The beginning of the engorgement is gradual, after the delivery. Its climax will be between three to five days post-partum.
The signs are:
The breast is as hard as stone and the nipples are stretched. Mostly the pain is on both sides, and may be accompanied with local and/or general fever, but the general condition is good.
Before breastfeeding / pumping – warm compresses on the upper back (the shoulder blades) and massage.
Between breastfeeding / pumping – cold compresses, using a water-soaked single use diaper frozen in your home freezer or a sandwich bag filled with frozen peas or frozen silicone jelly. If you are using cabbage make sure you don’t use it for more than 15 minutes to prevent your milk from drying.
Breastfeed often or pump every two hours (regulate the pump to a minimum power)
Small Amounts of Breastmilk:
If you are unable to pump enough milk for your baby, pump more often, or change a pump if its engine is weak. Consult a breastfeeding consultant.
Clogged Milk Duct
The symptoms are:
- Slight local pain (in one breast) that starts gradually, upon breastfeeding start
- Without local fever, redness or swelling
- Might be accompanied with general fever
- General good feeling
Warm compresses on the clogged area. If there is no improvement, consult a breastfeeding consultant on how to release the clog.
The main problem in breastmilk pumping is usually nipple pain.
You can decrease the problem by avoiding nipple arousal the following ways:
- Avoid washing with soap, which reduces the natural oils of the nipple.
- Avoid rubbing the nipples with a towel after the shower
- Avoid pads who stick to the moist breast
- Place the nipple in the center of the pump cup
- When pumping, reach a power which is slightly painful and decrease it until you don’t feel any pain.
Soothing the pain
In cases of nipple cracks, it is recommended to use a cream with pure lanolin – pur lan by Medela or Lancino, apply some after pumping and clean with a damp cotton before pumping. Other creams are not recommended.
- Sudden start of pain after the tenth day of breastfeeding
- Usually the pain is in both breasts
- Local fever, redness and swelling
- The pain is very strong and focused
- High fever and a general bad feeling, like a flu
After 24 hours of fever, go to your family doctor or your OB/GYN to start an antibiotic treatment.
Avoid pressuring the breast. A stitch from a too tight bra pressing against the breast may cause mastitis. At night – it is recommended to sleep without a bra.