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Thread: Breast pain

  1. #1

    Default Breast pain

    I had my baby six days ago, this is my fourth, I've breastfed my other children successfully as well.

    My baby latched on wonderfully right after birth and nursed well through the colostrum stage. My milk came in during the night before the third day post partum. My baby nursed every hour around the clock with a few small longer sleep periods so we avoided engorgement, or so I thought.

    My left breast is bigger anyway, but seems to be producing more milk than the left. Or I'm just misreading swelling or something? I've been very careful to evenly feed, letting my baby nurse to satisfaction (de-latching himself) and then switching sides next time, or switching sides if he's still hungry after a burp.

    It's been tempting to nurse more on the left side as it never seems completely drained. If I'm nursing on the right, let down feels really intense on the left. If I'm nursing on the left (the bigger side), let down isn't as intense for the right. However, I haven't wanted to send the message to my body that the left side needs to make more milk, I want it to calm down and even out so I've continued to switch sides and nurse equally.

    For the last 12 hours or so, my fuller, left breast has gotten rather painful. I've never had mastitis before, but I read up on the symptoms. I do not have a fever (I don't think), I don't feel run down except for the usual new baby tiredness, there is no red mark or wedge shaped redness on my breast. But it feels kind of engorged... and really firm. Most of the tenderness (I'm reluctant to even call it "pain"... but it's definitely uncomfortable and tender) seems to be located on the side under my arm, though it feels rather stiff and full in the entire breast. My areola is rather stiff feeling, but not so bad that my baby can't get a good latch on this side.

    I've been trying to gently massage as directed on this website, and tried pumping once but the pump was REALLY uncomfortable. I'm still in that stage where latching on hurts for a bit while my nipples get used to things (my latch is correct, it's always like this for me, the first week or so latching on hurts and then my nipples get used to it, and everything feels great and we breastfeed for months and months...)

    I haven't tried a heating pad yet, though the shower didn't seem to help much at all. I've never been able to hand express successfully.

    I've only been wearing a soft sleep bra from Motherwear, no underwires, and I think it fits fine.

    I did not leak much at all, so I wasn't wearing soppy pads or anything.

    My questions are, I suppose:

    1. Does this sound like I'm en route to a breast infection?

    2. Is the solution for avoiding a clogged duct or an infection (if I don't already have one) nursing MORE frequently on that side? And if so, how do I avoid that side making more milk? I foresee too much milk on one side getting backed up again and cycling through the same problem.

    3. Should I just keep doing what I'm doing? Nursing each side equally and trying the hot/warm compresses and continue with massage to avoid increasing milk production on the problem side?

    Thanks very much.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Breast pain

    Just tried a heating pad -- that feels really good but I read not to use it too long as it can worsen inflammation? How long is too long? I held it wrapped around my breast for about 10 mins, then did the areola softening described here: http://www.llli.org/FAQ/engorgement.html for 3 mins.

    latching on still hurt, but not for as long. nursing the full side now, still worried this will increase production lopsidedly.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    2,339

    Default Re: Breast pain

    I think it's normal for one side to produce more than the other.

    It's such early days that *I* would be more concerned with emptying the breast to reduce the risk of plugs than worry about lopsidedness or even overproduction, yk? I would just keep nursing and if you have to, express on the over-producing side to make yourself comfortable. Heat always works for me too, so heating pad or hot showers will probably help, especially if done right before nursing on that side.
    Jess

    Mama to my little Roxie Roo, 06/11/08


    April miles for TBTTW: 63

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    332

    Default Re: Breast pain

    Sounds like a clogged duct to me. I had those loads of times, if treated early you can avoid mastitis. I'm dealing with the same at the moment, woke up with breast pain on the side that produces more. I am nursing as usual but express after a feed if I feel the clogged side is not empty, and massage on the ducts while feeding and while expressing. Then use cold compresses between feeds to reduce inflamation (this will discourage milk production as well), and warm compresses before feeding to help the milk flow better and clear the ducts. And try to rest (I know, sounds like a joke) as much as you can.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Breast pain

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*verymom View Post
    I had my baby six days ago, this is my fourth, I've breastfed my other children successfully as well.

    My baby latched on wonderfully right after birth and nursed well through the colostrum stage. My milk came in during the night before the third day post partum. My baby nursed every hour around the clock with a few small longer sleep periods so we avoided engorgement, or so I thought.

    My left breast is bigger anyway, but seems to be producing more milk than the left. Or I'm just misreading swelling or something? I've been very careful to evenly feed, letting my baby nurse to satisfaction (de-latching himself) and then switching sides next time, or switching sides if he's still hungry after a burp.

    It's been tempting to nurse more on the left side as it never seems completely drained. If I'm nursing on the right, let down feels really intense on the left. If I'm nursing on the left (the bigger side), let down isn't as intense for the right. However, I haven't wanted to send the message to my body that the left side needs to make more milk, I want it to calm down and even out so I've continued to switch sides and nurse equally.

    For the last 12 hours or so, my fuller, left breast has gotten rather painful. I've never had mastitis before, but I read up on the symptoms. I do not have a fever (I don't think), I don't feel run down except for the usual new baby tiredness, there is no red mark or wedge shaped redness on my breast. But it feels kind of engorged... and really firm. Most of the tenderness (I'm reluctant to even call it "pain"... but it's definitely uncomfortable and tender) seems to be located on the side under my arm, though it feels rather stiff and full in the entire breast. My areola is rather stiff feeling, but not so bad that my baby can't get a good latch on this side.

