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Lactostasis in a nursing mother: symptoms and treatment


Excess breast milk or improper organization of breastfeeding can cause lactostasis.This is a pathological condition in which milk in the chest stagnates, which leads to soreness, swelling, and hyperemia.If at this time not to help the woman, lactostasis passes into infected mastitis.To eliminate the latter, surgical intervention is recommended.

Table of Contents: General Information Causes of lactostasis Symptoms of lactostasis Diagnosis Treatment of lactostasis

General information

Most often lactostasis is diagnosed in primiparous women, which is explained by the lack of experience in breastfeeding.The mechanism of its development is simple: in norm in each of 15 - 25 lobules of a mammary gland at lactation the production of milk is carried out.Subsequently, it passes through the ducts that extend from these lobules, to the nipple, and there it is received by the baby through the milky pores.

If, for some reason, the ducts become clogged due to gushing or hyperlactation, the milk stagnates and lingers.Initially, a milk stopper appears, which at best complicates the process of breast sucking for the baby, and at worst - causes discomfort, soreness to the woman.

Lactostasis-chest Please note! It is because of the risk of development of lactostasis that doctors recommend that the nursing mother regularly feel her breasts for the presence of seals.

Milk can stagnate even in the lobules themselves.Mostly this occurs in the first weeks after childbirth, when it is in large quantities, which the baby can not absorb.The milk ducts aggravate the situation, since they are not yet sufficiently developed.Only 3 to 4 days of disregarding discomfort and soreness can lead to the development of uninfected mastitis.In this case, the delayed milk begins to re-absorb and develop a fever.At the same time, the repeated production of milk slows down.

If unrelated mastitis is associated with pathogenic flora, for example, cocci, infected mastitis is diagnosed.The only possible treatment option for this disease is the operation .

Causes of lactostasis

Lactostasis develops with:

  • Lactostasis A rare change in body position.According to most doctors, the optimal feeding time is 20 minutes.Meanwhile, many young mothers who prefer to sleep while feeding the baby do not follow these recommendations.As a result, they stay in one position for a long time, the ducts and lobes are pinched, they do not have time to empty out, and the milk stagnates.
  • Wrong choice of underwear.Unsuitable in size or excessively tight, it can press on the upper and side quadrants of the chest, thereby provoking lactostasis.For the prevention of the latter, breastfeeding experts recommend taking off clothes for the night or choosing models for lactating women.
  • Chronic fatigue, stress, heavy physical exertion.They cause the appearance of spasms, including in the ducts and, as a result, worsening of the outflow of milk.
  • Abuse of fatty foods, such as nuts.They make milk more dense, which makes it harder for a child to suck it out of his chest.If the latter is not emptied, the risk of developing a milk plug increases.Another reason is the failure to comply with the drinking regime.Refusal of water and drinks, especially in summer, can also lead to lactostasis.
  • Incorrect application.Often, women hold the mammary gland with two fingers, thereby unconsciously squeezing the ducts.
  • Lactostasis Refuse from night feeding, rare attachment to the chest, shortened sucking time.These are extremes, as a result of which the child does not empty the chest.
  • Frequent expression.Another extreme, a mistake that the young woman is unconsciously being pushed by more experienced friends, relatives.Nature is designed so that in the breast produces exactly as much milk as the baby needs.The quantity is determined by its needs.The more he sucks, the more comes to the next feeding.The behavior in which a woman is advised to be decanted to the end after each feeding, is treated by nature incorrectly.As a result, milk is more and more, so the young mother is expressed more often and so in a circle.
  • There are habits of sleeping on the stomach.
  • Trauma or pathology of breast development.These are the excessively narrow ducts, the entrained nipple, the sagging of its lower part.
  • Fissures on the nipples, resulting in a woman restricting feeding.
  • Breast mammary gland to stop lactation.

Please note! Many women turn to breastfeeding experts complaining that when they change the weather, they form seals in the chest.Physicians the mechanism of stagnation in this case can not explain, however, the fact remains a fact.

Symptoms of lactostasis

The first sign of the development of lactostasis is a compaction in the chest( a hard lump with clear boundaries).It can be impressive or small, the size of a pea, it all depends on the area of ​​the lesion.Also, it is noted:

  • Lactostasis discomfort, tenderness when pressing on the problem zone, and sometimes when feeding;
  • hyperemia, tuberosity of the affected area;
  • asymmetric breast augmentation;
  • feeling of bursting;
  • drip milk or reduce the number of jets when pressing on the mammary gland;
  • swelling;
  • temperature increase.

Important! Temperature above 38 - 39 degrees may indicate that the purulent-inflammatory process is already developing.To avoid complications, immediately consult a doctor.


