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Thread: engorgement question.

  1. #1

    Default engorgement question.

    I am currently 38 weeks with my second baby. I was unsuccessful breastfeeding my first and I am so determined to make it work this time around. With my daughter I was in the hospital for 2 days and when I came home I was so painfully engorged and it played a huge factor in why I was unsuccessful, my breasts were so full I could not get my daughter to latch and even after pumping it was like I could not empty them. I'm a well endowed woman as it is and I think that already made this a little trickier and then adding the awful engorgement it just was impossible. I've done a lot more reading and research this time around and I now know pumping isn't the best for your supply because you want to make what baby needs. I'm worried this time around I will be just as engorged, what do I do? I also read that it's best to "empty" your breasts with feedings. I'm so overwhelmed but determined. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2014

    Default Re: engorgement question.

    Hi and congrats!
    The best way to avoid engorgement, IMO, is to keep baby on the boob as much as possible those first few days. The day my milk came in my baby nursed 20 times in 24 hours. Your baby will get to teach your boobs how much milk to make and keep them emptied so you don't get engorged. Plan to stay in bed with baby skin to skin to encourage frequent nursing.

    If you do get engorged try hand expressing in a warm shower to soften the breasts before nursing, then use cool compresses after nursing to reduce inflammation and discomfort. You are right that pumping is not the ideal solution.

  3. #3

    Default Re: engorgement question.

    Thank you, I definitely tried to keep my daughter at the boob frequently but it was so difficult to get her to latch because of how hard my breasts were. I'm really hoping I can get my son at the boob before the intense engorgement sets in because I do not want to have the same issues this time around.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: engorgement question.

    Hopefully this time around the engorgement won't be so bad- every breastfeeding experience and every baby is different, right? If you do run into trouble, this link on a technique called reverse pressure softening may help: http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/moth...oft_cotterman/

    There is no need to empty the breast in between feedings. That's some of the most unhelpful widely disseminated advice out there! First of all, you can't actually empty the breast because milk is always being produced. The more you take out, the more your body makes and the faster it makes it. Second, for most moms, all that is necessary to maintain production is to nurse the baby on demand (or at least 10-12 times a day if the mom has a sleepy or non-demanding newborn).

    Did you have IV fluids the first time round? They can contribute to engorgement and latch issues.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: engorgement question.

    It really comes down to basics. Very Frequent nursing and a good latch so baby is able to get the milk out. It sounds easy, but of course it is not when a mom has problematic overproduction.
    If baby is not able to keep the breasts soft with frequent nursing, you may need to remove milk another way until things calm down. I suggest looking into hand expression techniques. We have info on this site. Also, don't be afraid to pump if its needed. yes, pumping makes overproduction worse. But the immediate issue of rockhard breasts must be addressed, and sometimes that means pumping a little.

    Also cold compresses and anti-inflametories can help to reduce swelling, and yes, as mommal says, avoiding iv fluids at birth help. iv fluids cause edema, which greatly worsens or causes engorgement and difficulty latching in the early days. just the amount of fluids a mom gets pumped into her system due to being given an epidural would amaze you. If iv fluids cannot be avoided, it may help to realize that they cause TEMPORARY edema. After about a week, your system should deal with this.

    agree that rps is an important tool. I also suggest, get in touch with some local breastfeeding support-LLL, a lactation consultant, something, now, so you have someone to call if you run into difficulties.

    Women nurse their babies with all sized breasts. With the right help, overproducing should not be a barrier to you being able to nurse your baby.

    Totally agree about the 'empty your breasts" is nonsense and really harms breastfeeding in many cases. I strongly suggest the book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding 8th edition as your best source of up to date info on all aspects of nursing. This site and www.kellymom.com are other reliable sources.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2012

    Default Re: engorgement question.

    Definitely ice/cold compresses for your discomfort! This also helped me later on when baby was fussy about the fast flow.
    I also really like the idea to meet a LLL leader or lc ahead of time. I was extremely reluctant to call for help after my son was born. I read TWAOB over and over until we figured it out but mostly it was sheer luck. I very easily could have given up. This time I've chosen a baby friendly hospital and have met with a doula/lc (only $100 for unlimited breastfeeding consultations!) so I feel comfortable calling her for help.
    Good luck mama. You can do it!

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