Jan 06, 2011 No Comments
Just when you thought your breasts couldn’t get any bigger, they do. That first milk delivery arrives, leaving your breasts swollen, painfully tender, throbbing, granite hard – and sometimes seriously, frighteningly gigantic. To make matters more uncomfortable and inconvenient, this engorgement (which can extend all the way to the armpits) can make nursing painful for you and, if your nipples are flattened by the swelling, frustrating for your baby. The longer it takes for you and your baby to hook up for your first nursing sessions, the worse the engorgement is likely to be.
Happily, though, it won’t last long. Engorgement, and all its miserable effects, gradually lessens once a well-coordinated milk supply-and-demand system is established, typically within a matter of days.Nipple soreness, too-which usually peaks at about the 20th feeding, if you’re keeping count – generally diminishes rapidly as the nipples toughen up. And with proper care so does the nipples cracking and bleeding some women also experience.
Until nursing becomes second nature for your breasts -and completely painless for you – there are some steps you can take to ease the discomfort and speed the establishment of a good milk supply. Women who have an easy time getting started with breastfeeding (especially second timers) may not experience very much engorgement at all. As long as baby’s getting those milk deliveries, that’s normal, too.