If you are breast-feeding your milk should come in within 3-5 days. Breast-feeding on demand will help reduce engorgement and increase the milk supply. Use warm water, without soap, to keep your breasts clean. Soap may dry and crack your nipples. If your nipples crack, expose them to air for 15 minutes after breast-feeding. Lanolin ointment may be applied after this.
Most babies eat about eight times each day. Try to nurse your baby for at least 15 minutes on one breast and for about 10 minutes on the other breast. It is normal to have more bleeding and/or cramping when breastfeeding. This is a hormonal response to the breast stimulation.
If you have difficulty nursing, contact the Lactation Consultant at Brandon Regional Hospital at 813-571-5335.
To assist with nursing breast pumps may be used. Breast milk can be stored in a sterile container in the refrigerator for up to 72 hours or in a standard freezer for 1-2 weeks. Check with the lactation consultant to for more information on this option and breast pump availability.
Mastitis (breast infection):
You may be developing mastitis if you have a fever greater than 101 degrees associated with a painful, red breast. Other signs of a breast infection include increased pulse rate, chills, malaise, headaches and an area on the breast that is red, tender and hard. Treatment involves antibiotics, rest, frequent breastfeeding or pumping, and analgesics for pain and fever. Please call if you suspect mastitis.
If you are not nursing the baby:
Wear a tight fitting bra to reduce engorgement. Cold compresses may help, and you may use pain medications for the discomfort. There is no medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration to prevent engorgement.
Other Breastfeeding Resources
La Leche League is an organization dedicated to promoting breastfeeding worldwide, with local groups, including one in Brandon. Call the Tampa Bay La Leche at 813-932-3664 or check out the website at www.lllusa.org.