Breastfeeding Problems: Engorgement & Thrush

Breastfeeding the baby is excellent for both the mother and child; however, the mother might face certain problems which can cause discomfort, pain, and anxiety. It does not mean that breastfeeding should be stopped.

With some care and the right treatment, most breastfeeding pregnancy problems can be effectively handled. The general problems associated with breastfeeding can include sore or painful nipples, plugged ducts, engorgement, yeast infections, and mastitis.

Breastfeeding Engorgement


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Breastfeeding Engorgement

Breast feeding problems and engorgement involve the swelling of the breast tissue, which can be painful.

The breasts may become firm, warm to touch and flushed with a throbbing sensation. It may be accompanied with mild fever. The best way to treat engorgement is to empty the breasts often and completely by feeding the baby. It may be difficult for the baby to latch on as the nipples become flattened, so the milk can be expressed by hand or by using a breast pump. This will enable the areola to become softer and make it easier for the baby to latch on. Try not to overdo this as it can worsen the condition. Use a cold compress or ice pack to bring relief. Standing under a warm shower and letting the spray fall on your breasts will help to release the milk. A gentle breast massage prior to feeding will enhance milk flow and soften the breasts. If the pain is too severe, you may discuss available and suitable painkillers with your doctor.

Breastfeeding Thrush

Breastfeeding problems and thrush are closely related as thrush is a yeast infection. Its symptoms could be burning nipple pain, shooting pains in the breast, and red or itchy nipples. Most often, it occurs due to nipple injury, and can affect both mother and child. The baby can be treated using nystatin solution by wiping the mouth, cheeks, and tongue.

Mothers can be treated with antifungal cream. It is quite difficult to get rid of the infection, as the chances of re-infection are high. To prevent infection, everything that comes in contact with the infant’s mouth and all that the mother uses should be cleaned thoroughly. Milk bottles and pacifiers should be washed with hot soapy water and then boiled. The clothes, especially those that come in contact with the breasts, should be washed in hot water.

Mastitis. Breast feeding problems and Mastitis are not uncommon. Mastitis is an infection of the breast. One of the breasts could get harder, red, tender, and swollen along with fever. It could be accompanied with chills, aches, and general fatigue. The best remedy is to continue nursing along with medication for controlling pain. Gentle breast massages or pumping will bring relief. There is no risk of passing any infection to the baby, so the mother can continue to nurse the child. An oral antibiotic for about 10 to 14 days will improve the condition.

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