Ineffective Breastfeeding

Ineffective Breastfeeding



nursing diagnosis, also known as NANDA-I nursing diagnosis, is a classification system that provides standardized language for health care professionals to document, communicate and share the individualized care provided to patients. In this article, we will talk about one of the NANDA-I nursing diagnoses - Ineffective Breastfeeding.

Nursing Diagnosis Definition

Ineffective Breastfeeding is defined by NANDA-I as “the inability to coordinate, synchronize or maintain a satisfactory breastfeeding technique”.

Defining Characteristics


  • Expressions of discomfort from the infant during and after breastfeeding.
  • Perception of excessive duration of breastfeeding session by the mother.
  • Excessive time to complete a feeding session.


  • Inability to latch the infant to the breast properly.
  • Insufficient milk intake by the infant.
  • Inconsistent growth pattern in the infant.

Related Factors

  • Infant health problems such as cleft palate.
  • Improper positioning and latching techniques.
  • Lack of proper breast stimulation for adequate milk flow.
  • Inadequate support from health care professionals.
  • Distractions in the environment.
  • Misinformation about breastfeeding.
  • Stressful environment.

Explanation: The above factors can contribute to ineffective breastfeeding. Infant health problems, improper positioning and latching techniques, lack of stimulation for milk flow, and inadequate support from health care professionals can all negatively affect breastfeeding. Distractions in the environment, misinformation about breastfeeding, and a stressful environment can also limit successful breastfeeding.

Risk Population

  • Primiparous (first-time) mothers.
  • Mothers with underlying psychological issues.
  • Mother’s with physical impairments.
  • Those with inadequate support from family and friends.

Explanation: Primiparous (first-time) mothers are more likely to experience ineffective breastfeeding due to lack of experience. Mothers with underlying psychological issues such as postpartum depression or anxiety may be less likely to provide effective breastfeeding due to hormonal imbalance and/or psychological stress. Women with physical impairments (e.g. women with chronic pain, or those who had a cesarean section delivery) often require additional help and assistance with breastfeeding in order to achieve success. Lastly, women who do not have adequate support from family and friends are more likely to experience ineffective breastfeeding.

Associated Problems

  • Poor weight gain in the infant.
  • Dehydration in the infant.
  • Jaundice in the infant.
  • Low milk supply in the mother.
  • Mastitis in the mother.
  • Decreased self-esteem in the mother.

Explanation: Poor weight gain in the infant is a common symptom that can result from ineffective breastfeeding. Dehydration and jaundice, two serious health conditions, can also result from ineffective breastfeeding. In the mother, a low milk supply can result from ineffective breastfeeding. Additionally, mastitis, a painful condition involving inflammation in the breast, may develop in the mother if the infant does not receive an adequate amount of milk. Finally, decreased self-esteem in the mother can also occur if the breastfeeding sessions do not go smoothly.

Suggestions for Use

  • Assessment and evaluation of infant’s sucking patterns.
  • Educating the mother on proper positioning and latching techniques.
  • Implementation of comfort measures such as skin-to-skin contact between mother and infant.
  • Encouraging the mother to express her concerns and provide emotional support.
  • Providing adequate opportunity for rest for both mother and infant.
  • Referring the mother to a lactation consultant for additional assistance in breastfeeding.

Explanation: Assessment and evaluation of the infant’s sucking patterns can help identify any potential problems in the technique and help make necessary corrections. Educating the mother on proper positioning and latching techniques can also improve breastfeeding success. Implementing comfort measures, such as skin-to-skin contact between mother and infant, will improve the breastfeeding experience. Encouraging the mother to express her concerns and providing emotional support can also positively impact her breastfeeding experience. Providing adequate time for rest for both the mother and infant is essential for the success of breastfeeding sessions. Lastly, referring the mother to a lactation consultant may be beneficial if the mother is unable to correctly position and latch the baby on her own.

Suggested Alternative Nursing Diagnoses

  • Knowledge Deficit regarding Infant Feeding.
  • Risk for Fluid Volume Deficit.
  • Risk for Impaired Parenting.

