Breast-feeding is a wonderful experience, a time when mother and infant enhance the bond. A successful breastfeeding process needs the mom’s patience, mature techniques and persistence. With time passing by, you will become more skillful in breastfeeding, while some pain or issues might occurs to you and your infant. This article will help you to deal with breastfeeding pain more effectively.
Causes and Remedies of Breastfeeding Pain
1. Improper Baby Latch
The most common cause of breast-feeding pain is improper baby latch of your nipples and breasts. The latching on process takes patience and experience to perfect. You should expect minor pain for about 1 minute, if it lasts much longer, stop feeding and reposition your baby.
How to deal with this problem: change to a proper position to avoid breastfeeding pain. The main idea to relieve this pain is to make yourself and your baby comfortable. Have some supportive pillows against your back or keep a lying down posture can be good alternatives to ease the pain. Besides, hold your baby in a right position---putting one hand back on your baby’s shoulder and the other one lies in the bottom. To make your baby’s chest against your body, be sure you are skin to skin with the baby.
You baby, in the meanwhile, is supposed to be in a natural and relaxed position. Also, make the baby’s body weigh mostly against yours. The video below demonstrates some problems you may encounter in breastfeeding and gives some professional advice:
Engorgement is simply breasts overflowing with milk that can’t get out. Poor drainage can be instigated by the thickening of milk so as to clog milk ducts. Your breasts may feel swollen with redness and shininess in their appearance.
How to deal with this problem: maintaining sufficient fluids is an important factor to prevent this condition and lowers the chance of breast-feeding pain.
- Apply cold and warm compress on your painful sections, which decreases the swollen feeling and pain.
- Regularly doing some massage of your breasts to boost the flow also helps.
- Flatten nipples caused by the engorgement may enhance the difficulty in getting a good latch for babies. Just do some hand express motions to make the feeding area soft before the nursing.
- Nursing your baby in a regular schedule is a good option to ease engorgement pain. Every 1 to 3 hours with no less than 15 minutes of suckling time on both sides is a suitable arrangement. Remember not to skip breastfeeding.
- Get a supportive bra and adjust yourself to a comfortable position. And just spare the underwire bras.
The following video explains how to avoid breast engorgement:
3. Plugged Ducts
Plugged ducts get shaped when you become dehydrated. The dried milk ducts stop the flow of your rest milk. Mostly this condition is caused by the improper drain of breast milk, which usually occurs in the early course of breastfeeding.
How to relieve this condition: several options can relieve this condition. You can just apply some suitable and available options below for you to ease plugged ducts.
- Using wet, warm clothes on your breast prior to feeding
- Massaging your painful areas
- More frequent nursing
- Changing positions to breastfeeding and placing your baby towards the plugged ducts
- Give the side with plugged ducts to your baby firstly, for baby sucks stronger on the first breast
- Putting fair pressure on your painful outer part in a rolling motion with a little lotion on your thumb
- Lots of rests and plenty of water
4. The Letdown Reflex
The letdown is a result of hormone oxytocin. This condition, to be brief, it’s an involuntary response for the breasts to release milk from the nipples. Some mothers never even feel the let down at all. Some mom mayfeel pricking pressure along with slight discomfort.
How to deal with this problem: when you adapt yourself to the breastfeeding life, your body may find a relief for the some relaxing skills applied in labor process. So try to relax yourself when you are in the letdown reflex condition to ease the pain or discomfort. Also, it is helpful to relieve the discomfort by supporting your body well in good position when breastfeeding.
5. Other Possible Causes of Breastfeeding Pain
Mastitis is inflammation of the breast tissue, which mainly caused by tiredness. It can also start with an open sore that allows bacteria to enter into your ducts. You will often feel a lump that is hot and painful. You may have a fever higher than 100.4 F just like getting flu.
As a common fungal infection, thrush can occur on your nipples and in the baby’s mouth. Sores can develop as it progresses and the thrush can transfer into mommy’s breasts. Such a wet, sugary, warm environment (i.e. the mouth of babies while nursing) is hotbed of thrush. Although, your milk ducts hardly get infected by thrush in this way.
- Producing Too Much Milk
Producing too much milk decreases the flow to the baby, along with sharp pain deep in the breasts when nursing. However, this pain will gradually reduce in the early 3 months of breastfeeding.
When to See a Doctor
Breastfeeding pain is something many moms have to go through. It usually resolves in a short time and there are many ways to ease the pain until it’s gone. Mothers must persist to breastfeeding even in treatment or other situations. If your pain consisting for several days, consult your doctor to see if there is any other issues need to be treated (i.e. mastitis, thrush.)