Holy Boobs Batman! Engorgement Relief for Breastfeeding Moms
- Engorgement in the areola and/or body of the breast
- Engorgement occurs in one or both breasts
- Engorgement builds to a peak and then decrease, stay at the same level for a period of time (anywhere from minimal to intense), or peak several times
Engorgement ReliefAccording to KellyMom.com, a mother can reduce engorgement by:
- Nurse early and often -- at least 10 times per 24 hours. Don't skip feedings (even at night).
- Nurse on baby's cues ('on demand'). If baby is very sleepy: wake baby to nurse every 2-3 hours, allowing one longer stretch of 4-5 hours at night.
- Allow baby to finish the first breast before offering the other side. Switch sides when baby pulls off or falls asleep. Don't limit baby's time at the breast.
- Ensure correct latch and positioning so that baby is nursing well and sufficiently softening the breasts.
- If baby is not nursing well, express your milk regularly and frequently to maintain milk supply and minimize engorgement.
From my experience as a mom to five, I highly recommend the following: Breastfeed on Demand NOT on a Schedule: You want your body to make what your baby needs to grow and develop properly.
Wake Baby to Nurse Often: Newborns sleep A LOT. The more you nurse, the faster engorgement ends -- wake that baby up!
Frozen Vegetables/Cold Compresses: This can reduce inflammation.
Warm Showers (while massaging and hand expressing): The warm water will encourage milk to leak out. Hand Expression
Pump, But NOT a lot, and NOT often: You do not want to pump too much because your body will think that it needs to make that much milk again. You only want to pump for a few minutes, and just enough to alleviate the swelling and pain.
Make sure you avoid:
- Excess stimulation (for example, don't direct a shower spray directly on the breasts).
- Application of heat to the breasts between feedings. This can increase swelling and inflammation. If you must use heat to help with milk flow, limit to a few minutes only.
- Restricting fluids. This does not reduce engorgement. Drink to thirst.