Painful lumps on my breasts

Discussion in 'Feeding & Nutrition' started by erin, Dec 4, 2007.

  1. erin

    erin Well-Known Member

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    Hi all! I've been breastfeeding my little girl for 5 weeks now. She is been latching on properly, she is getting enough milk and is very happy...but I've been getting big painful lumps on both breasts that last for a few days each time they appear. The first one I got was when she was 3 weeks old and midwife and doctor said it must have been early mastitis so they gave me Nurofen and antibiotics and adviced me to put hot water on it, massage it, keep feeding the baby from that breast and express as much as I can. I did all these and I can't really say which one of them worked (or a combination of them) but after a few days it was gone. So I thought that was it and despite the pain and the frustration decided to get on with breastfeeding as it seemed that Maya was happy with it. After that, I kept getting small lumps on my breasts (both breasts) that weren't painful and would disappear after the feeding. Also, I kept having a kind of someone-is-sticking-pins-in-my-nipples pain, a tightening pain and shivers on my breasts throughout the day. However yesterday, I got this big lump on the left side of my right breast and one on the bottom of my left breast. They are very big, painful and I can't even hold Maya as they hurt a lot. I don't know what to do, I'm dreading the whole thing again and I'm just wondering if anyone else has been having problems like that. I have to say that although it has been an easy ride for baby to feed and all, it has been really hard on me as I feel all sorts of pains on my breasts throughout the day - even when I don't have the lumps. Is that normal?

    I can't see what I'm doing wrong! My breasts are engorged all the time! They feel empty for about 5 minutes after the feed and then they get hard and sore again and that's been the pattern since Maya was born. I really want to get on with breastfeeding but I don't think I can last for long like that, especially with those big painful lumps that have me in tears all day. Is that how breastfeeding should feel? Is it normal to have lumps and all sorts of pain on your breasts?

    Thanks for any advice! :cry:
     
  2. Lola's Mummy

    Lola's Mummy Well-Known Member

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    Awww sorry it's painful hun :hug:

    My breast's used to get painful and lumpy when they were full but it doesn't happen now as Lola is in a routine and they just make however much milk she needs.

    I didn't get the pains in my nipples though

    I would speak to your HV about it because BF shouldn't be painful

    Your doing really well :hug:
     
  3. leckershell

    leckershell Well-Known Member

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    Are you definately emptying them both? I have had big lumps like that when he's been picky and not eating as much. Maybe because you have so much milk she's not emptying you completely and you're getting milk left over hanging around at the back?

    The little lumps may be blocked ducts? I get those... make sure you massage them out or could lead to mastitus..

    Sorry I'm not much help but :hug: keep persevering... it shouldn't hurt to feed. I have pains in them sometimes too admittedly, but just keep feeding on them. Stay in touch with the docs and health visitors for more help xx
     
  4. erin

    erin Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm, how do I know that? I've been told to express as well, which I've been doing but...that surely stimulates the production so I'm getting more milk than she can actually eat.

    If I express twice a day, say when I wake up and before I go to sleep would that affect my milk production for the whole day or just for those two instances?

    I can't even touch them at the moment, let alone massage them!I will try a warm bath when hubby comes home, see if that makes any difference.

    It's just so stressful for me that I can't even go out. Sometimes when we go out and I can't breastfeed her for some reason, we feed her from the milk I've expressed (we always take a bottle of EBM when we go out) and that means I miss a feed and that (just missing one feed) could cause engorgement and the appearance of lumps - I don't know if it should be that easy. I'm becoming obsessed, I keep checking my breasts for lumps all the time! Do you ever miss a feed? Do you get engorged so easily?

    Thanks for all the help ladies, I really am very confused!
     
  5. leckershell

    leckershell Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, didn't mean to upset you I was just trying to help :( :hug:

    I don't know what to suggest really. If I miss a feed I'm not that engorged but that's different altogether because I'm personally having it a bit difficult at the moment where Ryan is unsatisfied after a feed so I'm not one to compare to re: engorgement :(
     
  6. erin

    erin Well-Known Member

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    Leckershell, sorry, you didn't upset me at all, on the contrary, everything you said has been very helpful. Sorry if I sounded frustrated, it's only due to the pain and the not_knowing_what_I'm doing_wrong feeling.

