Do you feel pain when breastfeeding? Learn about its causes and how to avoid them.
Breastfeeding is a natural instinct that should not be painful. However, during the first few weeks, some discomforts may arise, preventing it from being a pleasant experience for both mother and baby.
This is completely normal because you’re still getting to know each other and have a long way to go together.
In fact, it is best to consult a specialist doctor if you experience any breast pain while breastfeeding. However, we wanted to compile a list of the most common problems so that you can avoid them and recognize them in time to visit your doctor.
Are you considering breastfeeding? Continue reading because this information is of interest to you.
#1 Breast engorgement
Our body prepares itself to be able to feed the newborn during the final stretch of pregnancy and the first days of postpartum by sending a large amount of milk to our breasts, causing them to swell, which can be annoying and even painful.
In this case, it is best to empty the breast, either by the baby or by using a breast pump. In fact, if your breasts are still very swollen after breastfeeding your baby, you can get more out.
You can also use warm compresses or cloths to help the milk come out.
#2 Breast cracks
When we begin to breastfeed, the dreaded cracks can appear.
This problem has no effect on the child because he will continue to feed in the same manner, but it is the most common cause of breast pain during lactation and can even cause bleeding.
The main cause of cracks is a poor grip on the baby’s part, which causes his gums to rub against your nipple and irritate it. When a baby sucks properly, he has both the nipple and the areola in his mouth.
To avoid this, try the following:
- Do not give the child pacifiers until breastfeeding is established. If you do this, he will become accustomed to gripping in a more superficial manner, and he will do the same with your breast.
- Avoid washing the area frequently because this removes its natural protective layer.
- Ensure that the baby is properly positioned. As previously stated, both the nipple and the areola must be inside the mouth.
- If the cracks have already appeared, you can use a medical recommendation cream to aid in the healing process. It is important that you always consult your doctor before using any product so he can assess and recommend the one that best suits your needs.
#3 Blocked milk duct
Milk duct blockages are small white dots that can appear because of a clogged duct.
These can be caused by the baby or by mastitis.
We can act in different ways depending on what causes it.
If they are the result of damage, they usually go away on their own in 5 or 6 days. In addition, we can aid drainage by softening the area with warm compresses.
However, if the cause is bacterial, as in the case of mastitis, the problem is more severe and widespread, as it typically affects the entire duct. It is best to consult a specialist in this case.
Mastitis is the most well-known problem and the primary reason for discontinuing breastfeeding.
It is characterized by inflammation of one or both breasts, which may or may not be accompanied by infection.
It is undeniably painful and frustrating for the mother, so it is preferable to avoid its appearance.
To avoid them, we can follow certain recommendations, such as the ones mentioned when we discussed about the cracks, such as avoiding the pacifier, for example. But we can also include others, such as:
- A rigorous emptying of the breast.
- Good nutrition from the mother.
- Maintaining proper hygiene in the area.
- Use heat before feeding and cold after.
We’ve already talked four of the most common causes of breast pain while breastfeeding, but we’d like to discuss two more that are related to genetics rather than bad practices. As an example:
#5 Flat nipples
Certain women have flat or even inverted nipples, which stops the baby from sucking well and causes cracks or discomfort when breastfeeding.
This is normal at first, and the breast eventually adapts to the shape of the baby; however, in some cases, this does not occur, and the use of nipple shields is advised.
Ankyloglossia, also known as anchored tongue, is a condition that causes a child’s frenulum to be shorter than normal, restricting him from moving his tongue and thus affecting his eating.
This has implications not only on how the baby eats, but it may also make it difficult for him to speak in the future. In these cases, it is best to seek advice from a doctor.
The specialist will examine the child and determine whether or not the frenulum should be cut. This is a straightforward procedure with no major complications.
Now that you’re aware of the most common causes of breast pain while breastfeeding, consider the following advice before starting.
#1 Be patient
It makes no difference if you are a new or experienced mother; each baby is different, and what has worked for you in the past may not work now.
This is an experience that both of you should enjoy, so be patient, especially during the first few weeks until breastfeeding is fully established.
Also, keep in mind that no one is born knowing everything, and it is natural to feel a little lost. It will only be a matter of time before you are able to feel comfortable and secure.
Therefore, we recommend that you seek assistance if necessary and consult with a specialist to guide and guide you through this stage.
#2 Breastfeeding on demand
Allow the baby to be the one who asks you for food. Nevertheless, avoid him to be crying or upset for an extended period of time as he will take longer to calm down and begin eating.
#3 Breastfeed both breasts
You can offer both breasts while feeding or just one, but make sure he drinks milk from both sides so that both breasts are properly stimulated and emptied.
#4 Do not use a pacifier.
We’ve already mentioned it, but we want to be it clear. Avoid using a pacifier until breastfeeding is fully established in your routine.
Its early use causes the baby to become accustomed to sucking in a very closed manner, which causes problems when latching on to the breast.
#5 Seek the advice of a specialist
If you have any doubts, it is best to consult a specialist who will evaluate your case, diagnose it, and render a decision.
No one can give you advice better than a doctor.
Hopefully, this article has been informative and will assist you in avoiding breast pain while breastfeeding.
See you in the next one,