In the case of milk engorgement, the breasts are very hard, they hurt, and are highly sensitive to touch. In most cases, this is due to a blockage of one or more milk ducts. As a result, the baby cannot suck the breast milk out of the breast completely.
Breastfeeding becomes quite a difficult task because of this. Not only because of the pain in the breast, but also because the milk let-down is slight and the baby might have difficulty sucking.
Due to the pain in the breast, the process of breastfeeding could become a burden for the mother. Yet breastfeeding is much more than providing food for the baby. Breastfeeding promotes the bond between the mom and her baby. The baby feels a sense of security and can feel completely at ease in the mother’s arms.
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Promoting Milk Let-down And Relieving Breast Pain
The breast milk that remains in the milk duct accumulates and causes sometimes severe pain. Sometimes incorrect latching on of the baby is the cause of milk engorgement. But stress, states of exhaustion as well as mental stress also often trigger milk retention and the associated pain in the breast.
To relieve the pain of mastitis, it sometimes helps to “clench your teeth” and simply continue breastfeeding. This can also relieve the milk engorgement and relieve the pain in the breast.
Milk Engorgement Is Usually Very Painful
Experience has shown that the pain in the breast can certainly be relieved quickly. It is often sufficient to place a warm washcloth on the painful areas of the affected breast and enjoy the pleasant warmth.
This promotes blood circulation and can accelerate the healing of breast inflammation. In addition, you can also do a lot with an infrared lamp if you suffer from milk congestion. The soothing light and pleasant warmth give relief and in turn, can help relieve the pain in the breast.
The Symptoms Of Milk Congestion
Sometimes milk congestion is confused with mastitis. This is an inflammation of the breast that causes the affected breast to be red, hot and very sensitive to pain.
At the same time, flu-like symptoms occur, so that the affected woman alternately feels hot and cold. But that’s not all: in addition, the woman feels joint pain and there may be an increase in body temperature.
The problem associated with mastitis is that the taste of the breast milk can change and the milk becomes salty. This taste impairment is not harmful to the baby’s health.
Therefore, continue to offer your little darling the breast. By continuing to drink, the milk stagnation can dissolve and, ideally, the milk supply can return to normal.
Encourage Milk Let-down
The most common cause of painful breast inflammation is bacterial inflammation of the breast tissue. In this case, the germs and bacteria have entered the breast tissue via the nipples.
Incorrect latching on or too long intervals between breastfeeding can also result in mastitis. Just as with a classic milk congestion, stress, psychological strain and states of exhaustion also come into consideration.
What Many Mothers Do Not Know
Milk stasis can already occur during pregnancy. However, because milk production increases after birth in order to provide the newborn with the best possible supply, the risk of a milk congestion is even higher now. In general, milk retention can occur during the entire breastfeeding phase.
The Causes Of Milk Retention At A Glance
While mastitis is usually caused by a bacterial infection, milk retention is usually caused by insufficient emptying of the breast. If you do not put your baby to the breast often enough, the milk ducts may become blocked, resulting in a milk stasis.
Babies usually like to sleep a lot. This may mean that the breaks between feedings are too long. Of course, your child will still want to take in the amount of milk needed. However, the “healthy” regularity is no longer given due to the long sleep, so that a milk build-up occurs.
It is important that you position your baby correctly. If the breastfeeding position is not correct, the breast milk will not flow evenly out of the milk duct and could consequently promote milk engorgement.
Do you feel tired and exhausted? Or are you under mental or psychological pressure? All this can have a negative effect on your body. Stress is also a frequent trigger for milk congestion.
Lack of hygiene or incorrect breast care during breastfeeding is often the cause of milk retention. Bacteria can enter the breast through the nipple and cause inflammation. So make sure you take sufficient care of your breasts when breastfeeding.
If you are not quite sure whether the pain in the breast is due to a milk congestion, it is best to contact your midwife or the gynecologist you trust.
