The Mother Gave Birth To Triplets But Experienced A Very Unpleasant And Rare Side Effect

The body goes through many ups and downs during pregnancy and childbirth. After giving birth, things don’t always automatically go back to normal, and recovery can take time. It also happens that some side effects appear only a few days or weeks after giving birth.

Linda Jones, 39, who recently gave birth to triplets, reported an unusual and very ᴘᴀɪɴꜰᴜʟ side effect: swollen armpits. Jones became a mother on January 10, 2022, and the babies were born at 34 weeks pregnant after she was hospitalized with high ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ ᴘʀᴇssᴜʀᴇ. While the newborns were being monitored in the premature unit, Jones tried to pump milk.

“For the first few tries, I was only able to pump colostrum,” she said, which is essentially so-called foremilk. “After that, nothing happened. The expert told me to just keep pumping; the milk should come sooner or later. So I continued to pump every 2-3 hours, but I only pumped air; nothing happened.”

After about two days, Jones said she felt her breasts becoming fuller and heavier. And on the third day, She clearly felt that something was wrong. “It was very ᴘᴀɪɴꜰᴜʟ; my armpits were swollen and full, and my breasts were huge and rock hard,” she explained.

To the mother’s surprise, it turned out that her armpits were actually full of breast milk. This is a little-known but not rare side effect where the mammary glands swell due to increased blood flow and breast milk.

Jones decided to document her story and shared it on TikTok, where it soon went viral. “I think it’s really important to talk about the fact that this is a possible side effect and that it can happen. We want people to know the good parts of parenthood, but they also need to know the bad. And it’s not the best part of having kids, but I think it’s important to talk about it openly,” says Jones.

Nurse Dominique Weiss explained that ʙʀᴇᴀsᴛ ᴛɪssᴜᴇ actually extends all the way to our armpits, and that’s what caused Jones’ armpit swelling. Breastfeeding mothers typically have 15 to 20 milk-producing glands per breast, and Jones appears to have such glands in her armpits, Weiss says.

“Every woman has mammary glands, but their distribution is unique. Just as we are all different and each woman has a different breast size and shape, the distribution of the mammary glands can also be different,” she added.

Weiss also added that the number of mammary glands is not determined by breast size but rather by genetics. That’s why, while Jones experienced pain and discomfort with it, every woman’s experience is different.

According to health expert Jada Shapiro, there are many ways to treat swelling. A cold compress can help, but at the same time, frequent touching of the armpit should be avoided so as not to stimulate the process, which could further increase the swelling,” advises Shapiro. “Breastfeeding your baby frequently can also help,” she adds.

However, if a nursing woman develops a fever, red streaks appear on her breast, or she notices ᴘᴀɪɴꜰᴜʟ ʟᴜᴍᴘs, she should consult a doctor. “If the mother is worried about this, it is better to call the midwife or the doctor to rule out the possibility of breast ɪɴꜰʟᴀᴍᴍᴀᴛɪᴏɴ (mastitis),” he added.

According to Weiss, the swelling will subside over time. “Over the next 6 weeks, the body will detect which milk-producing glands are emptying. This is essentially the law of supply and demand. Fortunately, our breasts are not capitalist; they will not with hold supply. They really give us what we need,” he explained.

Both Weiss and Shapiro say it’s perfectly safe to continue breastfeeding despite the ᴘᴀɪɴ, but Weiss emphasizes that the decision is entirely up to the mother.

“It’s a personal decision. As a lactation consultant, I have found that a mother’s persistence is determined by how much she wants to breastfeed. Of course, guilt can also be part of this if a woman does not want to stop breastfeeding. I think the most important thing is for mothers to think about whether they really want to breastfeed. If you feel like you don’t want to continue because it’s too ᴘᴀɪɴꜰᴜʟ, stop. There are many different types of formula to feed babies today,” says Weiss.

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