Jan 18, 2011
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Breast Pain in Lactating Mothers – Understanding Causes & Management Tips



Breast pain while nursing could arise due to several reasons. Mostly the foremost aspect that dodges your memory is that it’s mastitis. On every occasion a breastfeeding mother experiences pains in her breasts, it is a sign that something isn’t right and it is never a good thing to overlook any message that your body is giving.

The use of hot compress applications & pain killers like Tylenol for breast pain would solely be helping the woman in dealing with her discomforting sensation and would not essentially be getting to the root of the issue.

In case of mastitis in the breasts, one would experience soreness in one section of the breast, general tenderness in breasts (single/both), a smallish red (& perhaps tender) swelled up spot on the breast, low to high-grade fever, feeling weak, chills, feeling nauseous & puking.

In case mastitis is doubted then nursing mothers must enquire from their doctors about culturing their milk as well as the throat of their infants. Doing so would help in zeroing down on what kind of pathogen is the offender & guarantee appropriate therapy. Antibiotic course, in case needed must be offered for a span of a minimum of a fortnight. Several nursing females complaining of breast pain find relief from the use of long term, less dosage antibiotics treatment taken over a span of 2-3 months.

Chronic mastitis could in fact be unidentified breast abscesses. Is firmness & extreme tenderness felt in a certain area of the breast? Abscess formations are quite atypical, though in case abscess is doubted then identification could be done via aspiring method done on the affected breast in the doctor’s clinic. Antibiotic medicines as a standalone treatment approach would be incapable of resolving the problem of abscesses which perhaps need to be drained operatively, alongside the intake of apt antibiotics course (ascertained by culturing the drained out matter), tepid soaking & regularly & completely emptying the breast.

Other reasons to be probed when breast pain is experienced:
  • Ductal Thrush –
    The infant may be asymptomatic and not exhibiting thrush symptoms. Breastfeeding mothers need to ask themselves the following questions. In case they give an affirmative answer to one or more of them then there might be thrush presence.

    • Are any pains in the nipple/s experienced?
    • Have you earlier suffered from yeast vaginitis?
    • Have you earlier been given antibiotics medicines as treatment?
  • Backache or muscular strains
    These could arise from pitiable and incorrect breastfeeding positions. While nursing, women need to be seated with their back straightened or leaning backwards to a slight extent. Also the usage of low-level foot-stools or also a thick novel for elevating the knees slightly could help. Straining of the back could result from the mother leaning over her infant while breastfeeding.
  • Big Breasts –
    Try a diverse mode in supportive brassiere or support the breasts by the use of rolled-up infant coverlet or cloth diapers when feeding might aid in relieving the pains.
  • Fibrocytic changes in the breasts –
    Generally worsen during the pre-menstrual phase among many women.
  • Injuries to breast tissues resulting from incorrect pumping –
    Could arise from the use of cycle horn breast pumps (best avoided), continual suctioning breast pumps, or the use of forceful suctioning.

Continual breast pain has an off-putting effect on the breastfeeding bond. Proper evaluation and treatment is of paramount importance, not just for maternal comfort, preserving nursing, but also for ruling out any fundamental medical problem.

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