GOOD NUTRITION: Breastmilk is an important food soure for babies.
GOOD NUTRITION: Breastmilk is an important food soure for babies. Brett Wortman

Breastfeeding challenges and what to do about them

BREASTFEEDING is greatly beneficial to your baby as it not only helps them get a complete meal, but provides a bonding opportunity between mother and baby.

On top of this, breastfeeding protects against infection and chronic disease, plus it helps with their development.

Yet mothers can find breastfeeding a challenge and what is a most natural thing can feel awkward and raise questions.

If you do have questions, don't be shy about them and ask your GP or child health nurse. They've heard it all before.


It might not be a fun experience, but it's important to remember that biting is often natural.

That said, if you do experience a bite, it's important to be firm but calm when you tell them not to do it.

As you tell them no, take them off your breast.

If you overreact it can frighten them and on occasions it can even lead them to thinking it's a game.

Last week we covered teething, which can be a cause of biting, if this is the case try to get them a teething ring or follow some of the other advice in that column.

How much is too much?

Mothers often wonder about a constantly hungry baby and whether it's possible to overfeed them.

Each baby is different in its needs, but there are signs of overfeeding your baby including constantly full and wet nappies, passing wind after feeding or showing signs of a tummy ache.

If this is happening you may need to change technique and should seek advice from one of our WBHHS child health nurses.


Full and sore breasts can cause discomfort and pain for a mum. To get some relief try the following:

  • Take your bra off completely before breastfeeding,
  • Warm your breasts with a warm cloth to help your let-down,
  • Massage your breast while feeding and afterwards place an ice pack on your breasts to relieve pain and swelling.
  • A chilled cabbage leaf is an alternative way to relieve this pain.

When should you stop breastfeeding?

This is a personal choice and dependent on the family's circumstances. Sometimes mothers do struggle with being able to supply, which is more common than you think and isn't something to be embarrassed about!

That said, if you are considering the right time, then when they transition to solid foods is a great time to stop breastfeeding.

When they do start eating solids, try not to just cut off the supply of breastmilk.

Instead try supplementing the food with breastmilk.

This enables them to ween off it until they're eating enough to no longer need to breastfeed.