Breast feeding is great for babies’ health and for recovering from childbirth. But damn, it hurts sometimes. If you are experiencing breast or nipple pain here are some common reasons you might be feeling the burn (or dull throbbing ache) and how to ease the pain:
Normal Nipple Pain:
If it only hurts during the first 30 seconds or so when baby latches on; it’s totally normal. This pain doesn’t last the whole feeding and your nipples shouldn’t continue to hurt between feedings. There shouldn’t be any cracking or bleeding and your nipple should look the same after feedings as it does before feedings.
If you are experiencing hard, painful breasts that are warm to the touch and kind of feel like you have the flu- you probably have mastitis. Call your doctor’s office right away of you feel deep breast pain along with a fever or flu-like symptoms as mastitis usually requires antibiotics (10-day course is typical). You can continue to breast-feed when you have mastitis; it actually may help clear up your infection faster!
Thrush or Yeast Infection:
Do you have a shooting or burning pain in your breasts? Do your nipples appear to have a rash, cracks or a shiny appearance? This accompanies by white or yellow patches on babies’ lips, cheeks or tongue may signal that you have a yeast infection in your breast. Call your doctor right away if you and baby have these symptoms.
A plugged duct feels a lot like mastitis- lumpy, warm, sore breast but without the flu symptoms. You can relieve your plugged duct without medication. Try taking a warm shower or using a warm compress while massaging the breast. Once you have massaged the breast, try pumping or breastfeeding to relieve the area. You should feel some relief after expressing milk and/or feeding your baby. A plugged duct should go away in a few days, if it does not or the symptoms begin to seem more like mastitis you should call your doctor.