The World Health Organization recommends that all infants have an exclusive breastfeeding diet for their first six months of life. After that period, breastfeeding should complement a child's healthy and balanced nutrition for up to two years.
Despite the many health benefits breastfeeding provides, so many months of nursing can take a toll on any new mom's body. Discomfort levels may vary, but it's not uncommon for women to present engorged breasts at some point of their breastfeeding journey.
Engorged Breasts: All You Need to Know
Sometimes, breastfeeding moms can present hard, swollen, and sore breasts during the first few days after giving birth. Experiencing mild to moderate pain is expected when the milk first comes in. Other common causes of engorged breasts are:
- A sudden change in breastfeeding habits
- The inability to pump for extended periods
- Milk overproduction or less milk consumption than usual
Breast engorgement is natural, and, in most cases, it can be treated at home. However, moms should seek professional advice if this condition is preventing the baby from latching correctly.
How Do Engorged Breasts Feel Like?
Besides presenting fullness and soreness, engorged breasts can:
- Feel a bit lumpy to the touch
- Present shiny skin and flattened nipples
- Cause the lymph nodes in the armpits to swell
Some new mums can even experience low-grade fevers — not higher than 38°C. If the temperature goes any higher than that, seeking medical advice is a must!
When Engorged Breasts Mean Something Else
Severe engorgement may lead to other breastfeeding problems. A new mum's inability to nurse can cause blocked milk ducts and infection. This condition is commonly known as mastitis and requires an antibiotic prescription. Mastitis has flu-like symptoms such as:
- Hot flashes
- Joint aches
Engorged Breasts Prevention
It's hard to avoid breast engorgement entirely, as it's a natural response from the body to the breastfeeding process. Still, there are some actions new moms can take to keep breast soreness and swelling at bay, like:
- Pumping breasts if the baby's sleeping or not hungry
- Alternating breasts in the same feeding
- Steering clear of tight-fitting clothes
No More Sore Breasts: Hot & Cold Reusable Gel Packs to the Rescue!
Mums who are still breastfeeding must never self-medicate, as some over-the-counter drugs can harm their babies. So, how can they make breast pain go away? Using hot & cold gel packs on the sore area will undoubtedly help.
Any mum in distress can relieve discomfort caused by breast engorgement or mastitis with these maternity staples. The heat is an excellent ally before each feeding session, as it will help with the milk flow. On the other hand, the cold will reduce discomfort after feeding or pumping.
No wonder why hot & cold gel packs are every new mom's favourite item nowadays. In addition to using this pain relief essential, other practical techniques to reduce discomfort include:
- Massaging any lumps towards the nipple
- Pumping when breasts feel too full
- Drinking plenty of fluids
Get Relief Now!
Breastfeeding should be a beautiful experience for every new mom and her little one. Forget about the pain! If you want some relief for breast engorgement soreness, visit BellyBands and grab your hot & cold reusable gel packs today!