Sharp pain in breast while breastfeeding is not a serious medical problem. It can be treated at home. You may need to know some IYCF tips to overcome this issue. If you do not take action immediately, it may lead you and your baby to a serious problem.
Common pains-in-the-boobs can be depressing if you’re a new breastfeeding mommy. And you might even be able to push yourself to achieve your breastfeeding objectives.
Breastfeeding pain is indeed a red flag that something is wrong and should not be neglected. However, a little knowledge, along with some practical advice can help you stay on track.
Sharp pain in breast while breastfeeding
When you experience a sudden, powerful spike of pain, this is referred to as sharp pain. Cutting can also be a descriptor for sharp discomfort. When a part of our body is sliced by something, the pain we experience is referred to as this pain.
There are some mothers who experience sharp pain in their breasts while breastfeeding. Depending on the individual, this sharp pain in the breast during breastfeeding can also vary from minor to severe. Pain may be encountered during the first minute of breastfeeding, but it should subside after that.
If nursing women continue to have pain during the feeding process, they should pause, take a break and modify the baby’s position on the breast. Although pumping puts a lot of strain on your nipples, it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. Pumping pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including dry skin, the need for the collagen fibers in the nipples to expand, flanges that are too big or too little, and the pump’s suction. You may also like our recent publication on How to treat itchy nipples in breastfeeding?
Furthermore, Thrush or yeast infections can cause sharp pain after breastfeeding. If your infant gets thrush while you’re nursing, the infection can spread to your nipples and breasts. Sharp discomfort or pain ranging from pins and needles to razor blades embedded in the breast can start anywhere from the nipple to the breast and all the way to the back.
The arm may also be in pain at times. In addition, needle-like sharp pain in the breast during and after breastfeeding could be caused by vasospasm, which occurs when blood vessels in the breast constrict or narrow. Even when your baby’s latch is shallow, this can develop. You may also like can you breastfeed with nipple piercing?
#05 Causes of Sharp Pain in Breast while Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is a healthy, natural, and nutritious way to feed your baby, but it comes with its own set of challenges. Among the entire difficulties, breast pain is the one that can occur when breastfeeding for a variety of causes.
01. Breast Engorgement
What is breast engorgement, and what causes it? In the first few days after you’ve delivered your child, your breasts will probably not be much bigger than they were during pregnancy. Don’t become too comfortable with it.
When the transitional milk begins to come in on the third or fourth day after giving birth, your boobs will expand and fill with fluid, turning from heavy to gigantic. Though the pain and swelling are a sign that your breasts are filling up with milk, they are also a result of blood rushing to the area, ensuring that the milk factory is running at full capacity.
Mastitis is a condition in which your milk ducts become infected. This can result in extreme pain, as well as nipple cracking, itching, burning, or scorching. According to a September 2008 study in “American Family Physician,” about 10% of American breastfeeding moms develop mastitis.
Red streaks on the breasts, a fever, and chills are some of the other symptoms. If you have mastitis, it’s hard but essential to continue breastfeeding with the infected breast because not emptying the breast might aggravate the illness, and your doctor will eventually prescribe medication.
03. Milk Letdown
What is a case of milk letdown? You may have a peculiar pins-and-needles feeling in your breasts every single time you start feeding your kid. This is not only normal, but it’s also a vital element of the breastfeeding process since it signals the flow of milk from the ducts that create it. In the early months of breastfeeding, it is frequently more severe.
04. Clogged Milk Ducts
Clogged milk ducts are what they sound like. Breast milk is generated in the breast and comes out from the nipple through milk ducts. Milk can back up when one of those ducts becomes plugged, causing a tiny, painful lump and severe pain.
05. Improper Latch
You may most likely have breast pain if your infant does not latch on properly to your nipple. Cracking nipples and nipple discomfort are signs that your infant isn’t latching properly. In most cases, a lactation consultant at the hospital where you gave birth can assist you in establishing a healthier latch.
#Treatments of Sharp Pain in Breast while Breastfeeding
In most of the cases, you may not need to face a doctor for the sharp pain in breast while breastfeeding. Breast pain-related issues can be treated at home and it is not a serious problem. Let’s follow the solutions to breast pain.
01. How to get rid of breast engorgement?
Breast engorgement only lasts a few days to a week, thankfully. However, it might make your breasts so hard and swollen that your nipples become flat and difficult to grasp for your infant, making breastfeeding extremely difficult.
