If you are reading this, let us start off by saying how sorry we are for your loss. The loss of a child, whether they were in your womb or your arms, is difficult. The process of grieving becomes more complicated when no one prepares you adequately for the changes your may experience, particularly after a late term loss (>20 weeks).
We wanted to give you a little information to help you feel more prepared for the changes which lie ahead:
After delivery, your breasts may become tender and swollen. This is a biologic process which happens a few days after you deliver. There are a few options available to you to help you manage engorgement and the milk transition to reduce pain and discomfort. This includes drying up your milk or expressing to donate.
There are no right or wrong choices when it comes to your breast milk. Whatever you decide, we are here to help and support you. (There are no out of pocket fees for this service.)
Drying Up Milk
There is currently no way to “stop” your milk from increasing, unfortunately. However, the following techniques are helpful to decrease discomfort and to encourage your body to stop producing milk as soon as possible:
- Wear a supportive bra (no underwire) 24 hours a day (sports bras work well)
- Use over the counter pain medications
- Cool compresses used intermittently
- Fresh cabbage leaves or cabbage extract (CaboCreme) has been found to provide relief
- If your engorgement is unbearable, you may relieve some discomfort by hand-expressing or pumping a small amount of milk. Expressing some milk to soften the breast a little can provide comfort. Use this technique sparingly.
Most lactating parents report their breasts returning to normal in about 2 weeks.
If you develop any flu like symptoms during this time (fever over 101 degrees Fahrenheit, and/or you have body aches, chills, overall unwell feeling) or redness/hard spots in your breasts, contact your primary healthcare provider.
Some parents find it a healing experience to pump and donate their breast milk to another baby.
For more information about milk donation options in your area, please contact your local hospital NICU, Milk Bank, or La Leche League chapter.
When pumping it is important to be sure you are using an effective breast pump, as well as the correct fitted parts. If you need help or support, we are here for you. Additionally, when pumping, if you develop any flu like symptoms during this time (fever over 101 degrees Fahrenheit, and/or you have body aches, chills, overall unwell feeling) or redness/hard spots in your breasts, contact your primary healthcare provider.
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