Many women are prone to breast engorgement in early lactation. This phenomenon, though not very serious, can cause discomfort and pain in the breast. There are several ways to treat this disorder and one of them may seem a bit odd!
What is breast engorgement?
Breast engorgement is a problem that occurs in the first days of lactation (usually between the 2nd and 4th postpartum day), or after a missed feeding. This is congestion due to inflammation of the breasts that clogs the milk ducts, preventing milk from flowing.
Breast engorgement is manifested by heavy, hard and painful breasts and nipple retraction. By feeling these symptoms, women tend to think that this is excess milk production, whereas this is not the case. This congestion is actually caused by the accumulation of blood serum at the producer cells of the mammary gland during the milk flow, which causes the occurrence of edema. Following this swelling, the areola contracts so that the baby finds difficulty sucking.
What if breastfeeding congestion?
The mistake that many women do when they are prone to breast engorgement is that they stop breastfeed their baby or do it less frequently than before. This is very bad. It is very important to make baby suckle to stimulate the system and restart it. This sucking will trigger milk ejection and reduce congestion. It is advisable to take a hot shower or apply a hot towel on the breasts to relax before breastfeeding. The heat will help to improve blood circulation, which reduces congestion.
On the other hand, to relieve pain from engorgement, apply cold compresses. Make a jet of cold water at the end of your shower, put cold towels on the breasts or ice wrapped in a towel. You can also make light massage on the breasts.
Besides the above, there is also a grandmother’s trick, known for its effectiveness in reducing pain associated with breast engorgement: cabbage poultices.
How to use the cabbage to relieve pain from breast engorgement?
Cabbage has long been used by women to reduce breast pain. It is a natural remedy, simple and very economical and it dates from the time of our grandmothers, but until today still very popular.
How to use the cabbage?
Take the cabbage and place in the refrigerator to cool slightly. Once cool, take two large leaves and wash them thoroughly and then dry them. Flatten the center so that they are adapted to the shape of your breasts. Place the leaves on your breasts, secure them with a bra and leave them for 20 minutes.
You can repeat this trick twice a day. Stop the use as soon as the pain decreases and the congestion disappears. Note that this trick is known to decrease milk supply in case of frequent use.
Why cabbage leaves are effective?
Cabbage is known as a powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic plant. Used as a poultice, it relieves inflammation, but also bronchitis and muscle pain. Applied on the breasts, cabbage helps reduce swelling and pain caused by breast engorgement.
Generally, these feelings of discomfort decrease in 24 hours and disappear completely in two days. However, if the congestion persists for long, it is important to consult a doctor to avoid complications, especially infections.
How to prevent breast engorgement?
Again, the solution to avoid breast engorgement is to nurse frequently, giving both breasts. However, if the baby does not suckling a lot, you have to get milked.
It is also advised not to be tense, but rather relax at the time of feeding. Also make sure the baby is well positioned and that it empties the breast during each feeding. The choice of bra is also important! It is essential to select bras that do not compress the breast to prevent circulation problems.