PREVENTING BREAST ENGORGEMENT
Dealing with postnatal depression

Breast engorgement is a condition, which is experienced by mothers on the second to sixth day following birth if they are not nursing the baby properly. When your breasts are engorged, they feel hard to the touch and may feel hot. The localized swelling of an engorged breast may block the flow of milk and make it more difficult to fully empty the breast. Engorgement is characterized by swelling, tenderness, skin that is taut, shiny, or transparent, continuous throbbing and low-grade fever.

Engorgement occurs most severely when mom and baby are not nursing regularly during the first few days. The breasts become congested, and when the mature milk comes in at 3-5 days after birth, engorgement is often the unpleasant result. The key to preventing engorgement is to nurse frequently and unrestrictedly after birth; i.e., every 2-3 hours with one longer sleep span in a 24-hour period even if waking the baby is necessary to do so.

PEVENTION

It is best to try to prevent engorgement rather than have to treat the engorgement. A nursing mother can prevent engorgement by doing the following. If these measures are promptly initiated engorgement even in its worst manifestation should subside within 12-48 hours. These measures include:

  • Nurse at least every 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

  • Make sure that your baby is positioned and latched on correctly.

  • Allow the baby to nurse both breasts for an unrestricted amount of time.

  • Before breastfeeding, take a warm shower or apply warm moist compresses to your breasts.

  • Along with the heat or immediately after, massage your breast with your fingertips in a circular motion from the chest wall down to the nipple.

  • Massage your breast with your fingertips in a circular motion down toward the nipple as the baby nurses.

  • Apply cold compresses (a bag of frozen peas works well) or chilled cabbage leaves to your breasts between feedings to reduce swelling. Stop applying the cabbage leaves once you notice the swelling beginning to


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