5 Tricks to Ease Engorgement
About three to five days after your baby is born, you'll probably wake up after a not-long-enough nap, look down, and see that your breasts have grown two cup sizes overnight. Yes, your milk is finally in, but ouch! Engorged breasts hurt!
If you have breast engorgement or want to know what to do in case it develops, here are 5 tricks to ease the pain — after you've checked for proper latch:
If you don't have your baby with you or they're finally peacefully sleeping and your breasts are sore, try hand expressing. It's not going to get out a whole lot, but that's what you want. You want to remove just enough milk to make yourself comfortable, but not enough to encourage your body to produce more milk.
Not sure how to hand express? Dr. Sears tells you the steps!
It may sound weird, but it actually works. I relied on this relief method after the birth of my fourth child when I was desperate enough to try anything. I was happy to see that it worked really well and that the cold leaves felt so comforting on my sore breasts.
Breastfeeding Online has an excellent article that will walk you through how to use cabbage leaves for comfort.
Take a Warm Shower
If you've ever had sore muscles and joints after an injury or big workout, you'll know that a hot shower can really help the ache. The same goes for breast engorgement, but the hot water will also encourage your breasts to release some milk, adding to the comfort.
KellyMom advises that if you are going to take a warm shower, not to stay too long, as the heat can actually increase inflammation and swelling.
Wear a Supportive Bra
Once your milk comes in, it can be really hard to figure out what size bra you should be wearing. If your breasts are engorged and you're uncomfortable, you'll want to find a bra that provides good support, but it's also important to make sure it's not too tight (which can increase your chance of developing mastitis or clogged ducts).
Try a nursing bra that's advertised for sleeping (they look like sports bras) because it will give that comfort, and they usually have more stretch to accommodate your larger and growing size.
Try Various Feeding Positions
Some positions are easier for baby to latch and express milk than others. Switching the way you feed your baby may help empty your breast. By doing so, you'll likely feel less engorged and experience more relief after each feeding.
The La Leche League has a great article that shows the different ways you can position your baby while breastfeeding.
Did you experience painful engorgement? What helped you? Share in the comments!Read More