Breast Fullness, Milk Stasis and Mastitis

Did you notice that the breasts grew heavy, swollen, feel discomfort. Relax, read, what to do in the case of breast fullness and milk stasis. It is very important in order not to cause mastitis.

Consultation: Danuta Chrzanowska-Liszewska MD, neonatologist; Aleksandra Łada, NDT SLT Senior Tutor; Agata Serwatowska-Bargieł Ph.D., International certified lactation consultant (IBCLC), neonatologist

Breast fullness 

The first breast fullness, i.e. high milk supply, occurs between 3 and 5 days after birth. Later on it can occur after a longer than usual break between feedings, or when the baby does not empty the breast well enough. Breasts become hard, tense, sometimes hot,  and milk flows easily.

The reasons of breast fullness:

  • Starting increased milk production

  • Expressing large quantities of milk with a breast pump that overstimulates milk production

  • Longer than usual break between feedings

  • Child does not empty the breast well enough (incorrect latch on, biting the breast instead of suckling, e.g. during teething)

Breast fullnes - what can you do?

  • Latch the baby on as often as possible.

  • To stimulate the milk flow shower the breast with warm water or put a warm diaper compress.

  • Express some milk with a breast pump before feeding to help your child latch on. Do not express large amounts of milk because it stimulates lactation even more.

  • You can drink sage infusion to reduce milk production.

  • Use a cold compress after feeding (e.g. chilled diaper)

Milk stasis

The symptoms are similar to breast fullness. Breasts are hard, full and warm, and in some cases redness may occur. Milk accumulated in alveoli does not flow when it is expressed with a breast pump. You may feel small bumps under the skin - it means that a milk duct has been blocked.

The reasons of milk stasis during breastfeeding:

  • Incorrect feeding technique or position

  • Long interval between feedings

  • Incorrect technique of expressing milk manually (painful chest compressions)

  • Stopping the night feedings (feeding the baby with infant formula)

  • Wearing a too tight bra pressing the breasts and blocking milk flow

  • Fatigue, pain, stress, illness disrupting oxytocin production, and disrupting the let down reflex

Milk stasis - what can you do?

  • Make sure your bra does not compress the breasts. You can even give it up for some time.

  • Encourage your child to suckle as often and as long as possible.

  • Drink plenty of fluids.

  • Take a warm shower before feeding - it will facilitate the let down.

  • Change feeding positions so that the child empties the whole changed breast.

  • After feeding put chilled cabbage leaves on the breasts (peel a leaf, wash it, crush it a bit with a pestle and slid inside your bra). They have painkilling and anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Latch the baby on more often to the breast with stasis.

  • Do not use strong massage of the breast and do not express large quantities of milk with a breast pump.

  • You can gently stroke the breast towards the nipple.

  • Avoid manual milk expression.

  • Avoid stress and try to relax so as not to inhibit the let down reflex.

Mastitis 

Mastitis is characterized by weakness, high fever, muscle pain. Breasts are hot and hurt. Improper conduct during milk stasis is a common cause of mastitis: reducing drinking liquids, stopping breastfeeding with the sick breast, strong and painful breast compression.

What can you do?

  • Breastfeed from the sick breast often and long, every 1.5 - 2 hours.

  • Use different feeding positions, especially the clutch hold.

  • Use anti-inflammatory cabbage compresses.

  • Take a painkiller with ibuprofen or paracetamol.

  • Contact a doctor if there is no improvement after 1 day. He will probably prescribe an antibiotic, which is harmless for your baby and allow you to continue breastfeeding.

Similar articles

First Latching On Read more

First Latching On

Are you pregnant and intend to breastfeed? Or maybe you have already given birth and are looking for information here because of problems with breastfeeding your baby? Sometimes, something that seems natural is not easy, ...

Breastfeeding After C-section Read more

Breastfeeding After C-section

Can I breastfeed after a C-section? Will I have milk? Will my baby know how to suck?" These questions often trouble future mothers with an elective C-section. We would like to convince you that a C-section is not an obstacle ...

Low Milk Supply Read more

Low Milk Supply

Many mums worry whether their breasts produce enough milk. The doubts usually occur when a child often cries, demands breast more frequently than usual, breasts become soft and you do not need breast pads anymore. However, ...

Preparation For Breasteeding Read more

Preparation For Breasteeding

To achieve successful beginnings of breastfeeding, you will need self-confidence, patience, support from the loved ones and getting acquainted with a handful of tips that will allay fears and doubts.

Breast Care During Lactation Read more

Breast Care During Lactation

Although many mums worry about it, breastfeeding does not make breasts unattractive. Just take care of them properly choosing the appropriate underwear, cosmetics and products for lactation hygiene.

Sore, inverted or flat nipples Read more

Sore, inverted or flat nipples

The initial failure of breastfeeding may be associated with sore, inverted or flat nipples. Explore solutions to help yourself overcome these problems.

Burping After Feeding Read more

Burping After Feeding

During feeding the baby sometimes swallows air that accumulates in the digestive tract and can cause colic, bloating and posseting. Therefore, after each feeding you should encourage your child to burp. We show 3 burping ...

Starting To Breastfeed Read more

Starting To Breastfeed

What is the difference between colostrum and the proper milk? How to latch? We ask ourselves these questions at the beginning of feeding. Here you will find the answers.

Breastfeeding Is Worth It! Read more

Breastfeeding Is Worth It!

Breastfeeding is a wonderful gift that nature gave to women. A gift both for the child and for mothers themselves. Explore the benefits of breastfeeding.

Breastfeed For Health! Read more

Breastfeed For Health!

A popular opinion says that breastfeeding is a great sacrifice on a woman's part for a baby's good. The truth is this way of feeding is advantageous not only to the baby but also to the breastfeeding mum.

Basic Breastfeeding Mistakes Read more

Basic Breastfeeding Mistakes

You are expecting a baby and want to breastfeed, or maybe you have already started this exceptional adventure, but your head is full of questions and doubts, as in many cases it is not an easy and problem-free task. We will ...

Related products