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Breastfeeding Pain: What's Normal and What’s Not?

Updated: Feb 21

Breastfeeding pain is a major issue for mothers who have never been nursed before. We've got the inside scoop on what to expect from your letdown.

“Should it be this painful?”

“I had hoped it would improve by now.”

“This isn't at all what I was expecting.”

The whole thing is a fresh sensation if you're just starting with nursing. If you haven't nursed, you have no experience with latching, letdowns, or engorgement. So why wouldn't you believe someone who tells you that breastfeeding hurts?

Let's put it this way: breastfeeding isn't supposed to be painful.

What should the sensation be like? The sensation is described by some women as tugging or pulling. During letdown, you may experience a tingling, heated, or electrifying sensation. Breastfeeding has been described as a relief by some mothers.

Breastfeeding sensations vary greatly depending on your baby's latch, breastfeeding position, the amount of milk in your breasts, and a variety of other factors. While it may take some time to get used to, breastfeeding should not be painful after the first few weeks.

What is normal ? What is abnormal?

It's typical to have sore and painful nipples when you first start breastfeeding.

There are a variety of reasons for sore nipples while nursing and some of them necessitate extra attention.

Inquire for assistance: Cracked, blistering, or bleeding nipples should be avoided.

However, nipple pain in the early stages of nursing should never be intense, and it should never entail cracked, blistered, or injured nipples.

Poor latching and a lack of breast tissue in the baby's mouth are almost invariably the cause of nipple difficulties.

“Remember, it's called BREASTFEEDING, not NIPPLEFEEDING,” We want the kid to take as much breast tissue as possible into his or her mouth. The nipple is merely a milk faucet; it's not a milk factory.”

If you notice blisters or bleeding on your nipple, he or she may have poor latch, due to tongue, or lip tie problems. If this is the case, arrange an appointment with an IBCLC for assistance—it will make a huge difference in your breastfeeding satisfaction.

Engorgement is a common occurrence.

Your breasts may have expanded during pregnancy, but engorgement is a different story.

Moms frequently experience engorgement when they first start nursing. Your infant will cluster feed for the first several days, causing your colostrum to grow into mature milk. Some mothers may have engorgement as a result of this change. If you have engorgement, you'll notice that your breasts are tighter, firmer, and sometimes even shinier. They can be warm and lumpy, and they can also be painful.

But keep in mind that engorgement pain is only temporary, and it will go away in a few days. Your breasts will feel better while you breastfeed or pump. (Although the early engorgement may make them a little painful).

During this time, continue to nurse and keep yourself hydrated. Apply a warm, moist compress to your breasts to reduce discomfort, or take a hot shower to enhance circulation and milk flow. Breast massage is another effective method for reducing engorgement pain.

A few key points concerning engorgement

To begin with, not all mothers experience engorgement. While it's more prevalent among new women who are breastfeeding for the first time, some moms don't have the same experience.

Engorgement, on the other hand, can be uncomfortable for moms who have undergone breast surgery—whether implants, reductions, biopsies, or other procedures. Scar tissue in their breast tissue is causing this agony.

Finally, mothers who received IV fluids during their labor and delivery may suffer from fluid overload. This can cause engorgement as well as swelling of the fingers, foot, and toes. Pay attention to how your body feels at this period and make sure to take extra care of yourself!

Inquire for assistance: Breasts that are sore or engorged, with hot areas, lumps, or redness, as well as fever, pains, or weariness.

you may have clogged ducts or mastitis if you're having this kind of breast pain.

Clogged ducts

Clogged ducts are common and uncomfortable, but the majority of the time they may be successfully treated at home.

A little, firm lump in your breast is a sign of clogged ducts. They're usually perceptible, and they're usually uncomfortable or sore. Clogs are caused by the following factors:

  • After nursing or pumping, not completely emptying your breasts

  • Wearing shirts or bras that are too tight

  • Missing or skipping a nursing session.

While blocked ducts can be treated at home, they must be addressed as soon as possible. Milk can back up if clogged ducts go untreated. This isn't only prolonging the discomfort; it's also increasing the risk of mastitis.

The first thing to remember is that, as uncomfortable as it may be to nurse through a plugged duct, it's critical to keep your milk flowing. Milk flow aids in breaking up the obstruction and restoring normalcy to your breasts.

If nursing alone isn't enough to clear the obstruction, try the following: