Image 01

Find out what you can do to deal with common breastfeeding problems.

Breastfeeding your baby is an incredibly loving, nurturing and rewarding feeding choice, but may not be easy (for you or baby). It may take a little time and practice before you are both comfortable. Read below for helpful information and suggestions on common issues experienced by breastfeeding Moms.

Engorged Breasts

If your milk comes in very quickly in the first few days following delivery, you may feel a little fullness and discomfort. This is normal. Your breasts may swell and feel uncomfortably full. Excessive engorgement, however, may be painful. Cold packs, crushed ice in a plastic bag or cold cloths between feedings are recommended to relieve discomfort due to severe engorgement. Also, keep hot water away from your breasts while showering. Contact your doctor or lactation consultant if the pain continues after a day or so.

Plugged Ducts

A tender, red area on your breast near the areola is a sign that you have a plugged milk duct.


Also called a breast infection. It can start out as a plugged duct that becomes infected, and can be accompanied by a fever, aches and fatigue.

Problems with Let-Down

Let-down may be inhibited by many factors, including stress, fatigue, anxiety, feelings of embarrassment and distraction or if your breasts are tender or painful.


Although potentially embarrassing, leakage is a frequent occurrence among breastfeeding mothers.

Sore Nipples

Some nipple tenderness is normal during the first days of breastfeeding. Sore or cracked nipples are also common and easily treated.
Visit La Leche League Canada


  • To avoid engorgement, feed your baby often, and throughout the night. Let him nurse for 10-20 minutes on each breast. If you still feel pain, express some of the milk with a breast pump. Or try releasing it manually by massaging your breast, then compressing it just outside the areola (Try doing this in the shower).
  • Before each feeding, massage your breast, focusing on the firm area. Then nurse your baby right afterward and try to drain the affected breast.
  • To avoid this, empty your breasts regularly, avoid tight clothing and try to stay rested. If you do get a breast infection, call your doctor at once. You may need an antibiotic, but you probably won't have to wean your baby. Follow your doctor's advice.
  • Get some rest. Nurse in privacy, and try to release your mind of stressful thoughts and obligations during feeding time. Spend a few moments looking into your baby's beautiful eyes, and let nature take its course. If breast pain is a problem, work with your lactation consultant to review positions and latching on.
  • Apply pressure to your nipples directly with your thumb and index finger. Try crossing your arms tightly across your chest. And wear absorbent breast pads in your bra.
  • To avoid this, be sure your baby is latched on properly. He should be sucking on your breast and your nipple should be far back in his mouth. Talk to your lactation consultant if you're not sure. To help relieve this, avoid excessive moisture between feedings. Let your nipples air-dry. Don't use nursing pads with plastic liners, which can trap moisture. Lotions or lanolin can help, once the nipple is dry. Try alternating breasts for a few feedings until the condition improves. Also, wash your breasts with warm water and avoid soap, which can be drying. If the condition doesn't improve, check with your doctor or lactation consultant.
  • If You Need Help: Breastfeeding support is available in your community. Ask your doctor, nurse, or midwife for help. Your local public health department can also help by referring you to lactation consultants or breastfeeding clinics in your area.