by Melissa D. Jaramillo
You've made the decision to breastfeed your baby. Good for you! It can be a very wonderful experience for you both, along with providing your infant with the best nutritional start possible. This does not mean that it always comes easy and most women will experience some discomfort and even pain during the early postpartum days.
Here are some of the more common problems and methods for coping:
This is one of the most common issues of breastfeeding that occurs within the first few days postpartum. Basically, when your milk comes in (normally on the 2nd or 3rd day following birth), the glands of your breast become filled (engorged) at a point before a stable production schedule has been established. When breasts are not sufficiently drained the results can be quite painful -- and the cycle begins. Tenderness, swelling, warmth, and pulsating pressure may occur. At times the inflammation may cause the breasts to feel feverish and hard lumps may startle the new mom to become concerned.
Even when things start off well, suddenly you may experience a great sensitivity during the feeding. This, while normal, certainly is uncomfortable and as one mother described "is likened to someone shooting me with a thousand needles all at once." For some mothers, this sensation only lasts a couple of seconds and then goes away. For others, it can last throughout the feedings over the course of several days. Either way, it can become a detriment to your goal for breastfeeding if left untreated.
Remember as a child after playing in the harsh winter winds how severely cracked and chapped your lips became? Now as a newly lactating mom, you may be painfully reminded - only this time in a much more sensitive area! The majority cause of cracked nipples is due to poor positioning.