48 answers

Shooting Pain in Breasts After Feeding/pumping

I've been breastfeeding for one month now and for the past week and a half, have been having shooting pains in my right breast after feeding or pumping. The pain comes inconsistently - sometimes from several times a day to just once every 2-3 days - and lasts for a few hours. It is shockingly painful, only occurs in one breast and only after feeding. I've talked with 2 lactation nurses and they've ruled out overactive let-down. Anyone else experience this - any ideas or solutions?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you ladies so much for all the kind words and support. This has been a tough week and I still don't have a concrete answer. I saw the lactation nurse at my hospital earlier in the week, who thought that it might be ductal thrush (neither my baby nor I had visible symptoms) and put me on diflucan. It seemed to alleviate the pain for the next few days, just as I was getting hopeful, but then the pain came back again full force after a 7am feeding this morning. I was literally bowled over from pain for the next 3 1/2 hours. I tried the warm compresses and the hot showers, massaging my breast in the shower, and nothing worked - the heat made it worse. I happened to have my 4-wk checkup today and all my doctor could tell me was that everything looks totally healthy and normal (no mastitis/blocked ducts/etc) and that it was probably just the nerves getting pinched from the ducts filling up. I could either tolerate the pain with midol or stop breastfeeding. She even did an ultrasound on my breast to make sure nothing was wrong. I am still stumped and plan to just try to hang in there for another few weeks, when my body is supposed to "regulate". I hope it goes away soon because I'm truly having a tough time hanging in with the breastfeeding - as much as I want to. Thanks again for all your help.

Featured Answers

This can be normal for many women. I had this with baby #1 for months...and then it stopped. It didn't happen at all with baby #2. I promise you it will subside...and it'll be totally worth it.

More Answers

I had this happen in one breast and after a couple of days the pain just persisted. It ended up being a clogged duct and the only thing to cure that (I was told) was to keep breastfeeding through the pain. I also took hot showers and massaged my breast. It eventually went away!

Have your doctors ruled out thrush? Sounds like thrush. If you are not sure after reading about the symptoms of thrush, try the mildest remedies first and see if it helps. Such as sun, breastmilk, or unrefined coconut oil. I used gentian violet and it worked great. Overnight relief and completely gone in 3 days or so. Here are some websites explaining more:




Yes!! I had this with my second but not my first. It will go away. I was told it was my let down. I know how you feel! Hang in there and once the supply/demand builds up it should be gone. It's been awhile but I want to say it went away when my son was about 11-12 weeks old.

Congrats on your new baby!

I would actually go in to see a lactation consultant with your baby. Have them look at your breasts and the inside of your babies mouth in case you have thrush/yeast. Also have them look at how your baby latches on and your body positioning. They would also be able to determine if it's a plugged duct or mastitis pretty easily.

Most commonly though it is something easy to treat because it is a result of poor latch positioning or thrush. I had poor body positioning, plugged ducts and a little bit of yeast on my breasts (but DD never had thrush). After meeting a few times with a good LC, things got much better.

I also did the Gentian Violet for the yeast. It temporarily stained my nipples and my DD mouth, nose, and parts of her face. But in a few days it fades. Just becareful of your clothes, baby's clothes, etc. I just always kept a warm wash cloth nearby so I could wipe DD's face and my nipples after each feeding and after each application of GV.


I too experienced this pain that you are describing. The pain, for me, started just before I got a blocked duct that turned into a mastitis which is an infection in your breast that causes pain, and flu like symptoms. Over all it is miserable. If the pain persists or you get a fever call your Doctor right away, you may need antibiotics to get rid of the infection. Best of Luck to you and congratulations on your baby.

Thrush could be your problem - it's a yeast infection, and often it shows up on the baby's tongue and mouth looking like patches of white yogurt. But sometimes it doesn't show, it just hurts the mom, in the way you describe. I had thrush while nursing my son and he never had the white patches in his mouth, but my nipples itched like mad and I had those shooting pains. You can try putting antifungal cream (stuff for athletes foot) on your nipples after feeding, eat lots of yogurt and "paint" the inside of your baby's mouth with yogurt, go to your doctor and request a prescription for Nystatin for youself and your baby, or try genetian violet (found OTC in walmart, riteaide, wherever) - this is the messiest solution, but it was the only one that worked for us! Good luck and don't give up nursing - it is the most rewarding relationship I had with my son as an infant and toddler!

I had the same thing and come to find out it was a yeast infection, my son got thrush, because I have too much yeast in my body. talk to your doctor about what is best for you to get rid of it.

I had the same problem with my 2nd baby but not with my 1st. I was so worried and searched night and day online for what it could be. I was mainly worried that it was an infection of some sort. My friend had a really serious infection (I forgot what she called it - started with an M) and thus, she had to be on antibiotics.

As for me, I can't really remember what I did (I don't think I went to the doctor because I remember wondering which doctor I had to go see - my OBGYN, my primary, my pediatrician, etc.), but I did take an extra care of the breast that was having shooting pains. I washed it carefully, and I put a lot of my breastmilk on it (since it has antibiotics). I may have even put neosporin (ha-ha-ha) on it!

But it can also be a plugged duct....Make sure there is no white patches or white small area on your nipple. That could mean a plugged duct or a yeast infection (which may lead to your baby having thrush).

I believe my problem eventually went away but it was such a TORTURE breastfeeding on that breast (I was crying and cringying). I just breastfed and breastfed to keep the milk flowing.

Hang in there and I hope you get a solution soon!

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