There are a few reasons why your armpits might itch when you breastfeed. The most common reason is that you have a rash or infection in the area. Other reasons include dry skin, sweat, and allergies. But for most women, it might just be down to hormones or the fact that the milk products glands are situated near the armpits.
Why do my armpits itch when breastfeeding?
Itchy on armpits is caused in part by milk production and also by work carried out in the milk glands close to armpits. The milk glands located close to the armpits can be itchy when you have a heavy let down during breast feeding. Many moms have reported breastfeeding itchiness is worst during a let down and it could just be the sensitivities are heightened by the letdown.
The itchy feeling could have been caused directly from increased blood flow or oxytocin release. Oxytocin usually releases during breastfeeding, when the hormone is producing the sensation that you feel is normal. Once baby’s mouth attaches and the let down starts the hormones can go into overdrive!
What Can I do if My Armpits itch while breastfeeding?
If you’re experiencing an itchy sensation in your armpits while breastfeeding, there are a few things you can do to help:
- Make sure that you keep your armpits clean and dry. Wipe them down with a damp cloth after each feeding session, and use a good quality deodorant if needed.
- Apply a cold compress to the area to help soothe any inflammation or irritation.
- If your rash is caused by an infection, seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
- Talk to your doctor , medical professional or lactation consultant about any other measures you can take to alleviate the itchiness.
- Nursing moms have milk ducts under their arms, some women even leak milk from their arm pits so it’s vital that you keep this area clean and dry. If your milk let down is causing the hormonal itchiness the best you can do is just treat the itch until your hormone settles.
Many women find that their armpits stop itching once their breastfeeding routine becomes more established. In the meantime, however, these tips should help to provide some relief.
Tell me the best way to relieve itching during breastfeeding?
We know it can be very difficult to deal with itching whilst breastfeeding, especially in those early weeks when you are still establishing your breastfeeding routine, the last thing you want to do is move baby to scratch your underarm if they have just gotten a good latch!
If the itch is not caused by an allergic reaction or mastitis in the breast tissue (other symptoms would indicate this), then follow these simple steps below to help make your breastfeeding experience more enjoyable!
So what can you do to relieve the itchy armpits whilst breastfeeding?
1. Keep your skin moisturized
One way to help relieve itching is to keep your skin well-moisturized. Apply a good quality moisturizer after you shower and before bed, and also any time you feel your skin starting to dry out. Look for a moisturizer that is free of fragrances and other harsh chemicals. You may want to look into your deodorant routine, now might be a great time to switch to a natural deodorant.
2. Use a cold compress
If the itching is localized, you can try using a cold compress or ice packs to help soothe the area. Place a cold pack or ice cube wrapped in a cloth on the itchy area for a few minutes.
3. Take a hot bath
A hot bath may also help to relieve itching. Add some baking soda or oatmeal to the bathwater to help further soothe your skin.
4. Apply a topical cream or ointment
There are a number of topical creams and ointments available over the counter that can help relieve itching. You can either consider massage oils on the mammary glands when you start itching to see if this helps settle your hormones.
5. Take an antihistamine
If the itching is severe, your healthcare provider may recommend taking an over-the-counter antihistamine to help relieve the symptoms. Just be sure to consult with your provider before taking any medication while breastfeeding.
Hopefully one of these tips will help provide relief from your itching!
Take Away on Itchy Armpits While Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding makes our bodies to weird and wonderful things, but we also have some crazy hormonal reactions. Know that its not just you and many other moms have experienced this either in pregnancy or during breastfeeding. Stay moisturized when pregnant and when nursing, keep hydrated with plenty to drink whilst feeding.
If you are experiencing irritating itchiness in your armpit when pumping consider moving the pump to another breast to see if that relieves it, often switching breasts can help! Itchy armpits when nursing are annoying but don’t panic, its just those pesky hormones!
This article was written by Sandra Baker – full time writer and the mother of four amazing kids (including twins!)
She’s also a breastfeeding counselor and has spent years helping new parents learn how to care for their children. When she’s not writing or caring for her children, Sandra likes to spend time reading and taking walks with her husband.