What to do about Engorgement and How to Know if You Have Mastitis, Brought to you by Lansinoh

logo What to do about Engorgement and How to Know if You Have Mastitis, Brought to you by LansinohI’m pleased to welcome Gina Ciagne, Director of Breastfeeding Relations and Outreach at Lansinoh Laboratories Inc., back to Metropolitan Mama for the third installment of this four-part series about common breastfeeding concerns.

Q: My breasts feel engorged. What can I do to alleviate my discomfort? Should I pump?

GINA’S ANSWER: It is normal for your breasts to become larger and feel heavy, warm, and uncomfortable when your milk “comes in” within the first week after birth. Engorgement is quite common and happens when the breasts become too full of milk. Typically, your breasts will feel hard, with tightly stretched skin that may appear shiny, and your breasts may feel warm to the touch and tender and you may feel throbbing in your breasts. Your areola will also feel hard and the skin on your breast may be stretched so your nipple is flattened, making latch-on difficult. You may also have a low-grade fever.

To prevent or minimize engorgement, it is important to follow these steps:

  • Nurse early and often – at least 10 times per 24 hours. Don’t skip feedings –even at night.
  • Nurse on demand and according to baby’s hunger cues.
  • If your baby is very sleepy and does not awake on his or her own to feed, wake him or her to nurse every 2-3 hours, allowing one longer stretch of 4-5 hours at night if you are not too uncomfortable.
  • Don’t limit baby’s time at the breast. Allow him or her to finish the first breast before offering the other side and at the next feeding start with the side you finished with at the last feeding.
  • Switch sides when baby pulls off or falls asleep. Burping in between can often rouse the baby enough to nurse on the other side.
  • Ensure correct positioning and latch on so that baby is nursing well and can remove the milk from your breasts.
  • If baby is not nursing well, express your milk regularly and frequently to maintain milk supply and minimize engorgement.

Click here for more information on engorgement including treatments and remedies.

Q. My breasts ache between feedings and are warm to the touch. Should I be worried?

GINA’S ANSWER: It is possible that you are experiencing engorgement which can cause slight aching and the breasts to be warm in between feedings. That is a very normal part of the process and I would encourage you to follow the steps outlined above.

There is another condition that can arise during breastfeeding: mastitis—an inflammation of the breast that can be caused by obstruction, infection, and/or allergy that can be accompanied by intense pain, heat, or swelling in the breast. Common symptoms include red streaks extending outward from the affected area, a fever of 101°F (38.5°C) or greater, chills, flu-like aches, and malaise. Mastitis can be mild or severe but it is important to get an assessment by a lactation consultant and/or a health care professional to determine if antibiotics are needed. There are medications that are compatible with breastfeeding so it is important that your health care provider be cognizant of your breastfeeding when prescribing any medications.

It is important that you continue to breastfeed even if you are experiencing mastitis as limiting nursing or weaning can put you at risk for other related complications including a breast abscess.

Click here for more information on mastitis.
mbp thumb What to do about Engorgement and How to Know if You Have Mastitis, Brought to you by Lansinoh
WIN IT! One mom will receive a Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump. To enter, simple leave a comment and your e-mail address on this post prior to Monday, December 10, at midnight. The winner will be announced and contacted on Tuesday, December 11th. * Winner must provide a U.S. mailing address.

* UPDATED * The winner is #15 lev53211. Congratulations!

  • Sarah

    I would love to have this hand pump! It would come in so handy! Thanks for commenting on my blog!

    sharvey at connections-etc dot net

  • Jason and Caryn

    Please don’t enter me as I have a pump already. I want this to go to another pregnant or nursing mom in need.

    I just wanted to comment and let you know that as a registered nurse and lactation educator I am so pleased that you are hosting several breastfeeding giveaways but more importantly that you are promoting breastfeeding. The information you are providing will help support breastfeeding moms. I just hope many nursing moms are reading your blog. I am nursing my 5 month old and it was difficult even as a nurse and CLE. I had tremendous support from my husband and family and saw 2 lactation consultants despite my knowledge and experience. Moms should understand that although breastfeeding is natural, it isn’t always easy at first. It is definitely possible and sooo rewarding knowing the benefits I am providing for my child and myself. This is a passion of mine and again I can’t reiterate how important the information you are providing is. Thank you.

  • Bree

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  • Amy A

    I’d like to be entered to win. Thanks
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  • Susanne
  • Brooke

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  • ~Amber~

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    I would love to be entered in this great giveaway!

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  • kevnjacks

    Thanks for this giveaway! For the last 2 kids I’ve had to resort to hand-expressing the milk so this would be great!
    [email protected]

  • Miss Erica
  • Tuesday Girl

    I need this for my new little one due in March!

  • Aimee

    Would love to have this as I just had a little one on the 2nd.

  • MamaChristy

    Man, this is great. When my milk came in when my son was born, I literally slept on the bathroom floor for two nights because engorgement made me feel hot, sick and have bowel trouble. It would have been great to have this around!

    normanfam at gmail dot com

  • cute

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  • Marcie

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    I wouuld love to win the breast pump we are about to have a new baby in the family before christmas.

  • Renae

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  • Katie

    Wow, thank you!

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  • Kathleen

    I’d love to win this, as I am planning to breastfeed my first child, who is due in March.
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  • Laura @ Laura Williams’ Musings

    I would love to win this. I have a friend who just found out that she is expecting and this would be great for her as she will be a first time mother.

    blogged ya: http://laurawilliamsmusings.blogspot.com/2007/12/thursday-edition-of-contests-galore.html

  • [email protected]

    Very interested in this for the new babe!

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  • Rachel C.

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  • heather h

    I haven’t tried a manual breast pump, but there have been some times where I really needed one and had to manually pump the old-fashioned way–with my hands. Not so much fun. Lansinoh would save the day. Literally. Because manually pumping with your fingers takes forever to get one ounce. Yikes!