Breast engorgement is a frequent condition in the days after childbirth, which causes tension and pain in the breasts of the new mother. That is not strange. What is rare is the case of Linda Jones, a 39-year-old mother of six, who has just given birth to triplets and has gone viral on Tik Tok by showing a rather strange breast engorgement in her armpits.
The three babies, born at 34 weeks gestation, are in the ICU and she is determined to feed them her milk, which is why she has been expressing it with a breast pump.
In a video uploaded to his Tik Tok account, he shows what happened on the sixth day after the cesarean section: painful lumps appeared in his armpits. “I was in a lot of pain, my armpits were full and my breasts were huge,” she says. “Just hard as a rock.”
@keepin.up.with.3joneses Engorged! #exclusivepumping #pumping #postpartum #milk #engorged #colostrum #lactation #lactationhelp #breastfeed #momlife #tripletpregnancy #newborn ♬ Stories 2 – Danilo Stankovic
Breast engorgement: why it occurs
Breast engorgement is common when milk rises. After the production of colostrum, the breasts begin to fill with milk that, if the baby does not empty it, accumulates in the mammary alveoli.
The breasts become hard and hot, feel swollen and sore. The skin looks tight and shiny, and the nipples become hard and flat due to the effect of swelling. A few tenths of a fever may even appear.
If it is not solved with the appropriate techniques, the congestion can lead to mastitis, which is an infection of the mammary gland.
Breast tissue in the armpits
Engorgement can occur in one or both breasts and can sometimes extend to the armpit.
In some rare cases, women have a breast malformation known as supernumerary breasts, or ectopic breast tissue , that is, mammary glands that have grown out of place.
Occasionally, the mother has accessory breasts with a complete ductal system, areola, and nipple, in addition to the two normal breasts.
This is because when breasts form, there are initially two lines of breast tissue, from the armpit to the groin. The mammary gland develops where it belongs and the rest of the tissue regresses. But sometimes tissue remains in the armpit area, known as supernumerary or accessory breasts .
It is something that is very uncomfortable for mothers who breastfeed because they have a rise in milk in the armpit.
How to relieve breast engorgement
Treatment to relieve engorgement in accessory breasts is the same as for breasts with engorgement or engorgement. Mainly, putting the baby to the breast so that the milk flows and the mammary ducts empty. The shots should be on demand, when the baby asks or by putting him to the breast frequently, at least 8 to 10 times a day.
- Increase the frequency of feedings : emptying the breasts frequently is the best way to relieve engorgement when the first symptoms are noticed: tension, swollen breasts, etc.
- Check that the baby latches on well to the breast and empties it properly.
- Massage the breast : to prevent milk from accumulating in a specific area and from developing into mastitis. You can do it under the shower; it will be easier for you.
- Express a little milk before feeding with your hand or breast pump , so that it softens and your baby can latch on to the nipple better.
- If the baby does not empty the breast during feedings, express milk with the breast pump or with manual expression.
- Practice “smoothing reverse pressure,” a technique that involves applying positive pressure to the breast areola in the area around the nipple. Here we show you how to do it.
- Apply local cold to the breast or armpit area (not the areola) after breastfeeding: you can apply a cold compress or a bag of cold gel or frozen peas wrapped in a cloth.
- Cabbage leaves washed and applied directly to the chest (and held with a bra), help to deflate the breasts. These leaves contain substances -tannins- that absorb excess heat and help reduce inflammation. To ensure good contact, the ribs of the sheet can be broken by rolling over them.
- It is not convenient to wear tight bras , even at night it is advisable to sleep without a bra. This can make the chest leak less and also prevent engorgement.
- Analgesics and anti-inflammatories can be used for pain and inflammation.
If the engorgement doesn’t improve, don’t hesitate to see your doctor or a lactation consultant.
In a new Tik Tok post two weeks after giving birth, the mother of triplets comments that she has consulted a lactation consultant, who advised her to use a combination of compresses and massages . And while he still has some “soft sacs,” as he calls them, they are considerably smaller and no longer cause him pain.
In Babies and more | Do you have hyperproduction of breast milk? how to handle it