15 answers

Stabbing, Sharp Pain in Breast After Nursing

Hi everyone,

I had my 2nd child a litle over 3 weeks ago and breastfeeding has been much tougher than with my first. I wrote in a few weeks ago about latching issues on my right breast (she latches just fine on the left) and many of you suggested I see a lactation consultant, which I did - thanks for the advice. While that has helped quite a bit, it still isn't completely painless (I apparently have larger than normal nipples, so hopefully her mouth will grow big enough soon...has anyone had THAT issue??), I now have another issue (UUGGHH!!)....

I hold my daughter in the football position when nursing her on the rightside b/c the cradle hold doesn't seem to work well. It's more painful and she fusses more when in that position. My issue is that on occassion, I'll get sharp, stabbing pains in my breast and nipple after nursing the right side. It doesn't happen all the time, just on occassion...but it's painful enough to want to give up. Does anyone have any idea what this could be? I googled it and it is one of the symptoms associated with thrush. However, I doubt thrush could be the issue because neither my baby nor I display any other symptom and because this is an occassional thing. The lactation consultation did suggest that it could be that she hits a nerve. Anyone have this happen to them or have any idea what this could be?

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Hi K.,

First of all, you arent alone! I have one nipple that is larger than the other so when both of babies were wee little latching on that side was painful. It took about 2 months before they grew big enough to where it was comfortable BUT they did grow and it did get better! As far as the stabbing pain, I have had that too although, from the sound of it, not as often as you have. That also went away with time but not nearly as long. With me it seemed to be off and on for a only a few weeks and it subsided only to come back very rarely after that. Again it was only on one side. Maybe we share a crazy boob gene! :-) Anyways, I hope you find a way to stick with it. Once you get past the uncomfy crazy parts it is such a special experience. Good luck to you.

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I had an issue like this with my daughter, and I too have large nipples. It was simply an issue with her not latching on properly. If she doesn't get enough of the nipple AND areola in her mouth and centered when feeding, it will pull the nerve and hurt like someone is cutting you open. I would highly suggest seeing the lactation consultant or your pediatrician to get some help with the issue.

1 mom found this helpful

I had that happen. It was a plugged duct which led to mastitis for me. You might ask your lactation consultant. Go to www.webmd.com and type in both of those. It gives excellent tips on how to deal with both issues.

I had the same exact issue with my last, she had problems latching on because my nipples are also quite large. She was born at 37 weeks and so she was a little sleepy at first and not quite a willing to go for it. She had problems with my right side also. It took until she was 3 months old to finally get it right. I did have some pain issues but can't quite remember exactly what it felt like. Maybe it is a nerve thing since you use the football hold only on that side. I used that on my right side also. My daughter had thrush and so did I, trust me you would know if that was it, you have very,very,very sore nipples, I mean when the baby latches on it hurts so bad it will make your toes curl and I am not kidding. I never understood that saying until then. Just stick with it and things will get better over time.

AmyG

I had this happen in the first 2-3 months of breastfeeding my daughter. I, too, had absolutely NO signs or symptoms of a yeast infection, nor did my baby. I work as an OB, so I have 24-7 access to lactation consultants, and I ran it by several of them. We decided it was likely spasming that caused nerve pain during letdown. It eventually resolved and it never happens now. I can't remember when it last happened, and my daughter is now 8 months. I would just hang in there and as long as your nipples/areolar areas don't look "yeasty" (shiny, inflamed, sometimes with white plaques) or your baby doesn't have oral thrush, then I would not jump to yeast treatment. Oh, and my pain was also primarily in one breast, too.

One possibility is vasospasm or nipple blanching. Check your nipple just as your baby unlatches and see if it seems to whiten--thus blanching. I had that happening for a while when my kiddo wasn't able to latch well. It helped some to keep it warm after the unlatching. I'd hold my arm over the nipple for a minute or so after she was done nursing. Also check out this info:

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mom/nipple-blanching....

Hope it gets better for you!

S.

A second visit the a lactaion consultant wouldn't be a bad idea. It could also be that she isn't latching on in such a way as to access all the milk ducts and you're not emptying them out. I had something like this with my first. What worked for me is to put warm compresses on the painful area and to pump to get the milk expressed out of the un-emptied area.

Good luck!

I had the same pain, which I also thought was thrush. After 5 very painful months, I finally figured out that I was allergic to my nursing pads. I switched to all cotton pads and the pain disappeared! I had a "DUH!!" moment because I am allergic to sanitary pads that also have the same absorbent material. My oldest also developed a sensitivity to her diapers, so that sped along potty-training for us!
Good luck!

