5 Useful Tips To Relieve Breast Pain
Breastfeeding is a word that has a hundred meaning. Sustenance, nurturing, liquid gold, life force, sacrifice, and pain.
The breastfeeding experience varies with each woman. Some mothers might have barely felt pain while breastfeeding while for others, it is an excruciating experience every time.
The Reasons Behind It
There are cases where one can quickly pinpoint the origin of breast pain, but on other occasions, the reason is behind comprehension.
Pain is something that you can hardly measure, but if not relieved, it can significantly reduce a mother’s quality of life. Too much pain can even contribute to the onset of postpartum blues.
The most common conditions that can contribute to breast pain postpartum are:
This type of pain is felt on the muscle / fatty part of the breasts. Pain is usually caused by the over-accumulation of breast milk far beyond the capacity of the milk ducts.
The breasts muscles and ducts tend to get stretched, hence the pain. Engorgement also happens when baby has failed to breastfeed on time or has siphoned off lesser than normal milk volume. The best way to counter engorgement is to pump and breastfed on regular times.
2. Improper latch
This happens during the baby’s first tries with breastfeeding. Some kids are natural; they are born with a strong sucking reflex and are voracious eaters.
It is those babies that are having hard times latching that contributes to mom’s breast pain. This usually happens during baby’s first week after being born.
3. Plugged milk ducts
There are lots of causes of clogged ducts, including irregular nursing sessions, improper positioning of the baby during breastfeeding, wearing a bra that is too tight or even overusing a pacifier.
Plugged ducts likely signal that you are not feeding your baby enough.
4. Breast infection / mastitis
Mastitis is the infection of the breast tissues, with the formation of lots of pus. This happens when the ducts get infected. The affected area feels warm to touch, reddish and painful.
You’ll be feverish and if you’ll feel at least one painful lump on your breasts.
5 Simple Remedies To Relieve Breast Pain
1. Apply moist heat
Moist heat is one of the best ways to relieve pain without resorting to medicine. Try using a warm compress or heating pads with moist feature. Electric heating pads are one of the most convenient ways to get moist heat without getting your clothes soaked.
You can also shower at least twice a day with warm water to relieve the soreness. After each feeding, gently massage your breasts to release the clogged ducts.
2. Wean gradually
The abrupt change to your breastfeeding routine can wreak havoc on your breasts. If you are used to feeding round the clock, your breasts will produce milk like clockwork. Weaning cold turkey is too painful, don’t ever try it or you’ll be sorry.
The best way to prevent breast pain is to plan your child’s weaning and implement it gradually. Reduce your child’s feeding volume or frequency little by little, spreading it over a few weeks’ time.
3. Drain your breasts thoroughly
Breast feed your little one on schedule. If in case you are at work and can’t nurse your child on his usual breastfeeding schedule, try pumping your milk at work.
Drink up lots of water throughout the day. Inadequate draining and lesser fluid intake can lead to clogging.
It will also make you produce less and less milk resulting to early weaning; which might be bad especially if your child needs that breastmilk.
Give the side of the breast that is painful to your baby first, he will tend to suck more eagerly on the first breast. While breastfeeding, check if your child is at the right position. To be sure that your baby is feeding enough, take your time breastfeeding.
Do not hurry.
The best duration for nursing is usually at least 15 minutes per breast side. If you always feel pain and if your breasts are not emptied completely after each feeding, better seek the expert advice of a lactation consultant.
4. Wear a loose-fitting bra.
Avoid wired bras if you can. Constriction of the breasts due to poorly fitted clothing will impede your milk flow, causing clogged breast ducts.
Choose a bra that is made of smooth cloth. Natural fiber like cotton is best. Avoid lace bras as their uneven, rough surface can create friction to the breast skin and nipples.
If the breasts are too painful despite wearing loose clothing, then check if there is noticeable redness or lumps around your breasts.
If the infection is suspected, do not rely on over-counter pain relievers. See your doctor first and foremost before you try out other remedies for breast pain.
5. Try herbal breast pain herb remedies
# Fenugreek and fennel
These plants are among the top herbs recognized for their benefits to breastfeeding mothers. Most of the pain encountered by breastfeeding moms are due to uneven breastmilk production and clogged ducts.
Fenugreek and fennel are two herbs that ease the flow of milk. They help to ensure you are producing optimum of the volume of breastmilk, it can even aid you to produce more should your baby demands it.
The best way to check if these herbs has done its job for you is to measure your pumped milk production before and after taking the herb.
# Goat’s rue
This herb is also an effective galactagogue (substances that enhance breast milk volume). They are originally being given for cows to increase milk production. You might think that you are not cattle, but hey, this stuff works!
Just a word of caution:
Be sure to nurse or pump regularly, or you’ll risk overproduction and breasts engorgement.
# Milky oats (Avena Sativa)
This healthy food boost of various vitamins and minerals that are beneficial both for mother and child. They give energy and even promote vigor. Aside from being a nutritional powerhouse, milky oats also have soothing calming effects.
If you are breastfeeding and your child suddenly turned irritable and fussy, try adding this healthy food/herb to your meals.
This herb might make your cat trip out bonkers, but for moms, this is herb acts as a relaxant best for fussy babies and anxious mommies.
Same as milky oats, catnip can be added to your evening cup of tea to promote a peaceful sleep.
Just like with catnip and milky oats, chamomile promotes gentle relaxation. This herb might not eliminate the pain, but it puts you in a calm state so that you can sleep soundly through the night.
When taken by moms, it can also go to breastmilk, helping in minimizing the baby’s pain brought about by colic.
#Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
A mild dose of skullcap might help to promote mood and alleviate the blues caused by postnatal depression. It also reduces a mom’s irritability resulting from the lack of sleep and exhaustion.
Before you go about and ask your local pharmacist about these herbs, better seek first your doctor’s advice.
Herbs are potent.
They are effective in a certain dose and deleterious to your health in wrong amounts. Better to be safe and healthy, your little one depends on you.