Understanding Breast Engorgement

Contributed by : Palak Vyas   
Understanding Breast Engorgement

New mothers might worry about breast engorgement but there is nothing to worry about much.

Some mothers produce more milk than their breasts can hold, which makes the breasts feel rock hard and uncomfortably full – a condition called engorgement.

This condition might last temporarily for 24 to 48 hours. However it can be painful.

What do engorged breasts feel like?

The breasts feel large, hard and lumpy. The skin of your breasts look shiny and feel stretched, and your nipples becomes hard and flat. Breast engorgement can cause breastfeeding difficulties – which can, in turn, worsen the problem. Your baby might struggle to latch if your nipples are flatter and your breast tissue is harder, causing sore nipples.

Causes of breast engorgement:

  • Engorgement usually occurs because the baby is not feeding frequently enough (at least eight times in 24 hours).
  • Those women who doesn’t feed their babies or who can’t, due to any reason for example either they are working or too busy with chores due to large families, these women can develop breast engorgement. It can also cause when the woman produces more milk than her baby can have.
  • Engorgement can also happen if you suddenly cut on breastfeeds, maybe, because your baby is sick, either (s)he keeps sleeping longer, starting solid foods and other liquids, or going into childcare, which keeps him away from you for longer time.

Treating engorged breasts:

  • Breastfeed your baby for minimum 8 times in 24 hours.
  • Check that your baby has a good breastfeeding latch.
  • Try breastfeeding in different positions.
  • You can also massage your breasts gently while feeding to help the milk drain effectively.

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