Health tips · Uncategorized

Boob pain & cabbages

The agony of breastfeeding related breast pain and infection (mastitis) is one like no other. Been there, done that, bought the cabbage leaves and shoved them down my t-shirt.
Common causes of breast pain

Breast pains don’t automatically mean infection (mastitis).  There are numerous reasons for breast pain, but common things being common, the following are the more likely reasons:

  • Baby not latching on well

    • Probably the most likely cause of breast/nipple pain.

    • Find your local breastfeeding advisor and get them to watch you feeding.

    • The earlier this is done, the higher the chance you will relieve the breast pain and continue breastfeeding.

On the first night after my daughter was born, a midwife told me that the latch was all wrong. She advised me how to alter it and after that…the feeding became incredibly painful and Antonia was screaming her head off at every feed.

The next morning a lactation consultant came in, said “no don’t do what she said, do this” and breastfeeding then became a breeze.

Ok it wasn’t that easy, it took some practice and perseverance, but having an expert’s input made a world of difference.

I cannot emphasise enough the value of a breastfeeding specialist.

  • Normal breast fullness

    • Warm, heavy and hard breasts in the 2nd to 6th day after your baby’s birth is generally normal and a sign of your milk coming in.

    • Often if you continue feeding, the fullness will settle.

    • Wear a well fitting bra that isn’t too tight.

    • Contact your local breastfeeding specialist for advice if needed.

    • Cabbage leaves do help (fresh from the fridge ideally).

 (This is the “Pammy look” as one of my friends called it.  I definitely didn’t feel like Pamela Anderson… Even less so with cabbage leaves shoved down my mahoosive frilly nursing bra.)

  • Blocked duct

    • This can be immensely painful and generally causes pain in one breast, sometimes with a whitish spot on the nipple (milk blister).

    • Continuing to feed from that breast is important as baby’s sucking will help with unblocking the duct.

    • Rubbing the blister with a warm wet towel can help to take it off.

    • A breastfeeding specialist can teach your how to massage the breasts to relieve the blockage.

What wonderful memories I have of that irritating milk bister… It disappeared within a few days but a few days in the world of breastfeeding where your nipple is being harassed on a 90 minute basis does feel like a lifetime.

Can I use painkillers?

 Yes.  Paracetamol is safe when breastfeeding, we have been using it for years and no harm has come of it.

 If paracetamol is not enough, Ibuprofen is also fine to use.

 Try to use the smallest amount that will control the pain.

So how do I know if I have that thing everyone talks about – ‘mastitis’?

There is no simple answer if I’m honest.  My recommendation would be to go see your GP if you have:

  • A red hot breast

  • Lumps in the breast

  • Nipples that don’t look right in shape or colour

  • A fever

  • Feelings as though you are unwell and like you have the flu

  • Any worries or are unsure as to whether there is something wrong

And if I have mastitis?

You will likely receive a course of antibiotics that are safe to use whilst breastfeeding and be encouraged to continue breastfeeding regularly.

Looking for more breastfeeding information?

Please check out La Leche League for a wonderful wealth of knowledge.

Thank goodness for cabbage…

Dr Claudia x x

Please note: The materials in this web site are in no way intended to replace the professional medical care, advice, diagnosis or treatment of a doctor. The web site does not have answers to all problems. Answers to specific problems may not apply to everyone. If you notice medical symptoms or feel ill, you should consult your doctor. Dr Claudia x

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