Breastfeeding/Pain after nursing


QUESTION: My daughter is 4.5 months old for the last four weeks I have had pain only in my left breast. It starts about 25 to 30 minutes after she is done nursing. My back story is that I nurse only one side at a time. The pain is all over the breast, not just in one area. It feels like sharp, stinging pains almost like getting pricked by a needle. At first it happened once every few days, not it seems more frequent. I have been taking Motrin prior to nursing to help with the pain. Some times it is so bad, I cry from the pain. The pain last about 2 hours and starts to subside at about 1.5 hours. I have had an ultrasound on my breast, and everything appears normal. I do not feel any lumps or bumps. My dr. does not think it is mastitis or thrush. I am also concerned about taking motrin and its affects on my baby, and myself for such a long period of time. I really wanted to nurse for at least a year as I did with my last, but with the pain I don't know if I am going to make it. I hope you can shed some light on the subject.

ANSWER: Dear Erika,

First, congratulations for giving your daughter the best start in life by breastfeeding her!

I'm so sorry to hear about your pain. I'm assuming that the doctor you consulted is your ob/gyn; if not, I would suggest a visit to her (or him).

The only idea that I can think of that might be causing your pain is that sometimes a yeast infection of the ducts can give stinging pain similar to this. I know that your doctor said that it didn't appear you have thrush but perhaps you have a yeast infection without any skin manifestations?  I don't know if your doctor would feel comfortable treating you for this to see if it makes a difference. You might ask.

Meanwhile, I don't think that the Motrin you're taking should cause problems for either you or your baby.

Good luck,


Sally Wendkos Olds
Author, THE COMPLETE BOOK OF BREASTFEEDING: Olds & Marks, 4th edition, September 2010, published by Workman Publishing, and available in most public libraries, bookstores & La Leche League chapters.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your response. I will be seeing an Ob/gyn on Wed. Right now I have only spoken to them on the phone, I am also consulting with an LC. Is it possible to have a yeast infection in only one breast and for at least one month? My daughter also has no symptoms, she was seen by a ped. about a week and a half ago.

Dear Erika,

I'm glad you're going to see an ob/gyn. An in-person visit should give you a much better diagnosis than a phone conversation.

As far as your question about whether it's possible to have a yeast infection in only one breast and for at least one month, I have to confess that I am not an expert on yeast infections. I have some knowledge about how they affect breastfeeding and what to do about them, but I wouldn't venture to go any further. It's good you'll be seeing your ob/gyn.

And also, of course, very good that your daughter has no symptoms.

I would appreciate your letting me know what your doctor says on Wednesday, what you'll be doing for this problem, and how it works out for you. Pain is no fun!

Best regards,



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Sally Wendkos Olds


What do you want to know about breastfeeding? I can tell you what`s good for the baby, what`s good for the mother -- and the father, how it`s related to a woman`s sexuality, how working moms can nurse, how to overcome obstacles, and lots more. As the author of THE COMPLETE BOOK OF BREASTFEEDING and author or coauthor of 8 other books and more than 200 articles about child and adult development, I can offer sound, sensible advice on breastfeeding, child care and family issues.


I nursed my 3 daughters and am the grandmother of 5 breastfed children. My book THE COMPLETE BOOK OF BREASTFEEDING (written in consultation with pediatrician Marvin S. Eiger, M.D.) was first published in 1972, and in 1999 came out in an updated 3rd Edition by Workman Publishing & Bantam Books. It is now a classic, with over 2 million copies in print. I am now revising this book for a fourth edition, consulting with pediatrician Laura M. Marks, M.D. This new edition will be published September 2009. I welcome any and all suggestions for the new edition. I coauthored college textbooks A CHILD'S WORLD: INFANCY THROUGH ADOLESCENCE, and HUMAN DEVELOPMENT; both are leading texts in their fields and have been read by 2 million students. I am the coauthor of HELPING YOUR CHILD FIND VALUES TO LIVE BY and RAISING A HYPERACTIVE CHILD, and author of THE WORKING PARENTS' SURVIVAL GUIDE & THE ETERNAL GARDEN: SEASONS OF OUR SEXUALITY. My newest book, A BALCONY IN NEPAL: GLIMPSES OF A HIMALAYAN VILLAGE, published in 2002, tells the story of the way of life in a remote village in Nepal, where all the women breastfeed! My book, SUPER GRANNY: COOL PROJECTS, ACTIVITIES, AND OTHER GREAT STUFF TO DO WITH YOUR GRANDKIDS, will be published March 2009. I speak often to professional, parent and general audiences and make many radio and TV appearances.

Credentials I received my B.A. in English Literature from the University of Pennsylvania, where I minored in Psychology, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated summa cum laude.

Other points of interest I have received national awards for my writing, and am a former president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. I am listed in the World Who's Who of Women, International Authors & Writers Who's Who, and Contemporary Authors, and am a member of several professional and civic organizations. I believe: that all parents are working parents; that parents employed outside the home need special support; that mothers' well-being is crucial to their children's welfare; and that the family is the best institution in the world and the one for which we are least prepared. My thrills come when parents or kids tell me they were helped by my writing or speaking or just understanding. To find out more about me, go to

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