We are not supporting this browser

Baby Baby Name Generator

      Breastfeeding problems and solutions

      Small baby suckling


      Sore, cracked or bleeding nipples

      Sore, cracked or bleeding nipples are usually a sign that your baby is not latched on properly, not feeding in the right position, or you could be using a breast pump incorrectly. Ask for help in the hospital if you are still there or otherwise speak to your public health nurse or a breastfeeding support group for advice on your breastfeeding technique.

      Blocked ducts

      There are two types of blocked duct.

      • A small white spot at the end of your nipple: you can normally remove it with a clean fingernail when your skin is soft after feeding.
      • A painful lump in your breast with inflamed skin around it. This kind of blockage could be an early sign of mastitis but could simply be a blocked duct.

      If you have inflammation in your breast it’s important to speak to your healthcare professional as soon as possible to prevent mastitis from fully developing.

      In the meantime:

      • Feed as often as you can to drain the excess milk.
      • Make sure your baby is latching onto your breast correctly.
      • Try using a breast pump to drain your breasts fully after a feed and take ibuprofen to help relieve the pain. Gently massaging your breasts and applying warm flannels can help too.


      Thrush is a fungal infection that babies often get on their genitals and in their mouths. It can also spread to your breasts during feeding. If your baby has thrush you’ll notice white spots in their mouth and on your breasts. The spots may be flaky and itchy and your breasts might feel sore.

      If you think you or your baby has thrush, see your doctor. They may prescribe an oral fungal cream for your baby. Mum and baby need to be treated at the same time to prevent re-infection. You can still carry on breastfeeding, though it may be a little sore!

      Engorged breasts

      Three to four days after you give birth, your breasts may become full, tender and lumpy, with flattened nipples. The swelling may even spread to your underarms and you might get a small fever. This happens when your milk ‘comes in’. It can be painful, but it’s quite harmless and usually goes away quickly.

      To soothe the symptoms, express some milk before you feed, using a pump or your hands. And use warm flannels, baths and showers to help soothe and relax your breasts between feeds.

      Leaking breasts

      Your breasts may leak if they are too full of milk, or your ‘let down reflex’ is triggered. Usually your breasts only release milk when your baby suckles, but sometimes just hearing a baby cry can trigger your breasts to ‘let down’ their milk!

      The more regularly you feed, the less likely your breasts are to leak. Most mums wear breast pads inside their bras in case of any leaks. You’ll probably find that the problem disappears almost completely after about seven to ten weeks of breastfeeding.

      Problems with your milk

      Too little milk

      The less milk your baby consumes the less your body will produce, so if your baby isn't latching on properly and not taking in enough milk, your body may produce less milk than they need. If you’re worried your baby may not be getting enough milk, speak to your healthcare professional.

      Too much milk

      Producing too much milk is common in the first few days. Initially your body produces lots of milk to allow for a high volume of feeding, this settles down once your baby is feeding effectively and milk production should begin to regulate, to provide your baby with the amount they need. Usually, overabundant milk production will correct itself in a few weeks, once breastfeeding is established, but some mums find that the problems continue if their baby isn't latching on properly.  Expressing some breastmilk before feeding may help. Speak to your public health nurse if you aren’t sure your baby is latching on properly.

      Problems feeding later on are often caused by an overactive let down reflex (milk coming out too quickly) combined with an imbalance between the amount of foremilk and hindmilk you’re producing. If you’re still producing too much milk after your baby’s pattern has settled, you can express some and store it for later. Try not to express too much or in-between feeds though, as this will cause your body to produce more milk to fill the extra demand.

      Milk spray

      Some mums can produce a strong spray of milk either as a side effect of being full of milk or as a problem on its own, which can put off some babies.

      If this happens, it helps if you can express some milk before you let your baby feed. Or you can try letting them suckle to bring the milk down, and then capture the initial spray in a towel. When the flow has calmed a little let your baby latch on again.

      Problems with your baby’s feeding habits

      Breast refusal

      If your baby is refusing your breast, it’s usually their way of telling you there’s something wrong. It might just be teething pain, or difficulty breathing from a cold.

      If your baby’s gone on breast strike, try feeding them when they’re very sleepy, and keep the room quiet and distraction-free. You could also try different feeding positions, or even try feeding on the move as the rocking motion can be comforting to your baby.

      It’s also a good idea to see your doctor to make sure there’s nothing wrong, such as an ear-infection or thrush.

      Feeding from one breast only

      Sometimes babies develop a preference for one breast. It won’t harm them, but you want to give both your breasts the chance to produce equal amounts of milk.

      If your baby’s being choosy, try feeding them on the breast they don’t favour in the same position as the one they do. So if you’re cradling your baby on your left breast, just move them across to the right one, instead of turning them around. You’ll find it more comfy if you put a pillow under your supporting arm.

      Biting baby

      A biting baby is not much fun! If your baby is teething, let them have a good chew on a cold teething toy to get it out of their system and numb their gums. And if they do bite, draw them close. This makes it difficult for your baby to breathe through their nose, forcing them to open their mouth and let go!

      If your baby is biting because they think making mum yell is a great game, be firm, say ‘no!’ and take them away from the breast for a minute.

      Important Notice 

      Breastfeeding is best for babies and provides many benefits. It is important that, in preparation for and during breastfeeding, you eat a varied, balanced diet. Combined breast and bottle feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of your own breastmilk, and reversing the decision not to breastfeed is difficult. Always consult your healthcare professional for advice about feeding your baby.

      Any more questions?

      Our specialist baby advisors and experienced mums are here to talk and ready to help whenever you need them. You can call us or reach us on Live Chat 8.30am-5.30pm Monday-Friday.

      Join the C&G baby club today

      Join the C&G baby club today

      • Weekly emails with tips and advice for your stage
      • 1-to-1 support from our dedicated Careline team, 8.30am - 5.30pm Monday to Friday.
      Join us now

      More from baby

      Your privacy is important to us and therefore we would like to explain how we use cookies on this website. With your consent, we will use cookies to measure and analyse how our website is used (analytical cookies), to tailor it to your interests (personalisation cookies), and to show you relevant advertising and information (targeting cookies) we think you will like. For more information please read the cookie statement.

      Privacy Settings

      You can choose your preferences anytime for cookies and tracking. For more information please read our cookie policy

      • Strictly necessary

        They are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services (setting your privacy preferences, logging in, filling in forms, etc.). You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work.

      • Analytical cookies

        They allow us to count visits and traffic sources, to measure and improve the performance of our site. They show us which pages are the most and least popular and how visitors move around the site. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.

      • Personalisation cookies

        They enable website’s enhanced functionality and personalization. They may be set by us or by third parties whose services we have added to our pages. If you do not allow these cookies, some or all of these services may not function properly.

      • Targeting cookies

        They may be set through our site by our advertising partners, to build a profile of your interests and to show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.