Theresa Holland, BS, BSN, IBCLC, ICCE
Perinatal Education and Lactation Services Coordinator
Riverview Health Maternity Center
Experts agree: Breastfeeding is best for your baby. So, if you’re running into issues, read about these common problems and solutions.
Problem: “My breasts are swollen and rock hard.”
Solution: That sounds like the breasts are engorged, meaning you’re experiencing pressure from a buildup of milk. Get instant relief by releasing your milk by hand or with a breast pump. Try to avoid engorgement in the first place by nursing your baby 8 to 10 times per 24 hours or pumping your breast milk on a regular basis.
Problem: “There’s a lump that’s painful in my breast.”
Solution: That could be a milk duct that’s plugged because it hasn’t drained properly and has become inflamed. Here are some ways to get relief:
- Apply heat to the sore spot with a heating pad and/or massage the area.
- Keep breastfeeding with the affected breast because that will help break apart the plug while the heat works to relieve soreness and stimulate milk production.
Problem: “My breast is tender and it feels like I have the flu.”
Solution: It’s possible this is mastitis, a breast infection. You’ll want to talk to your healthcare provider, but know that continued nursing will help promote healing. You can also try to prevent infections by wearing looser bras, keeping a consistent breastfeeding schedule and dealing with issues like plugged ducts.
Remember, these are some “quick hit” solutions. If you have breastfeeding problems, don’t forget to consult your healthcare provider or a Riverview Health lactation consultant who can provide you with tips and techniques. You can also call the breastfeeding support group line at 317.776.7202.