    I've been trying to gently massage as directed on this website, and tried pumping once but the pump was REALLY uncomfortable. I'm still in that stage where latching on hurts for a bit while my nipples get used to things (my latch is correct, it's always like this for me, the first week or so latching on hurts and then my nipples get used to it, and everything feels great and we breastfeed for months and months...)

    I haven't tried a heating pad yet, though the shower didn't seem to help much at all. I've never been able to hand express successfully.

    I've only been wearing a soft sleep bra from Motherwear, no underwires, and I think it fits fine.

    I did not leak much at all, so I wasn't wearing soppy pads or anything.

    My questions are, I suppose:

    1. Does this sound like I'm en route to a breast infection?

    2. Is the solution for avoiding a clogged duct or an infection (if I don't already have one) nursing MORE frequently on that side? And if so, how do I avoid that side making more milk? I foresee too much milk on one side getting backed up again and cycling through the same problem.

    3. Should I just keep doing what I'm doing? Nursing each side equally and trying the hot/warm compresses and continue with massage to avoid increasing milk production on the problem side?

    Thanks very much.

    Hi, there!

    Congrats on your newest baby! Sorry to hear you're not feeling well. It does sound like a plugged duct of some sort, as the other mammas mentioned, because of the engorgement phase you're in. These plugged ducts can sometimes lead to an infection (aka mastitis), but can be avoided with quick responses from mom. Hang in there! You're in that "balancing act" phase.

    A plugged duct comes on gradually & may shift in location, whereas a breast infection comes on suddenly and is localized & mom usually will get a fever of higher than 101 degrees. Either way, most moms find it helpful to apply wet (and/or dry) heat to the area & then gently massage from the "back" of the breast to the nipple, while the area is still wam, in firm circular motions. Nursing frequently helps a lot and is often the best thing to do. Laying on a heating pad really helps a lot of moms, too.

    You asked about nursing more on the left side which is the side you are having the oversupply problems... If you nurse on that side for 2 or more nursings/feedings, then your supply won't increase. At this stage (it's different after about 1 month postpartum), it's the "switching" breasts per feeding that tends to increase milk supplies. Since you just had your baby, though, you may want to keep switching breasts per feeding, but... if your baby is only on that Left breast for 5-10 minutes, offer that same side next time he feeds. Massage while baby nurses, too.

    Try some gently hand expression to help relieve some of the pain in between nursings, after applying the heat to the breast. Once you get past this engorgement phase, you can work on balancing out the levels of breastmilk on each side. Have you ever tried the Marmet Technique for Handexpression? It's really easy!

    Use cold packs (frozen veggie bags can work well, too ) in between nursings to help with the pain.


    Making sure your baby is latched on well during the entire nursing session... Different positions may help, too. And, of course, extra rest.

    Sometimes a mom can get a fever but then if doesn't last more than 24 hours, she can probably bypass the antibiotics and possibly avoid another obstacle. Of course, a call to your doc may be helpful, too.

    Hope you feel better soon,
    Carla
    LLL Leader

  6. #6

    Default Re: Breast pain

    Oh thank you everybody, I suppose I should post an update!

    The heating pad and massage seemed to help a ton, I could actually see a sort of lump move from under my arm down towards my areola, and then after nursing three times in a row on that side, the lump and pain were gone.

    Hooray! Thanks everyone

  7. #7

    Default Re: Breast pain

    Yay!!
    Carla
    LLL Leader

  8. #8

    Default Re: Breast pain

    Well, shoot. /my left boob kept me up until 6 am last night. it was (is) Sooooo sore, i was sobbing! i woke my baby up thinking at first i was just a bit engorged, but it soon became clear it was more than that.

    i got out the heating pad and did the massage again. around 6 i took ibuprofen and that allowed me to get some sleep. i've taken it v. easy today, applying the hot pad and massaging, i;ve also doubled upon nursing on that side. the pain is in a different spot than before, this time it is on the inner, cleavage side. i could feel two lumpy spots last night, and I think w/ the heat & massage, these have moved (one for sure) towards my areola which is now quite painful on that side.

    this afternoon the painful side is definitely warmer than my other breast and is red, though not in a triangular pattern like i've read about (perhaps b/c there seems to be two lumps?). i made sure the redness wasn't just from the hot pad by leaving it off for over an hour. it's also swollen, when my baby nurses on that side, the breast doesn't seem to get any smaller.

    so w/ the red, the swelling, & the heat, this is def. an infection, right? i see my ob for a follow up in the a.m. -- is there anything else I can be doing? My mom said he might want to lance the lumps which sounds dreadful, but perhaps that provides immediate relief? I'm assuming he'll put me on antibiotics? My mom had mastitis twice (I've never had it and this is my fourth baby) and back then the doctor told her not to nurse on the infected side, but she did anyway.

    I'm so confused as to how this has even happened... my baby nurses every 3 hours, sometimes a lot more -- hourly depending. I've never had such a hungry baby! I nurse on demand, so I'm not sure how on earth I ended up with clogged ducts. I've worn nothing but a sleep bra since he was born... no underwires, just soft cotton. Maybe they're too small? UGH.

    Thanks in advance for any advice/support.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Breast pain

    Check out this thread...
    Carla
    LLL Leader

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    18,063

    Default Re: Breast pain

    how did you make out at the doctors?
    KEep on nursing thats the best thing you can do for clogs!

    Hope your fealing beter today!

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