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Overcoming breastfeeding problems

Breastfeeding doesn’t always come naturally but with a bit of practice, perseverance, and a few pointers, it can get easier. Try these steps to help tackle breastfeeding problems.

2 mins to read Sep 15, 2020
  • Try to make sure baby is latching correctly. Their mouth should cover more of the areola at the bottom of the nipple than the top. Don’t delay getting help from a lactation consultant or other healthcare professional. Read about breastfeeding challenges and tips to try here.
  • Talk to your midwife, doctor, or a lactation consultant if breastfeeding is painful. It could be because baby is not latching properly. 
  • Try brushing baby’s top lip against your nipple to open their mouth.
  • Apply lanolin nipple cream or expressed breast milk to your nipple between feeds to help soothe any pain or dryness.
  • Keep feeding as often as you can early on to boost your milk supply. Breast milk works on a supply and demand basis.
  • Use warm compresses if you have tender spots on your breast to prevent clogged ducts. See your midwife, doctor, or lactation consultant for more advice.
  • Try to express some breast milk by hand before feeding if milk supply is high or your breasts are engorged.
  • Try feeding more often if your breasts feel very full or are engorged.
  • If inverted nipples are causing problems, speak to your midwife, HCP, or lactation consultant. Often using a breast pump before nursing can help if inverted nipples are proving hard to latch on to.
  • Try baby on the fuller breast for a more effective feed if they fall asleep during feeding.
  • Try tickling baby’s feet if they fall asleep too soon during feeding. 
  • Stock up on nursing pads to protect your clothes from leaking milk. Some breastfeeding moms need these more than others but be prepared to buy in bulk.
  • Talk to your doctor right away if you have concerns about mastitis.
  • Talk to your doctor or lactation consultant if you’re suffering painful letdown.
  • Try different holds if a fast letdown is an issue or baby seems uncomfortable during feeds. Check out our guide to different breastfeeding positions
  • Remember, for many women breastfeeding problems do ease over time.


  • Health Canada, Canadian Paediatric Society, Dietitians of Canada, and Breastfeeding Committee for Canada. Nutrition for healthy term infants: Recommendations from birth to six months. 2012.

  • Health Link BC. Breastfeeding. Accessed August 2020.


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