Dealing with Engorgement

If you’ve ever experienced engorged breasts, you probably remember those glorious moments when you’re desperately trying to shove your breast in bub’s mouth to relieve that building pressure. What is this “engorgement” and why all the fuss?

After giving birth, your body begins making prolactin, the hormone responsible for producing breast milk. Initially, your body produces colostrum, a concentrated, high-protein milk rich in disease-fighting antibodies which help your baby fight diseases. In other words, liquid gold! Around day three, your milk will come in and your breasts will likely feel heavier and fuller as you produce greater quantities of milk. This fullness is quite normal and typically eases off after a few weeks once the supply and demand between you and baby meets a more comfortable equilibrium (phew!).

Engorgement, however, can occur when your breasts become hard, lumpy, swollen, and downright uncomfortable. This could be a result of not draining your breasts thoroughly enough or not nursing frequently enough. Engorgement can be painful and can even cause a fever. Yep, engorgement is no fun – paired with demands of mothering you need solutions…stat! Don’t despair, there are many effective, natural ways to get relief from engorged breasts.

Top Tips for Managing Engorgement:

  • Before nursing, apply warm compress for a few minutes to get your milk flowing. This will help your little one get a good feed. Pop gel-bead Breast Pad in a bowl of warm water and place comfortably over the breast.
  • Nurse! Nurse as frequently as your bub needs. Although following a schedule may be a good guideline, your baby cues will be most telling for when you should feed.
  • Allow your baby to empty one breast before moving onto the other. Start on the other breast first on the next feed.
  • While nursing, carefully massage your breast to gently get the milk moving and alleviate the tight spots.
  • Apply cold compress after nursing for instant, soothing relief. Cold compress helps to reduce swelling and discomfort naturally. Find out more about BodyICE Woman Breast Pads here.  
  • Using your hand or a pump, express a little milk and relieve pressure.
  • Take a warm shower and gently massage breasts. This triggers let down and releases some of the extra milk your body’s making.

Above all things, if you think you’re experiencing engorgement, don’t ignore it! Engorgement left untreated can lead to mastitis, a painful infection which requires treatment. No mother should suffer through discomfort without a remedy at hand. Always talk to your doctor if you think you need medical assistance.

What helped you with your engorgement? Comment below!