Significant increase in breast size and fullness is called physiological swelling. This is caused by postpartum changes in hormone levels, which start the milk production process and also increase blood circulation to the breasts. Your body starts producing colostrum, the first milk, at the end of pregnancy and feeds your baby more immediately when your baby is first introduced to breast milk, which is a few minutes after birth. Physiological swelling is usually more drastic and uncomfortable for the nursing mother.
Even sudden fullness and tightness may be a little uncomfortable during the early days when your breasts seem to fill up faster. Some mothers even have a slight fever when their breasts get bigger. Frequent breastfeeding is the best way to prevent and treat swelling. The swelling decreases when the baby sucks the breast so that the milk can flow out immediately. Even so, you don’t need to worry, this swelling won’t last long if you are used to giving breast milk to babies. The swelling in your breasts will not be that great, but will continue to make milk production efficient.
Prevent and treat swelling
Swelling can cause other problems, so it’s important to treat it right away. When the breast is swollen with milk, the nipple may flatten out, making it more difficult for the baby to latch on properly. The baby can suck only the tip of the nipple and cannot get enough of the areolar tissue into his mouth to compress the milk sinuses and empty the breast. Even the slacking gets worse, while the baby remains hungry. Finally, the body doesn’t make so much milk, which leads to swelling, but can cause problems with the milk supply if the baby is still not latching on and sucking properly. Luckily, you can work around physiological swelling so that it doesn’t cause a problem.
Here are some suggestions for dealing with swelling in breastfeeding mothers:
1. Teach babies to recognize aerola in the first days after birth
It is easier for babies to learn to latch on properly on the first and second day when your breasts are full of milk. Babies must understand the breast with the mouth wide open so that it is properly adapted and used to the breast.
2. Me time with the baby after birth
You can teach your baby to suck slowly, breastfeeding as often as possible when your baby is born. This will minimize problems with swelling and get your milk supply in tune with the baby’s needs more quickly.
3. Perform maintenance at night and during the day
In the first month or two, babies are sleeping for four or five hours. Mother got a chance to rest, but her breasts became enlarged. Waking up your baby every two hours during the day and not letting him sleep more than four full hours at night can help reduce swelling.
4. Do not limit the length of breastfeeds to five or ten minutes to protect your nipples
Protect your nipples with a proper breastfeeding position. Limiting the length of breastfeeding will increase the swelling, at first, the baby cannot adequately empty the breast in five or ten minutes. Give your baby the freedom to suck on the breast so it doesn’t need to be restricted.
5. Use a breast pump if the breasts reduce swelling
You can use the Breastpump which is available in hospital classes to express breastmilk if the baby is still full to suck. This will soften the areola and allow the baby to latch on more efficiently. Thereby emptying your breasts or gently using a hand expression to release milk. Express just enough milk to make you feel more comfortable. Expressing too much milk can stimulate the production of more milk. Remember, milk production works on supply and demand.
If the baby is not feeding properly, you will need to pump your milk with an electric pump every 2 to 3 hours, to prevent problems with swelling and to maintain milk production. Frequent emptying of the breasts in the early stages of breastfeeding will help you have a good supply of milk in the coming weeks and months.
6. Compress your breasts using warm water before expressing breastmilk or breastfeeding your baby
You can compress the breast using warm water. This warmth helps trigger the milk ejection reflex, which gets milk flowing faster when you start pumping or the baby starts to suck. Other ways to apply warmth and moisture to your breasts include bending over a bowl filled with warm water (gravity will help you express milk in this position).
7. For the comfort of nursing mothers, use a normal bra
Avoid bras that are too tight so that it makes you uncomfortable, especially when a few days after birth, which makes the breasts swollen and triggers pain when using a thick bra. The swelling that occurs can lead to the possibility of mastitis. To reduce the risk, you can rest. Lie down with your baby and nurse and sleep together. So that it can reduce the swelling that occurs in the mother’s breasts, besides that the bond between mother and child is more intense when enjoying time together, just sleeping and doing “me time” with the baby.
If you’ve enjoyed weeks of trouble-free breastfeeding and then suddenly get bigger, take this as a signal that something is upsetting the balance between your milk supply and the baby’s demand is taking too long between breastfeeding, not breastfeeding properly, or stress affecting breastfeeding patterns or your ejection milk reflex.
Thus, mothers who experience swelling at the beginning of breastfeeding need not worry because it can be caused by abundant milk production. So what breastfeeding mothers should do is to give breast milk more frequently, the baby’s suction power can help to reduce the risk of swelling in the mother.
The most important thing that a mother does is to continue breastfeeding the baby or by secreting breastmilk breast pump thus reducing swelling. Meanwhile, for some, breastfeeding mothers feel more comfortable when compressed using warm water. You can also do this trick if the swelling doesn’t go away. As for the swelling that persists until the baby is more than two months old, you should consult a doctor in case of breast disorders.