Breastfeeding Treatment

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At Wisdom Physiotherapy, we have Physiotherapists that are trained in providing breastfeeding physio treatment to help with issues such as cracked nipples, mastitis and blocked ducts. Our treatment methods are evidence-based and safe for both mum and bub. We are here to support you in your breastfeeding journey.

Cracked Nipples

In most cases, sore or cracked nipples are the result of incorrect positioning or attachment of the baby.

The crack in the nipple skin can be seen on the nipple itself or where the nipple joins the areola. Sometimes, the crack can be very fine and hard to see. Breastfeeding with a cracked nipple is often very painful and cracked nipples may bleed during breastfeeding. Although bleeding looks scary it is not harmful to your baby. It is quite safe to keep breastfeeding.

At Wisdom Physiotherapy, we provide effective treatment for cracked nipples using low-level laser therapy.

About low-level laser therapy:

  • A safe and painless procedure to heal cracked or grazed nipples and reduce pain.
  • The ultraviolet light speeds up the body’s natural healing process – it helps your cells work faster so you can heal quicker between feeds.
  • Your baby can feed on their normal schedule any time after treatment.

What does low-level laser therapy help with?

  • Wound healing
  • Pain reduction
  • Increasing blood flow to the area
  • Reduction of inflammation

What does a session with a Women’s Health Physiotherapist for nipple pain include?

  • Thorough subjective assessment of your breastfeeding (current and past history)
  • A whole-body approach; analysing postures used whilst breastfeeding, holding positions, postural retraining and specific exercise prescription if required
  • Applying low-level laser therapy
  • Discussing and investigating the possible causes of your nipple pain and trauma
  • Liaising with health professionals you may need in your care (for example GP or lactation consultant)

Blocked Ducts

A blocked duct is a blockage of the milk duct in the breast that can result in pain and tenderness of the area and a palpable lump. There may also be a white spot on your nipple which can be a sign of a blocked duct. The skin around this area may feel warm to touch and look visibly red. Generally, there is no fever and you feel well. These blocked ducts can be treated with therapeutic ultrasound to resolve them more quickly.

Mastitis/Breast Abscess

Mastitis is an infection within the breast where bacteria has entered, causing pain, swelling, a firm mass, and a fever. This type of infection needs to be treated with antibiotics. If mastitis is ignored a breast abscess may form. An abscess is a pocket of pus which forms in the infected area and should be discussed with your doctor on appropriate management. It is possible that a blocked duct can go onto mastitis, therefore it is important to manage a blocked duct as soon as you notice.

About Therapeutic Ultrasound

Therapeutic Ultrasound transmits soundwaves from a machine into the body. Due to the movement of sound waves, it can then assist in loosening a blocked duct within the breast. Therapeutic ultrasound is not painful, you may feel the area slightly heat up.

What to do if you have a blocked duct (painful red lump or swollen spot on the breast) whilst breastfeeding?

As explained from the Department of Health WA:

  • Feed frequently from the affected side first.
  • Gently stroke your breast towards the nipple during the feed. This may assist the let-down reflex.
  • For comfort and to reduce swelling from excess fluid apply a cold cloth or cool gel pack.
  • Express after feeding.
  • If there is a white spot on your nipple – soak the nipple with a warm moist cloth and rub or scratch off the spot with a sterile needle to allow the duct to open and the milk to flow again.
  • Use paracetamol or anti-inflammatory tablets according to directions until the lump clears.
  • If the lump has not cleared after the next breastfeed, therapeutic ultrasound treatment (by a physiotherapist) of the affected breast may help clear blocked ducts – contact Wisdom Physiotherapy to arrange asap.
  • It is important the breast is well-drained within 20 minutes of having the ultrasound treatment. This can be done by breastfeeding or expressing the breast.

What does a session with a Women’s Health Physiotherapist for a blocked duct include?

  • Applying Therapeutic Ultrasound to the area required
  • A thorough assessment of your breastfeeding (current and past history)
  • Education on the use of breastfeeding holds and other management strategies you can do at home to assist in the drainage
  • Discuss and investigate the possible causes of your blocked duct
  • Liaising with health professionals you may need in your care (for example GP or lactation consultant)

 

To make a breastfeeding physio appointment, Amy TinettiKate Pallett or Jasmine Angelev are here to help you – please call (08) 6389 2947 or click here to make an appointment online.