Breast engorgement is a condition in which you have swollen, painful, and inflamed breasts. It mostly occurs after childbirth when the blood supply to the breast is increased.
Even if you decide not to breastfeed your child, you may experience breast engorgement in the initial days of breastfeeding. Your body may make milk, but when you do not breastfeed, the production may stop eventually.
What Is The Cause For Breast Engorgement?
Breast engorgement occurs due to increased blood flow to the breast. It happens because the milk supply is increased after childbirth. The increased blood flow to the breasts helps make them ample amount of milk, but it can also lead to pain and discomfort of the breast.
Mostly, breast engorgement occurs in the first or second week of childbirth. However, it can occur later too, if you keep breastfeeding your child.
Certain health conditions and scenarios can put you at risk of breast engorgement, such as:
- Missing a feeding or a pumping session
- Creating too much milk for the baby
- Incorporating formula milk in the baby’s feeding session
- Nursing a baby who is ill
- If your baby starts to wean too soon
- Not expressing breast milk when it comes in the initial stage because you do not plan to breastfeed your child.
How Can You Relieve Breast Engorgement?
Breast engorgement is painful, but the good news is that it can be relieved by practicing simple tips. Remedies that can help relieve breast engorgement are:
Breast engorgement can occur when milk accumulates in your milk. Therefore to cope with it, you should feed your child often. If you do not breastfeed your child, do not forget to express the milk.
You should feed your child every three to four hours. Feed them as much as they take. However, it is better to keep a session for twenty minutes.
If your baby is sleepy, do not wait for them to wake up and ask for a feed. Wake them up and feed them. Making a proper feeding routine can help prevent breast engorgement for you.
If you are supplementing formula milk with breast milk, you should express the excess breast milk you have. But make sure you do not end up expressing too much milk because the more you will express, the more milk production is increased.
Massage and Warm Compress
Massage and warm compress can help get rid of breast engorgement. To relieve breast engorgement, you can try taking a hot steamy shower or doing a hot compress. Moreover, massaging your breasts before feeding can also help relieve swelling or pain. However, do not massage in between the feeding sessions as it can worsen the condition.
Use Both Breasts With Different Positions
Draining both the breast is essential to relieve breast engorgement. Make sure you breastfeed your child in different positions so that the breast milk is expressed properly.
Moreover, you should feed your child from both breasts so that both can be relieved.
If you pump breast milk, make sure you do that from both breasts. However, you can express from one and then take a break for some time and then express the other. If you start feeling tired while you breastfeed, these tips from Serenity Kids may be of help.
Doing a cold compress and putting cabbage leaves on your breasts after every feeding session can help relieve pain due to breast engorgement. However, do not overdo that as it can stop milk production.
Wearing a tight and supportive bra can also help relieve breast pain. But make sure you do not wear an overtight bra as it can itself cause pain.