Hi K.,

First of all, you arent alone! I have one nipple that is larger than the other so when both of babies were wee little latching on that side was painful. It took about 2 months before they grew big enough to where it was comfortable BUT they did grow and it did get better! As far as the stabbing pain, I have had that too although, from the sound of it, not as often as you have. That also went away with time but not nearly as long. With me it seemed to be off and on for a only a few weeks and it subsided only to come back very rarely after that. Again it was only on one side. Maybe we share a crazy boob gene! :-) Anyways, I hope you find a way to stick with it. Once you get past the uncomfy crazy parts it is such a special experience. Good luck to you.

I've never nursed But I have had a sharp shooting pain in one breast. Turned out I had mastitis. I didn't go to the doctor until my breast began to have a discolored line on my breast.

However, if the pain only ocurrs after nursing the sounds like it is related to the nursing. I suggest having the lacation specialist watch you nursing on the right side. She may then better understand what is going on and be able to help you with a different position.

There's an easy and cheap way to see if it's thrush. Dab your nipples with a vinegar solution: 1 part vinegar to 5 parts water. Do it just after nursing, or just before. If you are feeling stabbing pain, especially if it feels "hot"--though I have no way to explain that--the pain should subside within the hour, and the vinegar will feel "cool"...and if you keep applying the stuff, pain will not return.

Believe me, if it's thrush, the pain will come more often, then will happen every time you nurse, then will be excruciating 24-hour a day (I speak from experience). But vinegar is the best remedy, far better than anything your doctor will prescribe (and a gallon of it is around $2)...

Try it for a day. Your baby won't be bothered by it, it won't stain anything, and it just might work. If you need more help, e-mail me back!

Good luck!

i had the same thing in both breasts and my babies never showed any signs of thrush either. my ob/gyn prescribed meds for a yeast infection and it cleared up. also, and i don't know if it cleared the stabbing pain because both were occuring at the same time, but i used the shells that keep my nipples dry and allows air to get to them at the same time. i used these for about two weeks and since then my isses have subsided. i loved them! i too felt like it would be easier to give up then to continue battling iseed after issue with breastfeeding.

I had enlarged nipples during the period since my child was born until quite some months aftere I stopped nursing. My son lost nearly 10% of him birth weight when we were in hopsital eventually an old nursed told me that she had never seen somebody's nipples so big... she gave my son some water with sugar in small cug then sent me to look for the lactation consultant... I got an extra large breast milk pump cup from the lactation consultant and start to pump... until his tiny mouth grew slightly bigger and my nipples slightly shrank (all related with hormones)... but the nipples remain fairly large until almost 6 months after I stopped nursing.

I have no idea about your other issue. Maybe give your GYN doctor a call? it is famale related and maybe the doctor has some idea at least hot to approach it.

I had same thing... nipples to big, had to nurse on the right side in football hold, sharp pain...

First it started that I had mastitis and thrush at the same time ugh! After those pain symptoms were gone, I got a sharp pain in my right breast for several weeks and it wasn't every time either.

It's much better now and at 4 months I'm so so happy that I stuck to it and worked through all that pain (which was much worse than labor!) The moments I spend nursing our baby girl is so precious now. It will get better for you! I really encourage you to remember the reasons why you're BF Maddie to help you stick to it.

Also helpful... Get a good support network, friends that will support and encourage you or forums like this! Also if you're having nipple pain, which it sounds like you may still be having... Use breast shields when you're not nursing and just around the house, this helped in many ways, including elongating your nipple so easier for baby to get more of breast. Another help with that is pumping just before feeding her to make your nipple longer for her. Cold compresses on nipple, followed my nipple cream (I used coconut oil which is also great for thrush as it's anti fungal and anti bacterial). Warm compresses on breast to get milk flowing. Alright, as if you didn't have enough to do!

Hope this is helpful. Remember you made and carried your beautiful Maddie for 9 months, and labored to bring that miracle into the world... You CAN get through some tough weeks BF and you'll be so thankful you did :D

when I had the same problems with my first son.. the lacation consultant mentioned how the breast tissue was 'bruised' from the poor latch on and etcc which you mentioned. so being bruised - it hurts when the milk refills back into the breast & also as the ducts contract.

massage your breast well before nursing, use warm-hot
compresses before nursing to loosen everything up. and if it helps use them again afterward as well.

it may take a couple weeks to clear up.. but really the best way to help it is to keep the milk flowing..

hang in there.. remember the joy of the future snuggle times when all this pain is gone... :)

I too had this. It was a blocked duct. I had to use heat and nurse (or pump) more frequently on that side. I got mine cleared up before it turned to an infection. Ibprophin works for the discomfort, but the heat help soo much also. I also would maddage the sore area to help release the milk.
best of luck! Though if you are feverish call your DR!

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