ZocdocAnswersWhat could be causing my breast pain?

Question

What could be causing my breast pain?

I'm a 21 year old mother breastfeeding my first child, who is 7 weeks old. Since his birth, my breasts have been very tender. The problem is not nipple pain, it is the breast tissue. It hurts to hold my baby on my chest or hug my husband, as both those activities place pressure on the sore tissue. I had mastitis at 3 weeks postpartum which cleared up with antibiotics, so I don't think that is the issue. I am on zoloft, which I started on just before the birth.

Answer

Bilateral (both sides) breast pain is a very common complaint with first time mothers, and with all mothers in the period immediately after giving birth, and it can be a very uncomfortable problem. It might make you feel better to know that this pain usually resolves or significantly improves after a couple of months. In the meantime, you can also realize that the sacrifice you are making by breast feeding offers a host of benefits to your baby, and also to you (including burning extra calories to help with the weight gain that accompanies a healthy pregnancy). As you know, breast tissue expands quickly during pregnancy, and even more quickly after giving birth, when the milk production begins in earnest. This rapid growth stretches the soft tissue of the breast, enhancing the tenderness that you are experiencing. You might find that you can feel the milk "let-down" occurring, which can also be painful at times. Know that all of these things are temporary, and that over the counter analgesics such as tylenol and ibuprofen are safe when taken in low doses, and can be extremely helpful. Additionally, cold compresses will help the symptoms. Finally, if you are having fevers or chills, or focal points of redness or warmth on your breast, seek medical attention quickly, as these could be signs of mastitis, or breast infection. And finally, speak to your physician or midwife about these concerns, as they are common and your doctor will be able to tell you if your symptoms are concerning in any way. You should have a 6 week postpartum visit, which would be a perfect time to address these concerns.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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