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What You Need to Know About Warm Compress for Breastfeeding

What You Need to Know About Warm Compress for Breastfeeding
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Last Updated: 26 August 2020

Every expectant mother always looks forward to breastfeeding their babies. Sometimes, breastfeeding can work so well that the baby and the mom are happy and thriving. But, other times, it is a nightmare for new mothers because of the discomfort they may experience. Some breastfeeding sessions can be so painful and discouraging for the new mother that they may opt to express milk and give it to the baby using a baby bottle or start to search for breast pumping tips.

warm compress for milk supply

Many factors may contribute to breastfeeding pain. Sometimes, the milk builds up in the breast, causing it to swell and become painful – a condition known as engorgement. This can happen if you do not breastfeed your baby as regularly as you should or when it does not come out despite the baby’s sucking. If the milk is not released, the breast may become larger and tender and may lead to other complications such as clogged duct and mastitis.

Sometimes, you really want to breastfeed your baby, but nothing comes out however much you try. Lactation is a natural process that does not need external induction. But, you can learn how to induce lactation if you do not produce enough milk for the baby naturally. You can try galactagogues or some of the proven tricks to increase your breastmilk supply, including warm compress for breastfeeding.

Warm compress: what it is and how to make one

Generally, a warm compress is a concept that is used to increase blood flow to swollen parts of the body. The increased blood flow reduces pain and increases the rate of healing. Warm compress for breast is the simplest means of increasing circulation, opening a milk duct, and stimulating the milk flow to get enough. It is also the cheapest way of relieving breast pains and treating engorgement.

hot or cold compress for breastfeeding

There are two main types of a warm compress for breastfeeding; moist warm compress and dry warm compress. Moist one involves the application of warm liquid to the breast area using a soaked towel or a suitable piece of cloth. Dry warm compress includes the use of a rubber hot water bottle or heating pad to apply heat on the breast. This approach of increasing breastmilk is effected when done before breastfeeding. However, a warm compress for breast engorgement can be done at any time.

Hot or Cold Compress: Which is most effective?

When you visit your doctor or lactation consultant for your needs, he will recommend a cold and warm compress for breastfeeding. Both methods are effective and can reduce breast swelling and inflammation. While warm compress before breastfeeding increases milk production, a cold compress can be applied in between nursing to relieve the pain and milk production for mothers with plenty of milk. For cold compress, you will lay a thin towel over your breast, then place an ice pack on it and gently rub. You can also use cabbage leaves or frozen peas to soothe the engorged breast.

How to make a warm compress for breastfeeding

You can make a warm compress for breastfeeding at home in simple ways. The procedure is simple and takes just a few minutes. You will need a bowl, a towel, and hot water.

warm compress for breast engorgement
  • Fill the bowl with hot water. It should not be scalding hot.
  • Dip the towel in hot water and allow it to soak for a few seconds.
  • Remove the towel and wring the excess water.
  • Fold the towel and apply it on your breast.
  • Hold it to your skin for 15-20 minutes.

However, if you opt for heat compress for breastfeeding, you will require a hot-water bottle, a heat compress bag, or a heating pad. All you have to do is to fill the hot water bottle with reasonably hot water and hold it against your breast.

How warm compress helps breastfeeding moms

As a breastfeeding mother, you and your baby will benefit a great deal from warm compress. Breastfeeding is not all about the baby but also about your comfort while giving the baby her food. Here are some of the benefits of a warm compress.

  • Increases milk production: Warm compress increases blood circulation and flow in and around the breast area and brings oxytocin hormone that triggers and stimulates milk let-down. Increased milk production ensures that your baby has enough milk every time you feed them.
  • Reduces breastfeeding pain: Breast pain can make breastfeeding a horrible experience. However, warm compress for breastfeeding increases blood flow to the breast and soothes the sore areas, reducing the pains. The increased milk flow from compression also relieves you of the uncomfortable engorgement.
  • Treats mastitis: Warm compress for breast milk is both a therapy and treatment for mastitis conditions. A mastitis is a form of breast infection that causes your breast to appear as hard and swollen. It often follows engorgement and may be accompanied by flue and fever. Mastitis warm compress treatment involves rubbing a warm, moist towel around your breast before nursing or pumping. Emptying the breast helps in reducing the inflammation.
  • Treating nipple bleb: Nipple blebs are milk blisters that form on your nipples, blocking the milk duct and preventing it from draining. Soaking the blebs in warm compress is the best way to treat and remove them.

Final thoughts

making a warm compress

Breastfeeding should be an experience that all moms look forward to. Unfortunately, almost all women experience some pain while feeding their babies. This pain, if not managed, may lead to complications such as breast abscess. Warm compress is a simple remedy for increasing milk let-out and managing engorgement and other breast pains. You can visit top-mom.com for some other tips and find more answers to disturbing questions.

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