Can I Do Anything About Engorgement?

Kathleen Tackett's picture

QUESTION

Dear Lactation Consultant,
I've breastfed successfully and love it, but I still find myself asking is there a way to make those first few days a bit easier with the engorgement?

Getting past the first 2-3 days when my milk comes in is tough and the part I dread the most.

ANSWER

The best way to prevent engorgement is to encourage the baby to nurse long and often in the early days. Many times babies want to nurse almost continuously until the milk "comes in." If they're allowed to do that, many mothers never become engorged.

However, if you do become engorged, cool compresses between feedings helps bring down swelling and *frequent* feedings help keep the breasts drained and relieve engorgement faster.Hand expressing can help. If you have a good quality breast pump, you can also use that to drain the breasts more fully. Many mothers are mistakenly told not to express for fear they will make the engorgement worse. Actually the opposite is true.

-- Nancy, IBCLC