20 answers

Stabbing Pain After Breastfeeding

hi, i have been nursing my son for 17 mos now, and out of nowhere i have horrible stabbing burning sharp pain in my right breast after i nurse him. it lasts up to 3 hours afterwards sometimes. its been about a week, on and off, mostly on. no lumps or bumps or redness or anything visible. im only nursing 2-3 times a day now. i saw my gyn, he doesnt think its the breast at all, he said it might be costal chondritis? inflammation in between my chest wall and ribs or something? i dont know if i buy that. he said to take motrin, which i have been, but tonite it didnt do a thing, the pain went away after 2 hours, no way that the motrin took that long. maybe thrush? i never had it before, so i dont know. i have an appt for a sonogram, but not till jan. im gonna call tomorrow and see if they can put a rush on it, but i am wondering if anyone has any input. my son doesnt have any visible things in his mouth. he has been cranky lately, but has 4 molars coming in and fluid in his ear, so..... tia for any input

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It definitely sounds like thrush. I had this once with each of my kids, and it was just like that. With my youngest, it happened when he was probably almost a year old and he never had any white patches in his mouth. They put me on some medication and it went away.

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Hi D.. If I were you, I would go see, or talk to, a lactation consultant. It sounds like thrush. I had thrush with my son, and because he had no sores in his mouth, the pediatrician would not believe me. I was given a cream for my breast (nystatin), but it took a long time to clear up. The lactation consultant I talked with said that is because you have to treat BOTH mother and baby, or else they will continually pass it back and forth. She also said that babies don't always show symptoms of thrush even though they have it. So if you can, get a doctor or pediatrician to treat your son as well, and you can get the cream from your doctor/gyn/ob/midwife. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

you have thrush. i've been there, it hurts like hell. call your ob and your ped today to get meds or both you and your baby. good luck!

hiya..I had Mastitis(sp?) maybe see if there is a test for it?....Go to your doctor let them check, just incase..... .that happened to me for a little while finally I just went from total normal happy go lucky with those sharp pains once and awhile to really sick almost collapsing, thinking i had a bad flu with really sudden onset but I went to ER they had me on an IV within 10 min.. it could have been fatal if I shook it off as a flu...
good luck, i hope it passes for you

I had a similar experience recently. After my morning feeding, I would get a sharp pain that would last for hours. It was so uncomfortable that when I got that pain, I always thought of weaning my son. The only relief I got was when I nursed him again. My doctor prescribed antibiotics in case it was thrush or something else going on inside the breast that she couldn't see. I found the antibiotics made no difference.

I found that if I latched him on and squeezed my breast as he latched on to form a great latch, I wouldn't get this pain. It was almost as if, after 9 months of nursing, he forgot how to latch properly. I did this a couple of times, and I haven't experienced the pain since.

I wish you luck on finding the cure for yourself.

Hi D.,
They ruled out mastitis? My daughter had thrush, but I don't think it causes the sharp pain you describe. Maybe it's time to see a breast specialist?

have you taken any antibotics? Itdoes sound like a little bit of yeast. I had some burning and in my breast and it did hurt some. The burning makes it feel sharp at times. But if it is that sharp I would push something from your doctor.

I thought thrush also hurt during breastfeeding and it sounds like it's just afterward for you. I wonder if it's a pulled muscle of some sort. Have you tried changing the position of your child (or your posture) while nursing to see if that helps?
Also, I know this may sound strange, but perhaps you're dehydrated. After the infancy stage, I often did not drink enough while breastfeeding. Dehydration can cause all kinds of random symptoms.
Good luck!

Hi D.,
Sounds like you have a lovely young family, I'm very impressed that you've managed to keep breast-feeding with two older children! I'm hoping to do the same as I'm now pregnant on my third.
I had thrush on my first baby and the pain was excruciating...I cried almost every time we fed until it went away, the pain was always during feeds though, not after. Also the pain I had centered around the nipple. I did get an infected milk duct too a few weeks later but this didn't hurt me much at all so the only way they found it was through a sonogram. They told me that those are usually very painful. So, I would plead with them to give you the sonogram as soon as possible. January is too far away to let this go on.
Best of luck,

you may have thrush. i had it while breastfeeding and the best description was it felt like broken glass inside my chest. it was EXTREMELY hard to cure. my newborn and I were both on medication for it. I finally had to stop nursing because I could barely breathe and couldn't stand having my baby on drugs just because I wanted to nurse. My pediatrician recommended a breast feeding dr. in manhasset. wish I remembered her name for you but she was very helpful.
good luck!

