Breast Engoregment - A Different Perspective

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Breast Engoregment - A Different Perspective

After you deliver your baby, your body is still at work. You two are still in the process of adjusting to each other, and there are a lot many things happening around you. Likely to stay that you are on a new mission helping to heal yourself from birthing and getting food for your newborn by welcoming and blessing the new one into this world.

In the hours and days following labour, your body is doing miracles that you are not well aware of good circulation to your breasts, which have increased over time. At first, it produces a thick, golden liquid fluid mainly called colostrum. It's full of protein, the most easily digested liquid and everything the baby needs to build a strong digestive system and stay healthy.

Here's another thing perhaps you knew them but weren’t prepared for post-childbirth would have for in one’s health kitty: huge, heavy, hard breasts that are tender to the touch and feel likely about to explode with a lot of radiating pain.

One may feel that the milk supply is less for some reason, and also one is also stressed at the same time. As a mother, one would often feel, let us move to a better way to reduce the pain and also have an easy solution which works in my favour for the betterment.

After birth, the body makes milk and stores it in the breast tissue. The first the milk comes in, the breasts can become engorged or filled with too much milk. The mothers are aware of the fact they have been given sedation and under the effect of medicine for a while, till they retain consciousness. The fluid requirement sometimes exceeds the required amount and then it becomes a little difficult for the child to feed on to the breast, as the child is trying to latch on well.

One of such is likely experiencing breast engorgement. While plenty of breastfeeding women experience engorged breasts,t no one talks about it at the beginning. But if left untreated it can lead to issues like cracked nipples, clogged milk ducts and mastitis—one didn’t think this would be coming one way.

Read on to learn how to tell if one`s breasts are engorged and how to find fast relief.

Engorgement is very common among breastfeeding mothers, but there are simple solutions that can help relieve the soreness and give some relief to the feeding mothers. If one can recognize engorgement early and follow these steps for treating engorged breasts, the discomfort could subside in as little as 24 – 48 hours during breastfeeding the child. It will take time but it will help.

 

How do I notice this??

  • Tender breasts
  • Swelling and hardness near the breast
  • Reddened areas
  • Larger, flattened nipples (baby may struggle to latch)



How could this happen?

Breast engorgement can happen if:

  • The baby is not feeding and attaching well and the breasts aren’t drained well during a feed
  • One makes more milk than the actual requirement baby needs
  • Your baby misses a feed or is feeding infrequently
  • More extra fluids are given during the hospital stay to the mother.


Breast engorgement can occur at any time during breastfeeding, especially when the baby’s feeding pattern changes and the feeding demand could be decreased. Engorgement is usually temporary - eventually, one will produce just as much milk as the baby needs, which involves the demand feeding mechanism with a lot of skin to skin contact


Check for these signs

To reduce the chance of breast engorgement(which may seem to occur quite often):

  • Feed the baby often and on-demand (not by the clock) from birth, with at least 8 to 12 feeds in the first 24 hours of life. It helps to sleep in the same room as the baby to keep up the feeds.
  • Wake the baby up for a feed if the breasts become full and uncomfortable (especially at night time). You can feed the baby, in a side-lying position which will help you have to gain a good comfort.
  • Don’t limit the baby’s time at the breast.
  • Avoid giving the baby any fluids other than breastmilk unless needed for a specific medical reason(for the first 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding according to the WHO guidelines).
  • Ensure the baby is positioned and attached correctly, to maximise the amount of milk one is getting.


How to relieve breast engorgement

If your breasts become engorged, there are things you can do to relieve the discomfort.

The best way is to empty the breast, either by feeding your baby at the breast or by expressing your milk. It’s okay to wake your baby and offer a breastfeeding day or night if your breasts become full and uncomfortable between feeds.

 

The following tips might also help:

  • Apply a warm cloth to the breast, or have a warm shower before a feed, for comfort and to help the milk flow, or apply lukewarm water.
  • Remove your bra before breastfeeding (and leave it off) or use a suitable nursing bra
  • Hand-express a little milk before feeding the baby, or try doing ‘reverse pressure softening’ (applying pressure around the nipples to push fluid back into the breasts). Hand massage works best
  • Gently massage the breast in a downward motion from the chest wall toward the nipple while your baby is feeding.
  • Use a cold compress, like a cool gel pack from the fridge or refrigerators, or a chilled washed cabbage leaf over the breast to relieve inflammation which would be temporary but it does help.
  • Express milk after a feed, either by hand or with a help of a breast pump, if your breasts still feel full. Be gentle with yourself.


Always consult your doctor to ensure you have the correct diagnosis to prevent and address these complications when a physical check-up would make a difference, as some of them, like mastitis, need treatment beyond nursing management. Consulting a lactation consultant can also make a world of difference.

#breastfeeding #lactation
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