breastfeeding tips

As natural as breastfeeding may be, it is something that both mother and baby need to learn. But when you’re new at nursing, it can be hard to tell if something is just part of the normal adjustment period or may be a problem.

Here are some common breastfeeding issues and tips for addressing them at home:

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Sore Nipples

Breastfeeding can be uncomfortable at first. But it should become comfortable once a good latch and positioning are established.

Helpful tips for sore nipples

  1. Check for a proper latch. (With baby’s head slightly tilted back, line baby’s nose across from nipple, wait for open mouth, and latch quickly and deeply.)
  2. Try different positions. (Football and cross-cradle holds are preferred when learning.)
  3. After breastfeeding, apply a few drops of expressed milk onto your nipples. Try a lanolin nipple cream if nipples are tender.
  4. Change nursing pads frequently and allow nipples to air dry.
  5. If soreness persists, contact a lactation consultant or your health care provider.

Plugged Breast Ducts

A plugged duct is usually caused by an obstructed milk flow and/or poor milk removal from the breast. It can feel like a small, tender, firm area and is not accompanied by fever or other symptoms.

Helpful tips for plugged breast ducts

  1. Nurse frequently, especially on the affected side.
  2. Apply a warm compress to the sore area.
  3. Massage area before and during feedings.
  4. Pump or hand express milk after feedings if soreness/firmness persists.
  5. Take an anti-inflammatory if needed.
  6. Wear a bra that is supportive but not tight.
  7. Rest often.

Call your physician if you develop a fever of higher than 101 degrees, chills, or flu-like symptoms.

Tips for getting a good, deep latch

  1. Hold your baby close, tummy to tummy.
  2. Tilt your infant’s head back slightly.
  3. Align your baby’s nose across from the nipple.
  4. Tickle the upper lip (lips should flare outward).
  5. Wait for a wide, open mouth.
  6. Bring infant onto breast quickly and deeply.
  7. Place a large amount of breast into the mouth.
  8. You should feel a strong tug or pulling that is not painful. (During the early days of breastfeeding, it can take time, patience, and practice for your baby to latch on well.)
  9. Keep trying and ask for help if needed!

Learn more about breastfeeding by visiting the Lactation Center at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .

About UPMC Magee-Womens

Built upon our flagship, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh, and its century-plus history of providing high-quality medical care for people at all stages of life, UPMC Magee-Womens is nationally renowned for its outstanding care for women and their families.

Our Magee-Womens network – from women’s imaging centers and specialty care to outpatient and hospital-based services – provides care throughout Pennsylvania, so the help you need is always close to home. More than 25,000 babies are born at our network hospitals each year, with 10,000 of those babies born at UPMC Magee in Pittsburgh, home to one of the largest NICUs in the country. The Department of Health and Human Services recognizes Magee in Pittsburgh as a National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health; U.S. News & World Report ranks Magee nationally in gynecology. The Magee-Womens Research Institute was the first and is the largest research institute in the U.S. devoted exclusively to women’s health and reproductive biology, with locations in Pittsburgh and Erie.