What are Sore Breasts?
Sore breasts can result from a number of factors related to a number of conditions, which can include injury or a muscle strain, to pre-stages of the menstrual cycle (known as premenstrual syndrome) to pregnancy and fibrocystic breast disease. Wearing a tight bra or clothing, sleeping in an awkward position or pressing your finger on your breast may also cause sore breasts or blocked ducts.
Most commonly, many mothers experience sore breasts during nursing Sore breasts may occur as a result of engorgement, mastitis, blocked ducts, cracked or sore nipples, thrush, or biting.
Engorged breasts refer to breast fullness when your breasts become large and heavy and produce greater quantities of milk. Breasts feel hard, tight and very uncomfortable. They usually develop a few days after delivery or if you are not feeding the baby frequently.
Mastitis develops when the breasts become inflamed, hot to the touch, red, and painful. There is usually a lumpy area in the breast and you may have flu -like symptoms. It may be caused by an infection or inflammation in a blocked duct or infected cracked nipples. Blocked ducts are tender or sore lumps in the breasts caused by holding the baby in the incorrect position, not feeding at regular intervals or missed, interrupted or rushed feeds.
Sore or cracked nipples often occur when you start breastfeeding and are caused by poor positioning and the baby not latching on properly. Thrush is a fungal infection which affects the baby’s mouth and diaper area as well as the skin around the area of the mother’s nipples. It appears as a pink, itchy rash on the nipples and may cause pain. In babies, white patches develop in the mouth.
Babies often bite or nibble on the nipple after sucking, during or towards the end of a feed or when they are teething. When biting occurs, you should detach the baby from your breast immediately. Babies who are teething should be given lots of things to chew on to ease the discomfort of their gums.