Some things in life come easy … breastfeeding is not one of them. It was one of those things that I was really surprised about when I had my son. I read the breastfeeding bible TWICE so I was aware that it wasn’t going to be a picnic and that there would be some discomfort but nothing really prepared me for ALL of the things that I would encounter.
Prior to pregnancy, I thought all you had to do to breastfeed your child was stick your boob in the baby’s mouth and VOILA, you’re breastfeeding. Imagine my surprise when I started reading and discovered that there is a correct “latch” and that there is this strange and painful thing called “mastitis” which you want to avoid at all costs. Well, of course we had trouble latching at first … and of course I got mastitis, not once but twice. So in an effort to help you out and hopefully save someone else that burning pain in the boob, I’d like to share some tricks that I’ve learned along the way.
- Breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed! One of the best ways to avoid things getting blocked and backed up is to breastfeed your baby as regularly as you can. Blocked ducts can occur when your baby does not drain your breast completely of milk when feeding. And when things get blocked, an infection or inflammation can occur … the dreaded mastitis!
- If you start to feel a lump in your breast, heat and massage can help get things moving again. Sometimes a blockage just needs a little persuading to work itself out. A REALLY great trick is to use the vibration of an electric toothbrush to massage it with. You kinky ladies could also use something else that vibrates ….
- There is a supplement called Lecithin which basically acts as a lubricant for your boob tubes which helps prevent blockages from happening. Since I started taking it, I haven’t experienced any more blocked ducts or mastitis. I’d much rather take a natural supplement as a preventative measure than have to take antibiotics to clear up an infection.
- Keep things loose! Try not to wear tight, constricting bras or shirts. This is an easy one, since I know the last thing you want to do with engorged, aching boobs is cram them into a tight bra. You should also try not to sleep on your stomach so they’re not squished that way either.
- Take good care of yourself. I know this is a hard one for a new mom and probably the last thing you’re thinking about with the million and one things that you need to get done. Try to get as much rest as you can, try to eat well, drink water and find the time to relax a little. When your body is stressed, your immune system is compromised making it harder to fight off infection. You don’t want to give that jerk mastitis any sort of edge on you!
I hope that this is helpful to someone out there! I’m by no means an expert, but I really believe in sharing our failures and successes in order to learn from them and to help others. Do you have any other tips you’d like me to add?
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