Managing Breast Engorgement: Relief and Prevention Strategies

Breast engorgement is a painful and pretty common condition among new moms. But don´t worry! There are things you can do to relieve pain and all symptoms at home. Treating this condition is important because- if you don´t,-your breasts can become infected (mastitis). In this blog, I  tell you what breast engorgement is; its most important characteristics, how to treat it and why is it different from mastitis. Let´s begin…

what is Breast Engorgement?

Breast engorgement is when your breast/s are tender, swollen and painful  because they are full of milk. It is due to milk production (more than needed) and the rise in blood supply to your breasts. It helps your body make breast milk for your baby, but it can cause severe engorgement.

When is most common to have breast engorgement?

It is most common some days or weeks after having your baby because your milk supply is still adjusting to your baby’s needs. However, it might happen as long as you breast feed.

Why do I have breast engorgement?

The most common reasons are:

  • when your milk is “coming in” after giving birth.
  • skipping nursing sessions.
  • when you change the schedule of breast feeding (e.g. returning to work or when your baby starts sleeping more hours).
  • skipping or forget to pump when you’re not with your baby.
  • milk overproduction.
  • diet changes (when your baby starts eating solids, etc.).

How long do engorged breasts last?

Each body and breastfeeding experience are different. So, some women experience engorgement for a shorter period, while others may have it longer. The duration of engorgement  depends on different factors, for example, breastfeeding or pumping frequency and effectiveness (empty breasts) can help relieve engorgement and reduce its duration.

How can I relieve breast engorgement?

Some treatments that you can do at home to get relieve are:

  1. warm compresses
  2. breast massage
  3. ensuring good latch and positioning during breastfeeding

Here  you can find some types of massages that can help you to get relieve from engorgement and mastitis (early stage).

Take into account that as your body adjusts to your baby’s feeding patterns, milk supply will regulate, engorgement  improves or you will get rid of it.

Is breast engorgement serious?

It is not serious, but if it is not treated, it can turn into mastitis witch is an affection and that needs medical treatment.

What is the difference between engorged breast and mastitis?

The  symptoms that both breast engorgement and mastitis share are:

  • full and hard breast
  • tender breast
  • pain (less pain in engorged breast)

However,  engorged breast get relieve after pumping or feeding your baby. On the other hand, symptoms of mastitis also include:

  • Painful breast/s (you may feel a painful lump).
  • Angry, red, hot area in your breast/s.
  • fever/chills
  • Fatigue (severe in some cases)
  • Body aches
  • Pumping or feeding doesn´t give you relieve.

We hope this information is useful for you. If you need advice or have any questions about our treatments, please contact us. You can find us in Mill Hill Broadway and Islington. We are always happy to help. If you like this blog, please share!


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