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What are common problems with breastfeeding

What are breast soreness, engorgement, plugged ducts and mastitis?

Breastfeeding is very beneficial especially on early stages of children’s lives. There are many pros of breastfeeding for a child and mother. However, there are some cons also which nursing women cannot ignore. If mothers chose to breast feed their children they might face potential risks of having some breasts problems like breast soreness, plugged ducts, and mastitis. They should be familiar with some common breast disorders and their symptoms in order to stop these diseases from developing on early stages (if any). In addition, they need to know how to care about their breast while breastfeeding in order to minimize such happenings.

Breast soreness

If your milk came later than expected because of flat or inverted nipples, diabetes, or some other diseases, you might hurt your breasts while trying to learn how to nurse your child. Therefore, in order to minimize possibility of breast soreness at first, you may need to hold your baby correctly and make sure he/she has a good latch-on. If you feel some discomfort or your baby hurts you it is necessary to relatch him/her right away. In addition, you might want to massage your breasts and putting some warm compresses right before feeding your baby. If you do get soreness of your nipples anyway your doctor or lactation consultant may recommend you to apply on it some small amount of olive oil. You should wash it out with warm water right before each following breast feedings and then apply again the oil by the time you feel better. Normally it shouldn’t take long for your breasts to recover. It is also important to remember that you should not start using any medicine on your breasts or nipples unless your health care provider tells you to because it might be harmful not only for you but for your child also.


Some women might get engorgement soon after they start to breastfeed their babies when the breasts switch from colostrum (first milk) to mature milk. In that case, their breasts become swollen and painful as first milk comes in. The best way to handle it that might be recommended by your doctor is to feed your newborn very often and entirely empty your breasts after each feeding. You should feed your child as much as he/she able to take it during the day time and set your alarm clock at night in order not go more than 2 hours in between of emptying your breasts. Gentle massage and applied warm compresses may also be helpful. These procedures normally work for other breast diseases also, such as plugged ducts and mastitis.

Plugged ducts

Plugged ducts normally might occur in early months of breastfeeding, but it can happen any time if not entirely empty breasts. Mothers usually can feel a lump in one part of the affected breast. The skin in that area may be hard, painful, red and hot. In addition, to massaging and emptying your breast you might be recommended by your practitioner to apply cabbage leafs on your affected skin.


Having plugged ducts and ignoring it by not emptying your breasts can lead to a breast infection which is called mastitis. With mastitis, your breasts become red, hard, swollen, and extremely painful. In addition, you will have fever and flu symptoms. Your doctor might suggest you to take antibiotics which should help you with the disease. However, it might cause some other side effects like yeast infection not only in mothers, but their babies also which can be even harder to treat.

Medical disclaimer

The author is not a doctor and the information in the article is general in nature with no medical advises given or imply. Talk to your doctor, nurse or medical advisor how to treat health related problems.