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By Planning Family

Breast Problems - Engorgement

Breast aches and pains are common after birth. The most common type of breast discomfort occur when the breasts become engorged or the breast ducts become full of milk but for some reason do not empty. The swollen, tender, hardened breasts can make feeding an agonizing experience.

The Facts..

• Engorgement is caused by milk's arrival, around 3-4 days after birth

• The pain can sometimes spread to the armpit areas

• There is usually no infection

• The pain is diffused with no inflamed areas

• Nursing becomes especially uncomfortable for the mother and quite a task for the baby if the swelling causes the nipples to flatten

• Once a feeding routine is established (within days), the engorgement subsides

• The pain can be relieved if prompt attention is given

Why Engorgement & steps to Prevent it

• It usually happens after the breasts start to fill up with milk.

• The mother does not feed on demand perhaps because either the baby or the mother is not in the position or mood

• Take comfort in the fact that engorgement usually lasts for about 2 days

• Nurse, pump or both to empty breasts often

• Do not limit the sucking time; let baby stop nursing on her own

• Start with the heavier breast

Steps to pain Relief..

• During bath times, run the hot shower over breasts

• Apply warm soaks to the painful areas

• Massage the areas before trying to feed or pump to help empty the ducts

• Place ice packs or cold towels on affected areas. This helps to reduce the swelling

• Breast massage prior to pumping will help in the milk flow. Place a wet warm towel over the breasts and gently massage the area using the thumb above the nipple, forefinger and middle fingers below the nipple very close to the areola

• Use the breast pump if you have one

• During feeding continue to use the warm napkin over the breast and gently massage while your baby sucks

• A good supporting nursing bra really helps

Green Cabbage leaves Method

• Many women rely on cabbage leaves to relieve the swelling.

• Use green cabbage only

• Peel off the leaves and wash them before use. You may use them chilled or at room temperature

• The veins should be flattened with a rolling pin

• Place the leaves directly on the breasts or inside the bra (avoid using leaves on irritated skin or if you are allergic to sulphur or cabbage)

• Leave it on for about half an hour; as you start to feel relief remove the leaves as it is known to reduce the milk supply

The occasional Blocked Duct

• Engorgement or tight clothes can cause a duct to become blocked; this results in a hard red patch on the exterior where the duct is located.

• You may feel feverish

• Blocked duct is preventable by feeding and emptying your breasts often

• Ensure you wear a proper bra, one that fits well

• If you do get a blocked duct, offer to feed or express milk from the affected breast first

• Massage the lumpy area gently as your baby feeds

• If there is no improvement in 24 hours, a mild antibiotic will be required to clear the infection

Engorgement when you are not feeding..

• Breasts become engorged or overfilled with milk whether the mother chooses to feed or not; it is the design of Mother Nature

• Previously drugs were used to suppress lactation; these days due to the side effects of the drugs, postpartum breast engorgement is left to resolve itself

• The simple logic is if the milk is not used, production will automatically cease

• Some women may experience light leaking for several days or even weeks

• in the interim remember the ice packs, supportive bras and the cabbage leaves to help with the discomfort

• Avoid hot showers as this encourages milk flow

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Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.
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