Engorgement & painful cracks in nipples-HELP! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 08-19-2006, 05:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi girls-

I bf'ed with DS1 and am doing so with Spencer. However, I am so incredibly engorged this time, it's ridiculous. I'm also dealing with 2 cracked nipples-this also happened with DS1, but not as badly. Needless to say, I'm in need of some advice! I'm doing all I can to make sure that I'm doing this 'properly'-good posture, good latch, using lansinoh after each feeding. But nothing I'm doing is actually healing the cracks-I feel like they might be healing, but then as soon as he feeds, it seems to get worse. I do have an electric pump, and am pumping for only 4-5 minutes a couple times a day to relieve some of the engorgement as well. I know that it's normal to have some engorgement, but I go to bed with two cloth diapers under my shirt and wake up a couple hours later just soaked. I got a wicked case of mastitis last time and am worried about that too... being extra careful with hygiene and taking 2 showers a day to stay clean.

ANY advice that you have would be appreciated to help me manage both the cracks and the engorgement!

TIA! Megan
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#2 of 5 Old 08-20-2006, 12:10 AM
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Megan, how long ago did milk come in? I had REALLY bad engorgment this time. I just hand expressed 1xday in the shower and then usually 1-2 more times after a feeding to relieve some of the pain.

My Le Leche League book recommended cold, raw cabbage leaves with a hole cut in the middle in bra to relieve some of the discomfort. It doesn't make the engorgment go away - but it feels pretty good!

My painful engorgment went away after 2-3 (maybe 4?) days. I nursed as frequently as ds would allow (every 1-2 hours), done the cabbage thing, plus hand expressed 2-3 x/day.

The pump could be making your nipples really sore and cracked too. So, if you can, I would discontinue the pump and hand express (because hand expression doesn't require anything on your nipple - just a hand above areola and another right below areola.)

Another thing for the cracked nipples, express a bit of milk after each feeding and rub into nipple and then apply Lansinoh.

Oh, one last thought - does Spencer have a good latch?

GL mama! It will get better!

Steph, wife to C, mama to O :, E , and I :.
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#3 of 5 Old 08-20-2006, 12:14 PM
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Barging in from the Sept ddc.. I had the same issues with my dd, #2. A lactation consultant (my SIL) gave me these hydrogel patches for my nipples. They can be reused and cooled in the fridge, and oh they felt so good! They promote healing by keeping the tissue moist. I also had to pump off about 2 oz before a feeding to soften by breasts so she could get a better latch. Another thing I did was wear the shields in my bra. This allowed milk to flow out when it was overflowing and allowed my nipples to air dry. I did not use the lanolin or the hydrogels during those times. I rotated which ever felt better. After things leveled out, I reduced the pumping time so that my supply would slow down too. It was a fine balance.
There are some herbal teas that can help reduce engorgement, but can't recall them. One thing that worked for me was the cabbage leaves like pp mentioned, and Altoids peppermints. Mint can reduce your supply, so I ate a box a day. At least my breath smelled good! Lastly, but most important, I would recommend a LC or a LLL leader. The support they offer makes a world of difference, especially if you are as in much pain as I was! One other thing I did, that I would do only under the advice of a LC, is to stop breastfeeding for 24 hours and pump then give a bottle of breastmilk. This sounds drastic and could lead to nipple confusion, but it allowed my nipples time to heal so I could nurse without narcotics! Good luck to you, and by writing this post I realize now what I need to get on hand before baby #3 makes her appearance. Gotta go find where I stored those shields!
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#4 of 5 Old 08-20-2006, 01:08 PM
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Looks like you've gotten some good advice. I would caution you to hold out on not nursing for a day unless your nipples are severely cracked and bleeding. Because, like she said, it can cause nipple confusion. I would second the suggestion to call your local LLL leader. It's possible that latch is the problem - even though you've done this before. Good luck and hang in there!
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#5 of 5 Old 08-20-2006, 01:09 PM
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Ooops, thought of something else... change any bras/breastpads as soon as they are wet so they don't harbor bacteria. I found the disposables were awful and retained heat and moisture. Also, turn your back in the shower. You can also use ice packs and cool washcloths to help comfort before a feeding... kinda has a numbing effect to make feedings less painful. The shower can also dry your skin out significantly, so coat with lanolin before showering and avoid soap or shampoo coming in contact with your breasts. Sorry to ramble on, but as you can see I had quite the journey with bf!
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