Headaches and Breastfeeding
A breastfeeding headache is actually one of the most common breastfeeding problems and may cause a lot of extra stress for mom, but there are ways to rectify, prevent or at least make it a bit more bearable.
If you suffer from constant migraine headaches you should see your doctor. Let your doc know that you are breastfeeding and want meds that are safe for this reason.
What can cause a breastfeeding headache?
- Stress and noise (baby crying all the time)
- Discontinued use of medications
Weaning baby off of breastfeeding too rapidly
- PPD can cause a nursing headache
- Blood pressure problems
- Sleep deprivation
- Hormonal changes (discussed below)
When hormones cause breastfeeding headaches
* Estrogen and headaches - Estrogen is the hormone that can influence these headaches and will usually affect mom more when:
~ She has her monthly period
~ She is taking an oral contraceptive pill
~ She has a lower level of estrogen after childbirth
~ She is on hormone replacement therapy
* Oxytocin headache - The release of the hormone Oxytocin can also trigger a headache. This hormone is released during the let down of milk and can also cause nausea during breastfeeding.
This type of lactation headache will usually subside after a few minutes of breastfeeding.
* Plasma vasopressin is a hormone that is released which actually narrows the blood vessels therefore causing a headache.
Treatment for breastfeeding headaches
- Relaxation ~ Make sure you are relaxing during breastfeeding
- Hydrate ~ Drink at least 2L of water daily
- Avoid drinking coffee as this will dehydrate you even more.
- Eat well ~ Breastfeeding diet guidelines
- Massage therapy has been proven to help for headaches
- What can I take for a headache while breastfeeding? If the above natural methods don’t work mom can take paracetamol as a painkiller, which is safe to take during breastfeeding.
Medications that a breastfeeding mom should avoid
- Antihistamines, Aspirin, Ergotamine, All Triptans including: Almostriptan, Sumatriptan and Rizatriptan.
Read more on safe medication during breastfeeding
Reassure yourself with the thought that you are doing what is best for you and baby by continuing to breastfeed…read more on the benefits of breastfeeding.