Breast-feeding can be an extremely fulfilling experience for both the mother and the child. Often this gets difficult and complicated when the new mother starts to suffer from severe breast engorgement. The over abundant milk in the first two weeks of a newborn’s life results in the breasts becoming severely engorged or full. This is accompanied by pain and sore nipples.
If the feedings become inconsistent and the milk is not sufficiently drained, the milk ducts become blocked. A blocked milk duct can get infected and lead to a condition called as mastitis. Mastitis is often accompanied by fever, pain and pus formation in the breast. At times, this requires surgical intervention where the pus has to be drained out. Here are some steps to ensure that mastitis does not set in.
Tips To Prevent Mastitis While Breast Feeding
Feed The Baby Frequently
The reason why some women suffer from breast engorgement and mastitis is that they do not feed their babies often enough. As a result, the breasts are engorged. In severe cases, mastitis occurs. Try to feed the child every two hours to ensure that your breasts are being adequately drained.
Engorgement can be easily tackled by pumping out the excess milk. This will prevent mastitis from setting in. Pump the breasts just enough so that they are not uncomfortably full. Over-pumping will only exacerbate the problem of demand and supply.
A warm compress, hot water bottle or a heating pad applied to the breast reduces the soreness and the pain in an engorged breast. It also encourages let down by stimulating the milk ducts. This will prevent the milk ducts from getting blocked.
Sleep On Your Back
Sleep on your back so that your breasts have room to breathe. This will also prevent mastitis by allowing the free circulation of milk in the breasts.
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Massage your breasts adequately before you feed the baby. This helps to soften the milk ducts. Massage also ensures that all your milk ducts are being stimulated to produce milk.
Use A Feeding Pillow
Special nursing pillows ensure that your baby is correctly latched on to your breast. The pillow will elevate your baby so that the baby’s head is comfortably positioned by the side of the breast. This allows the baby to suckle effectively.
Consult A Doctor
If you are experiencing pain, soreness and redness around the nipple, consult your doctor, as this is often the first sign of mastitis. Painful lumps are often formed under the armpits or in the breast. This needs to be urgently examined and treated. Often the doctor may put you on a course of antibiotics if infection is suspected.
Surgical intervention is used as a last recourse and can be prevented with timely medical attention. Mastitis can be prevented with the above steps and as long as the woman is watchful of its signs and is careful about breast-feeding, it can be easily prevented from occurring.