Cracked, sore, or even fragile nipples are a part and parcel of breastfeeding. It usually happens when the baby isn’t positioned properly while breastfeeding or is not latching well to the breast.
If the pain from cracked nipples persists, get it checked. Another solution can be to reset the baby’s position and make sure he or she is latching properly. You can also lubricate the nipples with breast milk. This will help reduce breast pain during breastfeeding.
If mastitis isn’t treated well or in time, then it can lead to a breast abscess. It can also occur if mastitis does not respond to frequent feedings or antibiotics. However, most breast abscess is the result of a bacterial infection. Pus gets collected in the breast tissue forming a lump.
A breast abscess can either come out on its own, with pus oozing out, or it will have to be removed surgically.
An improper latch is when the baby cannot get hold of your nipple and areola during breastfeeding. This can result in the above-mentioned conditions like blocked milk ducts, milk oversupply, mastitis, or engorgement.
If you feel that your breasts feel heavy even after breastfeeding, consult your doctor about this. Sometimes the baby is unable to latch and you aren’t able to position it well either. Taking help from the doctor can help you rectify this issue from the beginning.
How to tell if the baby is hungry
These are the typical signs of a hungry baby, and will help you set a better routine for breastfeeding:
- They will move their hands in different directions
- They will make hand gestures like they are clutching something
- They will try and put their fists in their mouths
- They will make different noises
- They will move their arms and legs
- They will make suckling sounds
- The moment you touch your baby’s cheek, he/she will turn to that side wanting to latch on
Breast pain during breastfeeding: Important points to remember
- As improper latching is the root cause of most of the breast pain issues mentioned above, ensure from the beginning that you get this step right as soon as possible.
- Breast pain is common during the feeding phase. Though, it shouldn’t be prolonged. Consult your doctor if it becomes unbearable or persists for more than three days.
- Do not take any medication without your doctor’s prescription. It is possible for some pain relievers to get mixed in your breast milk and consequently go to your baby. It is best to ask your doctor beforehand in case of emergencies.
- Expressing your milk is a good way to also increase your milk supply. As your baby feeds on breast milk, squeezing or pumping it out on your own also signals your body to make more milk.
- Breast pain is often accompanied by tightness, sore nipples, or lumps. Look for the signs and be extremely cautious while breastfeeding. This can sometimes be a signal for a bigger problem.
- Breastfeeding should be continued irrespective of any pain or other problems. Do not stop it unless your doctor advises otherwise.
- Do not breastfeed after exercising as it accumulates lactic acid. And this might turn the baby away from a feed.
Massaging your breasts during the nursing stage is good for blood circulation and will also help you identify if there is any pain or lump.
Stick to wearing light and airy clothes that do not restrict your breasts, and ensure that you wear a nursing bra.
Remember that any kind of discomfort or pain during or after breastfeeding needs to be taken seriously. Therefore, take the right measures, and don’t shy away from consulting a gynecologist when necessary.
Learn more about breastfeeding, here.