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Breastfeeding & Breast engorgement


There was no question that I wanted to breastfeed my baby. I talked with a few midwives about it, and I thought that I had informed myself good enough.

I am not going to talk about sleepless days and nights. Nor how many times per day a baby eats ( btw, it's around 8 to 10 times the first few months). But one thing I think I should talk about is breast engorgement. After my experience, I believe that every woman who is planning to breastfeed her baby should be aware of that.

My case was unfortunately a severe one. Would I have preferred to be informed about what breast engorgement is? Absolutely YES. However, I had no idea about it, and I still cannot understand why nobody talks about it.

Breast engorgement is breast swelling that results in painful, tender breasts. The reason is increased blood flow and milk supply in your breasts. My breast engorgement story - and I call it a story because it lasted for more than a month - started two days after delivering my baby. In my case, the problem was not the increased milk supply but the form of it. Imagine small rocks like an ice cube that you have to massage before breastfeeding time. A nice massage sounds great, right? Well, not on swollen, painful, and tender breasts. But hey, you are a mom now. You have superpowers and you got this!

Is there a treatment for it? Yes, there is and it's called patience plus a few warm showers, lots of massages, and warm & cold compresses.

Now let's talk about the actual process that will result in pain relief and will encourage milk to let down.

I was following the specific process for at least a month - recommended by my midwife - every time before breastfeeding my son. In case you are facing the same problem, I would suggest that you also consult a professional.


So this is what could help you too...

  1. Take a hot shower. Alternatively and when you have the time for it, you can also take a bath in kosher salt. You could also skip the shower part and just use hot compresses placed under your bra. However, my breast engorgement was so bad and for the first 2 weeks, only hot showers would help me.

  2. While you are in the shower, start massaging very slowly the painful areas of your breast. The warmth can help with your let-down reflex and get your milk flowing.

  3. By using your hands to remove a bit of breast milk while you are in the shower, it will help to soften your breasts, it will relieve the pain, and will reduce the speed of milk's flow, making it easier for your baby to latch on at breastfeeding time.

  4. After breastfeeding, use cold compresses or cold cabbage leaves on your breasts, and place them under your bra. I was using thermal gel breast pads directly from the freezer, and this provided me with significant relief from pain and swelling. They come with a cloth case so place them in there after you take them out of the freezer, before placing them under your bra.

In cases like mine, using a pump was not recommended for the first 40 days of breastfeeding. It was only making my breast engorgement worse at the time. Also, I highly recommend talking to a breastfeeding specialist/lactation consultant before going to labor. Being well informed about breastfeeding will make the experience easier and more enjoyable.

Apart from all the above, breastfeeding was a great experience, the advantages are many for your baby, the bonding process is unique, and if I would have had a second baby, I would do it again.

With the right information and preparation, we are ready for every challenge!


Enjoy breastfeeding and take care!


Thank you for taking the time to read my post, and see you soon!


All the best,


Clio


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I’m so happy you're here. This is where I share stories & tips to help make motherhood & parenting easier and more fun. Life’s not always perfect, but it’s important to stop and enjoy those little moments with those you love. Join me on my journey.

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