Weaning Problems: Engorgement
When weaning a child, engorgement is a common problem among all mothers. The breasts have become used to producing milk, and for this milk to be extracted regularly. Not extracting the milk can lead to engorgement because the milk stays in the breasts. As a result, breasts are bigger, feel hard, and they hurt.
Some doctors say that engorgement occurs when the weaning process goes too quickly. If you feel engorgement, think about how you are weaning your baby. Is your gradual process going too quickly? Did you try abrupt weaning? If you are going too quickly, you can slow the process down to help with your engorgement.
To remedy engorgement while trying to wean, pump a little bit of breast milk, just enough to feel comfortable. Usually two to three minutes of pumping is enough for you to feel comfortable. Do this whenever you feel pain, and remember to never pump till your breasts are empty, even if this is the most comfortable feeling. Pumping till your breasts are empty will cause your body to produce more milk, and you don’t want this.
Try to relieve the pain by using the iced green cabbage leaf trick discussed in other articles. After consistently pumping very little, your body will produce less milk. Pretty soon your body will stop lactating and engorgement will stop. Some women try to just bear the pain of engorgement. Doing this risks infection due to milk calcification or plugged ducts.
Be patient with your body. Some women’s breasts respond to weaning quickly and the production goes down soon and within a week, while other women take a while. If your process seems to be taking a while, drink some sage tea to help both your breasts and yourself along. If you are no longer breastfeeding, ask your doctor for what good anti-inflammatory drug you can take in order to reduce the swelling.
Another option is to take low-dose birth control pills. Your doctor can also be the one to prescribe which one would be best. Birth control pills can decrease the amount of milk you produce and can definitely help with engorgement. If you are weaning and you want to continue to feed your child expressed breast milk, discuss the possible effects of your taking the birth control pills. Some doctors say it will be okay, while others tell you not to. Listen to your doctor and do what makes you comfortable.
Do not listen to advice that tells you to bind your breasts or wear a very tight bra in order to help you through engorgement. Both these systems are bad for the breast, and can lead to infection.
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