Severely Engorged Breasts - Help! - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-07-2013, 07:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok ladies.. my baby boy is only 7 days old. My milk came in at day 2.. and oh how I don't want to breast feed anymore. *is in tears* It hurts so much and now I feel so sick! I've felt so unwell for about 5 hours now.. Both breasts are now extremely engorged and rock hard... Lumps and everything that've been there all day.. all the way to my armpits and now they are pushing against each other. Even though i keep massaging, applying heat/cold packs.. regular painkillers.. regular feedings, but it's still just so sore and hard! D':  I had to grind my teeth together so hard to stop myself from crying out in pain. I'm apparently at high risk for mastitis... and I may also have gastro [had liquid yellow poop]

 

I so desperately want to wean him onto formula because this pain is almost unbearable! 

 

What advice have you got ladies? I know I desperately want to wean to formula... but I'm afraid the Midwives will pressure me to just solely breastfeed.. Believe me I'm all about breastfeeding.. I just feel like I can't with this baby D:

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Old 06-07-2013, 08:07 AM
 
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I had this happen with my first. Do you have a lactation consultant available to you? One visit to a lactation consultant and I was in business when this happened to me.

Otherwise, do you have a pump? If you can pump some off, the baby should be able to latch on and take care of it from there. That's what the lactation consultant did for me.

Just try not to make a habit of pumping. If you pump, your body will think the baby is eating whatever you pump and will keep making that milk. Just take off enough so the baby can latch on and you aren't so uncomfortable, and try to wean off pumping off the extra. I'll admit I had to pump off the excess for a few weeks.

Good luck and big hugs!
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Old 06-07-2013, 09:01 AM
 
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I agree with everything mamazee mentioned about pumping. You can also hop in a warm shower and let some milk run out to soften your breasts. If you are feeling unwell, that may be a sign of infection. If you are taking painkillers right now, that may be necessary, but it may also mask a fever. You likely may need antibiotics for mastitis. Antibiotics can knock an infection out quickly and you may feel tons better within 24 hours. Meanwhile, the lack of milk removal may indicate your baby is not nursing effectively. Your baby should be evaluated by his pediatrician if you are not very assured by great diaper output that he is ingesting plenty of milk. Regarding your question about whether it would be best to use some formula at this time, it may be best, and that is your decision. Even if you use some formula now, that doesn't mean you can't still breastfeed. You are hurting and might need a break in that way. The important thing is your son needs to eat, and you need to heal. Get some help from your family if you can. This sounds like a very hard time, but if you can get past it, breastfeeding will likely be a lot easier within a week or so. Do get help in person for the breastfeeding, your health, and very possibly your son's health, as poor feeding can be not only a sign of difficulty breastfeeding, but sometimes a sign of infection or other illness in a newborn. Best wishes, and congratulations on your new baby!
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Old 06-07-2013, 10:00 AM
 
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Will baby latch at all?
Softening your breast will be needed. to get baby to latch properly if you are that engorged. Otherwise baby cannot compress the areola to get the milk out properly.
Are you able to express any milk with your hand?
Once you soften the breast by removing some milk, try hanging over baby to nurse, either place baby on a changing table or try kneeling on all fours over baby if you are able to. Hanging over baby will allow gravity to help drain the ducts.
Before your milk came in was baby's latch painful? If so it could be an improper latch or tongue tie which would explain insufficient milk removal. The following video illustrates latch and how deep the nipple goes in order for baby to compress and extract milk from ducts. I watched it when my son was born.

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=vCe-6KgSFhk&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DvCe-6KgSFhk

If baby has a good latch it could be that baby was not nursing often enough. Nursing several times an hour is very common. Did your breast feel emptied once baby did nurse (before the mastits)?
It does sound like mastitis btw with the flu like symptoms.

I hope you are better soon.
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Old 06-07-2013, 01:40 PM
 
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This is all good advice. I know just how you feel. I cried during almost every feed the second week. At 7-10 days the pain was the worst and I couldn't imagine continuing. But it takes a few weeks at least for your supply to regulate and calm down. Do talk to your doc about a possible infection. A lactation consultant can show you good technique for manually expressing milk and massage. It's totally up to you if you want to use formula. It's just that if you go that route so early on and change your mind it will be very difficult to work back towards breastfeeding. If you are able to troubleshoot these problems now it could lead to a wonderful and pain free BF relationship in the near future. Warm showers, pumping and comfy bras without underwire. I hope you feel better soon. I know it's so hard when your healing up from the birth of your little one. The midwives aren't there to pressure you. They should be there to help. 


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Old 06-07-2013, 03:38 PM
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Hope you feel better soon OP. you have my sympathies. I just wanted to mention that among the other good tips and advice you got here - one thing that really helped me with the pain was cold cabbage leaves on the breast. I don't know why it works, but it does.

