Breast engorgement is a condition experienced by new mothers who face nursing problems. It is a condition caused by the overfilling of milk in the breasts.
The veins in the mammary gland undergo expansion during pregnancy. When there is increased pressure exerted by the breast milk on these veins, it leads to a painful condition known as breast engorgement.
Breast engorgement can happen if the lactating mother misses several nursing sessions. Inadequate expression of milk from the breasts can also cause breast engorgement.
Breast engorgement may lead to a condition called mastitis which is the swelling of breasts. The common symptoms of breast engorgement include a raise in the normal body temperature and also swelling and hardness in the breasts. The mother may also experience fatigue, loss of appetite and chills.
The pain and the swelling in the breasts can cause lots of discomforts for the mother and due to this reason she might sometimes give up the idea of breast feeding all together. This is not a very good idea and hence care should be taken while dealing with this condition.
Prevention is always better than cure. The first step to be followed to prevent breast engorgement is to nurse the baby frequently. Nursing should be done at least every two hours during the initial days.
While feeding, keep your baby in a position such that his head is in level with your nipple. This helps him to latch on well and thus his proper feeding is ensured.
You can take a warm shower before breast feeding or else you can use a warm compress to soften the region of the nipples so as to stimulate milk production.
If you experience swelling in the breasts, then you can make use of a breast pump to relieve the tightness. Care should be taken that only a little amount of milk is pumped out, as pumping out large quantities of milk will stimulate its overproduction.
You can wear nursing bras to reduce the discomforts and pain caused due to breast engorgement. The bra should fit well and should not be tight as it will add to the discomfort. You can also use ice packs to relive the pain in your breasts after feeding sessions.
The problem of breast engorgement will eventually vanish once the feeding cycle of the baby is regularized and established.