Breastfeeding is a natural process: our bodies are literally designed to feed our babies at our breasts. While this is true we can run into a lot of issues. Being able to identify them and getting support from a professional will ease the struggle. Support from an IBCLC is vital for mothers during postpartum and beyond. Below we will discuss a few issues, how to ID them and what can help. It is important to remember that each scenario is unique and hands-on support is the most helpful thing you can do. This is just general information and should not be construed as medical advice.

Cracked Nipples

What it looks/feels like:

Cracked and bleeding nipples are the devil’s work, seriously on top of everything else we deal with after bringing forth life this is one awful experience. If your nipples are dry, cracked and painful you need to firstly CHECK YOUR LATCH. Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt – when baby is latched properly that is. There are a few things you can do after fixing baby’s latch that can provide temporary relief while your nipples heal. Gel pads and nipple creams are great. If you’re pumping you can experience cracked and bleeding nipples as well

How to help:

Work with an IBCLC, I offer in-person and virtual consultations. You will need to have a professional check your latch. An examination of your breasts and baby’s oral anatomy is also imperative. Try and stay comfortable, be sure to drain both breasts to avoid engorgement (more on this below).


What it looks/feels like:

There are different degrees of engorgement, all of them are awful but to varying degrees. If your breasts ache, feel tight, or are hard to the touch you should reach out and make an appointment. If left untreated this can lead to clogged ducts and/or mastitis. If you feel flu-like symptoms or have a fever see your doctor as soon as you can to avoid any issues. Mastitis left untreated can permanently damage your milk supply.

How to help:

Get seen by an IBCLC as soon as you can. This issue needs to be resolved quickly. While this can turn into a serious issue there are a few things you can do:

  • Fully empty your breasts
  • Use massage to get things flowing
  • Avoid tight clothing and/or bras with underwire

Fussy Baby/Uncertain Whether Baby Is Eating Enough

What it looks like:

Let’s get this out of the way, baby’s cry, kind of a lot. Crying is not necessarily an indication that baby is not eating enough. Imagine going from your womb, constantly cradled, fed and warm to the bright and cold world. Crying is how babies communicate. If you nurse your baby on demand then in most cases baby will eat enough. Please note that frequently weighing baby and watching their output is important and should be done until a regular supply of breastmilk is established. In the first few days and weeks (sometimes months) it might feel like baby is attached to your breast 25/8. Frequent, seemingly unending nursing is normal and will help your breasts produce enough milk.

How to help:

Keep latching, keep at it every day. It can feel daunting but it is necessary. If you feel baby isn’t eating enough reach out and we can make an appointment to check things out. Observing a nursing session and weighing baby before and after nursing will allow me to make suggestions and see how it’s going.

There are many bumps in the road that can come along when breastfeeding, support and information will allow you to overcome these issues and meet your breastfeeding goals.