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Lactostasis in a nursing mother: causes and symptoms
Lactostasis in a nursing mother: causes and symptoms

Lactostasis is a pathological condition characterized by the accumulation of milk in the mammary glands as a result of the obstruction of its outflow. The chest becomes denser, painful when palpating, the saphenous veins expand in the stasis zone.

Body temperature rises to subfebrile levels. Soreness and tension after emptying the breast may go away, but it happens that it remains.

Lactostasis: why does it arise and what to do?

  1. The reasons are hidden in a decrease in the patency of the excretory duct, excessive milk production, a combination of increased lactation with obstruction and narrowing of the ducts.
  2. In the development of the disease, individual anatomical features play an important role, for example, sagging breasts, flat nipple, narrow ducts with excessive secretory activity of the gland.
  3. The disease can occur when the refusal of natural feeding, various difficulties (cracked nipples, improper attachment, weak sucking activity of the newborn). Too tight underwear, sleep in a position on the stomach, stress, hard physical labor can disturb the outflow.
  4. In the first few days after your baby is born, too much milk is produced. Basically, on 3-4 days, and with repeated births and earlier, its active production begins, while the newborn sucks out a very small amount. This leads to the fact that the breast is only partially emptied. When feeding the first child, some difficulty arises, since the lactiferous ducts are still narrow, they need to be developed, and expression is difficult due to the lack of skill in the mother.
  5. The rest of the milk leads to an increase in pressure in the ducts and lobules, the gland in the stagnation zone infiltrates, swells, the breast begins to ache and thickens. The milk is partially absorbed back, which provokes a fever. Increased pressure in the lobules can lead to a decrease in milk production and, accordingly, a deterioration in lactation in the future. With the progression of the pathology, natural feeding may become impossible.

Lactostasis symptoms

  • The main manifestation of the disease is painful compaction of one area;
  • There may be a feeling of severity of distention;
  • With prolonged blockage, local hyperemia occurs;
  • The temperature during lactostasis rises to both subfebrile and febrile indices;
  • Feeding may be accompanied by severe painful sensations;
  • The stagnation zone can change its localization, as well as increase in size.

Usually, after emptying the breast, the symptoms become less pronounced, but not in all cases of the disease.

How to stop symptoms, prevention and treatment of lactostasis in a nursing mother?

  1. First of all, you need to ensure a high-quality outflow of milk. Massage and gentle warming will help to widen the ducts.
  2. To reduce the likelihood of reflex stasis, you need to rest well, eliminate stressful situations, not wear tight underwear, sleep on your side and back.
  3. You need to feed your baby on demand. It is better to start feeding with a sore breast, as the baby will have to make an effort to suck the milk, and if he eats, he may refuse to suck. But healthy breasts should not be forgotten either. The baby needs to be fed so that he is comfortable and comfortable, and also pay attention to the tight contact with the nipple. If the baby suckles not intensively and quite rarely, you need to express the excess yourself.

How to treat lactostasis at home?

  • Massaging with stroking movements in the direction of the nipple will help to increase the outflow. Massaging, feeding, and pumping will be painful, but you need to endure it until the symptoms go away.
  • The exertion of effort contributes to a good emptying of the glands and, accordingly, full lactation in the future.
  • If the outflow improves while the baby is sucking on the breast, a tingling and burning sensation may occur in a nursing mother.
  • The expressed milk may contain "milk grains", filamentous fibers. It may look too bold. Do not be intimidated, as this is a normal consistency that provides good nutrition for the baby.
  • Between breastfeeding and pumping, a breastfeeding mother should apply cold compresses to relieve her condition.
  • Before feeding / expressing, the gland is kept warm, for example, if necessary, a cloth soaked in warm water is wrapped around the breast, or a warm shower is taken. However, hot water and warming compresses can aggravate the situation by attaching an infection, so you should not get too carried away with such activities.
  • After warming up, you need to do a kneading massage. The movements should be circular, directed from the base to the nipple. On palpation, the diseased lobule is well palpable, it differs from healthy tissues by its excessive density. The place of compaction must be kneaded especially carefully, since this area requires pumping in the first place. After pumping, it is recommended to feed the baby by letting the remaining milk suck out.
  • If the violation lasts more than a day, then after expressing for another 1-2 days, there may be soreness in the area where there was milk stagnation. When the pain does not go away, but, on the contrary, intensifies, there is a fever, hyperemia, then there is a high probability of developing mastitis - inflammation of the mammary gland. In this case, warming procedures are inappropriate, since heat provokes the spread of infection. Mastitis requires urgent medical attention.
  • With lactostasis, warming compresses should not be put, for example, alcohol can provoke the activation of the bacterial flora, besides, they disrupt the hormonal regulation of lactation, only exacerbate the situation.
  • Excessive passion for massage can also lead to the progression of pathology: mechanical damage to the ducts and lobules, the appearance of new foci of stagnation, and an increase in temperature.
  • Improper use of therapeutic measures can lead to the fact that lactation will stop altogether. If the treatment of lactostasis at home is ineffective, you should consult a doctor. Many women are unable to effectively express milk, and the procedure is quite painful.
  • The midwife will be able to assist with the development of ducts and dissection. Good specialists carry out this procedure very effectively and painlessly. You can use a breast pump to express, but you must first stretch your breasts.
  • Ultrasonic massage is an effective technique. Your doctor may prescribe injections of oxytocin, which helps to shrink your milk ducts.

Cabbage leaf for lactostasis treatment

Cabbage is an effective, simple and cheap traditional medicine.

However, you need to use this fruit correctly:

  1. First you need to remove the dense white leaves from the fork, leaving the inner ones;
  2. You only need to use fresh sheets;
  3. Before the procedure, wrinkle the sheet a little to make it softer. You can pre-grease it with honey;
  4. Apply a cabbage leaf to the chest, fixing it with standard insulation, as when applying a compress;
  5. Apply the cabbage so as to create not only a warm, but also a moderately cooling compress.

There are several recipes for the use of this fruit, which will effectively overcome lactation problems. For example, a fresh leaf is first slightly crushed, and then greased with butter and sprinkled with salt. Cabbage, together with salt, relieve swelling well.

You can also use another recipe, which is suitable in the case when the pathological condition is accompanied by severe pain.

It is necessary to skip a few cabbage leaves through a meat grinder, add 2 tbsp to them. l. curdled milk and make a compress from the resulting gruel.

In this case, you need to make sure that it does not dry out, so you need to change it often.

The cabbage leaf can be applied to the sore spot warm. Pre-scald it with boiling water, then grease it with honey and put a compress.

What can breast lactostasis lead to: complications and consequences

This condition can quickly progress to mastitis. This disease is accompanied by severe pain syndrome, a local increase in temperature, the appearance of red stripes in the affected area, impurities of pus or blood in milk.

Hypothermia can provoke mastitis, for example, feeding in a draft, overheating (hot bath, compress), improper treatment of lactostasis. The latter, if it lasts long enough, can provoke an abscess.

Take care of yourself, pay attention to the first symptoms of the disease in time and do not delay the start of treatment!

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