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Thread: Are sore breasts normal?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    6

    Default Are sore breasts normal?

    Two months ago I was diagnosed with mastitis that had been untreated for one month. I assume I was infected in hospital where I had cracked and bleeding nipples. I don’t think I ever had a fever, but my breasts were sore and I had terrible shooting let-down pains between feedings (that a friend told me were normal so I never thought to complain to my midwife, oops!).

    I’ve been on (four different) antibiotics for two months, though the pain is less my breasts still feel sore during a breast exam and let-down occasionally feels somewhat sore. My doc’s standard for considering the mastitis cleared up is “no pain” and suggests I may have to be on antibiotics until I stop breastfeeding.

    Since I had hoped to breastfeed for a long time, I am not very happy with that scenario. Is it possible that the bacteria could be cleared up, yet I could still be sore? Could sore breasts be a normal condition for a breastfeeding mum?

    I'm feeling pretty down about this. Thank you for any help you can give!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    184

    Default Re: Are sore breasts normal?

    What kind of pain is it that you have? There are alternative treatments for mastitis, such as homeopathy which works amazingly fast and efficiently.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    15

    Default Re: Are sore breasts normal?

    My breasts were frequently sore, even after feedings. I had mastitis as well for about a week and I was terribly engorged through it all, which didn't help matters and stayed in bed as much as possible (of course, I had a 6 week old at the time, so rest was not always an option) because I felt like I had a bad flu. I was given two rounds of antibiotics and it cleared up. Are you sure you are not just engorged, that could be causing the pain. I also was having a problem with sore, cracked nipples at the same time the mastitis was going, I would cry because the pain was so unusual to me. I didn't expect my breasts to ever hurt so bad during breastfeeding. As was recommended to me, continue breastfeeding as much as possible, technically, it should help relieve some of the pain that might be caused by engorgement.

    If you need a break and the pain is starting to get you down, take a break, pump for a couple of days and bottlefeed if that is possible, it helped my psyche!

    Also, being on antibiotics for that long is not good because he can cause other problems like thrush and yeast infections, which could be part of the pain you are experiencing as well.

    In short, I think you need to contact a lactation consultant that can help you diagnose the situation a little better. Doctors are not always aware of the potential problems that come up with breastfeeding. Sorry for all my guessing! Hopefully, a LLL leader can jump in on this thread and send you in the right direction! Just keep nursing if you can, you are doing the best thing for your little one!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    258

    Default Re: Are sore breasts normal?

    I'm curious as to what it feels like. Could you explain more? Sore only while nursing or all the time? When he latches on? Does the pain ease up as he sucks for a minute? Is it localized to one area? Shooting? Achy?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    6

    Default Re: Are sore breasts normal?

    Thank you for your responses!! The doctor I am seeing is the local lactation expert, head of the hospital’s lactation office. I’m sure she is good, and my pain has gotten a little bit better, but I am really tired of being on antibiotics and wondering if there may be more going on than infection.

    Subliminal Darkness - I do not notice pain in my breasts unless they are touched (like in a breast exam or if my daughter kicks me ) or I am having let-down. If touched, I’m sometimes a little sore in the breast area above the nipple, on the sides almost all the way to my back and always quite sore on the “undersides” of my breasts. It feels like a sore muscle. The right one is worse (and coincidentally? always produces more milk). It is also very painful to “hand express” milk by squeezing the end of breast in a rolling motion toward the nipple – ouch! (The areola underneath my right nipple used to also be tender, but that stopped a few weeks ago - is that the antibiotics working or just coincidental?).

    When milk lets down I can feel it flowing quickly, and it feels like an ache moving down my breast toward the nipple (during the first few weeks it felt like a shooting pain, but that stopped-I think I have a pretty forceful let-down).

    I have nipple pain with latch frequently, and nipple tenderness all day. I’m thinking my nipple pain may be from latch, as my daughter’s latch almost always pinches, making a “compression ridge” on my nipple, even though latch looks fine from the outside.

    At my request, our pediatrician swabbed my daughter’s mouth for yeast yesterday and that came back negative.

    Jenandmatt, were your breasts still sore at 3 months? My daughter is now sleeping 6-7 hours at night, could engorgement cause this kind of pain?

    Gosh this is a lot of information, thank you for your help and support!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    68

    Default Re: Are sore breasts normal?

    it may be that you are just engorged.
    when my baby started sleeping that much at night i set an alarm clock, woke up and pumped. needless to say i have about 100 bags of frozen milk in the freezer.
    do you co sleep? if not, it may be an option. my lo is 6mo and she co-sleeps. she starts in her crib but when she wakes up we bring her in the bed with us. i can nurse her all night long and not even know i am doing it.
    my breasts are sore - to the touch - like a sore muscle when i dont get her to eat enough or when i dont pump after she eats. i know i have trained this overabundence of milk, but i keep it up b/c i dont want to deal with the pain.
    i had always heard the best way to get rid of mastitis was to pump and nurse and pump and nurse some more.
    my sister had mastitis really bad. she would run a hot bath and put in some epsom salts and soak her breasts in the water. after she was really relaxed she was able to hand express the milk. this really seemed to help her engorgement and her mastitis. i dont know if it will work for you, but you could always try. plus, taking a minute or 15 to relax couldn't hurt!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    6

    Default Re: Are sore breasts normal?

    Well, I went off of the antibiotic for one day and my symptoms worsened in the right breast (increased soreness, constant aching, a shooting pain in one place while nursing) so I’m back on antibiotics for now. Once I restarted Keflex/cephalexin (antibiotic) my symptoms decreased almost immediately. I’ve also learned that cold may be better than heat for this problem so am going to try that instead of hot baths and am going to try to reduce milk production on the right side by offering it less frequently. My doc says engorgement/bountiful milk supply seems to exacerbate the problem.

    Once I am less engorged on the right I will try to decrease my antibiotic intake. I have read that some mums benefit from a low dose of prophylactic antibiotics once a day to prevent recurrence of mastitis.

    Thank you for all your help, and if anyone reading this has any insight or a similar problem please feel free to reply to me directly. I’d love to pool resources.

    Thank you!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Are sore breasts normal?

    Sorry about not replying sooner. Yes, I was quite engorged and sore quite often, even after three months of having my son, but since my son never nursed well, I don't think he ever emptied the breast, but I had plenty of milk and the pump wouldn't do it either. If the antibiotics are working then, it is probably more than engorgement, so just keep in contact with your doctor.

    Keep on working at this, eventually it will get easier. To me, breastfeeding is a mystery. That is why I am still coming to these boards, even though my ds is almost a year old now. I want a couple more kids, so I just think the more I learn, the better prepared i will be later on to deal with problems. They say every child you have is different, even when it comes to breastfeeding, so I am hoping for the best next time, but glad I stuck it out for the few months that I did with my ds.

    Good luck! Just keep going!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Are sore breasts normal?

    Hiya,
    Just wanted to update this thread in case someone does a search in the archives and it might help them.

    I have been antibiotic free for two months now. I was able to visit my mother (and so get more rest!) and took daily double doses of a probiotic. (The brand name I use is "Florajen 3"). I "weaned" off the antibiotics over a 3 day period and have had no recurrence of symptoms.

    I'm still a bit sore if my daughter kicks me, especially on my "high producing" side, but I believe that is normal for me.

    My theory is that maybe the "good bacteria" in the probiotics out-competed any "bad bacteria" that had taken up residence in my milk ducts.

    Thanks!
    XansMomma

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