latching techniques, early weaning, or wearing a tight-fitting bra. If you find breastfeeding difficult because of engorged breasts, you need to breastfeed your baby often, learn and develop a good latch for you and your baby, apply cold compression, or massage your breast.

Low Milk Supply:

It is usual to have a low milk supply as you start breastfeeding, but it should gradually increase on demand from your baby. When your baby sucks your nipples and empties your breast, it increases the milk flow. However, some women suffer from low milk supply if they lack skin-to-skin touch with the baby, switch to weaning early, develop some infection or inflammation in the breast like lactation mastitis, or because of a previous history of surgery or as a result of certain hormonal medications. Milk supply can be increased by breastfeeding often, maintaining skin-to-skin touch with the infants, massaging the breast, using both breasts for feeding, taking a highly nutritious diet, and drinking enough water.

Lactation Mastitis:

Lactation mastitis leads to inflammation of the breast associated with or without infection. The primary cause of lactation mastitis is milk stasis due to blockage of the mammary duct, breast engorgement, improper latch positioning, or milk blebs formation. The associated risk factors include smoking, stress, age, or complications during delivery. You can get rid of milk stasis by removing the collected milk, some symptomatic treatment, and antibiotic therapy in case of infection.

Fungal Infection:

Some moms may find their nipples sore, pink, flaky, shiny, itchy, cracked, or blistered. It indicates a fungal infection around the nipples or in the breast. It requires immediate concern as it is an infectious disease and can be transferred to your baby and lead to the development of white spots on the cheek, tongue, or gums.

Nursing Strike:

A baby may refuse to breastfeed when upset, distracted, or sick. Under such circumstances, all you need to do is give extra love and affection to the baby by holding them close to your breast and feeding them in a quiet and calm environment.

Size and Shape of Nipples and Breasts:

All mothers can breastfeed their babies irrespective of the size and shape of the breast. You only need to develop a bond with your baby and learn the most accurate and comfortable position for you and your baby. A mother can have emotional disturbance and may feel tired, sad, or depressed. It might disturb breastfeeding, and you may find it harder. Adequate nutrition, rest, and care from elders and your partner can make you comfortable and help you with breastfeeding. A new mom may find it difficult to start feeding in their initial days, especially when it is needed in public. In that case, you can ease yourself and try to begin breastfeeding with confidence without caring about anyone’s judgment.


The baby’s sucking ability determines the volume of milk production. The best way to avoid breastfeeding problems is to develop and practice a good latch. A good latch promotes milk flow and inhibits the development of any form of milk stasis. You can learn proper latch techniques only by practice. However, you may take help from your doctor or lactation specialist to learn appropriate latching techniques and position in case of any difficulty.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Are Three Problems Related To Breastfeeding?

The three problems related to breastfeeding are as follows:
 - Improper Latch Technique: Maintaining a good position for breastfeeding is crucial for the baby and mother to maintain good milk flow.
 - Sore Nipples: These happen during the initial breastfeeding phase during the postpartum period. As a result, blisters, cracks, and soreness develop in the nipples.
 - Low Milk Supply: This gradually increases with time as the baby starts breastfeeding. Low milk supply can occur due to some inflammation or infection or maybe a lack of skin-to skin-contact with the baby.


Why Do Mothers Struggle With Breastfeeding?

Mothers struggle with breastfeeding for various reasons, such as insufficient milk supply, fungal infections, lactating mastitis, or inflammation. Also, improper latch technique can cause breastfeeding problems in a woman. In addition, developing a healthy bond with the baby is also essential for breastfeeding. Unable to create such bonds can also cause a struggle with breastfeeding.


How Can Breastfeeding Get Easier?

Breastfeeding can get easier by overcoming the challenges during the initial postpartum phase. Developing a proper latch technique while feeding a baby is the most important way to experience smooth breastfeeding. Another way is loving and comforting the baby in a quiet environment if they refuse to breastfeed for various reasons.


