Breast engorgement occurs when excess milk accumulates in a woman’s breast. Along with a high temperature, it can cause discomfort and soreness in the breasts.
It might also happen if the amount of breastfeeding sessions or pumping is altered, such as when a baby misses a scheduled feeding. Because the body interprets engorgement as a signal that it may not need to produce additional milk, milk output may also decline.
In addition to telling you how to prevent breast engorgement, this article will also tell you why your breasts engorge and how long the breast engorgement can last.
Here are some methods you can use to prevent your breast from getting engorged:
Remain Consistent With Breastfeeding
Until six months, infants who only take breast milk should be fed every two to four hours on average.
No matter how often you nurse, your body will keep producing milk. Be consistent in breastfeeding your baby at least once every one to three hours. It helps to prevent your breast from getting engorged.
Reduce Your Breast Milk Supply by Using Ice Cubes
Ice cubes and cold compress with cabbage leaves can assist you in reducing milk production in addition to relaxing and cooling irritated breast tissues.
You can also use tea to reduce breast milk and help with engorged breasts. Both Pink Stork and Earth Mama make teas to help reduce breast milk supply!
Extract Some Breast Milk
You can pump a little or extract some breast milk if you want to release a little discomfort. Nevertheless, avoid over-extracting or pumping your breast. Your body may attempt to compensate for the breast milk you removed by producing extra milk, which can bring back the problem you’re trying to solve.
It is advisable to cease breastfeeding slowly for many weeks. Quitting abruptly may cause engorgement and be upsetting to the infant. Wean your child gradually to give your body time to adapt to the change in breast milk production.
You can delay breast milk secretion if you choose not to breastfeed again. Your body will realize that it’s unnecessary to produce more breast milk, and the flow will gradually stop. Doing this the right way will also reduce your engorged breasts.
Note: Refrain from pumping or extracting excess breast milk. Doing that will make your body produce milk which can make your pain last longer.
How You Can Relieve An Engorged Breast
Engorgement happens to many women who nurse or breastfeed their babies occasionally. Here are some ways you can relieve yourself from the discomfort and heaviness of swollen breasts:
- Allow your baby suck the swollen breast first.
- Massage the engorged breast while breastfeeding to enhance milk flow.
- Have a warm bath or lay a warm towel on the affected breast before breastfeeding.
- Breastfeed your infant frequently, especially when they can suck your breast between eight to twelve times daily.
- Extracting or pumping a small amount of breast milk from the breast when you are not breastfeeding your baby to minimize swelling.
- Use an ice compress in between feeding sessions to ease breast soreness.
- By using a comfortable and correctly sized bra.
It’s not rare that women feel the need to get a breast lift or augmentation after breastfeeding and have questions regarding how much they should wait after they’re done with breastfeeding or if engorgement will be an issue. If you’re one of these women, it is best to seek the opinion of a professional like the experienced cosmetic surgeons at Shens Clinic, who can be found at Winsland House 1, #09-08, 3 Killiney Road, Singapore, Singapore 239519 or over the phone by calling +65 6904 4488.
Why Do My Breasts Engorge?
Your breast will engorge when there is a buildup of fluid inside your breast. Things like early milk supply can fill the breast to the point that it prevents fluids from draining. When this happens, your breast will get sore and swell up.
What Is The Duration Of Breast Engorgement?
How long breast engorgement lasts is relative. It can go as quickly as when your breast releases milk, either by breastfeeding or using a breast pump. Most breast engorgement will go away after twelve to twenty-four hours.
If you decide not to breastfeed again, slowly reduce the quantity of breastmilk you pump daily. It will signal the body to create less of it. The time it takes to stop totally can range from a couple of days to a few weeks.
How Can I Avoid Breast Engorgement At Night?
If your breasts swell up while your baby is sleeping, massage or manually extract some breast milk to relieve the discomfort. Remember to keep an eye on the time while you do that to avoid pumping more than required.
Do I Need To Pump To Get Rid Of Breast Engorgement?
Engorged breasts shouldn’t get worse after pumping; on the contrary, they can get better. Your breast may get too stiff for your infant to grip if it is engorged. To make it simpler for your baby to latch on to your breast, you can relax the areola and stretch the nipple by milking it a bit before your baby starts sucking.
How Does It Feel To Have Engorged Breasts?
Breasts that are engorged may be uncomfortable, heavy, and rigid. The areola may become quite stiff, and the nipples may deflate, making the infant not suck breast effectively.
You shouldn’t feel bad when your breast gets engorged; it’s normal and happens to most breastfeeding mothers.
Contact Your Physician When:
- You have breast milk discoloration.
- Get ill with a fever while breastfeeding.
- The pain from the engorged breast becomes unbearable.
- The breast engorgement refuses to go within two to three days.
How Do I Sleep If My Breasts Are Swollen?
When your breasts are engorged, you may find it hard to sleep. Before retiring to bed, you can attempt extracting some breast milk to ease the soreness in your breasts. Also, you can press ice cubes on the engorged breasts to reduce puffiness and soreness.
In addition, you can sleep with pillows raised off the bed to relieve some tension on your breasts. Avoid lying on your stomach.
Can I Feed My Baby If My Breasts Are Engorged?
If your breasts are engorged, you can still feed your baby till they are satisfied. Doing this will reduce the heaviness of the breast.
However, if the engorgement does not subside after nursing, you can manually pump or extract some breast milk until you feel at ease.
Feeding your infant constantly, manually extracting breast milk with a breast pump, or weaning consistently are some of the best ways to prevent breast engorgement.
If you want to discontinue breastfeeding, slowly reduce the frequency of breastfeeding or the quantity of breast milk your baby takes to avoid your breast getting engorged.