Breastfeeding is often discussed and labeled as something natural in its essence since traditional times. Conversely, as natural as it might be, breastfeeding takes effort. Is breastfeeding painful? Yes, breastfeeding is painful. Breastfeeding pain in the nipples & breasts is more common than we can think.
Although breastfeeding pain is considered normal in the initial days of breastfeeding, it shouldn’t be avoided for the sake of a facilitating breastfeeding period, your health & your baby’s health.
Causes Of Breast Pain, Nipple Pain, Breastfeeding Pain
Does Breastfeeding hurt? Is it normal? Yes, Breastfeeding hurts and there can be ‘n’ reasons and causes of breast pain. Mild pain & discomfort is normal when you initially start to breastfeed but if the pain and discomfort persist on staying and is the same every time you breastfeed, it’s an issue that you must not ignore.
A latch is one of the major causes of sore nipples and breast pain. Consider a position that allows gravity to work on your milk flow. Don’t force your baby into the breasts, instead pull yourself down to the baby’s mouth. Make sure your baby is not constricting the nipple, hence allow your baby to take in the breasts and not just the nipple.
Work on gravity. Make yourself & the baby comfortable. Bring your breast closer to the baby’s mouth in a way that your baby’s nose is positioned with the breasts.
Tongue-tie in babies occurs when the baby’s frenulum(thin skin under the tongue) is tight and short. It can make latching hard for the baby. Provided that, tongue-tie can stretch out itself over the course of time but it can take months. To avoid painful breasts while breastfeeding, your doctor can free the tongue through simple procedures.
It is a yeast infection and can occur on your nipples/breasts and in your baby’s mouth. It’s more common in mothers who have cracked nipples or have/had a history with a vaginal yeast infection.
When your breasts become heavy and tight they can lead to engorgement or plugged milk ducts. Engorgement is very painful and it can get harder to breastfeed with strained, heavy hard breasts.
Clogged Milk Ducts:
Due to the insufficiency of proper milk flow and milk drainage, milk ducts might get clogged and stop the flow completely. Clogged milk ducts are usually caused when there is no proper drainage or over milk supply, engorgement, etc.
It is the inflammation of the breasts due to improper drainage, engorgement, or infection. Mastitis cannot be recovered through home remedies. Visit your doctor if you notice red, hot tender skin around your breasts and nipples. If fever is also accompanied, don’t waste time and meet with your doctor ASAP.
If you feel a throbbing pain in breastfeeding constantly, I suggest you first visit your doctor and know the root cause instead of going through the pain. Meanwhile, we will be discussing these breastfeeding pain in nipples & breasts on a broader spectrum.
In either case, Breastfeeding problems are often ignored as well. Although these problems are minor, not curing them will lead us to bigger breastfeeding issues and breastfeeding pain. Some of the major breastfeeding problems are:
Low Milk Supply:
Mothers often deal with low milk supply. Significantly, low milk supply is mostly caused due to simple unintentional breastfeeding mistakes & Pumping mistakes. It can also be caused due to hormones or prior medical conditions that your doctor can help you with. Look for low milk supply signs if you have doubts(link given in the text)
It is also a concern to some mothers as they are at greater risk of engorgement, clogged milk ducts, mastitis, inflammation, etc. With that said, they also deal with leakiness and it also is a big discomfort when out at work. Keep in mind, too much breast pumping can also lead to oversupply. SO, make sure you power pump with precautions.
- Improper Latch, heavy breasts, breastfeeding pains are some other problems of breastfeeding that should be cured to avoid breastfeeding pain.
Breastfeeding pain in nipples
Breastfeeding nipple pain differs from that of breastfeeding pain in breasts. Note that, you shouldn’t avoid either one of them. Significantly, Pain is always an unlying symptom of bigger issues that we discussed above. It’s better to resolve these painful breastfeeding issues via home remedies or through assistance. But never avoid them even if you think they are normal.
Nipple pain when breastfeeding can be caused due to many reasons that we discussed above. These are,
- Baby Biting your nipple
- Improper latch
- Wrong breastfeeding positions
- Cracked nipples
- Milk Blebs
- Wrongly attached Breast pump shield
- Nipple Thrush
Nipple pain while breastfeeding can cause a great deal of discomfort to mothers. It gets really hard to deal with nipple pain from breastfeeding & breastfeeding your baby simultaneously. Curing them, preventing them, and consulting your lactational specialist is a great favor you’ll do to yourself.
