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Overcoming 6 Common Breastfeeding Challenges

One of the most common breastfeeding challenges is low milk.

Entering the realm of motherhood is an awe-inspiring journey, filled with countless moments of love, joy, and tenderness. Amidst this beautiful experience, one of the most intimate and cherished connections between a mother and her baby is established through breastfeeding. However, this path, though natural, can present a variety of breastfeeding challenges that can leave new mothers feeling overwhelmed and uncertain.

From latch difficulties to milk supply concerns, navigating the world of breastfeeding can be a bumpy road. Yet, with the right support, knowledge, and perseverance, these obstacles can be overcome, allowing new mothers to find empowerment and fulfillment in their breastfeeding journey.

In this blog, we will delve into the common breastfeeding challenges faced by new mothers and explore practical strategies and resources to triumph over them, ultimately nurturing a strong and nourishing bond between mother and child.

Low Milk Supply

Breastfeeding challenges can be difficult for new mothers.

One of the most common breastfeeding challenges new mothers encounter is low milk supply. It can leave them feeling anxious and questioning their ability to nourish their baby adequately. However, it’s important to remember that low milk supply is often a temporary hurdle that can be overcome with patience and persistence. To increase milk production, new moms can try a few effective strategies. 

First and foremost, ensuring frequent and effective breastfeeding or pumping sessions can help stimulate milk production. Additionally, maintaining a healthy diet, staying hydrated, and getting enough rest is crucial for optimal milk supply. Utilizing techniques such as breast compression during nursing sessions and practicing skin-to-skin contact can also promote milk flow and combat breastfeeding challenges. 

Moreover, seeking guidance from a lactation consultant or joining a support group can provide valuable insights and encouragement. Remember, every mother-baby dyad is unique, and with determination and the right support, it’s possible to overcome low milk supply and continue on the path of a successful breastfeeding journey.

Plugged Duct

Dealing with a plugged duct can be an uncomfortable and distressing experience for a new mom. A plugged duct occurs when one of the milk ducts becomes blocked, leading to engorgement, tenderness, and a localized lump in the breast.

To overcome this breastfeeding challenge, it’s crucial to address it promptly. Start by applying warm compresses or taking a warm shower to encourage milk flow and relieve discomfort. Gently massaging the affected area towards the nipple while nursing or pumping can also help loosen the blockage. Additionally, ensuring proper drainage of the breast by breastfeeding or pumping frequently is essential.

Nursing in different positions, such as leaning forward or using the “dangle feed” position, can help target the blocked duct. It’s crucial to prioritize rest and self-care, as stress and fatigue can contribute to the problem. Wearing loose, comfortable clothing and avoiding tight bras can also promote better circulation. If the plugged duct persists or leads to symptoms of infection, such as fever or flu-like symptoms, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional.

Remember, with patience, consistent self-care, and attentive breastfeeding practices, a plugged duct can be effectively resolved, allowing you to continue your breastfeeding journey smoothly.

Nursing Strike

Experiencing a nursing strike can be disheartening and confusing for a new mom. A nursing strike happens when a baby suddenly refuses to nurse, often without an apparent reason. Overcoming a nursing strike requires patience, understanding, and gentle strategies. First and foremost, it’s important not to force the baby to nurse during a strike, as it may cause further resistance. Instead, create a calm and comforting environment for feeding, offering the breast when the baby is relaxed and receptive.

Experimenting with different nursing positions or locations may also help reignite their interest. Maintaining skin-to-skin contact and engaging in soothing activities, such as gentle rocking or singing, can help create positive associations with breastfeeding. Offering pumped breast milk in a cup, spoon, or syringe can provide temporary nourishment while still maintaining the connection between mother and baby. Seeking support from a lactation consultant or a breastfeeding support group can offer valuable insights and guidance during this challenging time. Remember, nursing strikes are usually temporary, and with patience, persistence, and a nurturing approach, you can help your baby overcome the strike and reestablish the beautiful bond of breastfeeding.

Breast Engorgement

Breast pumps can help with breastfeeding challenges.

Breastfeeding challenges also include breast engorgement. It occurs when the breasts become overly full and swollen with milk. Overcoming breast engorgement requires proactive measures. First and foremost, frequent breastfeeding or pumping sessions are essential to ensure proper milk drainage. Offering the breast to the baby on demand or pumping regularly helps to relieve the pressure and discomfort. Applying a cold compress or ice pack before nursing can help reduce swelling and numb any pain. It’s important to ensure a proper latch during breastfeeding to effectively empty the breasts.

Gentle breast massage before and during feeds can also aid in milk flow and provide relief from breastfeeding challenges. Wearing a well-fitting, supportive bra can help alleviate discomfort and avoid constriction. If engorgement persists or becomes severe, seeking guidance from a lactation consultant or healthcare professional can provide additional strategies and support.

Remember, with consistent and attentive breastfeeding practices, proper self-care, and seeking the right resources, breast engorgement and other breastfeeding challenges can be effectively managed, allowing you to continue your breastfeeding journey with greater comfort and ease.


Thrush, a common fungal infection caused by Candida, is another of the breastfeeding challenges often faced by new moms. It can lead to nipple pain, itching, and discomfort for both the mother and the baby. Overcoming thrush requires a multi-faceted approach. It’s important for both the mother and baby to receive treatment simultaneously to prevent reinfection. Antifungal medications, such as topical creams or oral medication, may be prescribed by a healthcare professional. Maintaining good hygiene practices, such as washing hands frequently and sterilizing breastfeeding equipment, can help prevent the spread of the infection.

It’s crucial to continue breastfeeding, as the antifungal medication can be safely used while nursing. However, ensuring proper latch and positioning during feeds is important to minimize discomfort. Both mother and baby may need to be treated for a sufficient duration to fully eradicate the infection. Additionally, airing out the nipples, using disposable nursing pads, and avoiding tight or synthetic clothing can promote healing. Seeking support from a lactation consultant or a breastfeeding support group can provide valuable guidance and reassurance during this challenging time. 


Struggling with a baby who is not latching can be a distressing and frustrating experience for a new mom. However, there are steps you can take to overcome this challenge and establish a successful breastfeeding relationship. First, ensure a calm and peaceful environment for feeding, free from distractions. Experiment with different breastfeeding positions to find one that is comfortable for both you and your baby. Offer your breast when your baby is in a calm and alert state, as they may be more receptive to latching.

Gentle massage and compressing your breast can help stimulate milk flow and make it easier for your baby to latch. If necessary, seek guidance from a lactation consultant who can provide expert advice tailored to your specific situation. In some cases, using nipple shields or expressing milk to encourage the baby’s interest may be helpful.

More Resources on Overcoming Breastfeeding Challenges

Breastfeeding is a beautiful and natural journey that can come with its fair share of challenges for new moms. However, it’s important to remember that each challenge is an opportunity for growth and learning. With the right support, knowledge, and perseverance, these challenges can be overcome. For more information on breastfeeding, check out our services page.