Sentiments about breastfeeding tends towards two extremes. It’s either romanticised with wonderful experiences or it’s demonised, with painful stories of hard breasts,bites,blisters,engorgement and mastitis.
The reality is somewhere in the middle: some days are wonderful and easy to express and other times are just plain fight-back-the-tears hard. Even though breastfeeding is completely natural, there will be days when you have sore nipples, a cranky baby and a strained mommy.
Here’s what you can do to help ease the stress when you’ve got a nipple blister and a very hard breasts.
- It will be painful, but try pumping it out as early as you can.
- Try a hot shower, it will help to soften the breast and relieve some of the pain.
- Try a hot compression with salt and hot water. The hotter the fermentation the better it is. This will help relieve the pain and hardness.
- Ask someone to massage your breast in a circular motion and try pumping out the excess.
- Gently massage the lumps using long, sweeping motions from behind the lump down towards the nipple.
- Try to breastfeed your baby straight after massaging the lump away and continue to feed regularly.It’s important to keep feeding your baby, even though it is painful.Breastfeeding – emptying the breast regularly – is the key to recovery.
- Before breastfeeding your baby, place a warm, wet washcloth over the affected breast for about 15 minutes, which will increase milk flow.
- The hardness in the breast occurs due to milk accumulation. Contact your lactation consultant or gynaecologist – they sometimes recommend medically piercing it to help ease the flow.
- Make sure your bras are well-fitted and not too tight or restrictive.
If you’ve been running a fever, see a doctor immediately. It may be a case of mastitis (an inflammation of the breast tissue that occurs when a blocked milk duct isn’t treated quickly enough. It is common in first-time mothers and is more likely to occur when you are exhausted and sleep deprived). This might require you to take antibiotics.
However, we can’t stress enough the importance of reaching out for support – from your gynaecologist or a lactation professional – if you are having problems breastfeeding.
Here’s a list of lactation consultants you can reach out to for help:
She’s been working with pregnant women and babies in pre- and postnatal period for over 15 years. Divya offers a continuum of support and is based in New Delhi.
Contact: +91 9811718141
She’s a Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and Childbirth Educator at Myyum and is based in New Delhi.
Contact: +91 8860724460
Dr. Shacchee Baweja
She is a Pediatrician & Lactation Support Consultant and is based in New Delhi.
Contact: +91 9810768952
Dr Deepika Pahwa
She is a Lactation consultant & Lamaze childbirth educator and is based in Gurgaon.
Contact: +91 88269 13971.
There really is help at hand and you don’t have to navigate this new-to-you task alone.