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Engorgement: Bowling Ball Breasts

If you are experiencing difficulty with breast pain or latch-on 3 to 5 days postpartum, it is probably due to engorgement. Your breasts can feel as hard as bowling balls making it difficult for your baby to get a good latch.  Most of the time severe engorgement can be prevented by nursing the baby immediately upon delivery and putting the baby to breast every 2-3 hours.  If your baby is sleepy or there is a delay in breastfeeding, engorment can set in heavily.  Advil is safe for breastfeeding and contains an anti-inflammatory that may reduce some swelling and discomfort. Your best friend during this time is a hot compress. Turn the tap water and let it run until hot. Take two disposable baby diaper and swipe it under the tap three or four times. Mold the diapers around your breast. Repeat this procedure before each feeding. Commercial hot packs are also available, but the diapers work just as well so you may want to save your money for a good breast pump. If the areola is still too hard for the baby to grasp, use a quality breast pump for three to five minutes before latching the baby on. If the baby goes to sleep before emptying the breast, finish pumping afterward. Take heart! Engorgement only lasts for 48-72 hours.

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