Common breastfeeding concerns

If you have any of these issues, you should contact a lactation consultant or healthcare provider for information and assessment.

Breast pain

Breastfeeding should not cause breast pain. If your breasts hurt or are uncomfortable, try some of these tips to ease the discomfort.

  • Wear a comfortable, supportive bra.
  • Apply ice frequently.
  • Lay on your back to elevate your breasts.
  • Handle the breasts gently, do not firmly massage. 

If you are experiencing breast pain, make sure you are resting, hydrating, eating nutritious foods and continuing to breastfeed on demand. Try your best to keep a routine and avoid extra pumping.

Remember the acronym BAIT:

Breast rest
Advil, which is Ibuprofen, a medicine that decreases swelling
Ice, and apply ice often
Tylenol, which is acetaminophen, a medicine you can also take to decrease pain

Mastitis is a breast infection or breast inflammation that can be infectious or noninfectious.

If your breast pain does not go away in 24 hours, call your provider, as you may need additional treatment.

Nipple pain

Breastfeeding and pumping should be comfortable for you, and skin breakdowns, cracks or bleeding are a cause for concern. If you are experiencing pain, consider the following:

Breastfeeding position

The position of your baby could be causing you pain. Bring your baby close to your body, touching you as much as possible. Line up baby’s nose to your nipple and brush your nipple over the nose and mouth. Wait for a wide open mouth while allowing baby’s head to tip back into your hand. Baby’s chin should touch the breast first, with their mouth coming up and over the nipple. Make sure you are aiming the tip of your nipple to the back roof of baby’s mouth. You should feel a tug when your baby sucks, see frequent sucks and hear frequent swallows. Use pillows as needed for support.


If you are pumping, consider the size and fit of your flanges. Flanges can be purchased in multiple sizes and should fit to allow your nipple to stretch but not feel friction during pumping. 

Care products

In most cases, topical nipple care products are not necessary and may transfer to your baby while they eat. If you desire to put something on your nipples, use coconut or olive oil, or an organic nipple balm that has one of these oils as a main ingredient.  

Open wound/crack

If you have an open wound/crack on your nipple, apply coconut oil, olive oil or organic balm and cover with a gel pad or non-adherent dressing. You can also use parchment or wax paper as a nonstick covering to promote healing.

Low milk supply

Many women worry they don’t have enough milk for their babies and may feel a need to stockpile a surplus of milk. This worry can leave you feeling discouraged and impact your breastfeeding goals. If you have concerns about your baby’s weight gain or their fluid intake, contact your baby’s doctor.

During the first few days after birth, it is normal to produce very small amounts of the first milk, colostrum. New mothers notice more milk production after days four through six. In mothers who have a caesarian section, it can take longer, another one to two days. By the end of the first 10-14 days, you will likely be producing around 500-1,000 ml (or 16-32 ounces) of milk per day.

Babies should breastfeed 8-12 times per day or more in the first few weeks of life. Babies may feed from one or both breasts, depending on how hungry or awake they are. If you are pumping, pump eight times or more every 24 hours.

Tips to increase milk supply

  • Hold your baby skin-to-skin as much as possible (diaper-only baby on your naked chest).
  • Breastfeed or pump more often, or add a pumping session in between feedings. 
  • Use hand compression during breastfeeding to bring down more milk.
  • Use hand compression with pumping and hand express more milk after pumping.
  • Massage your breasts before, during and after feedings.
  • Relax during breastfeeding or pumping - listening to music, white noise or guided meditation can help with this.
  • Hand express and/or pump after feedings.
  • Improve latch with the help of a lactation consultant.
  • Some herbal and pharmaceutical products may help increase your milk supply. Ask your primary care provider if these may be right for you.
Contact us

For more information or to request breastfeeding support from our lactation team at Children's Wisconsin in Milwaukee, call:

(414) 266-1757

For more information or to request breastfeeding support from our lactation team at Children's Wisconsin in Neenah, call:

(920) 969-7990

Join our support group!

Our board-certified lactation consultants are here to support the community. Ask questions, receive support, meet other parents.

Learn more
Breastfeeding concerns

Mother breastfeeding baby

Read this article about common breastfeeding concerns.

IBCLC Care Award winner

IBCLC Care Award 2019 logo

Children's Wisconsin has been designated an IBCLC Care Award winner for more than 12 years.