A headache during breastfeeding may seem common and harmless, and you may ignore it, thinking that not able to sleep or rest well and caring for your baby round the clock is giving you a headache. But there is more to it. A breastfeeding headache especially happens when your body gets ready for feeding. To meet your new baby’s nutritional requirements, there are a lot of changes that take place inside your body, even after your baby is born. And as a breastfeeding mom, you hardly get any time to rest and sleep or eat properly, and the body keeps drawing from its reserves to make more nutrition for your baby. Apart from this, there could be a lot of underlying issues that result in a headache while you are breastfeeding your baby. Read on to know some of the reasons that bring about an attack of a headache, tips to deal and prevent them, especially if you are a breastfeeding mom.
Here are some causes that contribute to a headache while breastfeeding:
Like during pregnancy, a lot of hormonal changes and hormonal imbalance takes place in your body even after delivery and when you breastfeed
Estrogen controls chemicals in the brain that cause pain. A drop in estrogen levels, which is common after delivery can trigger a headache
Oxytocin released during the letdown of milk can cause a headache. This type of headache is called a lactation headache. It usually resolves on its own within a couple of weeks. However, in some cases, it may last as long as the baby is breastfed, which compel the mother to wean early
Plasma vasopressin is another hormone that is released while nursing the baby. This hormone can shrink the blood vessels, thereby causing a headache
Variations in the thyroid hormones can also trigger headache
As a new mother, you will be struggling hard to adjust to the changes brought about in your life by your little one. Not being able to get enough rest while taking care of the baby together with the lack of sleep and exhaustion can lead to a headache while breastfeeding
As the immunity level of the new mother is usually low, she is more prone to allergies. The allergies and infection can cause pain and pressure in the head
Nowadays, it is very common that the new moms multitask. As a result, they spend a lot of time on smartphones, tabs, and computers. This can stress the nerves and muscles of the eye. Spending too much time on screens and reading books (especially small prints), can strain the eyes. Eyestrain leads to headaches
The mother spends a lot of time to breastfeed the baby. Therefore the muscle in the neck, back, and shoulders will be stressed. Strain in the neck can lead to a headache
A headache can develop as a result of spinal or epidural anesthesia induced during the delivery. Likewise, the medicines and injections that were given during pregnancy and right after the delivery can also trigger postpartum headaches. Similarly, if you suddenly stop certain medicines since a lot of medicines are not safe while breastfeeding, can also trigger a headache
Dehydration is the primary cause of most headaches. During breastfeeding, the body loses a large amount of water, which is mainly used up in the production of breast milk. If the fluid intake does not increase accordingly, it can result in dehydration that can lead to a headache.
Likewise, if you do not eat enough, or if you skip meals as you are occupied with your baby, your glucose levels can drop. Low glucose level can trigger a headache
Postpartum depression can be a powerful trigger for a headache while breastfeeding, and if you do nothing about it then it will only make your headaches more frequent and worse
While breastfeeding, you should not use painkillers or other medications you used to take normally to treat a headache. While some medicines are safe to take during breastfeeding, some medicines are a big NO as they may infiltrate into the breastmilk and cause health issues to the baby. Therefore, ask your doctor before taking any over the counter medicines that you used to take earlier to treat headaches.
Some medicines that are commonly used to treat a headache but should not be taken while breastfeeding are Triptans, aspirin, ergotamine, antihistamines, etc.
However, it is equally important to treat the headache, as you have to be up and about to take care of your newborn and perform your new duties satisfactorily. There are mild painkillers which can help you to get relief from a headache. But speak to your doctor before popping in any medicines. He is the best person who can prescribe you a medicine that is safe while breastfeeding.
Here are some tips that can help you get fast relief from headache while breastfeeding without any medication:
Maintaining a good posture that puts less pressure on the back and neck, or, changing the feeding position if you feel strain in the neck will help to prevent the headache. Similarly, sleeping well, taking enough rest, eating on time, staying in a well-aerated room away from the noise and congested atmosphere, etc. also helps to prevent the headaches during breastfeeding.
Taking care of a newborn baby while you have a headache is very tough and can be an uncomfortable situation. So make sure you try to take measures mentioned above to avoid it, and in case you still get a headache, take proper steps to get rid of it. Consult your doctor and speak to him about your symptoms. He may prescribe you some kind of treatment that will help you deal with your headaches while breastfeeding.
Yes, it can. Hormonal changes while breastfeeding can. Sleepless nights can also cause headaches.
Not without a prescription. Home remedies are better. However, if pain is bad, doctor will suggest a safe medicine.
Medicines can be absorbed and transferred via the milk to the baby. This is not safe. This is why breastfeeding mothers are asked to avoid many things.
Yes, they are. Hormones need time to adjust after delivery. Breastfeeding also causes hormonal fluctuations.
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