If you have decided to breastfeed your child during pregnancy, your doctor will advise you on how to care for and prepare your breasts. For example, an inverted nipple will need to be pulled out (see problems with nipples) and you will need to massage them regularly. Despite this, the problems can arise in the first few weeks of breastfeeding and you need to solve them quickly to make breastfeeding more enjoyable.
A few days after the birth in most women the milk reaches so fast and strongly that the breasts become hard, swollen and painful. (This also happens when a woman decides to stop breastfeeding, and the milk accumulate in her breasts.) The baby can not suck from the swollen nipples, so it is necessary for the mother to squeeze out the excess milk from her breast before breastfeeding – either with hand or breast pump. Breasts can be softened with warm baths. If your breast is full of milk because you have stopped breastfeeding, you need to lift them up with a firm bra and take analgesics if necessary.
After a few days, the accumulation of milk will prevent the creation of new amounts, and this will gradually reduce the tension in the breast and the pain.
If you feel a piercing pain in the nipples when you’re not breastfeeding your child, it means that your nipple is cracked. This can happen if the baby thighs the tip of the nipple, less sucks from the whole nipple, or if you do not wipe the nipple thoroughly after each breastfeeding. Your doctor will recommend fat to treat nipples. The crack will heal after a few days, but it is important that you do not breastfeed your child from that breast in the meantime.
Clogged milk ducts and mastitis (breast abscess)
If you feel small, hard bump in your breast, it is possible that your milk duct has clogged. Massage the breast and apply hot baths. If the bump does not disappear immediately, contact your doctor immediately because you may have mastitis (breast abscess). The doctor will examine you and probably give you antibiotics to treat the infection. While being treated, you can continue to feed the child with the affected breast. If mastitis is not treated at the initial stage, you may have to undergo a minor operation to remove the pus.