Breastfeeding Armpit Lump

Even though 'pitties' can be an unwelcome surprise, remember that they represent one of the many remarkable ways your body adapts to support your baby.

armpit lump, pitties
Armpit Lump

How to Deal With an Armpit Lump While Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding Armpit Lump - Audio

When you become a mom, there are all sorts of changes that happen in your body, some of them can be pretty surprising! One such change could be the formation of lumps near the armpit during breastfeeding. Known as 'pitties,' these lumps are a rare but entirely normal occurrence.

"pitties" is the name folks use for swollen armpits filled with breast milk. It happens when the milk ducts in the armpit become engorged and enlarged.

'these adjacent but separate axillary mounds are not a tissue extension of the primary breast. Instead, there is a growing awareness that separate focal vestigial breast mounds are consistently present in adults, located in pairs running down the curved lines of the embryological mammary ridges' - Tail of Spence 

Just as the breasts swell and become tight during breastfeeding, this armpit tissue can also engorge and resemble egg-shaped lumps under the arms.

Engorgement in the armpits most often occurs early in breastfeeding when milk supply is being established. The poor drainage in this area can lead to engorgement and discomfort, particularly when the milk first comes in. These symptoms usually resolve within 24 to 48 hours as the body adjusts.

‌To manage this discomfort, techniques like cool compresses, hot showers, gentle massages, and even cabbage leaves can provide relief, mirroring the methods used to treat breast engorgement. However, it's crucial to monitor the condition, as persistent pain, fever, or red streaks can indicate an infection. If these symptoms persist, you should consult your doctor.

breastfed baby, lying down while breastfeeding
Breastfeeding baby

'Breastfeeding Lump Near Armpit,' or 'Pittie,' Treatment

  1. Breast massage: This can stimulate milk flow and increase lymphatic drainage, easing engorgement. Take a warm shower or apply a warm compress to your armpit. The heat can help to relax your tissues and stimulate milk flow. Start from the outer area of the armpit (closer to the arm) and slowly move your fingers in a circular motion toward the chest wall. The motion should be toward the breast, as that's the direction of the lymph glands. Use gentle but firm pressure. It's helpful to do this several times a day, especially before nursing or pumping. Remember, the massage should never be painful. If it is, you might be using too much pressure.
  2. Warm compress before feeding: Applying a warm face cloth to the area near the armpit lump before feeding can help with milk flow.
  3. Cold compress after feeding: This can decrease pain and swelling associated with the armpit lump.
  4. Cabbage leaves: While not scientifically proven, placing a cold cabbage leaf against the armpit lump for a few minutes is believed to release enzymes that ease engorgement.
  5. Ultrasound treatment: Ultrasound is often effective at relieving the pain of tender, swollen armpit lumps.

While the phenomenon of 'pitties' might cause initial concern, they are normal and typically harmless. Furthermore, it's entirely possible to continue breastfeeding.

Even though 'pitties' can be an unwelcome surprise, remember that they represent one of the many remarkable ways your body adapts to support your baby. So, trust in your body's natural processes.

Above all, remain patient and kind to yourself during this breastfeeding journey. Each step, even the unexpected ones, is a testament to the incredible adaptability of the human body in the nurturing of life.

Finding a Lump in Your Armpit During Pregnancy

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