Like so many, finding a lump anywhere in the vicinity of your breasts can cause a chain reaction of unpleasant thoughts about what could it be.
First, it is important to remember that pregnancy hormones changed your body when you got pregnant, and now that you have your beautiful bundle your body is changing again. Second, a lump in your armpit should not interfere with breastfeeding. However, it is still a good idea to know what is going on with your body.
Lump in Armpit While Breastfeeding Causes
1. Breast Engorgement - Good old fashion breast engorgement, breast tissue extending beyond the breast while pregnant is not uncommon. It can spread to the armpit cause what can look like a lump, but may not be one.
Engorgement is caused by an imbalance in supply and demand, in other words, you are supplying too much for your baby which leads to enlarged, painful swollen breasts.
No woman wants that so there are some great ways to keep from having this happen to you, I will give some ideas how.
2. Swollen lymph glands - It could also be swollen lymph glands, which are usually caused by an infection somewhere in your body. It can also lead to breast pain during your period and is one of the most common breast-related symptom women experience.
So a good rule of thumb, if it does not go away, the pain increases, or spreads have a doctor check it out.
3. Underarm cysts - This can also be a common culprit but can be the size of pea or larger. Usually, the area will be tender and warm to the touch. Some link it to hormone deficiencies or excess which makes perfect sense because your hormones have been changing like crazy.
Things to keep in mind, there are plenty of home remedies to help; keep reading I will give you a sure fire way to help.
However, if it does not go away, becomes larger, more painful, or visibly looks infected, OR if you are just concerned about it contact your doctor. I would rather be safe than sorry. You only have one body treat it well!
4. Mastitis - Any breastfeeding mother who has been on the painful end of Mastitis is probably wondering why I included it. Amazingly one in ten breastfeeding women in the U.S. get mastitis, and it can cause lumps in your armpit as it sets in.
Mastitis is a common issue for women who breastfeed, it usually is quick to set in but can be difficult to clear up. It is caused by an infection that gets in through your nipple.
Since it is an infection it can creep all the way into the ducts in your armpit. Created by a backup of milk in the milk ducts. It can be caused by improper latching, or suckling during feeding and is most commonly seen the first month after birth but can happen any time.
Mastitis can also occur if your no-sleep bundle of joy is favoring one breast or the other, which is what caused mine.
Mastitis will usually present with a fever since it is an infection and needs to be treated early and entirely since it can lead to more significant issues such as breast abscess. When in doubt contact your doctor.
5. Ingrown hair - Finally, it could be something as simple as an ingrown hair usually caused by shaving. It can still be painful, tender, swollen, and warm to touch but generally with some home care will go away on its own.
Keys to Prevention While Breastfeeding
If you are a new mom, this will be a laughable moment but REST as much as you can, eat well, stay hydrated, and stay healthy.
Next, feed your baby often since failure to remove milk can lead to clogged ducts which can lead to different issues. It is essential to make sure milk is removed.
Also, feed on affected side first. Your baby will usually attach better the first time and feeds with voracity. It will help to relieve some pressure hopefully and keep it from returning.
Here is the big one, use a breast pump to express both breasts completely. Some women make more breast milk than baby use. This is where you can end up with a painful problem, but an easy fix is using a breast pump.
I have a couple great breast pumps available to fit any budget. My recommendation is to go electric especially if already have had mastitis. I ended up purchasing a manual breast pump as well I found a use for having both. It was worth the small investment, and you will be glad you did!
Tips to Finding Relief
Use a warm/cold compress on affected area and breast between nursing to ease the pain and reduce the swelling.
While in the shower run warm water on the affected side (armpit/breast) you should see breast milk. If not only use cold compress more than likely you have a clogged milk duct and a warm compress could increase the swelling.
While in the shower massage the breast, pressing from behind toward the nipple. It can help to break up any plugged duct.
Warm, moist compress to loosen any clogged duct that could be creating problems.
Nurse baby completely affected side first.
Vary positions during nursing as much as possible.
Massage breast during nursing is breaking down any clogged areas, and ensure proper emptying.
Pump to remove any remaining milk, to help break up the clogs and promote faster healing, and it helps provide relief sooner.
Keep This in Mind
Lumps that come and go are not usually cause for concern at this point in a woman’s life. Many women go through lumps and bumps during and after pregnancy, but it can be worrisome if it is happening to you.
Hopefully, with this information, prevention, and tips for relief you will be better armed with ways to avoid armpit lumps. If not now you have some easy ways to treat at home and get back to enjoy bonding with your new baby!
If you have questions, comments, or suggestions I would love to hear from you in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!