Posts Tagged La Leche League

Breastfeeding Problems and Solutions

When women first start breastfeeding she may encounter many problems common to other new mothers.  These problems could be anything from engorgement, poor latching, sore nipples, plugged ducts, and mastitis.


Mastitis occurs when a breasts becomes infected.  Mastitis usually is formed as red, tender and swollen area of the breast.  Some symptoms felt are chills, fever and other flu like symptoms.  If this occurs consult your physician.  It may require antibiotics to get rid of the infection and possible an anti-inflammatory to help with the pain and discomfort.  It is still recommended to continue breastfeeding to help relieve the condition.

Plugged Ducts

Plugged ducts can result when milk remains stagnant in certain ducts of the breast, sometimes the breast has hardened lumps.  Plugged ducts can be a result in changes in feeding, not emptying the breasts, engorgement or wearing poor fitting bras.  To avoid plugged ducts it is recommended to feed or empty your breasts more frequently.  If you do not want to alter your infant’s feeding schedule you could always use a breast pump to help empty the breast. 


Latching occurs when the baby’s mouth creates a tight seal around your nipple and most of your areola.  Improper latching could result in getting sore nipples.  A common cause for improper latching could be the way the mother or infant is positioned.  To get your infant to latch on, run your nipple along your baby’s upper lip and across her mouth.  Your baby should respond by opening her mouth.  When her mouth opens, bring her towards your breast.  Ideally you would want your breast to touch your baby’s chin first.  It is normal to have a little pain or discomfort when the baby first starts feeding, but this should go away.  it doesn’t go away  within the first minute of feeding you likely have an improper latch.  You can adjust your child’s latch without removing him from your breast.  Take your index finger and pull down on your baby’s chin to bring the lower lip out.  You want your baby’s lower lip to cover more of the areola than the upper lip.  If this doesn’t work you may need to take your baby off the breast and re-adjust.  There are different positions you could use, such as a football position, the cradle and reverse cradle.  If you find your child is pulling away from the breast they may not like position.  Or you may have your hand on the back of their head.  Some babies have an instinctive reaction to pull away when they have hands on the back of their head.  Also pay attention to your positioning.  Find a position that is comfortable for you and your child. 


Engorgement occurs when a woman’s breasts swell due to an increase in milk production.  Engorgement typically occurs within the first few days after the baby is born.  Your body is not aware of the amount of milk needed to feed your baby, therefore it produces what it feels necessary.  Once you get into a routine of feeding the body will adjust its production to meet your baby’s appetite.  This should result in relief from engorgement.  Some signs of engorgement can be (but are not limited to) painful, swollen, rigid and warm breasts.  Some ways to treat this condition would be frequent removal of milk (i.e. frequent feedings or pumping), massaging the breast, apply a cool compress or use cabbage leaves.

This covers only a few breastfeeding problems.  The solutions are just recommendations.  It is recommended to seek the advice of a healthcare professional if you are ever unsure about what to do.  Use your family doctor, nurse, lactation consultant or midwife to get professional help.  If you would like further information a great resource to consult would be the La Leche League website.

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