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Old 06-08-2013, 05:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you everyone. Your input has been most helpful! :) I kept at it and yesterday after a good pump and showers and massages, the engorgement has stopped: YAY! But now I have a new issue... my breasts are drying up.

 

So first my breasts were OVER producing milk.... and now they are making hardly anything at all! I even tried hand-expressing after Kuarix fed and nothing! Completely dry.. I'm not even filling up properly anymore! And I still have 50ml of breastmilk in the Nurses fridge... and the last Midwife i talked to said i may have to top him up daily with actual formula once i get home... but she said to try breast feeding again to stimulate the breasts and then if baby still isn't settled, then i could have the bottle of my breastmilk. Well.. the change-over occurred..and i asked the new midwife for my bottle of breastmilk..and she wont give it to me because "if baby doesn't empty your breasts of milk they'll get lumpy and engorged again..." Apparently, mixing breast with bottle will confuse him.. even though I've been doing both for 3 days now and he's fine with it. AND also considering how my daughter had both breast and bottle [formula] and she was perfectly fine with it.. I don't see what the big issue is with bottle feeding him to top him up!

BUT THEY AREN'T FREAKING PRODUCING PROPERLY! *wants to scream at my breasts' stubbornness*

So now my Son is practically being starved, deprived of milk, and sucking vigorously on his dummy because that's all he's gonna get for the next 3 hours *is going insane* I want the Midwife I had the other day! The good one! And they wont let him go home until he starts gaining weight... HOW THE HECK IS HE SUPPOSED TO GAIN WEIGHT NOW IF HES BEING STARVED OF MY MILK!? ARRRGGHH!!!!

 

Sorry but I'm very, very stressed and aggravated now.

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Old 06-08-2013, 08:56 PM
 
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I would let ALL sucking take place at the breast for now. Then your breasts ducts will be healthy, your milk flow will regulate and your baby will get the milk he needs. He cannot overfeed on the breast, even several times an hour is perfectly normal. His suckling is what will get your milk back. If he suckles the dummy he is not able to do that.
It is so early in the game, you can still produce all the milk that he will need. Your production is just now beginning to establish, letting him do all his suckling at the breast will tell your body how much it needs to produce in order for him to be nourished. By waiting three hours, your body will not get the proper signals from your son how much it needs to produce. There is no need to hold off breastfeeding him. Best wishes, you have been through a lot and thankfully have a wonderful newborn and healthy breasts that produce a lot of milk when they need to. You're doing great.
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Old 06-08-2013, 10:31 PM
 
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I totally agree with Asiago - you can't do 3 hourly feeds and expect to increase your supply at this point (though you will feel very confused because people will be telling you to get your baby on a "schedule", don't stress about that though!)

 

Until your baby is 3 months old your hormones will help you make lots of milk, so just getting more latching on helps increase that supply - every hour is fine, and lots of people do that so don't feel worried about doing that if it feels right

 

If your baby isn't latching well and drinking well he won't be getting much out so definitely get his latch assessed - the more milk he drinks the more you will produce (hence don't over pump as it will make you over produce)

 

 

If you get to the point of engorged again there are several things you can do:

 

Compress aroudn your nipple before feeds to soften that area so he can attach

 

Hand express a little (or use a pump) before feeds as that will soften things a little so he can attach

 

If you are getting severely engorged use block feeding - only offering one side for 3-4 hours at a time (so your baby can comfort suck as often as they like, but only from one side for that block of time) - this helps you not get oversupply, and it also helps avoid your baby getting lactose intolerance (which presents like colic)

 

 

Above all though - do things that feel right to you.  You've already mentioned that you don't want to breastfeed, and while I think it's amazing it's not always for everyone.  Being stressed about what everyone else is thinking about you isn't worth it (you will get better with this over the time of motherhood!!!!) - So if anything anyone tells you doesn't feel right, don't do it.  If you think other people will judge you, who cares? (notice I said you think, not necessarily you know.  Big difference, not everyone is going to think what you presume they think!) 

 

Good luck, the first 3-4 weeks are the hardest, make use of all your support networks - family friends etc

x


Check out my website www.breastfeeding-babies.com for extra information.

Enjoy your breastfeeding and mothering journey!

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Old 06-10-2013, 10:07 PM
 
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Congratulate yourself on working through the engorgement. joy.gif This next part can be tricky but should be much less painful. Hold your baby close. Your body is wired to provide for him and clearly you have ample milk producing abilities. The mechanical action of his suckling, the hormonal response of you body to his scent, his skin, his mere presence will stimulate more of it. And remember your breasts do not need to be "full" to feed him. Even when they feel completely empty milk can still come out. Watch for signs from your son that he is drinking, such as moving his jaw up and down, swallowing sounds, milk building up at the edge of his mouth and then dirty diapers. Hopefully he gains weight soon so you can both go home together. 


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