What exactly is engorgement?
Engorgement describes the buildup of milk in the breasts. If the milk does not flow via the nipple, pressure can build up causing soreness and discomfort.
If you suffer from engorgement, your breasts will feel sore, warm and/or taut. This is because of the hormonal changes and increased blood flow that is needed to start milk production - when your milk comes in. Some mothers are more affected by engorgement than others. Many women are affected by engorgement on the third and fourth days but find that it clears up after a week and a half. Symptoms of engorgement are feelings of tightness across the skin of your breasts, which may sometimes be a reddish colour. Hard spots may also indicate blocked milk ducts which can cause the condition.
How to prevent engorgement
Luckily, there are several things you can do to prevent engorgement:
• Breastfeed as often as you can in the first 48 hours after delivery, as many as 8 and 12 times per 24 hours. This is important to give your child the myriad benefits of colostrum and to encourage your milk to come in.
• Are you worried that your baby is not getting enough milk or that you aren't producing any milk? Try using a breast pump.
• Massage your breasts while feeding. This encourages your milk to flow.
• Make sure your child is well-supported and nicely lying across your body so that he or she can drink well. A nursing pillow can help.
How to reduce engorgement
What should you do about engorgement and how can it be prevented? (keyword 2)Breastfeeding your baby is one of the best ways of improving the flow of milk and preventing the pain of heavy milk bound breasts. Your child will drink your breast until it is drained of milk, thus relieving all symptoms of engorgement.
You might also find it helpful to massage your breasts under a hot shower. Try to gently massage the hard spots. If you prefer something ice cold, try using frozen cabbage leaves to relieve the pain - it sounds like an old wives' tale but it really does work! You can also try hot and cold compresses.
How to stop breastfeeding without discomfort
When phasing out breastfeeding, it is important that milk production is not stimulated, so make sure that your breasts are not completely drained, but make sure that there is a little bit of milk left in the breast. If you don't do this, milk production will be stimulated and new milk is produced again. You can also cool your breasts with compresses or massage your breasts in the shower. If you find phasing breastfeeding difficult, seek advice from a doctor about lactation suppression drugs.
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