Claire delivered a 3,400 gram baby boy and was transferred to the postpartum unit. On the second postpartum day the patient experiences tenderness and breast engorgement from breast feeding. To relieve her discomfort the nurse should encourage the patient to:


•Warm compresses should be applied between feedings to reduce discomfort. Cold compresses can be applied if the patient is not breast feeding.

•Breast milk forms in response to the fall of estrogen and progesterone levels that follows delivery of the placenta. When the production of milk begins, the milk ducts become distended. The breasts become fuller, larger and firmer. The distention is not limited to the milk ducts, it also occurs in the surrounding tissue.

•The feeling of tension in the breasts on the third or fourth day is termed primary engorgement.

•Do not discontinue breastfeeding. Primary engorgement fades as the infant begins effective sucking and empties the breasts of milk.

•Do not remove the bra because a supportive bra provides pain relief and comfort to engorged breasts.

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