Caring For Your Breasts While Breastfeeding
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The content of this article does not reflect the official opinion of The Walt Disney Company Africa Ltd. Responsibility for the information and views expressed therein lies entirely with the author(s).
Breastfeeding offers countless benefits for mothers and babies, but problems like breast soreness, engorgement and mastitis are fairly common. Caring for your breasts properly can help prevent these issues, allowing for more comfortable and hassle-free breastfeeding.
Wash with water
Soap tends to dry the skin of the breasts and nipples out because it removes the natural oils that keep the breasts moisturised, which can result in cracked nipples and skin irritation. Rather stick to warm water when you wash, and let your breasts air dry.
Prevent engorgement and blocked ducts
Breast engorgement causes swollen, painful breasts due to a build-up of milk. Feeding on demand is recommended for a number of reasons, and may also help prevent engorgement. Cold compresses, ice packs and emptying the breasts are methods used to relieve the discomfort of engorgement.
Wear a good nursing bra
Avoid tight bras and fabrics that don’t breathe well. Your bra should be supportive, but not constrictive, and cotton is a great choice.
Pay attention to latching on and off
Try to get your baby to latch on properly from the beginning, as this will establish a good feeding routine and help prevent problems like sore nipples and engorgement. Similarly, pay attention to how you disengage after a feed. Rather than pulling your baby off, put a finger in the corner of their mouth to break the suction and then remove them.
Seek medical advice for mastitis
Blocked milk ducts or engorgement can sometimes develop into a breast infection known as mastitis, which typically causes swollen, painful breasts accompanied by fever and chills. If you think you may have mastitis, make an appointment with your doctor. The problem may be treated with painkillers, and you may need antibiotics.
Lactation nurses and breastfeeding practitioners are there to help you with any difficulties you may face with breastfeeding, so speak up as soon as possible to get the advice and assistance you need.
The information in this article is intended for general purposes only. If you have any concerns about your health or the health of your child, you should always consult with a healthcare professional.