Breastfeeding and Contractions
Some new mothers find they experience contractions (also called after-pains) during each breastfeed in the first few days after the birth of their baby. These cramps are similar to period pains and often get more severe with each pregnancy.
The reason for after-pains is that during each breastfeed hormones are released telling the uterus to contract back into its pre-pregnancy shape. This has the effect of lessening the risk of hemorraghing.
Obviously pregnancy stretches the uterus quite a bit and breastfeeding helps it get back to its normal size much more quickly than it would if the baby was formula fed. In fact, the contractions are often so effective at returning the womb to its pre-pregnancy size that some women find their womb is more or less back to normal within just a few days of giving birth!
Unfortunately, for some mothers the pain can be so severe that they quit breastfeeding prematurely. However, if you are finding the pain difficult to cope with you should mention it to your doctor as some medications can be safely taken when breastfeeding. Co-codamol is very often prescribed in these instances and is a very effective painkiller when dealing with after-pains.
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