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While breastfeeding may go perfectly fine for some mothers, others develop conditions or have pre-existing conditions that may impede or prevent them from successfully nursing. Fortunately, most of these conditions can be treated, and breastfeeding can continue, though it may be partial in some cases. Knowledge of common breastfeeding diagnoses is especially important if you plan on getting breast augmentation but want to keep breastfeeding as an option later.
Mastitis affects the breast tissue and leads to pain, swelling, warmth and reddening in the area. Severe cases lead to fever and cold sweats. A woman with mastitis also experiences exhaustion and nausea or vomiting on occasion. The disease usually stems from plugged ducts in the breast that have gone untreated or cracks in the nipple through which the infection enters. It usually only occurs in one breast. The disease occurs in nursing women, though there are rare occurrences of the disease when a woman isn't lactating. It commonly shows itself in the first three months after baby's birth but can happen any time while breastfeeding. Women with mastitis can continue breastfeeding while treating the condition. In fact, the continuous flow of milk through the milk ducts increases blood flow to the area and helps cleanse the body of its infection. Treatment also includes antibiotics.
Inverted or Flat Nipple
Inverted and flat nipples have a different shape than the typical nipple and can occasionally interfere with nursing. The dimpled nipple occurs when only part of the nipple protrudes. You can pull the nipple out, but it will go back to its original position. A unilateral nipple occurs when only one breast has a flat or inverted nipple. Nipple inversion itself has different degrees: slight, moderate and severe. Only moderate to severe cases may cause an interference with breastfeeding.
A flat or inverted nipple is typically discovered using the "pinch test". The areola is gently compressed about an inch behind the nipple. If the nipple retracts or "caves in", it's considered inverted. If it doesn't become erect, it is flat. If an inverted nipple becomes erect during the pinch test, it's not truly inverted.
Babies feed from the breast, not the nipple, so mothers diagnosed with a flat o inverted nipple do not necessarily need intervention of any kind and can breastfeed successfully. In most cases, this depends on properly latching and positioning baby during a feeding. Interventions include bringing in a lactation consultant to work with mother and baby on proper, comfortable feeding techniques.
Though not a disease itself, breast augmentation with silicone or saline implants can lead to extremely sensitive nipples or nipples that are less sensitive than normal. Breast engorgement during the first few days of baby's life is also exaggerated, and you may experience fever, chills and pain. Whether a woman who's had breast augmentation can nurse has to do with what kind of surgery she had. Incisions made under the armpit generally don't cause issues, but the more commonly used incision around the areola may give you problems. Nerve damage in this area can severely interfere with nursing because the nerves that tell the brain to release milk production hormones. If breasts were implanted due to hypoplastic (underdeveloped) breasts, you may have to pump milk after each feeding to maintain adequate milk production.