Warm washcloths used to the areolas at the start of each nursing session can help reduce engorgement by stimulating letdown. You can apply ice packs or refrigerated cabbage leaves inside your bra after nursing. Always remember the engorgement rule – that the more often you feed your newborn, the less engorgement you’ll have and the faster you’ll be able to nurse without pain.
02. How to treat mastitis?
To effectively alleviate the pain, soak a cloth in warm water and apply it to your breast. A hot shower or bath may also be beneficial. You should get enough rest and drink plenty of fluids. Continue to breastfeed if you’re breastfeeding. Start with the painful breast at the time of breastfeeding and pump milk from it in between feeding.
It is very helpful when you massage your breast to eliminate any blockages – stroke from the lumpy or sore area to your nipple to enable the milk flow or production. Finally, see your doctor as soon as possible for a diagnosis. Oral medications generally help to cure the infection and make you feel better soon (contact again if you don’t feel better within a day or two of taking the antibiotics). At last, you must continue nursing to help the infection clear up.
03. How to deal with a severe milk letdown?
Relaxation techniques (similar to those used during labor) may be beneficial. Make sure your back, arms, feet, and elbows are well-supported, and your shoulder and neck muscles are relaxed (to avoid straining or bending over your infant). The good news is that as the baby grows older, this normally goes away.
04. How to treat clogged milk ducts?
A clogged duct can lead to a breast infection if it is left untreated. Apply a warm compress to the afflicted breast before each feeding to stimulate milk flow. At each feeding, ensure that the breast is completely empty, and switch nursing positions (from cradle to football to crossover) to ensure that all milk ducts are stimulated evenly.
You can also try a small breast massage, which involves gently pressing on the clogged duct before and during a feeding session. Don’t quit breastfeeding because this will only make things worse because more milk will back up and exacerbate the obstruction.
What does breastfeeding pain feel like?
Breast pain affects around 70% of all ladies at some point during their breastfeeding journey. Breast pain is frequently described as:
- Stabbing, sharp, or shooting pain,
- A swelling or heaviness,
- Aburning, stinging, or painful sensation,
- A tightening or tugging sensation.
Can breastfeeding cause shooting pain? and why?
Shooting pain is characterized by sudden, acute pain that travels throughout the body. Breast pain, particularly shooting pain, is very prevalent and is frequently caused by hormonal changes in the body.
This ailment is usually not significant and will go away on its own. However, if a person gets this shooting pain in the breast during breastfeeding on a frequent basis and the pain does not go away, they should seek medical attention. Mastitis is a type of illness that affects the breast tissue and can cause shooting pain while breastfeeding.
Furthermore, milk ejection dilates the milk ducts, producing a shooting pain when you initially start nursing. It is more common in first-time mothers. The pain can be alleviated by wearing soft, comfy bras, using NSAIDs, and applying mild heat. If the pain becomes severe or abrupt, the patient should immediately contact her doctor.
Shooting breast pain while breastfeeding V/S Thrush?
Sometimes the mothers complain “shooting breast pain breastfeeding not thrush”. However, you could also be suffering from a yeast or thrush infection in your breast, which causes shooting and scorching pain.
But having shooting breast pain during breastfeeding is not always thrush. If the problem is not managed, the pain may be acute enough to necessitate early weaning. Thrush is a fungus caused by the Candida albicans organism that can affect the nipples or breast tissue just like the other places in the body.
Nipple or breast pain, or both, is the most common symptom of Thrush. Nipple thrush discomfort can range from minor to severe and is typically reported as burning, itching, or stinging. The pain is frequently continuous and does not go away as your baby’s placement and attachment to the breast improves.
Even light clothing can cause pain because your nipples are tender to the touch. Breast thrush, on the other hand, has a wide range of symptoms. A stabbing or shooting pain, deep anguish, or a burning sensation that radiates through the breast has been described. It could be in one or both of your breasts. This pain is frequently felt right after, as well as in between, feeding.
A prescription antifungal drug is the most common treatment for thrush. It’s also a good idea to wash your hands, sterilize anything that comes into contact with your baby’s mouth (as you and your baby can pass thrush back and forth-fun!), and wear cotton bras which can less likely to trap moisture, drink loads of water, and let your nipples dry completely between the nursing sessions. Finally, always remain careful of taking antibiotics and oral contraceptives as it can make you more susceptible to thrush.
