Breast Complications


Breast complications are those conditions or abnormalities that is found in the breast of a lactating mother which hinders the initiation of appropriate and good breastfeeding practices or technique ( UNICEF 2014). 

It can also be defined as those several breast problems that may arise during the breastfeeding period, such as breast engorgement, plugged milk duct, breast infection and insufficient milk supply, originate from conditions that lead to unsuccessful breastfeeding. 

Types of breast complications 

A. BREAST ENGORGEMENT Breast engorgement is the development of hard, swollen, painful breasts from too much breast milk. Engorged breasts can become extremely large, tight, lumpy, and tender. The swelling may go all the way up into the armpit, and the veins on the surface of the breasts may become more visible or even stick out.

Signs and symptoms includes; hard and edematous breast, pain , flushed breast, pyrexia, lumpy and tender.


Mastitis is an infection of the tissue of the breast that occurs most frequently during the time of breastfeeding. It can occur when bacteria, often from the baby's mouth, enter a milk duct through a crack in the nipple.

Signs and symptoms includes; Tenderness and swelling, Body aches, Fatigue, Breast engorgement, Fever and chills


A breast abscess is a localized collection of pus in the breast tissue. It is usually caused by a bacterial infection. Breast infections, including mastitis and breast abscesses, are most often seen in women aged 15 to 45 years. 

These are some of the signs and symptoms; tender swelling or lump in an area of the breast, pain in the affected breast; redness, warmth, swelling, and tenderness in an area of the breast, fever, muscles aches, feeling generally unwell


Cracked nipple (or nipple trauma) is a condition that can occur in breastfeeding women as a result of a number of possible causes. Developing a cracked nipple can result in soreness, dryness or irritation to, or bleeding of, one or both nipples during breastfeeding appear as a cut across the tip of the nipple and may extend to its the base. 

These are the signs and symptoms; soreness , bleeding of the nipple tissues, pain areas in the breast, pyrexia.


In breastfeeding, lactation failure may refer to; Primary lactation failure, a cause of low milk supply in breastfeeding mothers or a Cessation of breastfeeding before the mother had planned to stop, usually as a result of breastfeeding difficulties or even Low milk supply in general


Causes of breast complications 

1. Breast Abscess 

These are the causes of breast abscess; Baby not latching appropriately to the nipple, Inappropriate nipple care routine, Inappropriate breast pump usage, Bacterial infection, injury to the breast, cracked nipples, having diabetes or problems with your immune system, nipple piercing and, breast implant surgery.

2. Breast engorgement 

Its Causes includes; Not breast feeding enough, Have waited too long before starting to breast pump or nurse, When supplementing the baby with formula between feeds, The baby's sleeping schedule changed, When the mother has over abundant breastmilk supply, When breastfeeding a sick baby who's having trouble nursing because of a stuffy nose, painful ear infection, or other illness, When the baby is refusing the breast, Having of breast implants by the mother which can block the flow of breast milk from, Having of breast implants by the mother which can block the flow of breast milk from your breasts and When the baby is weaned too quickly.

3. Mastitis

It can be caused by; A baby not properly attaching to the breast during feeding, A baby having problems sucking for example, because they have a tongue-tie , a piece of skin between the underside of their tongue and the floor of their mouth, Infrequent or missed feeds for example, when they start to sleep through the night, Favoring one breast for breastfeeding for example, because one of your nipples is sore; this can lead to milk stasis developing in the other breast, A knock or blow to the breast that damages the milk duct or the glands in your breast, Pressure on the breast for example, from tight-fitting clothing (including bras), seat belts or sleeping on your front.

4. Cracked or sore nipple 

The causes includes; Improper latching, When the baby has an oral thrush, Nipple confusion that is when the baby is been bottle fed and breast fed, Incorrect breast pump use, Nipple eczema, Local irritation or trauma on the nipple, Bacterial or fungal infection and Paget's disease. 

5. Lactation failure 

Maternal abuse, congenital the causes includes; acute maternal illness, Handicapped baby, mothers diet, anomalies and menstruation. 

Comments Reply
  • You have briefly elaborated on the common pathologies of the breast. Well done. However I just want to add that if you're experiencing any of these symptoms then please quickly endeavor to see a Doctor or at the very least go for an ultrasound scan of the breasts. Early detection (in most cases) makes treatment a lot easier and effective.

    - Jacob Esop - 2019-11-24 09:12:41 Quote

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