How to treat engorgement
Your milk supply has finally come in, but you noticed that your breast are very heavy and full. It’s possible that you may be experiencing engorgement. If you follow the tips below you should notice that this goes away within 12-48 hours. A more severe case of engorgement may take a few days longer.
- Pump before or after nursing. You may find that your baby is not emptying your breast during a feeding. If so, then pumping a few minutes before you nurse or after your baby has finished nursing is a good idea. How do I freeze my breast milk for later?
- Try using a cool compress for up to 20 minutes.
- Hand express your milk.
- Gently massage your breast while you’re nursing.
- Gently massage your breast while you’re in the shower.
- Try a warm compress for no more than 5 minutes prior to nursing or pumping.
- Place clean cabbage leaves inside of your bra covering your breast for up to 3 times a day. You only want to do this for about 20 minutes at a time. Once you notice your engorgement getting better, stop using the cabbage leaves because it also used to decrease your supply when you are weaning.
Make sure you continue to drink fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated.
Here are some additional resources for treating engorgement including more details on the use of cabbage leaves.
International Breastfeeding Centre Engorgement Solutions Written by Edith Kernerman, IBCLC, revised by Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC © 2009
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