Breast engorgement is very common for new mothers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a solution for it. This can happen when your body produces more milk than what you are expressing. You want to immediately start efforts to reduce breast engorgement or the pain can become unbearable. You won’t be able to take pain relief medicine either as it can be transferred to the baby during feedings.
Many women are embarrassed by the engorgement of breast, but they shouldn’t be. Others feel that they have failed at breastfeeding. They may worry that their baby should be consuming more of the milk that their body is producing. However, if your child is eating regularly and seems content then that likely isn’t the problem.
There are quite a few causes of breast engorgement. Many new mothers will discover it happens in the first few weeks after giving birth. This is due to the hormones in the body being out of balance. As your body starts to return to normal the milk flow will be more regulated.
Many new moms worry about not making enough milk for their baby but very few worry about making too much. Breast engorgement will change that in a heartbeat. Engorgement of breasts in new moms can be incredibly painful and cause them to be tender, hard and swollen. It actually happens when too much milk accumulates in the breast and is incredibly common. In fact, it prevents some mothers from breastfeeding as long as they planned to. There are ways and means of preventing and reducing breast engorgement though and some of them can be found below.
As briefly outlined above, breast engorgement is effectively when breasts become too full of milk. The milk will settle in the glands, put pressure on the tissue around it and make the breasts incredibly heavy. All of this adds to the strain placed on them and causes incredible discomfort at best. So when could you expect breast engorgement to happen? Well, it is more common in the first few days after having your baby when the milk production begins, when an established feeding routine is changed, when breastfeeding suddenly stops and when the amount of milk needed reduces dramatically, usually as a result of weaning.
So now you know exactly what breast engorgement actually is, what can you do to prevent or get rid of it? Well, breast pumps provide one of the best solutions. They can really help you to avoid breast engorgement, especially when you are still feeding your baby. If your baby is only feeding a little or not as often as your body is prepared for then it is possible for you to use breast pumps to drain the rest of the milk. This prepares them for future production and can prevent symptoms like fever, soreness and swollen lymph nodes. Engorgement can actually lead to mastitis, which is much worse in relation to the pain so you should deal with it sooner rather than later.
In addition to using the pumps, you can also deal with engorgement by taking Ibuprofen if you are not breastfeeding, wearing a supportive bra that is specially designed for nursing mothers and using cold compresses to reduce the swelling. Prior to feeding your baby, use massage to express the first milk to make sure that the flow is still there. Use your hands to do this very gently. If they seem to be blocked then try applying a little heat. If that does not work then go to your doctor for a breast engorgement diagnosis and treatment plan.
There are numerous home remedies to use with breast pumps when this problem occurs. Fenugreek herb supplements, oatmeal, coconuts and some prescription medications can help to reduce breast engorgement. Increasing the frequency of pumping and combining it with an increased fluid intake can also help. Before you take anything though, be sure to check with your doctor because the last thing you want is for your breast engorgement to impact upon your baby. Always be safe and never sorry.
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