It is quite natural for a feeding mother’s breast to get extremely full with milk. The breasts get engorged as the “milk comes in.” A woman’s breast starts producing milk within a couple of days after the delivery.
However, engorgement can be extremely uncomfortable and may even be painful. Engorgement makes a woman find her breasts to be heavy and tender. It usually happens when the mother has not fed her baby for quite some time.
Here are a few tips that will help mothers in coping with engorged breasts.
In addition to the feeling of heaviness, breasts might also get swollen and reddened. Some women also experience fever that accompanies the other symptoms. The breasts gradually tend to become large and hard.
Naturally, the best treatment for engorgement is to feed the baby as many times as possible. If the breast nipple has become extremely hard, the baby might find it difficult to get latched on to the nipple properly. In such a case, it is advisable for the mother to squeeze out some milk prior to putting the baby to her breast. This helps in softening the breast so that the baby can latch on easily. During the first three months, it is important to let the baby feed on breast milk as long as he wishes. Such a constant lactation helps in alleviating the discomfort caused by engorgement and also helps in establishing a steady milk supply.
If you find your breast to be engorged and hard, it is advisable to compress the nipple with a moist, warm cloth. This can be done just before feeding your baby. Cool, moist compresses done in between feedings are also found to alleviate the tenderness and pain caused by engorgement. With engorged breasts, it is extremely important that the mother always wear a comfortable, well-fitting bra. Such bras help in supporting the large, swollen breasts. However, it should not be too tight.