These are useful guidelines that will help moms cope with breastfeeding problems.
Breast engorgement occurs when milk supply builds up more quickly than your baby’s appetite. When breasts are engorged, they feel warm to the touch, firm, swollen, and painful. The breasts become excessively full with a tightened areola and flattened nipples. This makes latching and nursing difficult.
To prevent engorgement, nurse your baby as often as 8-12 times in 24 hours. If you miss any feedings, try to express your milk by hand or by using breast pumps. When weaning your baby, do it gradually to let your body’s milk production adjust gracefully.
Experts recommend a cold compress applied to the engorgement for a few minutes to relieve pain and reduce swelling. Before feeding the baby, you can take a hot shower or apply hot moist towels to your breasts since this encourages milk release. You may also hand-express your milk after applying moist heat to make latching easier.
Using a properly-fitted, nursing bra can support full breasts and help alleviate the discomfort of engorgement.
Breast engorgement often subsides within a few days as mom and baby adjusts to the supply and demand of breast milk.
Sore nipples should be expected during the first week of breastfeeding. This generally subsides after the first week. If the pain or soreness continues after this time, this is more likely due to nipple injury which may be caused by any of the following:
(a)improper baby positioning during breastfeeding
(d)sometimes caused by an infection
If pain continues throughout a nursing session, persists and does not reduce after the first week, or if you suspect an infection, consult a healthcare provider.
When your baby begins teething, his gums will swell and itch and biting seems to relieve the discomfort. To comfort your baby and reduce biting, provide something cold and wet to chew before breastfeeding.
Sore nipples can be treated by nipple ointments. This has to be prescribed by your healthcare provider. An alternative is to use purified lanolin or hydrogel dressing applied to the sore area after a feeding.
A plugged duct is a sore, tender lump in an area of the breast. This is an inflammation caused when the flow of milk is blocked and milk does not drain well.
To treat this, you are encouraged to frequently and completely empty the breasts of breast milk by feeding the baby from the affected area and expressing milk by hand or breast pump. Massage breasts and take warm showers to promote milk release. Taking sufficient rest is also advised.
If the inflammation does not subside within 72 hours, you should consult your healthcare provider for evaluation.
Mastitis or Breast Infection
Mastitis or Breast Infection causes flu-like symptoms such as aching muscles, fever, and a hot tender area on a breast. This is often a result of the other breastfeeding problems mentioned above such as nipple injury, plugged ducts, engorgement or when moms are stressed and exhausted. Continued breastfeeding even with this condition is safe for the baby but you are advised to consult a doctor for treatment.
Treatment includes taking antibiotics for the infection, continued feeding from the affected area, moist and warm compresses, and most importantly, moms with this condition are advised to take sufficient rest.
Freelance Contributor: Hazel Zanoria