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Your question:

My milk has come in but I’m finding it difficult latching on

Expert’s answer:

Some Mums find ‘latching on’ a little more difficult in the first few days after their ‘milk comes-in’.  Their breasts may feel very full and sometimes hard – often called engorgement.  Some tips for managing this include:

  • Place a warm, moist flannel or facecloth (warm compress) on your breast for a few minutes and hand express some milk before feeding.  This can help soften your breast a little making it easier for baby to latch on.
  • After a feed or in between feeds use a cold, moist flannel or facecloth (cold compress) to reduce swelling and relieve pain.
  • Using reverse pressure softening

Reverse pressure softening

Reverse pressure softening is a new way to soften the areaola (the circle around your nipple) to make latching and removing your milk easy while you and your baby are learning to breastfeed.   In the early days, breast swelling, firmness or ‘fullness’ may only partly be due to milk coming-in.  Some of the swelling may be from extra fluid stored in the spongy, protective tissue around the milk ducts.  This can be quite common where Mums have had IV fluids or certain drugs (such as pitocin) during labour and can take 7-14 days to go away.

Reverse pressure softening briefly moves mild or firmer swelling away from under our areola, slightly backward into your breast for a short period of 5-10 minutes.  This allows your areola to change shape very easily and makes latching on easier.  It is often helpful in the first weeks to relieve firmness of the areola, breast swelling or help with latch problems.  Some Mums use it regularly, before each feed, for a week or longer until their swelling goes down and latching is deep and easy and milk is flowing well.  Mums can also use it at any time, to get a ‘let-down’ reflex before or while pumping.

For instructions on how to do reverse pressure softening What is reverse pressure softening?

Mums should not feel discomfort or pain when doing Reverse pressure softening.  Reverse pressure softening should never be used for swelling caused by mastitis, plugged ducts or breast abcess.

 

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