Breastfeeding is a satisfying experience for both mother and child. Unfortunately, breastfeeding can pose several problems. These problems can cause a great deal of discomfort. However, the earlier they are detected and treated, the faster the healing process begins. Listed below are some of the common breast problems that one may experience after breastfeeding, their care and treatment.
Symptoms & Cure For Breast Problems After Breastfeeding
Breast engorgement is the swelling up of the breast tissue. This occurs when the breasts are overfull with milk. The breasts feel warm/hot, swollen, firm and painful. When this happens, the baby is unable to latch on to the nipple because the breasts are so full. Some women even develop a mild temperature due to the pain.
Express a little milk manually either by hand or with the help of a breast pump so that the baby can latch on to the breast. Many women get immediate relief as the baby suckles and empties out the breast. Cold compresses and massages bring relief, as they help to soften up the engorged breast. Pain medication may be used sparingly if the pain is unbearable or the fever persists.
Sore And Cracked Nipples
This is a painful condition which occurs due to incorrect positioning of the baby during breastfeeding and also failure to latch on to the breast properly. The breasts need to be checked to make sure there is no other underlying problem. Breastfeeding the baby when suffering from sore or cracked nipples can be painful. Hence, it is important that this condition be treated as soon as it is detected.
Nipple creams that are safe enough to use during breastfeeding soothe the affected area. Lanolin in its purest form is safe and helps heal sore and cracked nipples. Applying a thin layer of the cream on the affected breast gives instant relief. If you are hesitant about using creams, try expressing a little milk from your breasts and spreading it on the affected nipple.
Allow the milk to dry completely before covering it.Use a nipple shield to protect the nipple from friction when you are not breastfeeding your baby. If breastfeeding is impossible on one breast due to the pain, it is important to express the milk to prevent the milk ducts from getting blocked.
Sometimes, one or more milk ducts get blocked. This usually occurs in one breast. When this happens, the breast becomes hard and painful.
The milk flow is not at its optimal best. Tight bras and even a hard hit on the breast are other causes of blocked ducts.
Treatment includes emptying the best completely at frequent intervals. Allow the baby to suckle on the affected breast first. While the baby suckles, massage the breast with downward strokes toward the nipple, to encourage the flow of milk. If, after breastfeeding, the breast is not empty, manually express the milk to empty it. No medication is required.
Mastitis is an infection that causes inflammation of one of the breasts. Engorged breasts, blocked ducts and sore nipples left untreated for long can all cause mastitis. The breast feels hot, there is a hard swelling and the infection is accompanied by a low- to high-grade fever, and a feeling of malaise.
Allow the baby to suckle at the breast for as long as possible. Massaging the breast and emptying it completely will help alleviate some of the discomfort. If detected early and treated immediately, a pain medication and an antipyretic such as paracetamol will do. However, if it is in the advanced stage, mastitis needs to be treated with a course of antibiotics prescribed by your doctor.
Thrush is a yeast infection that babies may develop in their mouths. Yeast by itself is harmless, but when produced in excess quantities can cause thrush.
When breastfeeding, this infection may be passed on to the mother. The breasts become tender to touch and the nipples become tender, pink and even inflamed. Sometimes, the mother may also develop a yeast infection in her vagina.
If not treated promptly, yeast infections can be passed back to the baby and vice versa. This passing on of the infection back and forth becomes a cycle. Tablets for the thrush as well as topical ointments can get rid of the infection.
Inverted nipples can be caused by breastfeeding when the breast tissue close to the nipple area gets damaged. In some women this condition gets rectified on its own. However for some women, the damage is permanent.
When breastfeeding, the baby will have trouble latching on to an inverted nipple. Gently pinch the nipple to encourage it to stand up and guide it into the baby’s mouth.