Breast engorgement happens when you produce more milk than you express, be that from the baby sucking or you pumping. What is actually happening is that the milk has overfilled the milk ducts and is filling up in your breasts. Your symptoms probably include:
- Hard swollen breasts
- Mild to severe pain
It will become difficult to pump milk or for the baby to suck and get any milk. For your baby to suck right now is not a good idea because this will prompt your breasts to produce more milk, making the engorgement worse.
The main thing that you will focus on will be alleviating symptoms-something that is quite obvious with the discomfort you’re feeling. Suggestions for relieving the engorgement are:
- Take a warm shower or bath
- Apply warm compresses to your breasts
- Pump your breasts often
- Use ice compresses after pumping to help the swelling go down
- Apply cool cabbage leaves to the breasts to sooth the hot swollen breasts
- Massage the breast in a circular motion above the nipple while you are pumping
- Take Tylenol, if your doctor approves
- Use Booby Tubes
Engorgement of your breast should not last any longer than 1-2 days at the longest, and if you use the methods listed above, you should get through this and feel back to normal soon. Just remember that as uncomfortable and painful as this is, it is not uncommon and you should be able to get this under control by using the measures mentioned here.
The main way to prevent your breasts from becoming engorged is to make sure that you are pumping or breastfeeding on a regular schedule so that your breasts do not get too full of milk.