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Here’s why it happens and what you can do to relieve it.
Breast engorgement occurs in women who are breastfeeding and it means their breasts are overfull of milk, which can cause discomfort or even pain. This usually occurs when a mother makes more milk than her child uses. Your breasts may become firm and swollen, which can make it hard for your baby to breastfeed. Luckily, engorged breasts can be treated at home.
When engorgement may happen:
During the first few days after child delivery, when your milk first comes in. It will usually go away on its own in a few days.
When you can't nurse or pump your breast milk as often as usual.
If you suddenly stop breastfeeding or your baby eats less than usual.
What should you do?
The following steps can help you to relieve your engorgement and keep your milk flowing:
Soften your breasts before feeding by applying a warm compress for a couple of minutes before you breastfeed or let out a small amount of milk from both breasts with a pump or your hands.
Try to breastfeed more often.
If you feel uncomfortable after nursing, apply a cold compress to reduce swelling for 15 minutes. Place a thin cloth between your breast and the compress to avoid nipple damage.
If you decide not to breastfeed after childbirth, use one or more of these steps to relieve discomfort:
Apply a cold compress to reduce swelling for 15 minutes. Place a thin cloth between your breast and the compress to avoid nipple damage.
Wear a bra that fits well and provides good support.
Yes, breast engorgement can be prevented:
You should keep milk moving out of your breasts and take care not to let your breasts become overfull.
Breastfeed whenever you notice signs that your baby is hungry. During the first few days and weeks feeds usually occur every 1 to 3 hours around the clock.
Make sure that your baby is latching on and feeding well.
Empty one breast completely before you switch to the other side.