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Tuesday,October 27,2020 01:25 AM

When breastfeeding becomes painful

By Vision Reporter

Added 27th August 2012 01:05 PM

Resty Amito, a mother of two, says breastfeeding in the first week after birth is always a tag of war. “My nipples hurt when the baby tries to suckle. They also develop sores,” Amito says.

When breastfeeding becomes painful

Resty Amito, a mother of two, says breastfeeding in the first week after birth is always a tag of war. “My nipples hurt when the baby tries to suckle. They also develop sores,” Amito says.

By Agnes Kyotalengerire
 
Resty Amito, a mother of two, says breastfeeding in the first week after birth is always a tag of war. “My nipples hurt when the baby tries to suckle. They also  develop sores,” Amito says. 
 
For Fatuma Mukiibi, a mother of one, putting the baby on the breasts is her biggest challenge. Mukiibi says her breasts are always full and painful and her baby has to struggle to get grip of the nipple. 
 
Florence Nalubowa, a nurse at Mulago Hospital’s lactation unit, says although breastfeeding is healthy for the mother and the baby, some women experience conditions that make it difficult for them to breastfeed.
 
Nalubowa says caring for breasts while breastfeeding enables a mother and her baby to enjoy the benefits. Below are some of the complications some women suffer while breastfeeding.
 
Nipple soreness
Many women develop painful nipples when they begin to breastfeed. But Apophia Kyampaire, a food and nutrition security manager at Baylor-Uganda, says at the start, a little pain in the nipple is normal. 
 
She says repositioning the baby and helping it latch onto the breast correctly may reduce or stop the pain. Infant problems such as tongue-tie can also affect the way the baby latches on to the breast, thus causing sore nipples. 
 
Breast infections, skin conditions  and changes in hormones can also cause nipple soreness, where the nipples become swollen and painful.  
 
Engorgement
With engorgement, a mother’s breast becomes extremely full and painful, with a swollen areola, soon after they begin to breastfeed. Engorgement can make it hard for the baby to latch on to the breast.
 
Breast redness, pain and a fever are signs that engorgement is getting worse. If not treated, the baby may not get enough milk and the nipples may be damaged. 
 
Rose Mutumba, a senior midwife, advises mothers with this condition to express a small amount of the milk to make it easy for the baby to latch.
 
Mutumba says breastfeeding frequently is the best way to reduce engorgement. 
In the event that the mother is away from her baby, Mutumba advises that she expresses some of the milk to relieve the discomfort.
 
Blocked milk ducts
This can lead to painful breast lumps. Blocked ducts are a result of partial emptying of the breasts, leading to an infection called mastitis. However, Kyampaire says the mother can only get relief by emptying the breasts fully or using a breast pump. Gentle massaging, when the baby pauses during breastfeeding, may also help.
 
Tips on caring for your breasts
Attach the baby correctly and ensure that the baby has the nipple and areola well in his mouth and not only the nipple. The baby is latched on well if he feels comfortable and if  your nipples and breasts are not painful.
 
Do not pull off the baby while he is breastfeeding. Gently remove him from the breast by inserting a clean finger into the corner of his mouth to break the suction. Then lift the baby from the breast. 
 
After breastfeeding, express some milk and smear it onto your nipples and the dark area around them. Allow the milk to air dry, before putting on your bra. This helps to protect the skin. 
 
Change your nursing pads whenever they become moist. Wet pads can damage the skin and allow germs to grow.   
 
Avoid any kind of plastic lining in your bra or nursing pads. A plastic lining keeps the nipples wet and may cause chapping.
 
Avoid wearing clothing that does not allow your breasts to breathe. Cotton bras are the best while breastfeeding because they air dry quickly. This keeps germs from growing. Also, always wear tight-fitting bras and avoid wearing those with under wiring as this can cause blocked ducts and mastitis.
 
Breastfeed the baby before he becomes cranky and demanding. If the baby is too hungry, he might suck a bit harder than usual, causing nipple pain.
Do not use nipple creams, ointments, or any other medicine or devices on your breasts.

 

When breastfeeding becomes painful

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