Information & Support

Problems During Breastfeeding

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Engorgement — Uncomfortable overfilling of the breasts with milk

Early engorgement occurs with the onset of milk production, about 2 to 5 days after delivery.

Late engorgement can result from missed feedings or the inability to empty the breasts completely.

Symptoms

  • Swollen breasts
  • Firm or hard breasts
  • In some cases, tender or painful breasts

Sore or Cracked Nipples

—Injury to the nipple(s) that often results from incorrect breastfeeding technique with poor positioning of infant or ineffective latching, or traumatic pumping if breast pump is set to too high of intensity or a duration of longer than 10 minutes per breast.

Symptoms
  • Nipple abrasion
  • Nipple bruising
  • Cracks in the nipples
  • Blisters on the nipples

Plugged Ducts

—Localized area(s) in one or more milk ducts that become plugged due to a collection of milk.

This condition can result from any of the following:

  • Poor latching
  • Ineffective positioning of infant to breast
  • Failure to empty the breast completely
Symptoms
  • Lump(s) under the skin (may be able to follow the lump along the duct)
  • Breast pain or tenderness