Breastfeeding pain may be due to several causes, which may be the result of the woman or the infant . However, even at the beginning of breastfeeding severe pain is not common , so a doctor’s visit is recommended in these cases.
Meanwhile, Breastfeeding Pain in the puerperium so widespread that they are considered by many laymen and sometimes even by professionals as normal.
An increased sensitivity of the nipples , which is not a cause for concern, is harmless in the first days to weeks after the birth of the child and does not occur in every woman. Even a tingling sensation or a feeling of warmth is not a cause for concern at the beginning. These sensations are a sign of the milk donor reflex and thus a completely natural process.
Breastfeeding Pain causes
Breastfeeding pain can be caused by a variety of causes, such as baby’s wrong application, or cleft lip and palate . In some cases, bacterial or mycotic infections are the reason. Some babies also have a pronounced milk donor reflex , which can cause discomfort to the mother. If such symptoms occur, it is advisable to have them clarified by a qualified person.
Breastfeeding Pain diagnosis
Breastfeeding pain that is extremely uncomfortable, associated with other conditions such as fever and / or persisting for an extended period of time should be clarified by a midwife and / or gynecologist .
If pain occurs during breastfeeding, then at the beginning an inspection of the breast and the nipples should be made to rule out possible infections, a deviating shape of the nipples, hematomas or rhagades (skin tears) as a pain trigger.
In addition, the oral cavity of the newborn should be considered, as well as the cause of the pain can be found here.
In addition, a knowledgeable person, such as the midwife, should observe the onset of the newborn. In 80% of cases, incorrect insertion technique is the cause of pain during breastfeeding. In these cases, the application technique should be optimized.
Remedy can also provide the so-called asymmetric application technique . Furthermore, the breast including the nipples should be viewed shortly after the birth of the newborn and attention to possible changes, such as deformed nipples , are respected. If the cause is not directly visible, a palpation of the breast and also a blood test in the diagnosis can be helpful.
Breastfeeding Pain therapy
If there are injuries to the nipple tissue , there are some tricks to relieve the pain caused by it. For this purpose, you can distribute the last drop of breast milk or even the saliva of the baby on the nipple and then leave to dry in the air.
This usually helps better than wool wax . Relief may also be provided by the use of gel padsto cover the nipples or a nipple protection in the bra .
In severe cases, only a breastfeeding break can provide relief, since only the pausing contributes to the healing of the attacked nipples. During this time, the emptying of the breast should be ensured for example with a breast pump . As a result, milk production continues to be stimulated and it is possible to feed the baby with the breast milk obtained.
Breastfeeding Pain Wrong or correct application technique?
The most common cause of Breastfeeding Pain is a misapplication technique. Therefore, learning how to put it on correctly is an important part of breastfeeding. The problem here is often that the infant has not detected enough breast tissue with his mouth and thus mainly sucks on the nipple itself.
For optimal breastfeeding, however, the child must also take in a large part of the areola. If the baby is ideally placed, there should be no pain in the area of the nipple and no babysitting of the infant. If a smacking sound is heard, there is air between the maternal nipple and the child’s mouth, which can cause irritation of the sensitive breast tissue and thus cause Breastfeeding Pain and sore nipples.
However, Breastfeeding Pain may occur despite proper placement technique. For example, the infant itself may provide painful breastfeeding through a different suction technique . To mention is here for example the tongue pushing . The concept of tongue thrust combines several behaviors of the infant. This includes, for example, pushing out the nipple at the beginning of breastfeeding or when the milk flow decreases.
Also, deviations in the area of the oral cavity of the infant such as a shortened tongue ligament or a modified palate form may cause pain during breastfeeding.
In addition, the shape of the maternal nipples can also cause pain during the nursing meal. These include, for example, flat or hatching warts and hollow warts . In some cases lactating women may also perceive the milk donor reflex, in which fine muscle contractions convey the milk in the direction of the nipples, and feel it as uncomfortable or even painful. Also a so-called mastitis puerperalis , so an acute bacterial inflammation ofthe female mammary gland, which usually occurs in the 2nd to 4th week after birth, may be the trigger of pain during breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding may also be caused by a fungal infection . This is caused by the yeast fungus Candida albicans and referred to in the jargon as Brustsoor or thrush .
The breastfeeding woman usually complains of itchy, burning and painful nipples in a fungal infection .
In addition, the skin around the nipples and the areola may be red, flaky and cracked, with whitish deposits.
The immune system of the infant is usually able to prevent the spread of yeast infection. Infants with impaired immune system function may be susceptible to transmission of the fungal infection and thus to infection in the infant’s oral cavity ( baby oral thrush ).
Immediate treatment of the breast should be done. Usually this is done with the help of locally applied creams / gels with an antifungal agent . Under this therapy, the symptoms should improve significantly within a few days.
Nipple shapes of woman
In humans, there are various natural nipple variants . One differentiates so-called flat or slip warts of hollow warts .
Flat or nipples can be squeezed out by applying light pressure to the nipple vestibule. In addition, a flat or nipple usually improves during pregnancy and lactation.
Very few women have a nipple, where there is no nipple. Even women with a special natural nipple variant can breastfeed their child with proper application technique and good breastfeeding position.
To ensure this you should get professional help , at best already during pregnancy.
It is important that in children of mothers with special nipple variants for the time being no pacifiers and feeding bottles are used, as this may lead to the rejection of the differently shaped maternal nipple.
Breastfeeding Pain Duration
The increased sensitivity of the nipples is usually not long lasting and should disappear within a few weeks after breastfeeding. The perception of the milk donor reflex, for example in the form of a tingling sensation, is usually quite pronounced during the first few months of breastfeeding, but diminishes over time.
Consequences of the Breastfeeding Pain
In general, pain is a stressful situationfor the human body and causes the release of various stress hormones,such as adrenaline .
These stress hormones mean that all activities that do not contribute to escape or survival are not supported any further. Thus, in stress situations, the release of the important for breastfeeding hormones such as oxytocin or prolactin behind.
Also, the behavior of the woman is influenced by the pain during breastfeeding. The pain stimulus removes the baby from the breast, or the breastfeeding woman takes a restraint that can make the newborn unable to grasp the breast ideally.
This, in turn, means that the infant receives a smaller amount of breast milk , and therefore the production of breast milk is also stimulated to a lesser extent. In addition to pain, the delayed milk flow increases the woman’s frustration and insecurity, which can make breastfeeding problems worse.
In addition, the pain can also have a negative impact on the mother-child relationship . These are mainly due to the limited release of the above-mentioned hormones, which usually ensure that the mother feels love and happiness towards her child.
Also physical reactions can be triggered by the pain during breastfeeding. These include, for example, internal tension , a limited immune system and an accelerated pulse . Due to the Breastfeeding Pain this actually very intimate moment of mother and child can no longer be enjoyed.
Breastfeeding Pain through teeth
Babies usually teething at different times. Generally, the first tooth breaks through at the age of six months . So many babies who are breastfed already have teeth without biting the mother.
Biting while breastfeeding can have different causes. So it may be that your child wants to bite something to reduce the pain in the jaw while teething.
In this case, a teething ring before or after breastfeeding can provide a remedy. Also, a reduced milk production can encourage the baby to bite.
In this case you can try to stimulate the milk flow before breastfeeding. The cry of the mother in pain can provoke curiosity in the baby and make it bite again to try to see if it can trigger this reaction again.
Some children also bite when they fall asleep . If this is the case, the baby should be detached from the breast before being soaked. Biting may also be due to boredom in older babies.