Sharp pain in breast after pumping
Although pumping puts a lot of strain on your nipples, it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. Pumping pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including dry skin, the need for the collagen fibers in the nipples to expand, flanges that are too big or too little, and the pump’s suction.
Pumping may hurt for the first 10-15 seconds of a session when the collagen fibers in your nipples stretch, but the pain should not last longer than 2 minutes or persist after you have finished pumping. Something isn’t right if you’re constantly in discomfort while pumping.
What causes sharp pain in the nipple while breastfeeding?
A Vasospasm, which occurs when blood cells contract and decrease blood flow to a specific place, can cause pins-and-needles like sharp pain in the breast or nipple, both during and after breastfeeding.
Your nipples may also turn white, blue, or red in color. Raynaud’s phenomenon, which affects 20% of women, is linked to nipple vasospasms and a few mothers have it during pregnancy.
Painful nipples, white nipples, sore nipples, and profound breast soreness are all symptoms of nipple vasospasm. Painful nipples are a type of nipple pain that is typically described as burning, stabbing, or itching, and can occur after breastfeeding or in between feeds. After a feed, the ends of the nipples may appear white (blanched) or, moms may notice other color changes in their nipples, such as blue or dark red (related with Raynaud’s Phenomenon).
Misshapen nipples and sore nipples are both symptoms of nipple vasospasm, and some moms may also experience shooting pains deep in the breast. Symptoms of vasospasm, such as stinging pain and soreness, can be mistaken for those of a fungal or bacterial infection (e.g., thrush) (e.g. a Staph infection). A thrush misdiagnosis and the consequent unneeded prescription medicine might exacerbate the symptoms of vasospasm. Cold temperatures can aggravate or even cause discomfort.
To avoid Vasospasm one should dress comfortably and breastfeed in a warm atmosphere. Place her hand over her nipple as quickly as the baby falls off the breast to keep it warm while she adjusts her breastfeeding bra. It’s also a good idea to put a heating pad on the breast and wear it over your clothes. Caffeine can constrict blood vessels, so avoid it.
What are the remedies for breast pain during breastfeeding?
Here are some guidelines for avoiding future discomfort and making yourself more comfortable while your breasts heal if you have sore breasts or nipples. So, the remedies for breast pain during breastfeeding are given below:
- Always make sure your infant latches onto your breasts properly.
- Request a prescription from your doctor or lactation consultant for a cream to apply to your nipples in between feedings to aid in the healing of sore nipples.
- After feeding, massage some breast milk over your nipples and let them dry naturally.
- To protect sensitive nipples, consider wearing breast shields in between feedings (not to be confused with nipple shields, which are used while nursing). Breast shields are dome-shaped covers that assist nipples heal faster by preventing them from touching against clothing.
- Consult your doctor to see if wearing a nipple shield while nursing is a smart choice or not. During a feeding, these shields are inserted over the areola and nipple to protect painful or cracked nipples. Because nipple shields might disrupt a mother’s milk production, they should only be used under the counseling of a doctor or lactation expert.
- Try to nurse on the less sore or uncomfortable side first
- Massage the sore area gently before nursing.
- Some women find it more beneficial to breastfeed more frequently but for shorter durations of time rather than nursing for long periods of time.
- When taking your infant from your breast, gently remove the suction. (To break the suction, place your finger in the side of your baby’s mouth, between the gums, and turn your finger a quarter turn.)
- Apply moist or dry heat to your breasts right before feeding (a heating pad, warm water bottle, washcloth, or warm shower). If you have a fungal infection in your breast, therefore, you must keep your nipples dry because the yeast feeds on moisture.
- When taking your infant from your breast, gently remove the suction. (To break the pressure, place your finger in the sides of your baby’s mouth, between the gums, and turn it a quarter turn.)
- Some women find that pumping for two to three days helps their cracked or sore nipples heal.
- Switch up your breastfeeding positions to assist discharge your breasts in all areas.
- After feedings, apply ice packs or cool compresses to engorged breasts.
- Drink plenty of fluids including water and get plenty of rest.
Still, if you’re unable to nurse your infant without pain on a regular basis, visit your doctor or a lactation consultant.
One Side Sharp Pain while Breastfeeding
Sharp boob pain breastfeeding can occur on more than one breast, especially when dealing with a “caked breast,” which develops when a duct is clogged. It is easier to cure a problem that just affects one breast. With fever and chills, the intense needle-like discomfort in breast breastfeeding might become even worse.