The specialist determines the presence of lactostasis on the first examination of the breast.Along with this, he excludes other diseases that can manifest similar signs.Mastitis is excluded if the woman does not have a fever, and she feels well.

In addition, the patient is assigned:

  • the expanded analysis of a blood - parameters of erythrocytes and leukocytes allow to estimate an extent of neglect of inflammatory process;
  • Ultrasound - the method helps to identify blocked ducts, and also to exclude or confirm the presence of pustular lesions, cysts;
  • mammography - is prescribed in extreme cases if there is a suspicion of the presence of neoplasms.

Treatment of lactostasis

Lechenie-laktostaza In the early stages, lactostasis can be treated at home.It boils down to decanting, that is to restore the normal movement of milk in the milk ducts.To do this, you need to apply as often as possible to the patient's chest. For maximum effect, breaks between attachments should be done for no more than 3 hours, even at night.The ideal mode of feeding during this period is "on demand".In other words, give the breast as often as possible, allowing the baby to drink as much as he wants.

Strain and compresses with lactostasis

If discomfort does not disappear, it makes sense to apply manual pumping.It is carried out in several stages:

  • Breast is preheated - you can take a hot shower, during which to do a gentle massage of the breast.Replace the shower with a towel soaked in warm water and applied for 15 minutes.
  • Lactostasis The decantation is then carried out.You can do this with a breast pump or manually.At the same time soft, neat movements are welcomed, in the direction from the base of the mammary gland to the nipple.If the milk does not flow, you need to check the correctness of the breast.Ideally, 4 fingers are placed under its lower part, and large - on the area of ​​the areola.Massaging the chest is necessary to relieve the condition and relieve pain.
    Important! At the time of expressing, brute force and sharp pressure can only exacerbate the situation and provoke a new transmission of ducts.Movements should be smooth, simulating sucking while feeding.You can press your fingers or roll them on the ducts.The main thing is to express not more than 3 times a day, avoiding the periods from 2 nights to 8 am, when the production of prolactin, responsible for lactation, increases.
  • If the pain does not pass, compresses are applied to the affected mammary gland. Compresses for lactostasis are extremely effective and approved by the official medicine.For this, you can use a cold cabbage leaf, pre-beat it until the appearance of juice, honey.The latter is mixed with flour to obtain a viscous tortilla, which is then applied to the sore spot.Alternative option - a compress of cold cottage cheese.Apply compresses need not more than 120 minutes.

If the seal does not decrease after 2 days, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible.Another sure sign of the deterioration of the situation is the temperature, which lasts longer than 2 days.

Breastfeeding is the best way to prevent and treat milk stagnation.That's why you should not abandon it during periods of pathology.Moreover, it is important to pay attention to the position for feeding. There is an opinion that the speed of recovery depends on its correct choice.

Doctors recommend:

  • When seals appear close to the sternum( inner upper quadrants of the gland), feed sitting, from underarm.This is when the legs and the baby's ass are left behind the mother's back, and the head is put to the chest.Similarly, feed if the lump is closer to the armpits.
  • Seals in the front lobes "break" by feeding in a pose from above, bending over the child.

Drugs for lactostasis

Lactostasis If performed manipulations do not bring relief, prescribe medications.It can be ointment "Arnika", "Malavit".They are applied to the affected area, but must be washed off before feeding.

Please note! When lactation is not recommended to use alcohol or ointments based on camphor, as they negatively affect the production of milk.

If necessary, the course up to 5 days prescribe antispasmodics, extending the ducts, for example, No-shpu.If there is a suspicion of mastitis, the doctor prescribes antibiotics approved for breastfeeding - Augmentin, Amoxicillin.

Prevention of lactostasis

To prevent reappearance of lactostasis it is possible:

  • Regularly changing the position for feeding, for example, lying down alternately on the right and left sides.
  • Refusing to close, uncomfortable underwear.Most often it remains from the "old life", in spite of the fact that the breast is growing and bones, the seams squeeze it.The best option at this time is wearing a special bra for pregnant women who has a soft cup and no pips.
  • Planning your day.Do not clutch at household chores at every opportunity.Strong sleep for 7 - 8 hours is the key to good lactation without concomitant diseases.
  • Observing the diet, drinking regimen.

Lactostasis is a problem that plagues many young mothers, but it is successfully solved with the proper organization of breastfeeding.Nevertheless, it is important to regularly inspect the mammary gland for the presence of seals throughout the lactation period.Thus, it will be possible to prevent her complications, which are eliminated by surgery - mastitis.

Chumachenko Olga, pediatrician

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