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Breastfeeding Engorgement

Breastfeeding engorgement occurs two to five days after your baby is born. Your breasts may feel full, firm, hot and tender for two to three days while your mature breast milk is coming in and the blood supply to your breasts is increasing. Your breast may be so full that the areola (brown area around your nipple) is too full for baby to latch onto. You may need to hand-express or pump a small amount of milk to soften the areola so that your baby can latch on more easily. Here are some other tips to relieve the symptom of breastfeeding engorgement:

  • You may put warm compresses on your breasts for 10 minutes before nursing and cold packs for 10 to 15 minutes after nursing. A warm compress can help widen the ducts and help the milk come into the ducts in the breast. Cold packs after can reduce swelling.
  • Nurse or pump more often (every two hours), and limit the nursing to 10 minutes at each breast until the milk is flowing better.
  • Pump for relief if your baby will not wake to nurse or if problems prevent nursing.