Explanation: Knowledge Deficit regarding Infant Feeding is a diagnostic label that can be used to describe situations wherein mothers lack the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively feed their infants. Risk for Fluid Volume Deficit is also a diagnostic label that can be used to describe situations wherein infants do not take in enough liquids (e.g. breastmilk) to meet bodily needs. Finally, Risk for Impaired Parenting can be used to describe situations wherein mothers are unable to meet their infants’ needs due to ineffective breastfeeding.

Usage Tips

  • Evaluate the extent of the problem through observation and questioning.
  • Determine the best course of action based on the individualized assessment of the patient.
  • Encourage the mother to establish contacts with other mothers who have successfully breastfed.
  • Develop a personalized care plan for the mother and infant.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the chosen interventions through regular follow-up visits.

NOC Results

  • Infant Nutritional Status: Weight, Hydration, Body Mass Index
  • Infant Nutrition Parameters: Intake, Output, Composition
  • Maternal Emotional State: Self-Esteem, Anxiety Level
  • Maternal Lactation Performance: Milk Flow, Latch

Explanation: Infant Nutritional Status measures the overall nutritional status of the infant, including weight, hydration, and body mass index. Infant Nutrition Parameters assesses the intake, output, and composition of the infant’s diet. Maternal Emotional State examines the self-esteem and anxiety level of the mother related to breastfeeding. Lastly, Maternal Lactation Performance looks at the milk flow and the latch of the mother during breastfeeding.

NIC Interventions

  • Counseling: Breastfeeding (for the mother)
  • Family Support Enhancement (for the family)
  • Fatigue Management (for the mother)
  • Latching Assistance (for the infant)
  • Medication Therapy Management (for the infant)

Explanation: Counseling: Breastfeeding provides information and support to the mother regarding breastfeeding techniques. Family Support Enhancement provides needed guidance and assistance to the family to help them better understand and encourage the breastfeeding process. Fatigue Management helps to reduce the fatigue associated with breastfeeding, thus making it easier for the mother. Latching Assistance helps the mother position the baby correctly to ensure an optimal latch. Finally, Medication Therapy Management addresses any necessary medical interventions to promote breastfeeding success.


This article has discussed NANDA-I’s nursing diagnosis – Ineffective Breastfeeding. We discussed the definition of the diagnosis, providing lists of defining characteristics and related factors along with their explanations. We also discussed the associated problems, suggestions for use, suggested alternative NANDA diagnoses, usage tips, lists of NOC results and NIC interventions, along with their explanations. Ineffective breastfeeding is a common issue and can lead to a variety of negative consequences. It is important for health care professionals to assess and evaluate breastfeeding techniques in order to facilitate successful breastfeeding sessions.


Q: What is Nursing Diagnosis?
A: nursing diagnosis, also known as NANDA-I nursing diagnosis, is a classification system that provides standardized language for health care professionals to document, communicate and share the individualized care provided to patients.

Isabella White

Hello to all nursing enthusiasts! I'm Isabella White and I'm thrilled to welcome you to this space dedicated to the exciting world of nursing. Let me share a little about myself and what we can expect together on this journey. About Me: Nursing is more than just a profession to me, it's a calling. When I'm not caring for my patients or learning more about health and wellness, you'll find me enjoying the great outdoors, exploring new trails in nature, or savoring a good cup of coffee with close friends. I believe in the balance between caring for others and self-care, and I'm here to share that philosophy with you. My Commitment to You: In this space, I commit to being your reliable guide in the world of nursing. Together, we'll explore health topics, share practical tips, and support each other on our journeys to wellness. But we'll also celebrate life beyond the hospital walls, finding moments of joy in the everyday and seeking adventures that inspire us to live fully. In summary, this is a place where nursing meets life, where we'll find support, inspiration, and hopefully a little fun along the way. Thank you for joining me on this exciting journey. Welcome to a world of care, knowledge, and connection! Sincerely, Isabella White

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