Breastfeeding Complications: What the heck is Breast Engorgement?

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After a few days of producing colostrum your breasts will begin producing transitional and mature milk. Engorgement is when your breast are full, and very painful. During the first few days your body may be producing more milk than your baby can drink which can cause the engorgement. There are some remedies and tips to help you get through this uncomfortable time.

The best remedy for breast engorgement is to release the milk. If you are breastfeeding directly, this may be a little difficult; since the breast are engorged your skin will become taut, which makes it difficult for the baby to latch successfully.

You may want to consider a different remedy to start promoting milk flow before latching your baby on.

  • Hand expression: manually expressing milk from your breast.
  • Taking a warm shower or bath
  • Pump before offering your baby the breast
  • Warm compresses
  • If you are experiencing discomfort after the feeding (due to the engorgement–not the latch) you can apply a cool compress to your breast

Risks of Breast Engorgement:

  • The engorgement itself will actually decrease your milk supply– because your body recognizes you are making too much. If you want to promote your milk supply you can try to pump in between feedings. This will help you avoid engorgement and will help you build a stockpile for if you are out of the house or someone is babysitting.
  • Engorgement is a sign that the breasts are not being emptied properly, this is also sort of a warning sign for Mastitis. (Not to say if you get Engorged you’ll get Mastitis.)

 

If you are experiencing flu like symptoms, redness of your breasts, they are warm to the touch, and/or  fever contact your care provider immediately.

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