Pain and Discomfort when Breastfeeding
For moms everywhere, whether you’re new or a seasoned parent, breastfeeding will come with its fair share of questions. There are a number of reasons why you may experience pain and discomfort while you’re breastfeeding your new-born.
Cramps while nursing
During the first few weeks after you’ve delivered your new-born, you may feel menstrual-like cramps when your milk lets down. This is your uterus shrinking back to a smaller size.
Pain during or after nursing
If your baby is latched on properly, you may have up to about 60 seconds of pain. This is caused by the nipple and areola being pulled into your baby’s mouth, with the pain subsiding after that. If you continue to feel pain, stop feeding for a moment and reposition your baby on your breast. If the pain doesn’t stop, something else might be going on.
If your baby consistently continues sucking on your nipple without getting much of your areola in the mouth, they’re latching on wrong. You’ll probably feel discomfort each time you feed the baby. A number of moms say it feels like a pinch as their babies nurse. This can result in you developing sore or cracked nipples in no time.
Other causes for breast pain
When you have flu-like symptoms – fever, chills, a hard or red area of the breast, or red streaks on your breast and your breasts are sore, you may have an infection in your mastitis or milk ducts. If you have any of these symptoms, call your doctor, the infection can be easily treated with antibiotics.
You’re also encouraged to call your doctor if you show the following:
- Burning breast-pain during or after feeding
- Pain deep within your breast
- Strong pain in the breasts or nipples that doesn’t get better after properly latching on
- Cracked, itchy, burning nipples, or pink, red, shiny, flaky, or nipples that have a rash with little blisters.
Sore and lumps
Sore breasts with a lump may be a sign of clogged milk ducts. To help unclog the duct and ease your pain:
- Take warm showers or use warm compresses on the area, massaging the area, several times a day. Then, breastfeed your baby immediately.
- When breastfeeding, position the baby so the nose is pointed toward the clogged area.
- If that doesn’t work, try using a manual (hand) or electric pump for a few minutes to help draw out the clogged milk.
- If the lump doesn’t go away within a couple of days, or if you have any fever, chills, aches, or red streaking, call the doctor.
Breast engorgement occurs when your breasts become overly full. This will result in them feeling hard, tight and painful. In the early days of breastfeeding, engorgement can be due to your milk coming in and your new-born not feeding as much as they need to. It may take a few days for your milk supply to match your baby’s needs.
If your baby isn’t well latched on to the breast, it may be hard for them to take your milk when your breast is engorged. The nipple will become a little overstretched and flattened, and possibly painful.
Source: Marie Stopes South Africa (Safe Abortion and Post Abortion Family Planning)
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