Breastfeeding is rarely easy, especially in the beginning. But sometimes, to make things even more difficult, women have to learn ways to soothe painful let-down. Although your let-down reflex shouldn't cause you pain, in some cases, it does, and learning how to cope with it can be rough.
Although there are various causes for a painful let-down, according to La Leche League International (LLLI,) the most common are engorgement, an overactive let-down, breast infection, a yeast infection (or thrush), or a breast tissue injury that could have occurred during birth or otherwise.
Like most aspects of breastfeeding, issues with nursing are rarely permanent and there's almost always something you can do to correct or heal them when necessary. If your painful let-down doesn't resolve on its own — as it may in cases where engorgement is the cause — trying the following techniques are thought to provide relief, readjust your supply, and hopefully permanently correct the issue that caused the pain in the first place.
Even without any added difficulty or pain, breastfeeding can be hard enough on its own, so if you're experiencing pain during let-down, getting it corrected as soon as possible will make your nursing journey easier on both you and your baby in the long run.