Most of us have heard about the major benefits that come with breastfeeding: it’s the most nutritionally complete food for your baby, it provides immunity against infections and diseases, and some studies have even correlated breastfeeding with an elevated IQ.
But one not-so-fun side effect that troubles many breastfeeding mums is breast engorgement. While many mums may experience this only in the first few days after their milk has come in, engorgement can happen for a number of other reasons including:
When a regular feeding routine is interrupted
If you or your baby stops breastfeeding
When your baby begins to eat solids
When your baby is sick
Wearing inappropriate attire
What is Breast Engorgement?
A mum’s breasts are engorged when they are overfull with breast milk. This results in hard, painful breasts that can make feeding your bub difficult (babies prefer softer breasts and nipples), and can make manually expressing your milk an incredibly trying task.
How To Treat Engorgement
Fortunately breast engorgement doesn’t need to be a permanent state of being for new mums. There are a number of steps you can take to help alleviate and treat engorgement:
Gently massage your breast prior to feeding your baby and in-between sucks. This will help drain the milk from your breast.
Use a pump to express milk from your engorged breasts. Many mums also find that pumping for a few minutes prior to feeding their baby helps soften the nipple and allows baby to get a more secure latch.
Make use of heat and cold. Taking a 5 minute hot shower prior to breastfeeding to alleviate pain and increase milk flow, and using a cold compress (or chilled cabbage leaves) for 10 minutes after each feeding can help reduce engorgement.
Preventing Engorgement in the Future
You can do a lot before and after the birth of your baby to reduce your chances of suffering from this common problem.
Work on getting the right latch, and ask for help from a doctor, nurse, or midwife, or contact the Australia Breastfeeding Association (ABA) for more resources.
Breastfeed frequently and regularly to ensure milk is fully drained from the breast.
Avoid tight and restrictive undergarments and clothing
Underwire bras and taut t-shirts can compress your breasts and make it difficult for milk to flow. Dress for your breasts and take advantage of quality nursing bras and breastfeeding clothing that will still flatter your figure but allow you to feed freely and comfortably.
At Peachymama, we offer a variety of fashion forward pieces that will compliment any postpartum body, from hip hugging skinny pants to pretty printed dresses and beyond. We invite you to browse our selection today.