You just started to truly enjoy breastfeeding after the first couple of weeks getting used to it.
But then, just when you thought things were going so well, you developed pain or burning in your nipples and/or breasts.
Some of the most difficult times to deal with start with pain. If it was initial pain and things improved after you got help with latching baby, you may be wondering just what is wrong.
Plugged Ducts - pain in one specific area of the breast.
There is not any redness present, no fever or body aches with plugged ducts. Sometimes you will feel a lump but it can be deeper and you may feel no lumpiness present. If you notice a white bump on the tip of your nipple after nursing or pumping, this is a milk bleb, which can also lead to plugged ducts but will be discussed below. Situations that can lead to plugged ducts include;
-baby beginning to sleep longer between nighttime feedings, and you didn't wake up to feed, leading to a fuller breast.
-oversupply and your body was used to you feeding &/or pumping a certain number of times a day and then you did not feed or pump as usual
-lack of sleep (above and beyond that normal sleep deprivation)...someone was up teething, you got to go to that friend's wedding, hosted Christmas at your house, etc.
Ways to get rid of a plugged duct
1) Empty your affected breast every 2-3 hours. Apply a cabbage leaf or cold pack to the
area that is painful between feedings/pumpings to decrease inflammation and lead to
faster improvement. Warmth right before feeding may also be helpful
2) Try "dangle feeding" or pumping. Lean over when feeding or pumping so your breast
is hanging down away from your chest
3) Massage towards the nipple starting right in front of the lumpy area during feeding
4) Take a warm to a very warm shower, let the water flow over your breast, and again
massage as above
5) It may be helpful to take Soy Lecithin. https://kellymom.com/nutrition/vitamins/lecithin/. .
May start with the symptoms of plugged duct, but then evolves into something much different.
A red area on the breast that is painful and warm to touch
If the above symptoms are present, call your Healthcare Provider and they will likely prescribe an antibiotic. When on antibiotics, it can be helpful to take a probiotic, which can help to prevent thrush
Thrush is a yeast organism that can take over the baby's mouth as well causing sore nipples and pain in your breasts
As with most breastfeeding concerns, it can be helpful to speak with a Lactation Consultant. Our Wellspring Lactation consultants are here to help, offering virtual and in-home consults to address any of your questions and concerns.