Too full? Baby can’t latch?
Occasionally, women have difficulty latching their newborn due to overly full breasts when the milk first “comes in”. The brown area around the nipple (areola) may be too firm and as a result, baby slips off the breast. Moving the swelling away from the nipple and areola can make latching easier.
The following is a softening technique many mothers have found to be helpful. You do not need to soften the whole breast, just the area where the baby will latch.
Place your thumb and first finger where the baby’s lips will be when feeding. (For example, if you will be feeding in the football position, your baby’s lips will be horizontal across your breast. If you feed in a cross cradle position, your baby’s lips will be in a vertical position on your breast.)
Push your fingers straight back towards the chest wall and count to 10.
Move your fingers slightly to each side and repeat the process until the area where the baby latches is softened.
The over fullness is a temporary problem, usually only lasting a day or two until the swelling resolves.
Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.