Why does Breastfeeding Pain Occur?

Breastfeeding pain is not a totally unusual occurrence after pregnancy. Many new mothers experience such pain – and the most common reason for it is the “letdown reflex”. The pain generally has got to do with hormonal shifts, usually brought forth by the changing levels of the hormone oxytocin. The hormone brings about a stimulating effect in the cellular muscles of the breast, thereby causing milk to squeeze out and thereby cause pain during or due to breastfeeding.

breastfeeding pain

Some Facts about Breastfeeding Pain:

The following are some important information and facts one must be aware of to understand the causes and related aspects of breastfeeding pain:

  • Various studies and reviews have shown that a large percentage of women, as high as 80 – 90% experience breastfeeding pain and related problems such as nipple soreness, cracking and ache, itching, and other troubles that hurt during breastfeeding. So it is not that irregular and new mothers need not be too worried regarding the same.
  • It is best advised to re-position the baby and try feeding it differently to help avoid situations where the mother might be experiencing breastfeeding pain.
  • Mothers need to ensure that the area at which the baby would suckle be such that there is enough space for air to let in, as that would help lessening chances of pain during breastfeeding.
  • One of the major reasons for breastfeeding pain often includes “overproduction of milk”. This often leads to the letdown reflex again and causes pain. It is thus important for the mother to maintain a routine or a schedule and give an appreciable time gap for the milk to effectively settle down and conform to her needs.
  • Infections such as thrush and others may be other causes for experiencing pain during breastfeeding. It may either occur to the baby or the mother, in cases of which it is extremely necessary to consult specialist doctors at the earliest.
  • Excessive milk or flooding of breasts in the early phases of motherhood may also lead to breastfeeding pain. These abnormalities generally subside with time, but if it persists over an appreciable span of time, it is best to consult a physician for the same.
  • Mastitis is another manifestation of the more common breastfeeding pain and is identified by abnormal swelling or inflammation of certain area of the breast(s) accompanied with pain and irritation.

 Fight Breastfeeding Pain Effectively:

Having known the causes and the various signs and symptoms of breastfeeding pain, it would be wise to have proper know-how for gearing up against such painful conditions. Some guidelines and suggestions have been provided below to help provide some relief from such twinges during breastfeeding:

  • The easiest, effective, and perhaps the most common suggestion is to feed the new-born at regular intervals, as often as possible, to help avoid breastfeeding pain and related problems such as engorging of breasts, etc.
  • Massages and warm showers just before breastfeeding are also highly recommended.
  • Natural remedies such as placing cabbage leaves on hurt breasts and affected areas, from beneath the bras, also come handy to help get relief from breastfeeding pains.

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