Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate and / or referral links. This item was received for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
First and foremost, before I begin, I am creating this post for awareness. I am not a Medical Doctor, nor a Lactation Specialist (however I am looking into certifications). My opinions and recommendations are solely based on my experiences, and the researches I have made.
With that said, let’s begin!
During my early days of breastfeeding and pumping, I had major engorgement and uncontrollable let downs, even though I felt like I was feeding and pumping every hour! Between establishing a sleep and feeding schedule and pumping in between, the first 6 weeks after Nathan was born were definitely tough. When I was on maternity leave, and Robert was going to school and working at the same time, so I was mostly home alone. Since I was having latch-on issues, I committed myself to exclusively pump for my baby. Exclusively pumping has it’s pros and cons, and the major con is not being able to nurse on demand. So when you’re pumping you’re pretty much stationary and need to keep your baby calm and peaceful for at least 20 minutes, every hour or two, the best way that you can while you have breast shields attached to you.
When I was pumping and Nathan was awake, I would usually put him on tummy time using the Boppy pillow and have him right next to me. I’ll sing and play with him while I pump and 20 minutes passes by like a breeze. However, there was this ONE day that Nathan did not want me to put him down whatsoever! And I couldn’t get in a single pump. I was in excruciating pain, and I waited until 7 pm when Robert came home, so that I can finally pump. I went for more than 12 hours not pumping, and it clogged my milk ducts. My clogged milk ducts then turned into mastitis within the week.
Mastitis is an inflammation of the breasts, and the area may be sore, red, hard to touch, or unusually warm. The infection can cause fevers, chills, and fatigue. Exactly everything that I experienced when I had mastitis. I couldn’t sleep, I was in so much pain. I had to get antibiotics to cure it (but you don’t always need it!), which really lowered my supply. I’ve never even heard of mastitis until I had it! That’s why it’s very beneficial to attend breastfeeding classes before giving birth.
If you’re pregnant or a new mom planning on breastfeeding, here are some tips to help prevent or avoid mastitis:
1. Breastfeed or pump regularly. Do not skip or delay feeding or pump sessions.
2. Get plenty of rest and eat a well-balanced diet.
3. If you are breastfeeding, make sure you and your baby have established a correct latch.
4. Alternate which breast you offer first at each feeding.
5. Make sure that your bra fits well and isn’t too tight or restrictive.
6. If you feel that your breasts aren’t empty after pumping or nursing, or if you have a plugged duct, use a warm compress and massage to get the milk out.
7. When you are ready to wean from breastfeeding or pumping, do it gradually. Drop 1 pump session per week until you are ready to stop, and decrease pumping time, as well.
Note: “Do not stop or decrease nursing/pumping if you have a plugged duct or mastitis as this increases risk of complications” -KellyMom
If any case you do have a plugged duct or mastitis, KellyMom quoted to “Heat, Massage, Rest, Empty Breast“. If you are in excruciating pain and have done all measures, please consult your physician.
- Lansinoh HPA Lanolin— one of my favorite products to soothe and protects sore, cracked nipples. It’s 100% lanolin, only ONE ingredient. No other nasty chemicals in it. Does not have a foul odor, and is safe for baby, you do not need to wipe off before nursing.
- Latch Assist Nipple Everterr— a great tool for moms with inverted or flat nipples. Both conditions can make it difficult for babies to latch on, but using this tool can help gently draw out the nipple making it easier to latch and feed. This was helpful to use because it came with two different flanges to ensure proper fit.
- Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy Packs— my life saver! Always eased and relieved my engorgement and pains. I use this 3 ways:
- Cold– helped relieve engorgement, swelling, and pain.
- Hot– relieved plugged ducts, mastitis, and encouraged milk let-down
- Pump aid– I used this while pumping to encourage milk let-down and loosen any clogged milk ducts which really helped increase milk output.
- Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads— these are postpartum must-haves, whether you are nursing or not! You will need these so that milk does not stain your clothes. What I like most about these nursing pads is that they don’t leak or feel itchy on skin. However, they must be replaced at least 3-4 times a day.
Do you plan on breastfeeding? Have you ever had a plugged duct? If so, what did you do to relieve it? Comment below!
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