During the initial few weeks after delivery, because the colostrum “starter milk” is evolving to mature milk, your breasts can be full. This normal postpartum fullness usually diminishes within 3-5 days. Engorgement may appear if the baby doesn’t adequately remove milk from your breasts. This will cause your breasts to feel hard, painful and hot. This really is due partly to proper blood circulation and swollen lymph nodes, not entirely to accumulated milk. An excessive fullness of the breasts can also result in swollen areolas (the dark space around the nipple) and flattened nipples, making it difficult for the child to latch-on, causing sore nipples.
You can prevent engorgement following these simple guidelines: Breastfeed your child frequently, 8-12 times in 24 hours. Unless it’s recommended from your physician, avoid supplements of water or formula for the first 3-4 weeks. Should you miss any feedings, express (pump) your milk, so when weaning your baby, do this gradually.
Engorged breasts may be treatable in some ways. Try applying hot, moist towels to your breasts for a couple of minutes, or having a hot shower before nursing your baby. After using moist heat, hand-expression of milk will help soften the areola, making it easier for that baby to latch-on to your breast. You may even require to use gentle massage, deep breathing, soft music or other relaxation techniques before and during nursing. Icy cold compresses to put on your breasts can relieve discomfort and swelling after breastfeeding.
If your baby takes just one breast, you can alleviate engorgement with the breast that isn’t nursing with a breast pump or manually expressing milk. In case your baby can’t latch-on, or your nipples are flattened, make use of a hospital-type electric breast pump or hand expression to melt the areola. Use moist heat and breast massage before pumping. Continue pumping every two hours, Ten minutes per breast, until your child can latch-on.
If the nipples remain flat, wear multiple-holed breast shells for around 30 minutes before breastfeeding. This helps draw out your nipple, making it easier for your baby to latch-on.
Avoid bottles, pacifiers and nipple shields. These might cause nipple confusion/preference.
Wearing a proper-fitting, supporting nursing bra is likely to make full breasts more comfortable and stop the discomfort of engorgement.
For those who have further problems, speak to your healthcare professional or a breastfeeding specialist.