Breastfeeding challenges - symptoms, self-help and when to ask for additional support

Common challenges

If you are finding breastfeeding challenging, look at the resources under the 'How breastfeeding works' column. 

Some things to try include:

  • skin-to-skin to encourage innate feeding reflexes 
  • laid-back positions to encourage self attachment and deeper latching
  • unrestricted access to the breast and unlimited feeding at the breast.


Sore nipples

Sore nipples can be a problem in the early days of breastfeeding and beyond. This article discusses causes of sore nipples and how to ease the pain.


Engorged breasts

Engorged breasts are painful. They feel heavy, hard, warm and sensitive - as if they are ready to burst!  
As well as being painful, engorgement can lead to other breastfeeding problems if not treated.
Being able to recognise engorgement will help you to treat it promptly, avoiding complications.

Click here for more info.



Mastitis means inflammation of the breast. This leaflet gives important information on how to recognise the signs and how to treat it.


Sleepy baby

In the first few days, some babies are sleepy or uninterested in feeding. Read the article below for some helpful tips on how to get them to feed.


Increasing your milk supply

This video includes steps to improve milk supply.


Unsettled baby

Read here for some tips on how to support an unsettled baby.


Breast refusal

Understanding when a baby refuses to breastfeed from one or both breasts.



This is not common in the early days of breastfeeding but this document gives good information if you have any concerns.


Breastfeeding a baby with Down syndrome

Down Syndrome UK (DSUK) is a national charity passionate about empowering parents and professionals to improve the lives of those with Down syndrome and their families in the UK. 

Their guide to breastfeeding tackles perceptions and myths around Down syndrome to give you and your baby the best chance possible to breastfeed successfully.

Feeding - Down Syndrome UK


Breastfeeding and taking medications, having a procedure under sedation and anaesthetic

If you have any concerns/worries and need information around the safety of taking medications whilst breastfeeding, please discuss with a health professional or contact the Infant Feeding Team. Below is an evidenced based website run by an experienced Pharmacist who specialises in medications for mothers, as well as some additional support resources.                                        

Please see our Trusts information on:


Additional support

Additional breastfeeding support - Summer 2022 [docx] 408KB

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