Breastfeeding is one of the best ways to protect your child from certain illnesses. Aside from providing the baby adequate amounts of carbohydrate, fat and protein, it also contains antibodies that enable them to fight infection. Deciding to breastfeed is not only a wise decision financially but its benefits are actually both beneficial for the mother and child.
Milk production starts at about 2 to 5 days after delivery. During this time, the concern for mothers who plan to breastfeed, is how to latch on the baby. If problems occur, the mother may suffer from a condition called breast engorgement.This usually happens 3 to 7 days after delivery when regular milk production sets in. The common symptoms of breast engorgement are swollen, firm and painful breasts. There is a tendency for the breast to be slightly lumpy if it is severely engorged. The nipples would also be flattened-out. A noticeable hardening of the areola, or the dark area around the nipple may also be present . This makes latching on even more difficult for the baby. Mothers also complain of having a low grade fever of around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of the discomfort, Women who suffer from engorgement, generally do not breastfeed as often as they should which actually aggravates the problem. The key to preventing this is simply managing the milk in your breasts. It is important to feed the baby everytime he shows signs of hunger and to empty the breasts after each feeding. This promotes adequate milk supply and it also relieves discomfort. If engorgement does occur, home remedies can be done to address it. Here are a few simple ways to do it:
1. Cold compresses AFTER breastfeeding are helpful to decrease the swelling and pain. Make sure to wrap ice bags with a thin towel so that it will not be too cold on your breasts.
2. Warm compresses BEFORE breastfeeding promotes milk flow. A warm towel on your breasts will work fine but some women prefer to take warm showers instead which works just as well. Use a gentle soap to prevent irritation and drying of the nipples.
3. Breast massage is essential in promoting milk flow. Gentle massages starting from the outer areas to the inner areas can help in emptying the breast completely and thus preventing plugged ducts.
4. If the swelling and pain is giving you too much discomfort, consult a health care provider, who will prescribe over the counter medication such as Acetaminophen.
5. Wear a properly fitted support bra. You can choose from a wide array of products that are now available to make breastfeeding more convenient. Underwire bras are also not advisable because it can squeeze your breasts, and may promote the formation of plugged ducts.
In order for a mother to nurse her baby properly, she should also take good care of her health. Many products commercially available like breast pumps, storage containers and other nursing gear are all designed to make this experience pleasant for both mother and child. The American Academy of Pediatrics even recommends at least one year of breastfeeding and six months of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. And the frequency of feeding newborns range from 8 to 12 times a day. Once you begin to notice that they don’t feed as much, it is then advisable that you initiate the feeding. This ensures that your baby will get all the nourishment that he needs. Breastmilk after all, is still the best for babies.
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