Most mothers who chose to breastfeed their babies complained of pain during breastfeeding. In most cases, the pain was relieved without any sort of treatment while other times basic management was required to relieve the pain.
Duration of pain
The pain was experienced during breastfeeding and sometimes in between the feeds. The pain is felt in the first couple of weeks and then disappears slowly.
Character of pain
Pins and needles sensation along with tenderness is felt on both sides of the breast.
- Breast tenderness.
- Sore or cracked nipples.
- Breast heaviness.
- Engorgement of breast.
- Excessive lactation and leakage of milk.
- Clogging of milk ducts resulting Mastitis.
During lactation, the breast becomes engorged due to the activity of glands and ducts to produce more and more milk. This engorgement sometimes makes the breasts full and heavy which feel hot and hard upon touching and cause pain during Breastfeeding. This is more common during the first few days, right after the delivery as milk production is more as compared to the newborn’s feeding requirement.
Another reason is the mother’s inefficiency to properly attach the baby. This does not allow proper drainage of one of the segments of the breast during the feed and may end up in a clogged milk duct resulting in mastitis.
Thrush can also be the cause of pain that remains for sometime after the feed. This occurs due to friction produced as a result of suckling.
- Over the counter painkillers for pain relief.
- Anti-inflammatory for inflammation.
- Anti-biotics for an infection (mastitis).
- Anti-fungal for thrush.
- Hydrate yourself.
- Take plenty of rest.
- Empty out your breast often to avoid any sort of milk duct clogging.
- Use breast pumps to milk your breast if you are lactating heavily.
- Latch your baby correctly to the breast during the feed.
- Massage your breast while nursing to help with milk let down.
- Use warm compresses to soften the Areola which encourages the milk to let down before feeding.
- Place ice cubes or chilled cabbage leaves in your bra after the feed.
- Don’t stop nursing even if you feel pain during Breastfeeding.
- Wear a properly fitted bra to avoid excessive pressure on the nipples.
When to consult the doctor?
If the breast pain is so severe that you can’t continue breastfeeding and is associated with any signs of infection or has prolonged to more than 3 weeks after delivery, you should book an appointment with your practitioner or lactation consultant.
Most common causes of breast engorgement that occur when milk ducts and glands produce an excessive amount of milk.
No, most of the time the pain is due to excessive accumulation of milk in the breast. If you stop nursing this can lead to the pooling of milk in the breast and infection. The best intervention is to milk the breast as much as possible.
The breast feels hard and tender due to engorgement as more milk is produced and there is a lot of blood rushing to the site.