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Throbbing Nipples, Sour Milk and Bad Genes: 7 uncommon conditions affecting breastfeeding.


newborn baby sleeping on blue blanket with text "7 uncommon reasons why you may have trouble breastfeeding "

Breastfeeding, while a natural process, can sometimes come with its own set of challenges. Here are a few relatively obscure problems that some individuals may encounter while breastfeeding:

  1. Raynaud's Phenomenon: This condition causes the blood vessels in the nipples to narrow, leading to intense pain, blanching, and throbbing sensations during or after breastfeeding. Affected individuals may find relief by keeping their nipples warm between feedings.

  2. Oversupply of Milk: While many struggle with low milk supply, some mothers experience an oversupply of milk. This can lead to issues such as engorgement, fast flow of milk causing discomfort for the baby, and an increased risk of plugged ducts and mastitis.

  3. Tongue-Tie and Lip-Tie: Tongue-tie and lip-tie are conditions in which the tissue connecting the tongue or lip to the mouth is tighter or shorter than usual, restricting movement. This can interfere with effective latch and milk transfer, causing pain and frustration for both the mother and the baby.

  4. High Lipase Content: Some individuals have higher levels of the enzyme lipase in their breast milk, which can cause the milk to develop a soapy or rancid taste over time. While this doesn't pose any harm to the baby, they may refuse to drink the milk due to the unusual taste. Scalding the milk before storage can help prevent this issue.

  5. D-MER (Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex): D-MER is a condition characterized by intense feelings of sadness, anxiety, or irritability that occur just before the milk letdown reflex. These negative emotions can be overwhelming but usually subside once the milk starts flowing.

  6. Inadequate Hindmilk-Foremilk Imbalance: Breast milk is composed of foremilk, which is thinner and contains less fat, and hindmilk, which is richer in fat and calories. Some babies may have difficulty getting enough hindmilk due to various factors, such as ineffective latch or frequent switching between breasts. This can lead to poor weight gain and increased fussiness.

  7. Galactosemia: Galactosemia is a rare genetic disorder in which infants lack the enzyme needed to break down galactose, a sugar present in breast milk. Breastfeeding is contraindicated for babies with galactosemia, as it can lead to severe complications if not diagnosed and managed appropriately.

It's important to note that if you or someone you know is facing any challenges with breastfeeding, please seek guidance from a lactation consultant, healthcare professional, or breastfeeding support group.


Learn how you may be able to receive up to six 90-minute lactation consults with no out of pocket cost from The Lactation Network. NO Tricks. It's an insurance type program that contracts with your insurance company. Many of the bigger insurance companies are included.

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