Breastfeeding is definitely rewarding, but it can be frustrating at times. Learn how to deal with some common breastfeeding problems.

Health experts agree that breastfeeding is the healthiest option for both mum and baby. However, breastfeeding is not always easy and it might take some time before you get the hang of it. But don't despair; here are some ways to manage breastfeeding issues:

Sore nipples

This tends to occur during the initial days of breastfeeding and is usually due to poor positioning or incorrect latch-on techniques. To correct this, learn the proper techniques and methods. Applying purified lanolin cream onto your nipples may help soothe the soreness and promote healing. Use breast shells to protect the sore nipples from chafing against your clothing.

Candidiasis (fungal infection)

Sudden, severe, unexplained pain or itching of your nipples or breasts can be an indication of candidiasis, a fungal infection. You may also notice that your baby's mouth has white patches especially on the tongue and gums. If you detect this, alert your doctors and seek treatment immediately. Anti-fungal medicines will be prescribed for you and your little one.

Breast engorgement

This is caused by excessive accumulation of milk in the breast. It commonly occurs during the first week after delivery especially if there's a delay in starting breastfeeding or feeding is infrequent. If not relieved, milk production may be affected. Try massaging your breasts to clear any blockage and to enhance milk flow. Allow the baby to breastfeed frequently as suckling is the most effective mechanism for removal of milk. Apply a cold pack or cold cabbage leaves on the breast in between breastfeeding to reduce swelling and pain.

Plugged ducts

Ducts clog because your milk isn't draining completely. You may notice a hard lump on your breast or soreness to the touch and even some redness. Once again, try massaging your breasts before and after feeding to dislodge blocked milk. Continue to breastfeed to promote drainage. Different feeding positions may help to drain the different parts of the breast.

Milk blister

Often found at the tip of the nipple as a whitish, tender area, a milk blister can lead to a blocked milk duct. Clear the build-up of milk with a breast massage and continue breastfeeding. Do seek help from a doctor or a lactation specialist as it may be necessary to break the blister using a sterile needle.

Video: Breastfeeding Complications

Find out about common breastfeeding complications - the causes, how you can manage these conditions and what you can do to prevent them from happening again


Explore more


By Associate Professor TAN Thiam Chye Head & Senior Consultant, Dr Michelle LIM Senior O&G Resident, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KK Women's and Children's Hospital

The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth 2008, World Scientific
Healthy Start for your Pregnancy 2012, Health Promotion Board Singapore

Copyright © 2016 HealthHub.sg. All rights reserved.