Engorged Breasts

When your milk comes in about two to six days after delivery, it is quite normal that your breasts are heavy, larger, hotter, and even uncomfortable. In most cases, however, it will not last more than 24 hours. When normal fullness occurs, both the areola and breast will be elastic and soft with normal milk flow in order for the baby to lock on. If your breasts are engorged, it is when they are painfully overfilled with milk. Most of the time it is due to an imbalance between the demand for your child and your milk. It is a common reason mothers give for stopping breastfeeding earlier than desired.

What should I know about Engorged Breasts?

In the first week after delivery, your breasts may feel hot, throbbing, tender, swollen, lumpy or hard. In some cases, the swelling will go to the armpit and include a temperature. In a day or two, your breasts will soften, allowing you to feel more comfortable.

Breast milk is available in two to six days after delivery and during this time it increases blood flow to the breasts. This causes a little surrounding tissue to swell, so that the breasts are swollen and sometimes clogged. In some cases, congestion occurs later, when your baby starts eating solid foods, as he/she breastfeed less or lower amounts.

Not all moms have engorged breasts; some women notice a slight fullness, while others notice their breasts become hard and large. Extreme fullness normally is easier once your baby can hold on to the property and feeds demand long enough to meet his /her needs.

What causes Engorged breasts?

In some cases, the congestion is due to not being able to breastfeed your child as often as necessary for your breasts to drain completely right after delivery. Even if you do produce a small amount of milk right away, it is always important. For some women, this is not a factor and they become engorged regardless of the frequency or their new baby feeds.

Other times, the congestion is caused by clogged milk ducts. One reason for this to happen would be if you had breast augmentation and therefore the implants take up too much space, not leaving enough space for the increase in milk, lymph and blood. Always wear a tight bra which can also clog the ducts.

How Engorged Breasts Easy

1. For Nursing Mothers

Easing engorged breasts is different for those who are nursing and those who are not. Nursing Mothers should try:

  • Using a warm compress before they treat and cold after.
  • Curiously, put the chilled cabbage leaves on top of your breasts (with an opening of the nipple) can help soothe them. You can also get cooling inserts bra.
  • You can relieve a small amount of pressure with the pump or hand express milk. Express only a small amount because your body will produce more milk than is expressed (or consumed by your baby).
  • Massage your breasts while you gently nurses, so that the milk flow.
  • Change the position you hold your baby, so all the milk ducts to drain.
  • Make sure your bra fits properly so that it is snug and supportive without being too tight.
  • The most important thing is to feed your baby quite often.
  • If you have pain, ask your doctor for a mild analgesic or try acetaminophen.

2. For Moms that are Not Breastfeeding

Moms who are not nursing could:

  • Wear a bra that fits perfectly
  • Avoid expressing milk or nipple stimulation
  • Soothe discomfort ice packs

Whether or not you are nursing, you can use acetaminophen or a similar drug to get some relief. Also keep in mind that congestion will not last long and soon you will enjoy breastfeeding your baby.

Important Notes:

If you have a temperature of more than 101 or develop flu symptoms or localized pain, talk to your doctor. Breastfeeding should continue even in the event you get a breast infection.

You want to get more information on how to treat breast engorgement? Watch the video below:

How to Prevent Engorged Breasts

Not all mothers experience engorgement after birth. There may be a slight feeling of fullness great and difficult breasts. To reduce your chances of developing engorged breasts, you can try to do the following:

  • Try to breastfeed two hours (or less) after delivery. The team of delivery and labor can help you if necessary.
  • Breastfeed frequently, aimed at eight to twelve each day after the first day. During the first day, you should offer your nipple to your baby, but do not be worried if he does not nurse eight times. Pay special attention to your baby’s hunger signals yields. You can encourage him/her to breastfeed, snuggling him/her with his/her right skin against yours. To ensure that you feed your baby regularly wake him/her up if it has been over three hours since the last time he/she fed.
  • Always let your baby nurse with end breast before placing him / her to another. In most cases, it will take ten to twenty minutes for that to happen. If the baby is not ten minutes, then ask an expert if you need to pump until baby suckles for longer periods of time. If your baby is full after feeding on one breast and will not go to the other side, just start on that one next time.
  • Try not to introduce a pacifier or bottle before your baby is one month unless you need.Sucking on these uses different muscles, so it can make it harder for your baby to suckle.
  • If you fill feeding in a bottle, make sure you use milk pumped to keep your milk supply up. If you use the formula, always express by hand or with a pump giving the formula for the same reason.
  • If your child does not heal well for particular nutritional or if you miss one, expressed by hand or with a pump, so that the milk comes out to encourage the production of milk.

Here’s a video to tell you more about how to prevent breast engorgement:


  1. Great Article

  2. I woke this morning with very engorged breasts which is usual. I am expressing as my little one has a tongue and lip tie and am unable to breast feed directly. My problem is I expressed as usual but am left with a painful breast. The nipple is ok but the breast under it is very painful. I’ve not experienced this before and am wondering if anyone else has and can give me advice on what to do it what it could be. I wonder if I’ve taken in some breast with the nipple while expressing as it feels almost bruised and tender to touch.

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