It is understandable that new moms want to breastfeed their babies; as a mother you naturally want your child to have the best start in life as possible. But sometimes the pain you experiencing when feeding can hinder the ability to breastfeed as much as you want to.
It is important you discover what is causing the pain; see your doctor and get to the root of the cause as quickly as possible.
Here are some common problems women can face when breastfeeding.
Blocked milk ducts
If your milk ducts in your breasts become blocked, then it can be extremely painful. Milk can become backlogged in the breast causing much pain. Symptoms could show as tenderness or swelling. Once the blockage is clear, your breasts can be drained to relieve the pain. If blocked milk ducts are an issue, try to avoid skipping feeds and alternate breastfeeding positions.
Engorgement can occur when the milk comes in fully within the first week of having your baby. The whole breast area can swell, and you may experience pain. To manage the discomfort, breastfeed as often or as long as possible and massage your breasts during feeding. It may be necessary to warm your breasts prior to feeding. Make sure you speak to your doctor about general pain relief if it persists.
While you and baby are getting used to feeding patterns and nutritional needs, full breasts can become an issue. If you happen to miss a feeding, then it can be extremely uncomfortable. Generally, pain can be relieved through breastfeeding, hand expressing or pumping.
Mastitis is a common issue which can occur due to the pressure of milk building up behind the milk ducts forcing its way into the surrounding breast tissue. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious issues such as fever and infections. A series of antibiotics will need to be prescribed. Despite the pain, it is best to continue to feed your baby. Vary feeding positions for maximum comfort and to ensure your breasts are fully drained.
Thrush can occur on the nipples and in the milk ducts and appears as an itchy rash or dry, flaky skin. Talk to your doctor about suitable treatment. Keep your nipples as dry as possible and continue to feed your baby during treatment. Thrush presents no harm to your milk supply. Wash hands carefully before and after breastfeeding to prevent cross infection.