Breastfeeding is a natural phenomenon and lumps can occur very commonly at any stage. A woman’s body gets prepared for breastfeed from early in pregnancy as hormones start overtaking the process. Breast milk is the most nutritious food for baby in initial months and top feed cannot replace its benefits.
However, some women may face problems while breast feeding their babies and this becomes the reason why they stop feeding them.
A lump under the armpit is one of the reasons which can cause pain while breastfeeding your baby. Although breast lumps can come and go, there are reasons for permanent lumps including engorgement, blocked duct, and mastitis.
How Beneficial if Breastfeed for Babies?
Breastfeed is highly nutritious for babies as it is fully packed with nutrients to make the baby’s immune system strong.
What Causes Problems in Breastfeeding?
Breast tissues extend into the armpits which makes up for the possibility of having lumps under armpit after breastfeeding. These lumps have a special name called tail of Spence. During first breastfeed, lumps commonly occur under armpits as they get swollen.
Common Causes of Lumps Under Armpit After Breastfeeding
Breast lumps that do not go away after a week should be checked by a doctor to rule out factors and possible causes. Tests are performed to investigate the cause of lump such as ultrasound, mammogram, CT scan, MRI scan, needle biopsy, and core biopsy. All the tests do not require interruption in breastfeeding.
Some tenderness in the first weeks of breastfeeding is common as the milk first comes in and may take time. However, lumpy breasts mean that the breasts are not being drained from all ducts properly.
Blocked Milk Duct
Blocked milk duct is another common cause of breast lumps as it prevents milk from flowing in the area freely causing lumps or engorgement.
Mastitis is likely to occur if engorgement or blocked duct is not treated properly. Inflammation of the breast may occur which is very painful and termed as mastitis. The symptoms of mastitis are feeling unwell and shivery. The flu like symptoms should not be ignored as they may later require an antibiotic treatment.
A swollen lump inside the breast is termed as breast abscess. Mastitis and engorgement can result in an abscess if they are not treated properly. Also, mother is likely to have high body temperature.
Milk Filled Cyst – Galactoceles
Milk filled cysts called galactoceles are often harmless section of ducts where milk has become of a thickened consistency like that of butter. It can be uncomfortable as milking out from the nipple may cause discomfort. An ultrasound or needle aspiration can diagnose the condition.
Benign Cyst – Fibroadenomas
The condition has symptoms including breast pain, solid lumps, and fluid filled sacs. The nipple can also have bloody discharge while breastfeeding and should therefore be checked by a doctor fir thorough examination.
Rarely can breast lumps indicate cancer particularly if it does not go away after a week, grows big, and does not move.
Should You Continue Breastfeeding Your Baby?
There is no harm in continuing breastfeeding as it can help unclog the milk ducts in some cases. It is also possible to express milk through a breast pump if it becomes painful to breastfeed.
The baby can drink your breast milk even if you are having lumps in the breast or under armpit. Having any of the symptoms of breast lumps does not always mean there is an underlying problem as they often go away on their own. However, it is still advised to see a doctor for an examination and checkup.