Everything you need to know about breastfeeding pain lumps
Breastfeeding mothers often complain of lumps or hard substances in their breasts. These lumps often appear during the first few days or weeks after childbirth. It’s no cause for alarm as these breastfeeding pain lumpsare normal. It only becomes a thing of concern if these painful lumps do not go away after a period of time.
What are breastfeeding pain lumps?
Breastfeeding pain lumps are most likely caused by breast engorgement. This usually happens when the milk ducts are full. When the breasts of the mother make more milk then is needed or used up by the baby, the leftover milk in the ducts become sore and painful.
This condition causes the breast to swell up and become firmer than usual. Also, feeding becomes difficult for the baby as less milk comes out.
What are the causes breastfeeding pain lumps?
Breastfeeding pain lumps can be caused by quite a number of factors to include:
1. Excess milk production
lumps can form as a result of excess milk secretion and unused milk. When milk is produced, it is meant to be used up by the baby. The breast milk contains all the necessary nutrients required for the complete growth and development of the newborn.
Therefore, when less milk is used up compared to what is produced, it causes the clogging or blocking of the breast ducts. When these ducts get blocked with milk, they cause a gradual hardening of the site leading to the formation of a lump. This is usually very painful and sore to the touch.
2. Not breastfeeding enough
Breastfeeding pain lumps can also result from not breastfeeding enough. A Child should be feed with breast milk minimum of seven to eight times every 24-hour period. When breastfeeding is put on hold for a longer than the normal duration, the breast ducts could get be clogged with milk.
Feeding the baby regularly can help prevent painful breastfeeding lumps. Sometimes it may not even be the fault of the mother when the child stops breastfeeding as frequently as he uses to. This usually happens when the baby is beginning to transit from breast milk to solid food. The milk produced by the breast is left unused and they start to clog the ducts.
In situations where a child is ill and has a poor appetite, he can no longer feed as much as before.
1. The most common symptom of breastfeeding lumps is that it is usually very painful
2. Breasts are sore to the touch and make the process of breastfeeding very painful
3. The breast usually appears swollen and heavy, sometimes even firm
4. The area around the nipples would appear darkened compared to before and the areola may appear stiff
5. The baby may try to latch on but because of the pains, it is usually difficult
6. The breast would also be warm (above room temperature) and the breastfeeding mother may even run a high temperature
How to treat breastfeeding pain lumps
• Breastfeeding lumps most times go on their own after a few days if you’re frequently feeding your baby
• If the baby is transitioning to solid food, at times when the baby is not feeding on the milk, the milk can be expressed into feeding bottles
• When the lumps become unbearably painful, it is important for the breastfeeding mum to see a physician. The physicians may or may not prescribe analgesics for the mother depending on the severity of the condition
• If the breasts appear swollen, icepacks can be placed on it to reduce the swelling. If this is done for a couple of days and the swelling remains, then anti-inflammatory drugs can be used but only if recommended by a physician.
This is due to the fact that while breastfeeding, a lot of what you take into your system becomes present in the breast milk. Therefore, care has to be taken on what the mother takes in, especially drugs as it may indirectly affect the child
If after all these are done and the lump persists then it may no longer be breastfeeding lumps, it may a cancerous lump but you can only be sure after going for a mammogram.
How to prevent lumps
The key to this is frequent breastfeeding. And even when lumps appear, the secret to dissolving it is by expressing the milk. This can be done either to the child or to a feeding bottle. When a balance is created between the amount of breast milk produced and the amount used up, the risk of breastfeeding lumps would be reduces.
Most new moms have to deal with pain while breastfeeding due to breastfeeding pain lumps. However, you can clear up clogged milk ducts and dissolve these lumps with these simple tips. Please see a doctor if the lumps don’t go away.
Read Also: 7 Breastfeeding hygiene tips for new mums