A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Engorgement
I had a question the other day about engorgement.
Breastfeeding, or lactation, is the natural way for the mother of a newborn to feed her child instead of relying on cow’s milk or artificial infant formulas.
A woman’s breasts are ideally suited for feeding a baby, and nursing gives many benefits to both mother and baby.
For example, mother’s milk is much easier to digest, prevents constipation, lowers the incidence of food allergies, and protects the baby from many infectious diseases.
Nursing also promotes healthy oral development, satisfies suckling needs, and enhances bonding between mother and child.
Breastfeeding is beneficial to the mother as it reduces the chance of hemorrhaging from the placental site, gives you a chance to rest, and encourages your uterus to contract, returning it to its pre-pregnant size.
Engorgement is a temporary problem usually occurring between 2-5 days after childbirth.
It’s caused by a combination of the increased blood supply to your breast and the pressure of the newly produced milk, resulting in the swelling of the tissues in your breast.
A low-grade fever may be present; your breasts feel full, hard, tender, and tight; and the skin of your breasts is hot, shiny, and distended.
You don’t need engorgement in order to nurse.
Seek medical attention immediately to determine if you have engorged breasts or mastitis.
To deal with engorgement it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 6-8 cups of purified water daily.
*Give your baby short, frequent feedings. A feeding schedule of every 1-1/2 to 2 hours day and night should be kept while engorgement lasts.
*Express milk between feedings to relieve pressure.
*Apply moist heat for 30 minutes before each feeding, and massage your breast during feedings to help get the milk flowing.
*Don’t use nipple shields, as they can confuse the baby’s sucking pattern, damage nipples, reduce stimulation of your breast, and decrease your milk supply.
*To prevent engorgement, feed your baby on demand and without delay, and allow unrestricted suckling time.
*Don’t skip or delay feedings during the day or night. Don’t give your baby any formula or sugar water, and allow your baby to empty each breast completely at each feeding.
*It’s recommended newborns nurse 8-12 times every 24 hours until the baby is satisfied, usually 10-15 minutes on each side.
*Any of the following herbs can be beneficial for the nursing mother: alfalfa, blessed thistle, dandelion, fennel, and raspberry.
*Nettle leaf has a tonic effect and contains iron, in addition to many other nutrients.
*The following herbs decrease milk supply, and should be avoided until you’re no longer nursing: black walnut, sage, and yarrow.
*Eat plenty of brewer’s yeast, eggs, nuts and seeds, and whole grains. Raw foods should be plentiful in your diet.
*A mother’s milk is a nearly perfect food. However, it’s low in vitamins A, D, and C. You should eat a balanced diet, but you can also benefit from taking prenatal multivitamins and nutritional supplements like calcium, vitamin D, and fish oil.
*Eliminate toxic exposures, both food and environment.
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