I had pain similar to what you describe and it turned out to be vasospasm. The pain got worse as the weeks passed and I also started to notice color changes in the nipple after nursing (blanching to purple/black and back to normal). Ibuprofen & applying dry heat helped at first, but eventually nifedipine is what took care of the problem. Here's some info on vasospasm:
Hope you find out what's going on & get some relief soon!

It definitely sounds like thrush. I had this once with each of my kids, and it was just like that. With my youngest, it happened when he was probably almost a year old and he never had any white patches in his mouth. They put me on some medication and it went away.

I had something very similar to what you are describing (in both breasts, though) - it was as if there were fire ants on my breasts - burning, tingling, pins and needles type sharp pain. My lactation consultant said it was a yeast infection IN the breast (not just the nipple) - my son was put on Nystatin cream and I was told to put that on my breasts after feedings - my doctor then prescribed a regimen of diflucan pills - it worked wonders! It might be worth asking your doctor about! Good luck!

Hi D.,

Stabbing pain does not sound fun. Have you checked the La Leche League website? It is a good starting point for breastfeeding issues. It is funny that it is only one side. Is that the side he prefers so you use it more often? It may be something with the surrounding tissue & nursing reduces the fluid in your breast thus changing the pressure put on the area. The OB could be right. Best of luck!!

The only advice I have is to demand you are seen sooner for the sonogram. By the time they get to you, the problem could have resolved itself and you'll never know what it was or something worse could happen. I had to go for one when nursing my second son. They had me in for a sonogram within a week.

It could definitely be thrush/yeast. I had it after a bout of antibiotics for mastitis and it was horrible! It was always after I nursed and tended to be worse at night. My son had absolutely no signs of thrush, either. My ob wasn't very helpful, however I found an natural remedy that was recommended by a lactation consultant/nurse: Gentian violet (1%). My husband went online and found it at a drug store in Brooklyn- the brand is Humco. I figured if it wasn't yeast, the worst that could happen was that I'd have purple stains on my nursing bra (it's a dye made from plants). It did work though, and it only took a few days. There's also a prescription cream/solution available (Nystatin) which I used just to make sure it was gone, if you're interested in going that route, as well. Just make sure to treat both yourself and your son. I hope this helps.

Sounds like thrush to me too. Cant imagine what else it would be.

I had something similiar to that going on for a few months. I went to my ob/gyn and she said it may just be the muscle in the breast reacting to the let down. I always had the pain after I breast fed. Funny though,after I went to the doctor, it went away! maybe just get it checked that it's not an infection or blocked duct- it doesn't sound like it but better to have peace of mind. good luck!

Sounds similar to what I just experienced, thrush. My twins developed it and so did my nipples. It is a burning pain and excruciating when breastfeeding. It literally brought tears to my eyes. It also hurt after breastfeeding too. My doctor said the pain after is from the production of more milk.

As for tx, my twins took nystatin orally and I took diflucan as well as applying lotrimin topically.

I had costal chondritis before. It was a sore, aching pain along the sides of the sternum. It is inflammation of the cartilage that attaches the ribs to the sternum. You feel it when you take deep breaths and with certain movement.

Hope this helps. Good luck!


I nursed my son till he was about 3. I also had the stabbing pain which sometimes hurt even while I slept. My son is now almost four and I still have the pain which comes and goes. Never thought much of it, accepting it as changes in hormones from the pregnancy and breastfeeding. It's more in my left breast than the right which is interesting because that is the one he always favored.


Sounds like thrush. Have you or your baby recently gone on antibiotics or did you get a yeast infection? This can cause it in your breasts too. Be careful because it can spread to your other breast and to your baby's mouth. Make sure you and your son are eating lots of yogurt and use some nystatin or even lotrimin (over the counter) on your breast, but make sure to wipe it off before breastfeeding. You may want to ask your gyn for a prescription for diflucan, which will work systemically, since if it is deep in the milk ducts, the creams may not work. Here is a really good website that gives breastfeeding help- this is the page on thrush.


I have never had thrush, but I did have mastitis, which is really bad. If you notice flu-like symptoms, fever, chills- basically you just feel like a truck ran over you, in addition to the breast pain, make sure you get to the doctor for antibiotics. You don't necessarily need to have a hard lump or redness either.

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