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A highly rewarding experience with many health benefits for your child, breastfeeding may also come with its own set of problems for mothers, including breast and nipple soreness. Nipple pain is generally caused by nipple trauma such as cracks, abrasions, blanching, vasospasm (blood vessel constriction) and milk blisters. The baby's latch traumatizes the nipple, causing painful injury or a blockage of pores and preventing the flow of milk. Breast pain problems include engorgement, plugged ducts, mastitis and thrush. Engorgement occurs when the breasts get very full and hard and sensitive. A plugged duct, in which the flow of breast milk gets blocked, may feel like a hard, tender area on one of your breasts. Plugged ducts are often a precursor to mastitis, which occurs when an infection leads to an inflammation of the breast. Mastitis can be very painful and is usually accompanied by a fever of 101.3 degrees F. According to Maureen Minchin in "Breastfeeding Matters," mastitis occurs in 1/5 of breastfeeding women in the West. But, there are ways to relieve each of these problems, so that you can continue feeding and bonding with your baby.