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Overcoming Breastfeeding Challenges: Engorgement

Updated on January 22, 2019
Leiahm profile image

I am a mom of four breastfed children! It hasn't always been easy, but it has been worth it.

Dealing with Engorgement

Dealing with engorgement can be rather uncomfortable, but the good news is it usually does not last long. Engorgement happens when either you have an increase in breastmilk or you do not nurse or pump enough and the breast gets too full of breastmilk.

This does not cause severe pain, it is rather uncomfortable and may cause some pain. If you are in a great deal of pain you may be getting a plugged-duct or mastitis. If you start to get a fever or feel like the flu is coming on and your breast is very sore you probably have mastitis and should seek medical help. Mastitis is an infection and can make you very sick.

You are more likely to get a clogged milk duct if you become engorged. And a clogged duct could lead to mastitis. If you notice a tender lump or decrease in output of breast milk you probably have a clogged duct. These tips should help prevent a clogged duct and help you feel better while engorged.

Tips to Help with Engorgement

  • Nurse or Pump Often

    Although you should not over do it with the pump. The more you pump the more milk you make. So if you pump extra milk you might find yourself needing to pump more often to prevent your breast from becoming engorged again. Nursing will help prevent clogged ducts or more serious issues from happening so the key is to not go long periods without nursing or pumping but to not express a bunch of extra milk your baby doesn't need. I would advise you keep extra pumping to a minimum but if you need some relief to go ahead and pump a little.

  • Put cabbage leaves in the cups of your bra

    Seriously! This is a good trick to cool and soothe the breast. It helps with inflammation. You can also just use a cold pack for about 20 mins when needed.

  • Massage the Breast While Nursing

    This helps your milk flow and loosens any clogs that might be forming.

  • Try a Breast Shell

    Breast shells are nice to wear around the house when you are engorged. they go inside your bra. They are also useful for sore nipples. They allow excess milk to flow out and they catch the milk as well.

  • Reverse Pressure Softening Technique

    If you have problems with latching while engorged you can try this reverse pressure softening technique


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