The 14 Most Common Breastfeeding Mistakes New Mothers Make

Soon after delivery, when you’re holding your new baby in your arms and admiring their tiny little features, it’ll be time to start breastfeeding. Ideally, this happens shortly after birth, but every situation is different so follow the advice of your doctor or lactation consultant Regardless of if you’re a first-time mom or have experience in breastfeeding, every child is different. To make sure you’re getting the most out of breastfeeding and giving your son or daughter what they need for a healthy development, it’s important to avoid some common mistakes. To help you on your journey, here are the 15 most common breastfeeding mistakes new mothers make and how to fix them.

  1. Feeding on a Strict Time Schedule

    New moms usually try to over-prepare and get as much done during pregnancy as possible. For many, this includes creating a strict feeding schedule that’s equipped with set feeding times scattered throughout their calendar like appointments. While following a general schedule is a good idea to ensure that your baby is getting enough milk, don’t feel like you need to stick to it. Chances are that your schedule is going to change, and feedings aren’t going to perfectly fit into a calendar book. Instead, it’s important to rely on hunger cues and learn what your baby’s specific needs are before you try to implement any sort of time-sensitive schedule. When you focus on keeping a strict schedule, it can actually decrease your overall milk supply.

  2. Ignoring Your Baby’s Hunger Cues

    “Watch the baby, not the clock” is an extremely common breastfeeding phrase that new mothers will likely hear from doctors, lactation consultants, and mothers who are experienced with breastfeeding. This is crucial if you want to avoid breastfeeding problems. By implementing responsive feeding, you’ll make sure that your baby is getting enough milk while simultaneously boosting your natural milk supply. Since your body will make milk as it’s needed and responsive feeding helps to empty your breasts, you’ll find that you aren’t engorged, nor dry. For more information on responsive feeding, check out this article.

  3. Skipping Feedings

    Skipping feedings leads to the same problem as restrictive schedule feeding—a disruption in your body’s natural milk supply. When your breasts aren’t emptied, your mammary glands won’t get the memo to make new milk. While you might not think this is a problem—as you still have breast milk available in your breasts—it can lead to a disruption in the natural supply and demand cycle. Skipped feedings also commonly result in engorgement, which is painful and is a main cause for blocked ducts. If you’re going to skip a feeding, and give your baby breastmilk from a bottle, at least make sure that you empty your breasts with a pump.

  4. Not Pumping to Strictly Nurse

    Many women think that breast pumping can cause problems with breastfeeding. While you don’t want to introduce the bottle too early, breast pumping is a great way to supplement nursing while still giving your baby the nutrients they need to thrive. There are plenty of benefits to pumping while nursing, so don’t write it off without first understanding all of the information.

  5. Avoiding Breastfeeding when Sick

    While you might think that breastfeeding while you’re sick can be dangerous, it actually has the opposite effect. Breastfeeding while you’re sick will pass the antibodies that your body is making onto your baby, not the illness itself. Talk to your doctor to confirm it’s safe, but don’t be afraid to bring it up.

  6. Discontinuing Your Prenatal Vitamin

    Prenatal vitamins give your body the nutrients they need to nourish a growing baby during pregnancy. However, these vitamins are also essential for your overall health after delivery and throughout breastfeeding. Continue taking your prenatal vitamins so your baby can reap the benefits and your body gets all of the essential nutrients and minerals it needs.

  7. Not Understanding Your Milk Supply

    As we mentioned, your breast milk works on a supply and demand cycle. The more you empty your breasts, the more milk your body makes. What’s important to remember is that you need to empty both breasts for this cycle to work efficiently. This means you need to avoid restricting the feeding to one breast vs. the other. If your baby has a preference, you can supplement the feeding with a simultaneous pumping session so that both breasts are emptied together. If your baby doesn’t have a preference, try starting the nursing session on one breast and switching in the middle. This will help you even out the natural process and can relieve tension or nipple soreness.

  8. Misunderstanding Position

    Many new mothers try to hold their breast at an angle to help encourage the proper latch. Unbeknownst to them, this can actually cause an improper latch that compromises the milk flow from your nipple to your baby. Instead, fit your nipple to your baby’s mouth so that it is the same shape. To do this, hold your fingers parallel with your baby’s lips and lead them to your breast.

  9. Introducing a Pacifier or Bottle too Soon

    Nipple confusion is a real thing so it’s important to strategically introduce bottle feeding or a pacifier. Try not to introduce either until your breastfeeding has been well established and your baby has a strong latch. While sometimes bottle feeding is necessary as a newborn, it can lead to preferences over the nipple later on. Talk to your doctor about your baby’s specific needs and consider working with a lactation consultant to ensure a strong latch from the beginning.

  10. Changing Your Diet

    There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about what you can and can’t eat while you’re breastfeeding. Unless you have specific allergies or food sensitivities, there’s no reason that you should cut anything out of your diet. Just make sure that you are eating a primarily healthy diet and opt for unhealthy treats in moderation. If you notice your baby is particularly fussy after certain feedings, it could be due to a strain in their digestive tract. Here are some common foods that could be making your breastfed baby fussy.

  11. Wearing an Unsupportive Bra

    Not only do unsupportive or ill-fitting bras cause discomfort, they can actually encourage clogged ducts. By wearing the right bra, you’ll give your breasts the support they need without being too constrictive. Consider getting a few different nursing bras to wear throughout the week so you don’t feel the need to constantly do laundry. 

  12. Breastfeeding Through Pain

    Some women talk about the pain associated with breastfeeding as if it’s normal—it’s not. Pain is an indication that somethings not going the way it should. While you’ll likely feel some slight discomfort or mild pain during the first few times you breastfeed, it shouldn’t continue. Some reasons that women feel pain during breastfeeding include an improper latch, engorgement, underlying health issues, or trouble with your baby’s tongue placement. Regardless of what it is, there are ways to fix it, one of which includes asking for help.

  13. Not Asking for Help

    This is arguably one of the most common breastfeeding mistakes that new mothers make. Don’t feel like you can’t ask for help! Breastfeeding is difficult for everyone at first and sometimes the harder you try, the more difficult it gets. Latching problems are common for newborns, you might feel pain or discomfort, or you might face issues with your breast milk supply. Whatever it is that you’re struggling with, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are professionals who specialize in breastfeeding that can help you achieve the perfect latch, relieve discomfort, and kickstart your natural breast milk supply. To get the most out of your breastfeeding experience, contact a latching consultant for help.

  14. Ignoring Self Care

Even though you’re going to be hyper focused on the health and wellness of your baby, it’s important to take care of yourself too. Your overall health has a direct impact on your baby’s health during breastfeeding, so give yourself the care you need and try to stay healthy. Stay hydrated by increasing the amount of water you drink daily and try to choose healthy, nutritious foods. If you need a break, don’t feel guilty for taking one. Ask your partner or a family member to help so you can catch up on some much-needed selfcare.


Breastfeeding is a great way to bond with your baby and give them the nutrients they need, but it’s going to take a little while to get the hang of it. Don’t feel bad if it doesn’t click right away and don’t be afraid to ask for help! Try these tips to fix common breastfeeding mistakes and if you’re still having trouble getting milk out, talk to your doctor about finding a lactation consultant or breastfeeding specialist. Do some research on a pump that will work for you and remember that thanks to the Affordable Care Act, new and expecting mothers are eligible to receive an electric breast pump covered by their insurance provider.

If you have any tips or advice about breastfeeding or want to share your experience with a lactation consultant, head over to our Facebook page today and leave a comment!