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Breastfeeding: Common Breastfeeding Challenges

Common breastfeeding challenges facts*

*Common breastfeeding challenge facts medical author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

  • Lactation consultants are trained to help women find ways to make breastfeeding work.
  • Many women have no problems breastfeeding, while others will experience some challenges. These challenges can often be overcome.
  • Developing a good latch is important to prevent sore nipples.
  • Checking a baby's weight and growth is the best way to make sure he or she is getting enough milk.
  • Engorgement refers to the feeling of pain or fullness in the lactating breasts.
  • Clogged or plugged ducts are relatively common and can be relieved by massage, warm compresses, and frequent breastfeeding.
  • A plugged duct feels like a tender, sore lump in the breast.
  • Mastitis is an inflammation or infection of the breasts that can be accompanied by fever.
  • Breast infections that do not heal within 24 to 48 hours may need treatment with antibiotics.
  • Most mothers are able to make enough milk for twins, and some fully breastfeed triplets or quadruplets.
  • Breastfeeding after breast surgery is usually possible; the extent depends upon the type of surgery and the reasons it was performed.
  • Some health problems in babies can make breastfeeding more difficult.

Common breastfeeding challenges overview

Breastfeeding can be challenging at times, especially in the early days. But it is important to remember that you are not alone. Lactation consultants are trained to help you find ways to make breastfeeding work for you. And while many women are faced with one or more of the challenges listed here, many women do not struggle at all! Also, many women may have certain problems with one baby that they don't have with their second or third babies. Read on for ways to troubleshoot problems.


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