Oedema


 

Oedema occurs when fluid from the blood vessels seeps into the breast tissue.

Signs and symptoms:

- Breasts may feel rock hard

- Mums may have had IV fluids or syntocinon in labour

- Hands and feet are swollen

- Pitting noted, indents from bra

- Skin appears dull not shiny

- FULL breasts, but no milk flow

- Appears within 48-96 hours after birth

- Lasts 10-14 days

- Baby cant latch as breasts are full

 

Management:

Goal: Shift interstitial fluid towards the lymphatic's to relieve pressure in the breast and allow milk to flow easily.

Immediately before a feed:

-Don't use a pump - this will only draw more fluid to the areola/nipple area

-Mum can lay flat on back/ or lean back - this allows gravity to aid lymphatic drainage.

-Gently apply reverse pressure softening (RPS). Once fluid shifts expect to see milk flow.

-Massage away from the nipple towards the armpit area.

-Press inward toward the chest for a full 60 secs or longer and repeat for 10-20 mins or more if needed. 

Feed baby immediately as the fluid will return quickly.

If the baby is unable to feed, hand express

Apply cool compresses between feeds (eg gel packs, chilled cabbage leaves, bag of frozen veges).