About three to four days after birth, the breasts will be filled with milk and mummies may feel their breasts throbbing, feeling rock-hard and warm. Sometimes, engorgement may extend to the armpits as well. It can be uncomfortable and painful during this time but thankfully, it’s only a temporary symptom and can be soothed easily.
There are a few ways to soothe engorgement:
1. Nurse the baby
As painful as it is, one way to relieve the full breasts is to nurse the baby. Mothers are suggested to do frequent feedings about every 2 hours to help drain the breasts from the overflow of milk.
2. Pump the breast milk
To help baby latch on better, pump half an ounce before feeding the baby. Once you’ve finished nursing the baby, you can pump the remaining milk to be stored in the fridge.
3. Wear cold nursing pads or put a cold cabbage leaf in the bra
Nursing pads that were kept in the freezer act as a cool compress for the breasts until the next feeding. Another alternative is to put a cold cabbage leaf into each bra cup. The high water content of the leaves keeps it cool for a long time. Keep the whole cabbage in the fridge and pull out two leaves after each nursing session.
4. Wear wireless bras to relieve pressure
The underwires of bras can increase discomfort when breasts are engorged. A better solution is to wear nursing bras or those underwire bras made out of cotton. It’s even better if it’s stretchy.
5. Take a warm shower
It acts like a warm compress and helps the milk to flow. If mums feel washing some milk down the drain is a waste, they can pump some of the breastmilk before jumping into the shower.
6. Massage the breasts
Mummies can also try massaging the breast the baby is latched on while feeding to help promote milk flow. Massaging also prevents blocked milk ducts.
7. Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for some comfort.
Sometimes when nothing works, mummies can take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help manage the pain. Both are safe to take while nursing.
Feature image from PharmaMum