Breastfeeding is natural and beautiful, yes, but it can also be really weird. I will never forget the first day home with my daughter, hearing her cries while I was in the bathroom, and feeling my breasts start leaking. Super weird, right? Although most of the out-of-this-world things that happen during breastfeeding are normal and not a big deal, there are some weird things about breastfeeding that could be signs of larger issues.
Because even though breastfeeding is one of the most natural things you can do for your baby, it has its fair share of problems. And I don't just mean not producing enough milk. Oversupply happens fairly often and can cause problems while breastfeeding, such as a forceful let-down and breast infections. Not to mention that the actual act of breastfeeding may come with its own list of issues, like a poor latch or a baby that falls asleep on your breast.
Breastfeeding may be super weird, but some of these 11 things that happen could be the sign of a larger issue, like an oversupply or mastitis. In general, there are other signs that can help you realize you're having a problem, but always reach out to a lactation consultant if you think your breastfeeding journey needs some assistance.
There are few things weirder than feeling your own breasts and realizing that they are rock hard. Although it may seem like a normal part of breastfeeding, Kelly Mom noted that engorgement can be a sign of mastitis or oversupply, especially if it's not relieved with expressing your milk or compresses. An engorged breast can also make it hard for your baby to latch on, furthering the problem.
2. Constant Pain
Breastfeeding can be painful the first couple of weeks, but if you notice that the pain is sticking around or lasting the entire time your child is breastfeeding, it's time to check out their latch. According to the American Pregnancy Association, pain during breastfeeding is often the cause of an improper latch or position. Some pain is normal, but feeling it constantly is not.
3. Nipple Shape Changes
Your breasts are going to change when you're nursing, but the shape of your nipples shouldn't totally be totally altered. If you notice that your nipples seem to look different after breastfeeding, like in the shape of a lipstick or creased, it can be the result of a bad latch. Medela notes that this means the baby has grabbed on to the nipple shaft and is actually compressing it, making it harder to get the milk and cause more pain.
4. Redness On Your Breast
When combined with other symptoms, like swollen breasts, fever, and flu-like symptoms, redness on your breast can be a sign of mastitis, a breast infection. It's important to get it checked out by a doctor as you may need antibiotics.
5. Lumps In Your Breast
Feeling hard lumps in your breast? Baby Center noted that a clogged or blocked milk duct can feel like a small, hard lump in your breast and even be tender to touch. For the most part, you can massage it out with pumping and expressing, but ignoring it can lead to mastitis.
6. Peeling Nipples
Believe it or not, it's possible to get a yeast infection while breastfeeding and peeling, itchy, or flaky nipples may be a huge sign of it according to La Leche League International.
7. Baby Chews On Your Nipples
Ow, right? It's super weird, but it's not a normal thing that happens during breastfeeding. According to La Leche League International, your baby chewing on your nipples could be a sign of a poor latch or a clampdown reflex, which can make it difficult for your baby to get your milk. Not only does it affect their weight, but it can also cause your breasts to become engorged if your milk isn't being expressed.
8. Bruises & Blisters
Yep, another potential latch issue. Kelly Mom noted that bruising and blistering isn't normal once breastfeeding has been established, and it can mean that your baby is clamping down on your nipple while suckling or be caused if your baby doesn't have your nipple and areola in their mouth, but they are sucking on a side or angle of your breast.
9. Your Baby Makes A Clicking Sound
Sweet little noises from your baby are the best, but if they are making a clicking sound, it's a sign that their latch isn't right. According to Kelly Mom, the clicking sound is from where your child continues to break the seal of their mouth on your nipple or their latch while breastfeeding.
10. White Spot On Your Nipple
If you notice a white or yellow spot on your nipple, you may have a milk blister. Unlike the blisters caused by your baby, a milk blister happens when your skin grows over a milk duct and the milk continues to back up behind it. The blister may even bulge outward, but they can usually be manually expressed out of your nipple.
11. Baby Gags On Milk
It's bound to happen, but if it's a recurring issue, you may have a forceful let-down. Babies often gag, choke, or even cough while nursing as your milk comes out too quickly for them. You can solve this (and any potential spit-up) by releasing some of your milk before feeding your baby or by holding your baby up in a sitting position to feed them.