First Aid For A Milk Congestion: This Is How It Works
You can try to relieve the milk congestion by rubbing out the breast. If you are not yet confident enough to do this, you can simply apply a few gentle massage strokes. Massage slowly and with gentle pressure from the upper part of the body to the nipples.
The first strokes may initially be associated with pain in the breast. Nevertheless, it is important that you press the breast milk that has accumulated in the breast out of the milk ducts.
In addition to a regular breast massage, you should put your baby to the breast as often as possible. This stimulates the milk ducts and minimizes the risk of milk engorgement.
Sometimes it is not possible to put your baby to the breast more often because, for example, he or she needs a lot of sleep. Allow your little darling to rest and, if necessary, use a breast pump to let the accumulated milk flow out.
During suckling, you should again massage the painful and hardened areas in the breast gently, but with a certain amount of pressure. Certainly, the procedure is sometimes painful. However, this pain in the breast will regulate itself shortly after sucking.
In order to avoid too much pain in the breast in general, you can promote the milk inflow with a warm, moist compress beforehand. Once the milk flow has been stimulated in this way, the milk will flow out of the milk ducts more easily and the pain in the breast will soon subside.
Finding The Ideal Breastfeeding Position
You may never have breastfed your baby “on all fours” before. But this is exactly what can help to let the milk flow out of the milk ducts. Because while you are in the so-called quadruped position, the gravitational force “grabs” and takes the pressure in the breast, because the milk flows so directly down.
Make sure that your child lies comfortably on its back and positions itself so that it presses with its smallmouth on the painful, slightly hardened area in your breast. This will also relieve the milk congestion – gently and naturally.
Antibiotic Milk Helps With Sore Breasts
If you have breast inflammation, your gynecologist will probably prescribe you so-called antibiotic milk. It is a helpful support for a breast infection, which facilitates breastfeeding.
Many breastfeeding mothers are critical of this approach because they do not want to give their children antibiotics through breast milk. In addition, they also have their concerns regarding the mode of action:
The absorption of certain antibiotics in combination with milk could be disrupted. The reason for this is the calcium contained in milk. Conventional cow’s milk contains 120 mg of calcium per 100 ml.
Breast milk, on the other hand, contains only 50 g of calcium per 100 ml. Therefore, a minimization of the effect of the combination of breast milk/antibiotics is rather not given. For this reason alone, you can feed antibiotic milk without hesitation.
Because a special antibiotic is given to treat breast infections, which does not harm the baby, you do not need to worry about whether antibiotic milk is beneficial for your baby or not.
Take Care Of Your Well-being – Your Baby Will Also Benefit From It
After the milk has been expressed, the breast milk has been pumped successfully and there is no pain in the breast, you should apply a cool compress. The application of quark pads also helps to cool the nipples and soothe any irritation.
Moreover, the soothing cooling effect manages to relieve possible tension in the breast, which can also have the effect of reducing the pain in the breast.
Reduce Milk Let-down
In order to avoid milk retention in the future, you can reduce the amount of milk with the help of homeopathic herbs and thus prevent further milk let-down. However, this measure is only recommended if you are planning to wean anyway because you want to switch to bottled milk.
Milk engorgement can last about two to three days. The pain in the breast may increase during this time and the breast infection may worsen.
However, experience shows that these symptoms usually regulate themselves from the third day after milk engorgement, so that the pain in the breast also decreases. Nevertheless, milk engorgement may occur again throughout the breastfeeding period.
If the breast pain lasts longer than two to three days, you should contact your doctor. Especially if your body temperature has increased and you suffer from additional flu symptoms, a medical examination is inevitable.
Because symptoms of this kind are the unmistakable signs of mastitis and must be treated immediately.
Milk stasis is painful and can last for several days. However, it is relatively easy to treat. However, many mothers have concerns about milk antibiotics and are therefore reluctant to have their breast pain treated.
This is because they do not want to compromise the health of their child. The opposite is true, however, because it is only through targeted treatment of milk engorgement that the wonderful process of breastfeeding becomes a loving event for both mother and child, which both can enjoy to the fullest – without milk engorgement and painful breasts.