    I've had a bath and tried to massage them as much as I could, hope it helps. I know it will take a few days for the lumps to go away, but the pain and the fact that it keeps coming back is very frustrating.

    Thanks for all the help, I really need some support.
    :hug:
     
  7. valentine

    valentine Well-Known Member

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    Hi erin,

    Well done for breastfeeding for five weeks, that's a brilliant achievement - you are doing really well.

    I haven't experienced anything like your experience but thought that you could maybe phone the NCT Breastfeeding helpline or La Leche League for support, advice and help? Here are the numbers:-

    NCT Breastfeeding helpline 0870 444 8708
    La Leche League 0845 120 2918

    I also wanted to encourage you to go back to your local docs or HV for support and medication if necessary. You have done such a great job breastfeeding for so long, it'd be such a shame to give up as as soon as this problem goes away, it'll be plain sailing!

    As for the breastfeeding in public thing goes, do you think you'll get more used to this in time? Please don't feel embarassed. I'm not particularly keen on b/feeding in public but I do it as my daughter needs fed and I refuse to go and hide away. You can buy tops (H&M do lovely ones) that are specifically for nursing mothers that are very discreet and I also think you learn little tricks that ensure your privacy. Its also easier if you start by feeding in friends' houses and at mums' groups where there are a lot of women then graduate to cafes and public places. No worries if you really want to do this, but if you fed in public, then this might stop this problem occuring in the future?

    I hope this helps - please PM me for anymore support or help.

    Valentine Xxx
     
  8. KJ

    KJ Well-Known Member

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    Hi Erin,

    firstly I would say, STOP expressing. I made the mistake of expressing from 4 weeks, thinking my feeding was well established and it wouldn't effect it. But IT DID!! I started leaking all the time and would gush all over my clothes when Asher same off after a feed.

    I then got proper full blown mastitis in one side. Oh the pain! Deifnitely the sticking needles into your nipples pain exactly as you described. I spoke to my auntie who is a midwife and she told me to stop expressing and that I shouldn't have started until I'd been feeding for at least 6 weeks. And even then, I should only express at the same time or directly after a feed, ie. if he's only taken one side then I express the other. But never between feeds at this early stage. She said I'd confused my breasts and they were way overprodusing milk. I think If your LO is feeding well and regualrly then she's more than capable of keeping your supply up so don't owrry about that. There's too many scare stories about milk drying up but in reality we are designed to feed our babies, we don't give birth to breast pumps!!

    Once I started taking her advice, it took at least a week for my breasts to settle down, but they did eventually and now they only feel hard during the night or first thing in the morning when he's gone longer between feeds.

    Don't get me wrong, I still express, but probably only about twice a week if one side is particulalry full and he hasn't wanted it.

    Just let everything settle for a good few weeks. And massage the lumps well, they sound like blocked ducts.

    Also a good tip is savoy cabbage in the meantime. Sounds weird but if you put a leaf from the cabbage inside your bra against your boob (after washing the cabbage!) they have a medicinal quality and are very soothing on sore breasts. Believe me, when I had mastitis I tried it and it definitely helped!

    K.xxx
     
  9. erin

    erin Well-Known Member

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    Thank you all for your advice!

    Thanks KJ! I wish I had asked for some advice earlier as that's exactly what I had ended up doing - expressing and missing feeds. Had I known earlier I would have avoided the recurring appearance of lumps and the pain.

    Valentine, thanks for the feeding_in_public advice, today I fed her at the baby massage group and then at Thornton's cafe! So proud of myself... :D Still feeling very embarrassed though :oops: I will definitely try H&M for those nursing tops.

    Today the lumps are not that painful. Leckershell, I have had a bath and kept massaging them - they felt sore after but I think it definitely helped!

    Lola's mummy, they seem to get full again, after about 5minutes of breastfeeding, I hope it will get better now that I stopped expressing altogether - that way I will probably avoid overproducing.

    Thanks again!
     

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