Breast Engorgement - Home Treatment
To prevent severe breast engorgement
If you are planning to breast-feed, do the following to
- Start breast-feeding as soon as possible
after your baby is born, and continue to breast-feed often. This is the best way to prevent
- In the first few days after birth,
breast-feed at least every 1 to 2 hours. Short periods of time between feedings
may help reduce or prevent severe breast engorgement. During this time, you may
have to wake your baby to breast-feed.
- Feed your baby whenever he
or she is hungry or at least every 2 hours.
- Make sure that your breasts are soft enough for
your baby to latch on well. If your breasts are hard and too full of milk, let
out (express) a small amount of milk with your hands or with a pump. Then put your
baby to the breast. You can also:
- Take a
warm shower, letting the water flow over your breasts. This should trigger the
let-down reflex, which allows some milk to leak out and
also slightly softens the nipple and areola.
- Place warm, moist towels on your breasts
before breast-feeding. The moist heat should help your milk flow more
- Empty your breasts with each feeding.
- Your baby should breast-feed for as long as he or she wants. In general, it's best if this is for at least 15
minutes or more on the first breast before changing to the second breast. You
will know it is time to move to the other breast when your baby becomes less
eager to suck.
- If your baby becomes full before your breasts are
empty, use a pump or use your hands (manual expression) to squeeze
the remaining milk from your breasts to
store for later use. This is especially important during the early stages of
- Early engorgement will decrease as breast-feeding
becomes more routine and your baby is able to feed for longer periods of
- Change your baby's breast-feeding position now
and then to make sure that all parts of your breasts are emptied. For
information on breast-feeding positions, see the topic
- Make sure your baby is
latched on properly. If your nipples are flat, gently massage the nipple and
areola. This should stimulate your nipple to become
more erect. Then gently support your breast with your thumb on top and fingers
underneath. This added support will make it easier for your baby to latch on.
View a slideshow of
proper latch-on for breast-feeding .
- Anytime you are not able to breast-feed your baby, arrange
for a time and place to manually express or pump milk from your breasts at
least every 3 to 4 hours.
Discuss any breast-feeding
problems or concerns with your doctor or a breast-feeding specialist (lactation consultant).