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Tips for Dealing with Breastfeeding Soreness and Problems

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Everyone knows that breast is best, but that doesn't mean breastfeeding problems aren't normal. Use these breastfeeding tips to overcome breastfeeding soreness and other problems.

 

Painful, Engorged Breasts

Breastfeeding soreness in your breasts is normal when you first start breastfeeding. However, this soreness is almost always easily treated. If your breasts are painful or sore, talk to your healthcare provider or a lactation consultant about breastfeeding tips that will work for you.

Also, it's not uncommon for your breasts to become engorged. This means that your breasts are full of milk and they will appear rock hard, very sensitive and very painful. If you're not feeding on demand, engorgement can occur, but it's also common when your milk first comes in.

To help with engorgement, feed as often as your baby wants. It may be necessary to express a little milk so that she can get a good latch. To learn if you have a good latch, watch this video on understanding your baby's latch.

Thrush

Thrush is a yeast infection that is passed from your breasts to your baby's mouth. If your nipples are pink and shiny and it feels like sharp needles are poking your nipples, you may have thrush. Additionally you may notice pain deep in your breasts, as well as white patches in your baby's mouth.

Thrush is common if you or your baby have been on antibiotics, or if you had yeast infections during pregnancy. To treat it, you should see your doctor. You'll both need an anti-fungal treatment because it's possible to re-infect each other through nursing.

Blocked Milk Duct

If you have a red, tender lump or patch on a breast, it could be a blocked milk duct. These can happen if you are wearing a bra that doesn't fit properly or if your hand or your baby's hand was restricting the flow of milk during a feeding.

If possible, position your baby with her lower jaw as close to the lump as possible. Massage the lump while your baby is eating to help clear the blockage. While it can be tempting to nurse on the opposite side during a blocked milk duct, nursing is necessary to clear it.

Sore Nipples

If your baby isn't latched on correctly, you'll have sore nipples. This often happens when the baby has more nipple than breast in their mouth. Your healthcare provider or lactation consultant can help you find nursing positions that can help reduce these breastfeeding problems.

Mastitis

If you notice flu-like symptoms, sore, sensitive breasts, a red patch and an elevated temperature, you may have mastitis. This can happen because of continued engorgement, blocked ducts, delayed feeding sessions, insufficient drainage or attachment that's not quite right.

Antibiotics may be needed to clear up mastitis. Try to express milk after a nursing session to make sure the breast is drained, change positions and hand express your milk during a warm bath or shower. If you do need antibiotics, it's possible to breastfeed with many of them, but talk to your doctor. You may want to get a prescription for thrush at the same time, just in case and to save you another trip back to the doctor's office.

 
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