Again, Mastitis can also form because of the bacterial infection caused by a variety of bacteria, including Staph. If both breasts are afflicted, strep germs may be to blame for the swelling. If the plugged ducts are treated right away, they may dissolve in a few days.
Suspension of treatment can result in additional infections and, in the long run, greater complications. Fortunately, there are various solutions for the severe and sharp needle-like discomfort associated with breast breastfeeding. The next section will go over these solutions.
Is it normal to have cramps while nursing?
Yes. When your milk stops flowing, you may experience intense, menstrual-like cramps in your uterus for the first few days to weeks after birth. Mainly, the first day or two after childbirth, cramps will be the most acute, but by the third day, it should have subsided. However, your uterus may take six weeks or longer to recover to normal size. This process of afterbirth cramps is referred to as “involution.
If you’re a first-time mom, the aftereffects are usually modest and don’t stay long. However, following a second birth, they can be rather unpleasant, and they normally get worse with each subsequent delivery. This is due to the fact that first-time mothers have higher uterine muscle tone, which means the uterus may contract and stay contracted instead of relaxing and contracting on a regular basis.
Because your baby’s sucking induces the release of the hormone oxytocin, which produces contractions, breastfeeding might cause afterpains or make them worse. Again, nursing pains help your uterus shrink back to normal size faster and lower your risk of postpartum anemia due to blood loss.
Sharp pain in armpit while breastfeeding
Even while it may appear unusual, the answer is yes. It’s natural for your breast tissue to expand into your armpit. Milk lines began to form about 6 week’s gestation, when you were a small embryo in your mother’s womb, starting from your underarms.
These lines ran all the way down both sides of your torso and into your groin. Axillary tissue, often known as “the tail of Spence,” is the tissue that extends into the armpit. The ‘tails’ on both ends of these lines began to regress at 16 weeks of pregnancy.
However, in some fetuses, the line does not totally retract at the end, leaving the ‘tail’. So, because of having some breast tissues, breastfeeding can hurt the armpit. While breastfeeding, the milk duct in the armpit can become engorged, causing pain in the armpit also. Engorgement in the underarm is treated similarly to engorgement in the breast in terms of pain alleviation. Apply cold compresses to your skin and nurse your child frequently.
Is breast pain normal during breastfeeding and how long is it painful?
Mothers frequently report:
- Breastfeeding pain in breast
- Deep breast pain after breastfeeding
Yes, breast pain is a common side effect of nursing. If your baby is successfully latched on, you may experience 30 to 60 seconds of intense discomfort as the nipple and areola being dragged into your baby’s mouth. If the pain persists, you need to stop for a while and adjust your baby to the right posture. If your discomfort persists, it could be due to a variety of factors.
You’ll undoubtedly feel uncomfortable during each feeding if your kid latches on incorrectly, sucking on your nipple without receiving much of your areola in the mouth. As their babies nurse, some mothers say it hurts or feels like a pinch. And your nipples will most likely get sore and cracked in no time. In some cases, consulting with your doctor or a lactation consultant can be more beneficial.
Sharp pain in breast nursing
Mothers frequently report:
- Sharp nipple pain after breastfeeding
- Random sharp pain in breast breastfeeding
While there are a variety of reasons for occasional intense discomfort while nursing, the most prevalent is a lack of breast attachment. Sharp nipple pain after nursing might be caused by nipple Vasospasm and Thrush. Furthermore, nursing is usually uncomfortable, and your nipples are flattened or wedge-shaped after feeding due to Raynaud’s phenomenon where blood vessels shrink due to cold.
Stabbing pain in breast and nipple after breastfeeding
Stabbing pain is similar to sharp pain in that it comes suddenly and intensely. But stabbing sensation, on the other hand, may dissipate and reappear several times. Along with sharp or excruciating pain, Stabbing pain can also be caused by vasospasm and Raynaud’s phenomenon. Because of them, one can experience stabbing pain in the nipple and breast after breastfeeding.
Stinging pain in breast breastfeeding
Stinging refers to a type of pain that is as immediate and intense as getting stung. The pain of nipple thrush is primarily described as stinging. It can cause severe pain from modest to extreme. The pain is often constant and does not reduce when your baby’s placement and attachment to the breast is wrong. Even light clothing can cause pain because your nipples are tender to the touch. Because of the extremely sensitive nipples, thin clothing can also become troublesome.