My Boobs Hurt
July 27, 2015
Sorry about the title of this article, but it is true. I have been nursing a baby for the past four months, and two weeks ago, both of my breasts were hurting after I would nurse my baby. It started as a dull ache deep in my breast. Then, sharp pains after I was done nursing.
I remember one of the main statements that I was told in a nursing class that I took before my first baby: “After the initial latch, if you’re nervous to nurse your baby because of pain, you are doing something wrong.” Uh-oh. That was exactly what I was feeling. Then, I got a nipple blister. That’s right a NIPPLE BLISTER. Talk about painful!
To treat the blister, I didn’t nurse my baby on that side. Instead, I would pump and nurse exclusively on the other side. I purchased bag balm to help heal the blister as fast as I could (note: I was told to not nurse when you have bag balm on the breast, so I never did). Luckily, the blister healed after 2-3 days. But… although the nipple blister was gone, both breasts were still hurting, and I was NOT looking forward to nursing. I even thought: “If my baby took a bottle, I would be so tempted to quit nursing.” I knew something was wrong. So, I tried to figure out what it could be:
Did I have mastitis? I thought no because I did not have any red marks on my breasts. I didn’t have a fever either.
Did I have thrush? I thought no because my baby did not have any white spots in her mouth.
Did I have Raynaud’s syndrome? I thought no because there was more pain not only in my nipple. (This is a condition where the nipple turns white after a feeding and hurts as the blood flows back in.)
Did I have latching issues? I made a mental note to be aware of how my baby was latching. I also tried different nursing positions as well.
I was unable to figure out what was really going on.
I finally called my OBGYN and explained my symptoms to his nurse. She suggested two things: a nipple cream from a compound pharmacy to soothe and treat the breast pain. And, an antibiotic to fight off an infection just in case I had something. I then called my baby’s doctor, and they recommended a medicine for her just in case it was thrush. They didn’t want us passing it back and forth to each other.
In the meantime, I was using a nipple shield, as one breast was still so tender that it really hurt to nurse.
If I were to pump, I wouldn’t have kept the milk, just in case it was thrush. It wouldn’t be worth risking passing it back and forth to each other.
After about 3 days, the pain in my breasts was not nearly as painful. I was finally able to nurse without the nipple shield. But, I made sure to take note on the way my baby was latching. And, I continued to use the nipple cream.
Two weeks later, my symptoms are gone. But, my right breast is still sore after nursing, which makes me think it is time to visit a Lactation Consultant to help me with our latching when my baby nurses. I have to remember that even though this is my third baby I have nursed, I really could have latching issues- even at four months old! I keep reminding myself that with each baby nursing will be different, and there is still A LOT to learn when it comes to nursing.
While I work on latching with my 4-month old, here is an article that really helped me. If you do feel like you could have mastitis, call your doctor right away. If you think you have thrush call your doctor and your baby’s doctor right away too.
Have you had nursing issues? What has helped you?
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