A breastfeeding headache is more common than you would think. There are ways to rectify, prevent and 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.
What Can Cause a Breastfeeding Headache?
- Stress and noise.
- Discontinued use of medications.
- Weaning too rapidly.
- PPD (depression) can cause a nursing headache.
- Thyroid problems.
- Blood pressure problems.
- Sleep deprivation.
- Hormonal changes (discussed below).
When Hormones Cause Breastfeeding Headaches
* Estrogen and headaches: Estrogen is the hormone that can affect a mother 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 migraine
- 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 during breastfeeding, which narrows the blood vessels, therefore, causing a headache.
Treatment for Breastfeeding Headaches
- Relaxation: Make sure you are relaxed while breastfeeding.
- Hydrate: Drink at least 2L of water daily. Hydration tips for breastfeeding mothers discussed here.
- Avoid drinking coffee, as this will dehydrate you.
- Eat well: Breastfeeding diet guidelines.
- Massage therapy has been proven to help with headaches.
- What can I take for a headache while breastfeeding? If the above natural methods don’t work, you can take Paracetamol as a painkiller, which is safe to take, if breastfeeding.
You are doing what is best for you and Baby, by continuing to breastfeed.