Especially during the first few weeks postpartum, breastfeeding can be a painful experience. There are quite a few reasons you may find yourself experiencing pain during breastfeeding, but these are just a few. If you’re noticing any of these symptoms, feel free to contact your doctor for help.
Within the first few days after delivering your baby, your milk starts to come in. If your baby is having trouble latching or feedings aren’t going well, your breasts can become engorged. When they fill with milk, they become warm, tight, and painful. This is a common occurrence, especially during the first week or so postpartum. However, it is uncomfortable, and any pain during breastfeeding is a sign that something isn’t right. To stop this from happening, or to alleviate the pain when it does, there are several things you can try. First, be sure to feed every 1-2 hours during those first few days to avoid engorged breasts altogether. You can also try manually expressing the milk or pumping to alleviate some pressure.
A Poor Latch
If your baby is having trouble latching onto your breast, you can have a variety of painful side effects. While trouble latching is common in the first few days, if it persists you should find a way to fix it before things get painful. Most notably, your nipples can become chafed and painful, and deeper breast pain can occur. Tongue or lip ties can cause nipple trauma, among other issues for both mother and baby. A baby’s inability to latch can also lead to more serious issues like mastitis. Specialists can help you work with your baby to develop better latching techniques. If you do find yourself with painful nipples, lanolin lotion can help soothe and ease that pain.
If your baby continues to have trouble latching, you can develop something called mastitis from a blocked milk duct or bacteria entering the breast. Mastitis is an infection of the breast that can cause redness, swelling, and flu-like symptoms. This condition can be incredibly painful, especially because you need to continue to feed your child amidst symptoms. While you can take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication to ease the pain, it is strongly recommended that you seek out an IBCLC or your primary care doctor to ensure you get proper treatment.
Breastfeeding is a wonderful, incredibly bonding experience to have with your baby. You get to sustain them. However, especially in the beginning, it can also be quite painful. These are just a few of the common painful issues that can arise from breastfeeding. If you notice concerning symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor.
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