If you’re currently reading this over a pair of ginormous boobs, you may be wondering how you can relieve breast engorgement. They might look pretty spectacular, but engorged breasts can be tender, sore and downright painful. When your milk comes in, your breasts can change overnight. All of a sudden, they’re huge and uncomfortable. If you’re not enjoying your surgery-free boob job, you can try the following tips to reduce engorgement:
- Wear a comfortable bra
As a new mother, comfort is probably quite high on your agenda. A soft nursing bra could be the answer to your problems. Underwired and unsupportive bras could be making matters worse, so invest in a decent nursing bra. Many moms find that sleeping in a nursing bra helps them to get comfortable at night. Don’t worry, the engorgement won’t last forever. As your supply adjusts to the needs of your baby, it will get easier. Until then, a decent nursing bra is your uniform.
- Breastfeed your baby
The best and most effective way to relieve breast engorgement is to feed your baby. Newborn babies feed regularly thanks to their tiny tummies. If your breasts feel uncomfortable, try offering your baby a feed. Massage your breast during feeds to help the flow of milk and encourage the breasts to empty effectively.
- Avoid formula milk and pacifiers
According to UNICEF, the use of pacifiers and formula milk can reduce the amount of time spent at the breast. Reducing the frequency of breastfeeding can lead to engorgement. It is important to offer your baby the breast regularly during those first few months of life.
- Express milk
If your baby isn’t hungry, expressing some milk may help to relieve your discomfort. You should be careful not to over pump because this could lead to an oversupply of milk. Instead, limit yourself to just 10 minutes of pumping or less. You can express milk by hand or with a breast pump. There are plenty of different pumps on the market, so you’ll need to play around with different ones until you find one you like. There are manual pumps and electric pumps, and you’ll need to see which type you prefer. You may be able to borrow a pump from a friend or hire one from your local breastfeeding support group. You don’t have to use an expensive pump, you can hand express to relieve some pressure. If you’re struggling to get the hang of hand expressing, try it in the shower, the warm water is thought to help.
- Use a cold compress
Using a cold compress between feeds can help. You can buy specialist breast compresses that can be easily kept in the fridge, or you can create your own by wrapping an ice pack in a blanket. Hold the compress to your breast for up to 20 minutes. Some moms use cabbage leaves as a cold compress. Simply tear off some leaves that have been chilled in the fridge and place directly in your bra for up to 20 minutes.
If the above tips don’t help, contact your local lactation consultant for advice. If you have flu-like symptoms and a fever you could be suffering from mastitis, contact your healthcare provider immediately if this is the case.
Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.