Breast soreness after breastfeeding and what you can do about it.
While breastfeeding is a natural process, it takes time and effort to do it right the first time around. If you experience pain or discomfort when breastfeeding, use these tips.
Breastfeeding: Common Questions and Answers
As a breastfeeding mother, are you likely to experience cramping?
Yes, As soon as your milk "drops down," you may experience acute uterine discomfort similar to period cramps (before it starts to flow). Your uterus is going through the cycle of returning to its pre-pregnancy size.
Do I need to worry about my breasts becoming bigger?
During the first two to five days after giving birth, your breasts are likely to become engorged  (excessively full). The good news is that your breasts shouldn't swell up if you feed your infant every 2–3 hours. In certain cases, engorgement may cause a painful or infected breast, making it difficult to breastfeed. As a consequence, avoiding it is the preferable option. Your breasts may become more sore and engorged if you delay breastfeeding or pumping.
Use warm compresses and try to pump or manually express your milk if you can't feed your baby right away. The most efficient way to express milk is to place a finger on top of your areola and your thumb on top of that. Take a gentle but firm push with your thumb and index finger on the inside of your chest wall. Your milk will come to the top if you squeeze your fingers together (express, push out).
At Yum Yum Mama, we reccomend Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy packs as it provides therapeutic relief like no other! Just pop them in the fridge or freezer to activate the therapeutic Cold Therapy, or place them against your skin to enjoy the gentle warming sensation of Heat Therapy. Plus, the packs can be used as a Massager to help stimulate milk production.
Do I need to be concerned if I'm experiencing discomfort during breastfeeding?
When their babies latch on properly, it is normal for moms to feel some discomfort at the beginning of a breastfeeding session. Soreness should go away after that. Your breasts may feel a slight tug when your baby is nursing, but it shouldn't hurt.
If you're having trouble with your baby latching on, stop breastfeeding and alter your infant's position. The baby's mouth should conceal most of the nipple-areola (the ring-like structure that surrounds the nipple). If the latch is wrong on the newborn, it may hurt or feel like a squeeze every time your baby sucks. In the long run, this may cause nipples that are painful, inflamed, and cracked.
Consult your doctor or a lactation consultant if you're experiencing any pain during breastfeeding so they can determine whether your baby is properly latching or if anything else is wrong.
Is There Anything Else I Could Be Doing That Is Causing This?
Any of the following may cause breast discomfort:
Obstruction in the milk supply. Sometimes, the milk ducts might get obstructed. If the duct is clogged, you may experience pain or develop a lump under the skin in a specific region of your breast. Try the following to help unclog the duct and alleviate discomfort:
Using warm showers or warm compresses on the afflicted area may help. In order to keep the area healthy, it is recommended that you massage it many times each day. Start nursing your baby immediately after that.
Position your baby's chin towards the direction of the congested area while they are eating. That portion of the breast will empty more rapidly as a result of this action.
Gently rub the lumps while they are nursing. The bulge may disappear after two to three feedings. Massage the area lightly to help free any trapped milk, and then use an electric (hand) or manual pump for a few minutes to aid in its retrieval. Cold compresses may be applied to the skin between feedings.
After a few days, the lump should go away on its own, but in the event that it does not, see your doctor.
Mastitis. Some women get mastitis, which causes their breasts to become inflamed and swollen. Breast inflammation is a symptom of this condition. Fever and chills are symptoms that some women experience. Consult your physician if you think that you have mastitis. After a breastfeeding session, warm compresses and light massage should be alternated with cold compresses. It is possible to treat mastitis that is caused by an infection with the help of antibiotics.
Yeast infection in the mouth (oral thrush). Yeast infections in the mouth of babies, such as oral thrush, may develop. Babies with this condition have discolored lips, a discolored tongue, and white or yellowish spots on the inside of their cheeks. You may suffer acute or scorching breast soreness during or after feedings. There is a likelihood that the infection could extend to your breasts, causing the following symptoms:
- Sharp pain deep into your breast
- Discomfort in the breasts and nipples persists even after your baby latches on and you reposition your newborn
- Cracked nipples that are inflamed and irritated and reddish-pink or glossy or flaky.
Contact your doctor instantly if you or your baby displays any of these symptoms.
Inverted or flat nipples. People with flat nipples (nipples that do not rise to the correct height when nursing their infants) may have a more difficult time breastfeeding or feel nipple pain while nursing their newborns. Those with inverted nipples may have a more challenging time breastfeeding. Speak to a medical professional or a lactation consultant for advice on how to make nursing easier and less painful.
Yum Yum Mama recommends the Lansinoh LatchAssist Inverted Nipple Corrector which is the perfect tool to help baby latch on and continue breastfeeding. The gentle suction of the flanges gently draws out inverted nipples so that your little one can easily get a good grip and start nursing. Plus, it's easy to use and clean.
What can I Do If I'm Experiencing Pain in My Breasts or Nipples?
Allow your baby to feed on the least uncomfortable side at first. Observe if the baby is latching on to your breasts in the correct way. If breastfeeding is too painful for you, you may want to pump the milk out of your breasts.
Whether your nipples are unbearably uncomfortable, you should talk with a lactation specialist or your doctor to see if a nipple shield is the best option for you. In order to prevent uncomfortable or cracked nipples from becoming worse during feedings, you should put on nipple shields.
Gently release the suction that has built up while removing your child from your breast. You may use your index finger to make a quarter turn and enter it between the gums on the side of your Baby's mouth. This will make it easier for your baby to swallow.
Gently massage some breast milk from your nipples after you've fed your baby, and then let them air dry.
Breastfeeding discomfort may be alleviated by gently massaging the area.
Just before feeding, warm up your breasts by applying wet or dry heat to them (e.g., a hot water bottle or a heating pad). For most women, keeping their nipples dry isn't necessary, but for those with a yeast infection, it's essential. Rest and hydration are key.
Make your baby's feeding area as comfortable as possible. Choose a chair with armrests, such as a glider. Additional support may be provided by footstools and pillows. It's common for women to use a "husband" back pillow, which has arms on both sides, while they're nursing in bed.
We recommend the BRONCO-BUSTIN' BEDREST PILLOW. This oversized pillow is perfect for propping yourself up in bed, and its soft, plush fabric makes it extra-comfortable. Plus, it comes with built-in arms to give you extra support, and its handy handle makes it easy to take with you wherever you go.
Contact your physician or a lactation consultant if you are experiencing pain or discomfort during breastfeeding.