What Are The Challenges Of Breastfeeding?

The breastfeeding challenges are as follows:
 - Low milk supply.
 - Breast engorgement.
 - Nursing strike.
 - Lack of latching technique.
 - Sore nipples.
 - Infections and inflammations.
 - Clogged milk ducts.


What Are The Disadvantages of Breastfeeding?

The five disadvantages of breastfeeding are
 - Sore nipples.
 - Fungal infections.
 - Lactation mastitis or inflammation.
 - Breast engorgement.


Why Does The Baby Push Away When Trying to Latch?

The baby can push away from breastfeeding or latching for several reasons, such as distraction, illness, or teething. Another reason can be a low milk supply or excessive milk flow, causing difficulty swallowing. The baby can also push away due to tight and flattened-out nipples causing issues with breastfeeding.


Does Breastfeeding Get Better With Time?

Breastfeeding gets better with time as both mother, and the baby develop the latching technique naturally and become efficient in a few months. The mother's milk supply also increases, and the baby can take a large volume of milk in each feed. In addition, the breastfeeding challenges such as breast engorgement, sore nipples, and lactation mastitis are also overcome by the mother.


How Long Does It Take Breastfeeding To Stop Hurting?

Breastfeeding stops hurting after a few weeks when the baby gets more comfortable and efficient with feeding, and the mother's body adapts to regular breastfeeding. Nipple soreness usually occurs during the first three days of breastfeeding, and the pain subsides within two weeks. Also, the blisters, cracks, and bleeding gets better after a few weeks.


Why Does The Baby Pull Away and Cry While Breastfeeding?

The baby sometimes pulls away and cries during breastfeeding due to swallowing difficulties caused by excess milk flow. Another reason is if a baby wants to burp during or after breastfeeding, they may pull away and cry. Also, if a baby is distracted, sick, or upset, it may go on a nursing strike and refuse to breastfeed.


What Happens When Breastfeeding Is Not Possible?

The inability to breastfeed can cause the following conditions:
 - For Mothers: Ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, postmenopausal breast cancer, metabolic syndrome, and retained gestational weight gain.
 - For Babies: Pneumonia, infectious morbidity, gastroenteritis, leukemia, childhood obesity, otitis media, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and type 1 and type 2 diabetes.


Why does The Doctor Not recommend Mixed Feeding?

Mixed feeding is not recommended because it can affect the milk supply in mothers, and the milk may eventually dry out. This is because breastfeeding is based on demand and supply; frequent breastfeeding increases the body's milk supply. In addition, mixed feeding can lead to clogged milk ducts and breast engorgement.


What Happens if a Mother Does Not Breastfeed for Three Days?

Breastfeeding takes a few days to start and initially produces a few drops of milk. If a mother does not breastfeed for a few days, the breast milk will be produced a few days after she resumes breastfeeding. Therefore, if a mother stops breastfeeding for three days, she might take another three days to produce a regular milk supply.


Why Does The Baby Twist and Turn While Breastfeeding?

Twisting and turning during breastfeeding is common in older babies as they try to suck more milk due to increased body demands. Also, twists and turns occur because the baby’s body becomes more flexible and mobile with time. It can also happen if an infant is still trying to adapt to the suck-and-swallow pattern.


What Does a Good Latch Feel Like?

The good latch feels very comfortable without any pain or hurt. A mother can feel a slight tingling sensation in the breast during latch and can see and hear the baby swallowing milk without discomfort. The baby also seems relaxed and calm during breastfeeding and does not seem to be struggling while breastfeeding.
Source Article IclonSourcesSource Article Arrow
Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar
Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar

Pulmonology (Asthma Doctors)


Community Banner Mobile
By subscribing, I agree to iCliniq's Terms & Privacy Policy.

Source Article ArrowMost popular articles

Do you have a question on


Ask a doctor online

*guaranteed answer within 4 hours

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. iCliniq privacy policy