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Mothers raise concerns over breast pain during lactation

Author: Kuorwel Kur | Published: Wednesday, May 19, 2021

FILE PHOTO: The Unicef team provide breastfeeding education to help mothers prevent malnutrition in children during a rapid response mission in South Sudan - UNICEF South Sudan

Mothers around Juba have expressed breastfeeding pain as concerns not only in the immediate post-partum period, but over one-third of mothers at two weeks or one month after the birth.

According to MDPI, an International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, persistent breastfeeding pain is one of the most common reasons given by mothers for ceasing exclusive breastfeeding.

While reports released by UNICEF and WHO on 31 July 2018 in New York/ Geneva say an estimated 78 million babies or three in five are not breastfed within the first hour of life, putting them at higher risk of death and disease and making them less likely to continue breastfeeding.

Wasike Caroline, a lactating mother, says breastfeeding pain happens to her when she stays for long without breastfeeding.

‘’I feel like stopping the baby from breastfeeding and begin giving him porridge, because it is very painful. I cannot withstand the pain,’’ says Caroline.

She adds: “I have never sought medical attention because to me, I take it normal. Once it pains, I don’t breastfeed my child until the pain subsides.”

Mama Tabu, a resident of Hai Neem, says she experienced breast pain during her first lactation period, which caused her to stop her baby from breastfeeding and started giving the baby inclusive foods.

‘’It is a serious issue, especially to mothers who are giving birth to their firstborns. They do not know most of the breastfeeding methods and worse of it is that, most midwives cannot give basic knowledge and skills of breastfeeding a child,” says Tabu.

Meanwhile, a child specialist and the executive director of Alsabbah Children’s Hospital, Dr Justine Bruno, says one of the causes of breast pain when the mother is breastfeeding is breast engorgement.

When the baby is being fed, he says, the breast is filled up with milk and that causes pain but it is not severe because the pain goes away after breastfeeding.

‘’Other pains are caused by sickness and that’s probably what we call mastitis – a disease that affects the nipples,” explains Bruno.

‘’Some breast pains are caused when the breast dries and the nipples crack and eventually causes the breast pain when the mother is breastfeeding.”

Dr Bruno further added the pain has no effects on the lactating mothers apart from the mastitis that affects the nipples.

‘’Breastfeeding is important to you and the baby, the baby gains the nutrition they need because the breast milk is made for baby to grow well and to you as the mother you are less likely to get breast cancer,’’ he states.

Dr Bruno further said ‘’Mothers should keep their breasts clean after and before breastfeeding to avoid cracks around the nipples and seek medical assistant.

Editor Note: This article was written by Kuorwel Kur, one of the journalists trained by Eye Radio under UNICEF’s Communication for Development project. Eye Media thanks UNICEF for the support offered in order to have this successful basic journalism training on content production to promote integrated life-saving messages and prevention of undernutrition.  

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