Breastfeeding women may notice a lump on one or both of their breasts. There are many possible reasons for these lumps and their treatment depends on the reason of occurance.
Sometimes these lumps go away on their own or with the help of some home remedies. However, in some cases it’s important to see a doctor for a proper medical treatment.
Reasons of Breast Lump During Breastfeeding
Blocked milk duct:
sometimes a lump forms on the breast due to a blocked milk duct. There’s no apparent reason for this blockage, but there are number of contributing factors, such as:
- Tight clothing around the breast,
- Baby isn’t latching well,
- Too much time in between feedings
this occurs when the breasts become too full because the newborn is not feeding enough. Due to engorgement, a lump is usually formed around the armpit area.
Mastitis is the inflammation of breast tissue due to an infection, allergy, or a blocked milk duct.
Abscess is a painful, swollen lump formed when mastitis or extreme engorgement isn’t treated well. It is a rare condition that breastfeeding mothers go through.
Swollen lymph node:
breast tissues extend up to the armpit so tender, swollen, or enlarged lymph nodes can be felt under one of both of the arms. The reason for these swollen lymph nodes is an infection, engorgement, or mastitis.
A galactocele is a smooth, benign, milk-filled cyst that develops on the breast. It isn’t painful but could be uncomfortable. Galactoceles usually go away on their own when mother stops breastfeeding. However, doctors may take a sample of the content of the cyst or order an ultrasound to ensure that the cyst is benign.
Breast cancer while breastfeeding is a rare occurrence, only 3% of the breastfeeding women develop breast cancer. Thus, it is important to notify the doctor when mothers notice a lump in their breasts.
Natural Remedies For Breast Lump During Breastfeeding
Some steps that can be taken at home to treat breast lumps are:
Usually clumps are caused due to clogged milk ducts, however, nursing can still be continued on the affected breasts.
In case, baby doesn’t drain the affected breasts, pressure can be applied with hands to take out milk from it or a pump to prevent clogging.
- Apply a warm, wet compress on the affected breast,
- Gently massage the breasts between feedings to help release the clogs,
- Apply ice packs on the affected area
- Wear loose and comfortable clothing that doesn’t irritate your breasts.
It is important to see a doctor if the lump doesn’t go away on its own after trying home remedies. See a doctor if:
- The area around the lump is red and its size has increased,
- If the mother has high fever
- If the mother has flu-like symptoms
- There’s extreme pain and discomfort
If mastitis or some other infection is the reason for the cause of lumps, the doctor could prescribe antibiotics, along with some over-the-counter painkillers that are safe to take while breastfeeding.
In some cases, patients may also need some additional tests such as a mammogram or an ultrasound to ensure that the lump is benign. It is best to follow the prescribed treatment plan.
It should be added that in most cases it is safe to continue breastfeeding. If the reason for formation of a lump is a blocked duct then breastfeeding should be continued as it may help unclog the duct.
However, if the breastfeeding is too painful on the affected breast then mothers can also try to pump breast milk.