I had my baby six days ago, this is my fourth, I've breastfed my other children successfully as well.
My baby latched on wonderfully right after birth and nursed well through the colostrum stage. My milk came in during the night before the third day post partum. My baby nursed every hour around the clock with a few small longer sleep periods so we avoided engorgement, or so I thought.
My left breast is bigger anyway, but seems to be producing more milk than the left. Or I'm just misreading swelling or something? I've been very careful to evenly feed, letting my baby nurse to satisfaction (de-latching himself) and then switching sides next time, or switching sides if he's still hungry after a burp.
It's been tempting to nurse more on the left side as it never seems completely drained. If I'm nursing on the right, let down feels really intense on the left. If I'm nursing on the left (the bigger side), let down isn't as intense for the right. However, I haven't wanted to send the message to my body that the left side needs to make more milk, I want it to calm down and even out so I've continued to switch sides and nurse equally.
For the last 12 hours or so, my fuller, left breast has gotten rather painful. I've never had mastitis before, but I read up on the symptoms. I do not have a fever (I don't think), I don't feel run down except for the usual new baby tiredness, there is no red mark or wedge shaped redness on my breast. But it feels kind of engorged... and really firm. Most of the tenderness (I'm reluctant to even call it "pain"... but it's definitely uncomfortable and tender) seems to be located on the side under my arm, though it feels rather stiff and full in the entire breast. My areola is rather stiff feeling, but not so bad that my baby can't get a good latch on this side.
I've been trying to gently massage as directed on this website, and tried pumping once but the pump was REALLY uncomfortable. I'm still in that stage where latching on hurts for a bit while my nipples get used to things (my latch is correct, it's always like this for me, the first week or so latching on hurts and then my nipples get used to it, and everything feels great and we breastfeed for months and months...)
I haven't tried a heating pad yet, though the shower didn't seem to help much at all. I've never been able to hand express successfully.
I've only been wearing a soft sleep bra from Motherwear, no underwires, and I think it fits fine.
I did not leak much at all, so I wasn't wearing soppy pads or anything.
My questions are, I suppose:
1. Does this sound like I'm en route to a breast infection?
2. Is the solution for avoiding a clogged duct or an infection (if I don't already have one) nursing MORE frequently on that side? And if so, how do I avoid that side making more milk? I foresee too much milk on one side getting backed up again and cycling through the same problem.
3. Should I just keep doing what I'm doing? Nursing each side equally and trying the hot/warm compresses and continue with massage to avoid increasing milk production on the problem side?
Thanks very much.