21 August, 2020


Measures and precautions to overcome engorgement

Breast fullness is commonly seen in many of the new mothers in the early postpartum period. This condition is highly experienced when their milk first comes in, usually, after 2-5 days after baby birth. During this period, the mother feels excessive fluids inside her breasts, which are often milk, and the overflowed blood towards breasts.

This sudden attention and increased flow of fluids to your breasts might make you feel uncomfortable, cumbersome, and tender. However, these symptoms curb and vanish away soon after your lactation begins. When this breast fullness does not subside for a longer time and becomes severe, it is called “engorgement.”

Engorgement may repress the development of successful breastfeeding, leading to early breastfeeding cessation. It may also lead to more severe ailments, including breast infection. Hence, checking and preventing the engorgement will make a better lactation for your baby. 


Measures to prevent engorgement 

If you are a new young mom or an expecting mom, you can follow the below measures postpartum. They will highly help you in avoiding the engorgement.

  1. Feed your baby at frequent intervals of about 8-12 times in a day to avoid milk engorging in the breasts. You can feed your baby at the frequency of 2-3  hours in a day and 3-4 hours in the night.
  2. Let your baby understand his/her limits. They will stop latching themselves when their little stomach is full. Thus, allow them to feed as long as they feel content. Do not limit the time for feeding. 
  3. Using a pacifier will skip your baby cues. Hence, avoid a pacifier and breastfeed your baby whenever required to stay up to their feeds.
  4. Massage your breasts with a pack of ice to relieve the nerves after breastfeeding. This routine in the initial days will highly help you to avoid swelling caused by edema.


Measures to overcome engorgement 

If you are already facing engorgement, then it is highly necessary to treat the condition first. Follow the below-mentioned steps to relieve the heaviness of your breasts. 

  1. Besides feeding your baby as frequently as possible, gently massage your breasts to help milk flow out a little.
  2. Little exposure to warmth tends to loosen up your muscles and helps the smooth flow of milk. However, prolonged or immense exposure to heat will worsen the swelling instead of soothing them down.
  3. Pumping out the excessive milk will help you calm down after the feeding session. You can pump out the whole milk once a day after any feeding sessions to feel the light and relaxed warmth. 
  4. Seek immediate medical support in case of any additional discomforts including, cold, flu, or fever. This combination might indicate an infection. Regardless, breastfeeding is not usually stopped in case of infections. You can continue to feed your baby by following the measures suggested by your doctor.

Remember, engorgement is not solely due to milk’s excess production; it is the combination of milk, blood, and lymph. However, the easiest way to relieve it is by lessening the amounts of milk inside your breasts. We hope you find the measures mentioned above useful and handy while preparing for your newborn’s lactation!


*Information shared here is for general purpose. Please take doctors’ advice before making any decision.


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