Breastfeeding is a fantastic experience for a new mum. It feels great to know that your body is providing all the needed nutrient for your baby’s growth. It also provides a perfect bonding experience between you and your body. Unfortunately, like all beautiful experience, it might be not be all smooth. You may find yourself getting anxious at meal times because you experience sharp pain in the breast after breastfeeding. What could cause this and how do you avoid it?
1. Baby Not Latching Properly
A good latch is one where the whole areola is in the mouth of the baby. If your baby does not latch properly, your nipples will become sore and cracked after several feeds. This will cause a painful burning pain on the nipples especially right after your baby finishes breastfeeding. To prevent this, ensure the baby latches on well when breastfeeding. If your nipples are already cracked, expressing some milk and applying on them then allowing to air dry help. Apply a non-alcoholic cream on them.
2. Milk Letdown Reflex
Breastfeeding is a complex process which makes the brain stimulate the release of hormones such as oxytocin and prolactin. Oxytocin makes the milk duct widen allowing milk to flow down them. This process is called the milk let down. The milk glands contract to allow the milk to flow. This causes a painful feeling in some moms especially immediately after breastfeeding. The refill pain goes away on its own after a few minutes.
3. Blocked Milk Duct
You can know if this is the case when one side of your breast remains full and painful after your baby finishes nursing on it. Take a warm shower and compress the clogged area with a warm cloth. Try to direct milk to the nipple with your finger. When breastfeeding, position your baby such that they feed on the clogged side of your breast.
4. Inverted Nipples
Some women have nipples that are flat or turn inwards. These don’t erect when the baby is breastfeeding. The baby is, therefore, unable to latch correctly. Talk to a professional to get advice on how to position your baby comfortably.
5. Breast Engorgement
This happens when your milk supply is more than your baby is feeding. This means that the breast does not empty after breastfeeding. Engorged breasts remain painful even after breastfeeding. To prevent this, express excess milk and massage your breast with a warm cloth. Always ensure your baby empties one breast before feeding on the other.
While sharp pain in the breast after breastfeeding is not a very nice experience, it is easy to manage. The pain usually goes away after a few minutes. As your body gets used to breastfeeding, the pain goes away completely. If the pain continues for more than a few minutes after breastfeeding, or breastfeeding becomes painful for you, there may be another underlying cause. This may be a Mastitis or fungal infection. In this case, you need to see a doctor. Breastfeeding should be an enjoyable experience for both you and your little one.