Melanie Kissell

Posts Tagged ‘Health’

Engorgement Can Be Easily Managed

In Breastfeeding, How do breasts make milk, Mammary Glands, Milk ducts and sinuses, Plugged Milk Duct on January 2, 2013 at 3:04 am

breastfeeding mom with baby at breast

Within the first two to three days after you have given birth, you may discover that your breasts begin to feel swollen, tender, and overly full.  Sometimes the swelling will extend all the way under your armpit, and you may possibly run a low grade fever as well.

What Causes This

Within the first 2-5 days of giving birth, an abundance of water-packed milk will come in and become available to your baby.  As this happens, more blood will flow to your breasts and some of the surrounding tissue will swell.  The result is full, swollen, engorged breasts.

Not every postpartum mom experiences true engorgement.  Some women’s breasts become only slightly full, while others find their breasts have become amazingly full and firm.  Some women will barely notice the pain as they go about their daily routine.  And other new moms will be constantly reminded of the discomfort.



Keep in mind, engorgement is a positive sign that you are producing milk to nourish your baby.  Until you produce the right amount:

1. Wear a supportive nursing bra, even at night – making sure it isn’t too tight.

2. Breastfeed often, every 2 – 3 hours if you can.  Try to get the baby to go to both sides at each feeding to soften the breasts.  If your baby seems satisfied with just one breast, you can offer the other at the next feeding.

3. Avoid letting your baby latch on and suck when the areola is very firm.  To reduce the possibility of nipple damage, hand express some milk out first to soften the areola before you get the baby to attach.

4. Avoid pumping milk except when you feel it’s absolutely necessary.  Excessive pumping can lead to the over production of milk and prolonged engorgement. The whole concept of milk production is “stimulation”.

5. To help soothe the pain, apply warm compresses before and in between feedings and cool compresses or ice packs for a short amount of time after you nurse.  Crushed ice in a plastic bag works nicely.

6. Look ahead.  You’ll get past this engorgement in no time and soon be able to enjoy your breastfeeding relationship more and more with your new baby.

Engorgement will pass very quickly as nursing your baby will be the best remedy.  You can expect it to diminish completely in about a week to two weeks. If you aren’t breastfeeding, it will normally get a little worse before it gets better.  Once the engorgement has passed, your breasts will be lighter, softer, you’ll feel like a new woman, and you’ll still have plenty of milk for your baby.

During this time, you can and should continue to nurse.  Unrelieved engorgement can cause a drop in your production of milk, so it’s important to breastfeed right from the start.  Keep an eye for signs of hunger and feed your baby on demand.

Melanie Kissell

Enhanced by Zemanta

Breastfeeding Tips for the First Six Weeks

In Breastfeeding on January 17, 2012 at 11:08 am

breastfeeding blue tank top

Breastfeeding is a gift that lasts a lifetime and a gift that only a mother can give her baby. The first six weeks will be both a glorious adventure and a time for learning.

Breast milk is a complete food source, containing all the nutrients your baby needs – at least 400 of them to be exact, including hormones and disease-fighting compounds. The nutritional makeup of breast milk will adjust to your baby’s needs as he or she grows and develops.

Aside from the brain-building, infection-fighting benefits of breast milk, nursing will also help to build an extraordinary bond between you and your baby.  When nursing, your child thrives on the secure comfort of your contact, cuddling, and holding.

Since breastfeeding sessions can take up to 40 minutes or more, pick a cozy spot and atmosphere where you won’t get easily distracted by noise.  Turn on some soothing music if you live on a busy street, in a lively apartment complex, or there’s construction going on nearby.

Hold your baby in a position that won’t leave your arms, neck, or back sore.  A nursing pillow can sometimes be a big help.  Some moms prefer to sit upright in a glider rocker or comfortable chair while other moms love to nurse lying down.  Like any other new skill, breastfeeding will take practice.  While some moms adjust to breastfeeding easily, other moms feel more challenged.

If you feel discouraged at times, know that you aren’t alone.  Always take it one feeding at a time and give yourself as much time as you need until it becomes second nature.

Pay attention to how your breasts feel when you baby first latches on.  The initial attachment can be somewhat uncomfortable at times, but try to be patient.  The discomfort usually subsides in about 60 to 90 seconds.  If not, then break your baby’s latch and begin again.

The more you breast feed, the more you’ll learn.  Keep in mind that any problems are temporary, and you’ll be nursing like a pro by your six-week postpartum check up!

Melanie Kissell

Enhanced by Zemanta