Establish correct breastfeeding avoid a lot of trouble and pain. Sometimes when breastfeeding hurts, the nursing mother and her baby can become frustrated. And there are some pains in the nipple that are very disconcerting, since they may or may not be accompanied by cracks, with erythema (red) and edema (inflamed) or with nipples that, at first glance, are healthy. In addition, they do not improve with an optimal position of the baby's mouth with respect to the breast.
We explain why breastfeeding sometimes hurts and what to do when breastfeeding hurts.
It usually coincides with the ejection reflex (exit of breast milk), and we can notice how our baby does not breastfeed at ease, is more irritable and sucks with some discomfort. Even the baby may reject the most affected breast, since many infections alter the taste of milk, making it saltier.
This can frustrate mothers. and many professionals can give conflicting advice. It is important to take a good anamnesis: description of the pain, factors that aggravate or improve it, if you have taken any oral or topical treatment for other problems, or to try to alleviate the pain.
In women's milk, multiple bacteria coexist in harmony, however, in certain situations, one of them can multiply excessively, altering the existing flora. If this happens, it is an infection.
The manifestations of infection in the maternal breast are diverse: One is like a burning sensation, intense pain and pricks when breastfeeding (it seems as if pins are being stuck into the chest), and the other can generate an acute picture, with a very high fever and a red, hot and painful area in one of the quadrants of the chest. Both situations are different manifestations of mastitis, but the first one is the one that usually creates the most confusion.
Until now, a diagnosis of candida (fungus) was used, when the mother went to the midwife or gynecologist's office and topical antifungals were prescribed to the mother and the baby, and in resistant cases also oral antifungals to the mother. However, recent studies have shown that this empirical treatment is not correct, since breast milk is not a good medium for the growth of this fungus; and in very few cases we will isolate it.
A milk culture is required to determine the best treatment. In Spain, this way of acting is not widespread, although in some communities, such as Catalonia and Asturias, work is being done to implement an adequate protocol from public health.
1. Use air discs. If an antibiotic ointment is used, try that it stays longer on the skin of the nipple. This will also prevent rubbing and crusting when removing the absorbent pads. There are also hydrogel protective discs for damaged nipples for sale in pharmacies that can be useful in these cases.
2. Chest compression technique. In this way, we get the baby to eat more milk in less time.
3. Delayed (temporary) breastfeeding. If the pain is so severe that you cannot allow the infant to suck, preferably with a method other than the bottle to prevent latching difficulties due to teat-nipple confusion syndrome.
4. An appropriately sized liner It can help some mothers with a flat or short nipple whose children have ankyloglossia or retrognathia, as the nipple lengthens and rubs at the S point (where the hard and soft palate meets), thus favoring more effective suction.
5. If there is an infection, avoid applying your own milk to heal the nipples, since in the presence of infection it can be counterproductive. Wash your hands very well before and after breastfeeding. Change the soaking discs often. Eat fermented foods such as sauerkraut (fermented German cabbage), highly aged cheeses (Parmesan and the like), kefir and pickles (pickled gherkins, pickles, etc.). Vitamin C can help strengthen the defenses of tissues and mucous membranes.
Once the result is obtained, the doctor will indicate the appropriate treatment, and the time and manner of application. Mastitis is usually treated with antibiotics and it is not necessary to abandon breastfeeding in any case. Administration of probiotics such as lactobacilli to the mother for mild and moderate infections works (although more slowly), taken three times a day. The effects are noticeable after one or two weeks of administration.
It is also possible to treat these conditions with grapefruit seed extract in capsules., for sale in pharmacies and herbalists. But this treatment has certain limitations: there is no published scientific evidence on its effectiveness, it only seems to work in mild or moderate infections and in the long term, when it takes more than two weeks of treatment.
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