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Common Breastfeeding Problems

Pain when Breast Milk Comes In

Breast milk becomes more plentiful between 2 and 6 days after birth, when it changes from colostrum to more nourishing, mature milk. Your breasts may become engorged and cause you some pain for 24 to 36 hours. Continue breastfeeding during this time. Wear a support bra, and apply cold compresses to your breasts for short periods. Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain, or ask your doctor for something stronger.

Tingling Sensation while Breastfeeding

Soon after a baby begins to nurse, the mother experiences tingling or cramping in her breasts called milk letdown, which means milk is flowing into the breast ducts. It occurs several times during feeding. Occasionally a baby will sputter a bit when the rush of milk comes too quickly.

Sore Nipples

If your baby doesn't take your nipple into his mouth fully during breastfeeding, the jaws can compress the nipple and make it sore. But take heart—sore nipples rarely last longer than a couple of days. Continue breastfeeding while your breasts are sore.
Nipple shields, worn inside your bra between the nipple and fabric, provide some relief. (They keep tender skin from rubbing on the bra fabric.) A mild cream can also be applied to sore nipples to provide some relief. Ask your pharmacist or doctor for the names of products that are OK to use during nursing.

Breast Infection

Large red streaks that extend up the breast toward the armpit usually indicate a breast infection. If you develop red streaks, call your doctor. An infection can cause a fever to develop within 4 to 8 hours after the streaks appear.
If you have a plugged duct, apply a warm compress to the affected area or soak the breast in warm water. Then express milk or breastfeed while massaging the tender area. If you develop flulike symptoms with a sore breast, call your doctor. You will be put on antibiotics. You may also need to rest in bed and empty the infected breast by pumping or breastfeeding every hour or two.
A breast infection that isn't treated can turn into an abscess. This is a painful condition. The abscess may need to be opened and drained.
Prevention. You can do several things to help prevent a breast infection.
Eat right, drink lots of fluid and get enough rest. Doing these things helps reduce stress and keeps your immune system in top fighting form.
Don't wear tight-fitting bras—especially underwire bras — because they can block milk flow. This can cause an infection.
Empty your breasts on a regular schedule to avoid engorgement.
After each feeding or pumping, let nipples air dry for a few minutes.

Plugged Ducts

A plugged milk duct in the breast prevents milk from flowing freely. Tender or firm areas of the breast develop that become more
painful after breastfeeding. A plugged duct may not be red, and you may not have a fever. It usually takes care of itself if you continue to nurse frequently. Apply warm compresses to the sore area to help with the pain and to open the duct. You may take acetaminophen if you like.

Breastfeeding while Ill

If you have a cold or other common virus, it is all right to breastfeed. It's OK to breastfeed if you're taking an antibiotic, as long as you know the drug is OK to use during nursing. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if any medication prescribed for you should not be taken while breastfeeding. Be sure to ask before you begin taking it.
Feeding Your Baby Articles:
Feeding Basics | Bottle feeding | Breastfeeding | How Breastfeeding Affects You | Milk Production, Expressing and Storage | Common Breastfeeding Problems | You Should Also Know
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