Engorgement Your breasts may become engorged (heavier and swollen) 3 to 4 days after childbirth. Engorgement is caused by increased blood flow to the breasts, swelling of the surrounding tissue, and the increase of milk. The breasts will be swollen and uncomfortable for some people, and some may feel a throbbing sensation and discomfort as the milk begins to flow. Some people will feel only a little bit full. As with labor, everyone is different in their experiences. Breast swelling usually goes down within 1 to 2 days. Preventing and treating engorgement: • Breastfeed often and make sure your baby has a good latch. • Avoid the early use of pacifiers, bottles and formula supplementation. • Hand express or pump out milk to soften the areola and nipple. It is Reverse Pressure Softening Reverse pressure softening is a technique that may be useful for engorgement. It is a way to soften the area around the nipple. Doing reverse pressure softening helps the milk to come and make the nipple easier for the baby to latch on. To do reverse pressure softening: • Place your fingers on each side of the nipple. • Push back towards your chest. Hold for about a minute. • Move your fingers around the nipple and press back and hold. • Continue if there are still firm areas. • May be uncomfortable but shouldn’t hurt. sometimes hard for the baby to latch on if the breast is too hard. • Use gentle massage during the feeding to help the milk flow. • Apply cold compresses to the breasts after a feeding. Use a bag of frozen peas or corn for 15 to 20 minutes. This triggers blood vessels to constrict, helps with swelling and draining, and soothes any discomfort. Do not apply frozen bags directly on the skin. • Make sure your bra does not become too tight as this can decrease your milk supply and block milk ducts. • Use warm compresses 3 to 4 minutes before feeding to relax and encourage let-down.
Talk to your clinician or lactation consultant if engorgement is not improved after 24 hours of trying these suggestions.
Reverse Pressure Softening
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