Breastfeeding nipples relief
Babies usually bite your nipple when they fail to latch properly or get insufficient milk out. They can also bite your nipple for fun but you must draw the line. If an improper latch is causing you painful nipples, correct your breastfeeding position, and look for a better latch.
Try to put your breasts as well inside of your baby’s mouth to avoid nipple bites. Insert your breasts in a way that pushes your nipples one inch far from your baby’s teeth. This will also help you with a good latch.
You can notice these chapped nipples at an early stage of breastfeeding. These are dry, itchy, and sometimes sore. Continuous breastfeeding sessions can worsen this situation and lead to thrush. Heal your chapped nipples with Lanolin. Apply this cream only in affected areas.
Lanolin is one of the most used breastfeeding essential mothers recommend. If you want an organic treatment, you can always apply your own breast milk to the affected area. If you sense pain, try hydrogel or a cold compressor.
Also, referred to as Milk blister occurs when your milk gets blocked under the epidermis or skin layer. It’s whitish-yellow in color and appears like Whitehead. These milk blisters can get painful if not treated.
Soak your breasts in warm water with Epsom salt. Pump your breasts when required and breastfeed continuously to avoid milk blisters. Milk Blebs can also act as a symptom of engorgement & clogged milk ducts. Cure Engorgement and clogged milk ducts with proper drainage.
Nipple thrush is the yeast infection that we discussed above. Consult your doctor before taking medicines prescribed anywhere online. Nipple thrush home remedies include keeping your clothes clean. Wash these clothes with bleach and sundry them to avoid infection.
In all conditions, do not allow these breastfeeding painful nipples to sit out. Most of the time, you can cure these painful nipples at home but if the pain persists and the situation doesn’t seem to get better with time, consult your doctor!
Breastfeeding Pain In Breasts
While nipple pain differs from pain in breasts while breastfeeding, they are most of the time the root cause/starting signal of breast pain or vice versa. Both nipple pain and breast pain while breastfeeding is interlinked and often lead to one another. Don’t avoid either of them as they might lead to bigger issues.
Breastfeeding Painful Breasts can be caused due to many reasons. These are,
- Clogged milk ducts
- Referred pain
- Strong Milk Letdown
- Breast implants
- Tight Bras & clothes
Pain relief While Breastfeeding
We briefly discussed Engorgement, Clogged milk ducts, mastitis (Refer to the link for detailed information) These are co-related and can be prevented through continuous breastfeeding/pumping sessions. Most of these breastfeeding problems can be cured through proper drainage.
Use a warm compressor/cold compressor to aid the pain. Again, if the pain persists on staying, consult your doctor.
- Referred pain: Referred pain is referred to the pain that’s located away from the original organ involved. You can feel referred pain while breastfeeding when you have an improper breastfeeding position that attacks your neck, shoulder, chest, and arms.
Don’t strain your muscles and find a comfortable position while you breastfeed and otherwise. Get into the habit of daily exercise (stretching/yoga/meditation) These exercises along with breastfeeding will help you lose postpartum weight and lead you to a healthy life and save you from referred pain, back/shoulder pain.
- Breast Implants: It’s possible to breastfeed with breast implants despite the continued breastfeeding myth. Mothers have stated the discomfort and pain with breast implants while breastfeeding. Consult your surgeon for all the majors and precautions that you can take to avoid the discomfort.
Avoid Engorgement as might hurt more with breast implants and take all the possible precautions available. For instance, Proper drainage, breast massage, pumping, eating a healthy breastfeeding diet, avoiding certain food that might not suit you while breastfeeding, etc.
- Tight Clothes do no good for your body, especially when you are breastfeeding and are at risk of clogged milk ducts. Tight clothes not only block your milk flow, but they can also block blood circulation. Choose nursing bras and nursing clothes to avoid strangling your body.
Tight clothes can also alter your milk supply and milk flow. It’s advised to wear loose maxi clothes to avoid complications through the breastfeeding period!
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