All about Engorgement
In the first few days after birth the breasts feel soft, much the same as they felt during pregnancy. The first milk that is produced is called colostrum which is the perfect first food being very high in immune factors that help protect your baby in the first vulnerable days. Colostrum is produced in small quantities which is the right amount of milk for your newly born baby.
This indicates that breastmilk has changed to the mature form that is much larger in volume and higher in fat. Some women experience engorgement as a minor discomfort for a day or two whilst others have a more intense experience with hard painful breasts. Within a week the breasts once again become softer and comfortable
HOW TO PREVENTING PAINFUL ENGORGEMENT
- It is best to start breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth. It is also recommended to avoid giving formula feeds during the first 3 weeks and avoid the early use of dummies.
- Breastfeed frequently, at least 8 times in 24 hours whilst your breasts are full.
- It is important to point out that if a feed is missed or delayed express milk.
- And lastly, when you feel it's time, wean your baby gradually from the breast to fully bottle fed or solid foods.
MANAGING BREAST ENGORGEMENT
- Wear a well-fitted supportive nursing bra day and night will help give you and your breast the adequate support you need. A properly fitting bra is very important during your breastfeeding journey. Ill fitting bras may pose pressures where unnecessary and might cause further problems.
Reach out to the bra specialists at Slinky&Co through any of their socials, contact form or live integrated chat on their website slinkyandco.com, for a premium fitting consultation and service.
- If you are experiencing breast engorgement throughout your breastfeeding journey, you may express small quantities of milk 10-20cc/ml before a feed, for some relief. This will help soften the areola and prevent latching problems.
- Taking a warm bath or shower while massaging your breasts will encourage milk to drip and breasts to soften.
- Breast compression and light messaging during feeding helps to empty more milk.
- Use cold compresses for 10 - 20 minutes after a feed to reduce swelling.
These, such as the Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 breast therapy packs are very convenient to have.
- If breasts are particularly uncomfortable it can be helpful to express once to soften the breasts. After this feed frequently for the next 24 hours.
- Apply cold cabbage leaves for 15-20 minutes several times a day. This may not be a comfortable treatment as the hot breast soon causes the cabbage to wilt and smell.
- If there is low-grade temperature drink plenty of fluids.
This really applies to every feed in any kind of temperature. It is recommended to drink approximately 400ml to 500ml prior to a feed/pump, while also keeping drinking water by your side during the feed/pump.
- Consult a health professional if symptoms persists, and pain or discomfort presses on or increases, if your body temperature rises high and is accompanied with flu-like symptoms, this may indicate a breast infection as medication might be needed.
In hind sight of all mentioned above, breast engorgement, blocked ducts and or breast infection also known as mastitis, does not mean you have, must or need to stop your breastfeeding journey. Just be patient, with yourself and your tender breasts, latch your baby as often as possible, keep breasts warm and above all REST! Medication can also be taken while you are breastfeeding without effecting your baby's health.
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