A few days after your baby's birth, your milk increases or "comes in". some breast fullness is normal then. But engorgement, which can happen in the first week after birth, goes beyond normal fullness. When you are engorged your breast become full, firm, hard, hot and may even be painful. Some think engorgement is caused by too much milk. But it is really caused by fluid build-up in the breast. If the milk is not drained often and well, the extra blood, lymph, and other fluids build-up in the breast, too. To prevent engorgement:
*From birth, breastfeed at least 8-12 times a day. If the baby is not feeding well use a hospital grade pump to drain the breast often.
*Apply warmth to breasts right before feeding to aid milk flow.
*Breastfeed at least every 90 minutes to two hours during the day and at least every 2-3 hours at night until engorgement is gone.
*Use breast massage or compression during feedings to more fully drain your breasts.
*Let warm water run over your breasts in the shower. Leaking relieves pressure.
*If your breasts still feel full after feedings, use a breast pump to drain your breasts fully.
*Express milk to comfort between feedings.
*Apply cold-gel ice packs or bags of frozen peas, wrapped in cloth-after feedings for 10-15 minutes to reduce swelling.
*Cabbage leaf compresses may be helpful.
If these interventions do not bring you relief, or if you develop a fever >100.4 call the office.
Make sure your baby breastfeeds at least 8 times a day. Wake the baby if needed. More breastfeeding makes more milk. Anything that routinely delays or replaces a breastfeeding may lower milk supply later.
Your breastfeeding comfort depends on where your nipple lands in baby's mouth. The front part of the mouth has the hard palate and back farther in the mouth the roof is soft, this is the "comfort zone". Press the baby firmly to you, let her head tilt back a little, wait for a wide open mouth. As she moves onto the breast chin first, gently press your baby's shoulders from behind for a deeper latch.
Learning to breastfeed lying down is vital. It lets you rest and sleep while you feed. Use this photo as a starting point. Practice during your waking hours. No one learns best when half asleep!
Holding Your Baby and Latching On
Just like any other new skill,
breastfeeding takes practice.
But it won't be long before it
feels like second nature to you.
In the meantime, here are some tips:
No matter what hold you use check for the following:
*Your baby's head, shoulders, and hips are in line and not twisted or turned.
*She is directly facing the breast, no head turning needed.
*Her body is pressed against yours, with feet, bottom and shoulders pulled in close (no gaps.
*Her head is free to tilt back a bit, and she comes to the breast chin first.