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Breastfeeding can be enjoyable for both you and your baby, but it can also be challenging – especially in the first few weeks. Below are descriptions of common breastfeeding difficulties as well as links to more information and advice.
Sore nipples are so common to new breastfeeding moms that you may think they're a normal part of nursing you have to endure. Not so. Get help right away – see your provider or a lactation consultant for a diagnosis.
Cracked or bleeding nipples can be extremely painful. See a lactation consultant right away to get relief and advice on how to heal.
Uncomfortably full breasts
If your breasts feel hard, swollen, painful, and uncomfortably full, you're likely suffering from engorgement, which can make it hard for your baby to nurse well.
If you have flu-like symptoms along with breast pain, you may have developed mastitis, a painful inflammation of breast tissue which can sometimes be caused by an infection. See your provider to find out if you need antibiotics.
Some nursing moms leak or spray milk when their breasts become overly full or when their letdown reflex kicks in unexpectedly.
Milk squirts out when baby starts to nurse
If your milk squirts out when your baby starts to nurse, or if she gets fussy during feedings, you may have hyperlactation, which causes milk to come out too fast.
White spots in baby's mouth
White spots or patches in your baby's mouth that can't be wiped off are a sign of thrush, a type of yeast infection that your baby can pass to you. See your provider for treatment.
Difficulty nursing after taking the bottle
If your baby is having trouble getting enough milk from nursing, he may develop a preference for the bottle, which is sometimes known as nipple preference or nipple confusion.
Preferring to nurse on one breast
It's not uncommon for babies to develop a breast preference. Your baby may prefer one breast if it's easier to latch on to or has a greater milk supply, for example.
Refusing to nurse
Your baby may go on a nursing strike for many reasons, such as teething pain, a stuffy nose, or even a disrupted routine.