Dealing With Pain When Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding pain is a common experience for many new mums. When breastfeeding sore nipples and back pain during breastfeeding are just some of the types of pain that mums can experience. In this article, we will explore the different kinds of pain that breastfeeding can cause, why breastfeeding hurts, and how to combat the pain and find breastfeeding pain relief.

Breastfeeding Sore Nipples

Breastfeeding nipple pain is one of the most common types of breastfeeding pain. It can be caused by a few different things, including your little one not latching properly. If your baby is not latching onto your breast well, it can cause your nipples to become sore and cracked.

To combat breastfeeding nipple pain, the first step is to ensure your baby is correctly latching onto your breast. Working with a lactation consultant can be a great way to help you learn proper positioning and latching techniques!

Engorgement is another common cause of nipple pain when breastfeeding. This happens when your breasts become overly full. It can cause a sharp pain, making your nipples feel sore and tender. Applying a warm compress to your breasts before nursing can help to relieve engorgement and the pain it causes.

Thrush is a less common cause of nipple pain when breastfeeding, but it can be very painful for mums. It is a fungal infection that can develop on your nipples and in your baby's mouth, causing pain and discomfort for both of you. If you suspect that you have thrush, contact your healthcare provider for treatment, as it could be contributing to your breastfeeding nipple pain.

Breast Pain

Breast pain is another common type of breastfeeding pain. Again, there are a few different causes for breast pain when breastfeeding, but ongoing pain could be a sign of an infection, including mastitis or even a plugged milk duct. Mastitis is an infection of the breast tissue that can cause pain, redness, and swelling, and a course of antibiotics is usually needed to clear it up.

To combat breast pain when breastfeeding, make sure you empty your breasts regularly, whether through breastfeeding or pumping, if your little one isn’t feeding enough to empty them this way. Applying a cold compress to your breasts can also help relieve the pain and swelling. If you suspect you have mastitis, this usually needs proper medical treatment, so get in touch with your GP.

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Let-Down Pain

Let-down pain is a type of pain unique to breastfeeding that occurs when your milk begins to flow. This pain is often described as a tingling or pins-and-needles sensation in the breasts, and many mums find it uncomfortable at first.

Unfortunately, this is a part of breastfeeding, and there’s no quick fix to stop let-down pain from happening. If you’re struggling with let-down pain, you can try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or visualisation while nursing.

Back Pain From Breastfeeding

Back pain is another common issue that many breastfeeding mums experience. When breastfeeding, you spend a lot of your time holding your baby or hunched over in uncomfortable positions to support your baby, which can lead to discomfort and back pain over time.

To combat back pain from breastfeeding, finding a comfortable breastfeeding position that works for you and your baby is important. Use pillows or a breastfeeding pillow to prop up your baby and support your arms while nursing. To learn some of the best and most popular breastfeeding positions, see our article on common breastfeeding positions here. You can also try doing gentle stretching exercises or yoga to help relieve tension and pain in your back.

And don't forget to ask for help from your partner, family, or friends if you need help with the housework to alleviate some of the strain on your back!

If you’re struggling with pain while breastfeeding, it's important to remember that breastfeeding is a new experience for both you and your baby, and it may take some time to get the hang of it. Seeking support from your GP or a breastfeeding support group can help identify the cause of your breastfeeding pain and ensure you get the treatment you need.

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