Breastfeeding pain is one of the main reasons that mothers give up breastfeeding prematurely. Pain has no place in breastfeeding, except to indicate that something is wrong. Let’s consider some of the problems which give rise to pain in breastfeeding.
Incorrect latch is one of the most common problems that causes pain. A good latch means that baby must get a good mouthful of the breast, particularly the underside of the areola. The baby must not merely be sucking on the nipple.
Toe curling pain or pain that does not go away within a minute or so of feeding, pinching, grazed or bleeding nipples all indicate a poor latch. Mothers should also pay attention to the shape of the nipple after the feed. A lipstick shaped nipple is a tell tale sign of poor latch.
A lanolin-based cream such as Lasinoh is said to keep the area moist and assist healing. Some mothers prefer hydrogel packs. It is best to experiment with both and choose the option that works for you.
My first baby had a tongue-tie, which contributed to latch related issues. This is an important factor to consider. The tie must be evaluated by a professional and depending on its severity corrected. This is a quick and painless procedure that takes a few minutes, but has the potential to make a world of a difference.
A baby who does not latch correctly cannot get adequate milk. This in turn results in the breasts being poorly drained and affecting milk supply in the long-term. In essence, getting this aspect right especially in the earliest stages holds the key to your breastfeeding destiny.
Engorgement is another uncomfortable condition that often arises particularly as your ‘milk is coming in’. The condition usually settles down within a few days. The best remedy is to empty your breasts as often as possible by breastfeeding on demand and for as long as your baby requires. It may seem like your newborn is breastfeeding constantly, however at this stage this is to be expected.
If your baby is not suckling well it is best to use a pump to drain your breasts to avoid Mastitis, which is another condition that causes breastfeeding pain. Mastitis is caused by blocked milk ducts. Hot red spots on the breasts and feeling feverish could be indicative of Mastitis.
This is a potentially dangerous condition that requires immediate medical attention as it could result in an infection. Adequately draining the breasts as mentioned above, wearing loose clothing wire-free bras and having adequate room in your bra if you are wearing nursing cups help to avoid this condition.
Another problem that can cause shooting pain in the breasts is thrush. A very painful and persistent condition that can affect both mother and baby. Both usually need to be treated to eradicate the problem. Using a natural treatment can be helpful. If you are inclined to using conventional treatment seek professional help rather than experimenting with over-the-counter medication.