Sometimes babies are not able to feed because the mother’s breasts are too full. The following steps should be taken to alleviate the problem:
Heat should be applied to the breasts before each feed in the following ways:
NB: The baby should continue to be fed regularly. Feeds should not be skipped.
- By using a hot towel
- By taking a hot bath
- By using an infrared lamp for about 10 minutes.
- Using the hands, milk can be expressed until the areola around the nipple is soft and then the baby can latch. Allowing the baby to suck on the breast a little longer if possible will also help to alleviate engorgement.
- Some milk may be expressed to gain some relief but she should not empty the breast completely, as this will increase the milk production.
- A comfortable, supporting bra should be worn.
Cold, not frozen, cabbage leaves can be placed on the breasts. Alternatively, cold cabbage leaves can be placed on the breasts and (with assistance) be bound up with crepe bandage (like a cross-your-heart bra).
- Painkillers can be used if the breasts are very uncomfortable.
Mothers are encouraged to persevere, as this condition normally does not last longer than a few feeds.
If a painful, red, lumpy area develops in the breast and you develop a fever, consult your doctor, as you might need an antibiotic.
However, if you experience any problems beforehand, contact your doctor immediately.
To prevent cracked nipples, the mother must ensure that the baby latches properly at each feed and use correct method to take the baby off the breast, which staff will demonstrate to her.
A good nipple cream or milk, expressed after a feed, can be used to alleviate soreness. If a blister develops on the nipple, the baby’s position should be changed when it feeds. Exposure to sunlight, a hair drier or red lamp for + 10 minutes after a feed may be useful.
Tips regarding diet
- Follow a healthy, well balanced diet.
- Do not go on a strict weight-loss diet especially whilst breast-feeding.
- There is no need to change your diet if you are breast-feeding.
- Eat everything in moderation and drink + 2 litres of fluid per day.
- Foods that might cause discomfort to your baby are:
- Food containing excessive spices
- The “cabbage” family
- Tomatoes, onions, garlic etc
- Fruit juices in excessive amounts
It is important to rest as much as possible, especially if you are breast-feeding as excessive exercise etc can reduce your milk supply.
Sitz-baths should be taken until the episiotomy has healed completely which usually takes about 14 days. The stitches are dissolvable and will not need to be taken out.
Sexual activities can be resumed when comfortable or on the doctor’s advice.
Caesarean section – general wound care:
The patient should:
- Keep the wound clean and dry.
- Keep the waterproof dressing on for three days.
- Remove the dressing if the wound becomes wet, burns or any discharge or redness of the area is noted.
- Clean the wound with surgical spirits or Hibicol.
- Contact the doctor if any signs of wound infection are noted.
- The stitches will be removed at the doctor’s rooms 10 – 12 days after the caesarean section or subject to the doctor’s decision. (See back page for specific doctor’s follow –up procedures)
Infection – Danger Signs:
- If the new mother notices any of the following symptoms, she should consult her doctor immediately.
- Her temperature is raised and she feels as though she has the flu.
- Her wound is red and burning.
- Any offensive yellow discharge from the wound.
- A sudden, heavy vaginal bleeding.
- An offensive vaginal discharge.
After normal delivery, exercises can be started immediately.The most important exercises are the pelvic floor exercises. (See information leaflet).
Most doctors recommend that patients who have had a caesarean section do not drive a car themselves for about 3 weeks. This does not apply to patients who have had a normal delivery.
Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to fall pregnant whilst breast-feeding. The new mother is advised to be aware of this and to discuss contraception with her doctor or clinic sister as soon as possible.
Post-natal examination of the mother:
The post-natal examination is usually done six weeks after giving birth. The doctor should be contacted well in advance to make an appointment.
(See follow up visits)