Engorgement happens as a result of an increased flow of fluid and blood in the breast, in addition to your milk supply.
Here are tips to prevent breast engorgement when breastfeeding:
- Nurse often. You hear lactation consultants, moms, nurses, etc. telling you this all the time. The reason is because it not only helps you to maintain a good supply of milk but it can relieve the pain of having your breast be too full. One of the reasons women notice that they’re breast are engorged when they start breastfeeding is because they aren’t allowing the milk to be released on a consistent basis. You’ve probably also heard that if you’re nursing you’ll want to do so on demand rather than trying to follow a strict schedule. How often should you pump?
- Wake up your baby. If you have one of those rare babies that loves to sleep for hours at a time, you may need to wake the baby up to nurse so that you are expressing or releasing the milk in your breast. GASP… “wake a sleeping baby?!” Yes, in some instances you may need to.
- Finish the first breast first. Sometimes when we nurse our babies we have a tendency to switch sides before the first breast is empty. If you’re experiencing engorgement than it may be a good idea for you to let your baby finish nursing on the first breast before offering the next. If you are nursing on one breast per feeding, make sure you are keeping up with which breast to nurse from for the next feeding.
- Check your latch. “Latch latch latch”, I’m sure this word has become a part of your vocabulary since you started breastfeeding! Seriously, you want to make sure that you have a good latch. This can not only be a cause of engorgement but it can also contribute to not making enough milk.
- Get a good nursing bra. If your bra is fitting too tight or not properly it may cause a clogged duct which can lead to engorgement.