What is Breast Engorgement?
Breast engorgement means that your breasts will become painful due to a large amount of milk in them. It occurs when a mother’s breasts produce more milk than that which the baby uses. The breasts become swollen and full. This makes it uncomfortable to breastfeed.
It is normal for your breasts to feel heavy during the first two or three days after childbirth. Your breasts feel this way due to the milk, fluids and blood in them. Your body uses these extra fluids to make more milk for your child. Unrelieved breast engorgement can cause clogged ducts, a low supply of milk or mastitis. It is thus, important to breastfeed your child every two hours after birth and to nurse often after that.
Breast Engorgement Symptoms:
Symptoms of breast engorgement include swollen, warm, firm and painful breasts. If they are severely engorged, they can look shiny and feel lumpy. The nipples will seem flattened and the areola will be very firm making it difficult for your baby to latch on.
Breast engorgement can happens a few days after childbirth, or as soon as your first milk comes in. It can also happen if you stop nursing normally as you used to. It also happens once you introduce your baby to solid food or if your baby’s appetite for solid food increases and you are forced to stop breast feeding. Breast engorgement gradually stops around 3 weeks after childbirth but will continue to be painfully engorged if you do not feed your child often.
There is no medication to stop breast engorgement but there are home remedies that help ease it. If you have introduced your baby to solid food or you have to go back to work, you can purchase a breast pump. A breast pump sucks milk out of your breasts and stores it in a container. You can store this milk in a cool place and feed it to your child later. Placing a warm or cold compress on your breasts will help ease the swelling. Taking ibuprofen will help ease the pain but not permanently. Ibuprofen is safe for breastfeeding moms but it is safe to consult a doctor before taking it. Purchasing a comfy bra will also help reduce breast engorgement.