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Thread: Engorged despite feeding

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007

    Default Engorged despite feeding


    My DD is 6 days old, and I've been BF her exclusively since birth. We regularly wake her up to nurse her, but she's so sleepy at every feeding. We try to wake her up, and that sometimes works for a few suckles more, but other times, she goes back to sleep and there's no way to wake her up. We have tried taking off her clothes, changing diapers, massaging her back/feet/arms/legs, tapping her cheeks, burping (in between, for 5-10 minutes but mostly unsuccessful). At the end of feeding, she half finishes one breast, while the other one is painfully engorged. A feeding session lasts more than an hour because we spend more than 2/3 of the time waking her up.

    What do I do? I'm worried that my milk production will decrease and that the baby won't get the hind milk. Should I start pumping to help relieve the engorgement? I'm worried that if I do that, I'll overstimulate my milk production. Thanks for any advice!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Re: Engorged despite feeding

    We would wipe baby down with a warm rag to try and wake him up. Too tired to offer any advice!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Default Re: Engorged despite feeding

    My ds did the same thing and what the lc suggested was to do "switch" nursing. The first thing you may want to do is to pump for just a minute or two before feeding your baby- this will help relieve a little of the engorgement, but also get your milk flowing really good to help wake her up. Some babies will actually just go back to sleep if they don't get milk pretty quickly- they'd just rather sleep than work harder to get the milk. So what you do for switch nursing is to put the baby to the breast awake and hungry- watch for any signs that she's drifting off and slowing down. If she stops suckling strongly then stroke her cheeck or throat and that helps stimulate suckling. Then after only about five minutes on the breast take her off and put her to the other breast. Then change again after five minutes back to the first breast.

    The other thought is to call your local LLL leader and see if they can make a house visit with you to make sure the latch is good. My ds wasn't latching really good- which also slowed down the flow and contributed to him just dozing at the breast.

    And- I don't think it will hurt you to pump some to relieve the engorgement. If you get too engorged it can actually slow down milk production- so I think you'd be okay to pump just until comfortable if needed. I did will all 4 of my kids and never had any over supply problems.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Default Re: Engorged despite feeding

    Hi there and welcome to the forum. Congratulations on your new LO! Engorgement is a common problem in the beginning. Sometimes it just takes a bit for your body to regulate the amount of milk produced. Also, there are extra fluids in the breasts (other than milk) that cause swelling).

    First, you need to establish whether or not your baby is getting enough milk. How many wet and dirty diapers are you seeing in a 24 hour period. By one week of age, you should be seeing at least 6 wet diapers and 3 stools at least the size of a US quarter. The stools should be yellow/brown (rather than the dark meconium). Also, stools should be soft and fairly runny. Has your baby had a weight check since leaving the hospital? Babies generally lose some weight in the first few days after birth, but then should start to gain it back. It is generally considered good to be back to birth weight by about 10 days to two weeks.

    If signs indicate that baby is getting plenty of milk, then the engorgement is likely just due to postpartum hormonal fluctuations and/or temporary oversupply of milk. In this case, you probably don't need to worry so much about trying to keep baby awake to feed longer. If the baby is really sleepy, do wake to feed, but once you've seen active sucking/swallowing for awhile and baby seems satisfied, let her sleep and then try again later. To help relieve engorgement, you can use warm compresses before nursing to help the milk flow. You can pump a bit to relieve some of the fullness (don't drain the whole breast, but pumping a little is fine). Also, cabbage leaves can help relieve engorgement (apply directly to breasts).

    If it appears that baby is really not staying awake to feed long enough to get enough milk, then you may want to contact your local LLL leader or a board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) who can talk with you and watch a feeding to check baby's latch/suck. If the baby isn't latching correctly, she may have difficulty effectively milking the breast, therefore getting worn out.

    Let us know how things are going. And Happy Mother's Day!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re: Engorged despite feeding

    reverse pressure softening might help.
    But I agree with the pp. Count diapars and make shure baby is getting the milk they need.
    Did you have an iv with labor? Sometimes breasts get filled up with more then just breastmilk, its lots of extra fluids from the birth.
    check out this link

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