Breast engorgement is a painful swelling of the breasts that occurs due to increased blood and milk supply, usually after the first days of childbirth. It can cause your breasts to become lumpy, large, and tender, which can even make your veins of breasts look visible. The swelling of breasts can also lead to armpits.
Even if you have planned not to breastfeed your child, you may still experience breast engorgement. However, if you do not express the milk and do not nurse your child, the milk production will stop. To get rid of breast engorgement and a feeling of discomfort it causes, remove or express excess milk. If you have the same complaint, you must visit a gynecologist in Islamabad.
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What are the Causes of Breast Engorgement?
After the delivery of a baby, your body activates to produce ample milk to feed the baby, the blood supply to the breasts is increased, and they have a lot of milk production. But too much of it can cause pain, discomfort, and breast engorgement. It can also occur due to the following reasons;
Excessive Milk Supply
Under normal conditions, the milk supply depends upon your baby’s needs. The more they require the feed, the more your body produces milk. But sometimes, having a condition like hyperlactation- a condition in which your body produces too much milk can cause breast engorgement. It can also happen if your body produces too much prolactin hormone.
When you shift your baby to weaning or supplementing, your baby’s need for milk may become less, eventually causing breast engorgement. It can also happen when the baby’s demands for milk increase. Your breasts may produce too much milk, eventually causing their engorgement.
Changing the breastfeeding schedule can also cause milk to accumulate, eventually causing breast engorgement. Your feeding schedule may change if your baby is sick and not taking the feed, or you are busy with some other work, or you have added top feed with breastfeeding.
Tips to Relieve Breast Engorgement
Whatever the cause for breast engorgement, it causes pain and can be discomforting. The good news is that you can get rid of it in one to two days. Moreover, some tips can help in getting rid of breast engorgement.
Breastfeed as Much as your Child Wants
Feed your child as much they want. If your baby is sleepy, try to wake them up so they get the feed and the milk is expressed. If for some reason, you are unable to feed the baby, it is better that you express out some milk. But ensure that you do it in a substantial amount. If you express a lot of it, there are chances that your body may produce more milk, therefore, be cautious.
A Warm Shower or Warm Compress
To relieve swelling and discomfort, take a warm shower or use a warm compress on your breasts. But do not do warm compress during breastfeeding, do that before or after that. Moreover, while you take shower, avoid direct contact with fast-flowing water onto your breasts as it can be painful.
During breastfeeding, give your breasts a massage to relieve engorgement. It can also help in flowing milk proficiently.
An ice Pack or Cold compress
Applying a cold compress or using an ice pack can also help get rid of swelling, pain, and breast engorgement.
Use Both the Breasts to Feed
To feed your baby, use both breasts. Try changing the position of your baby frequently and try to use both breasts equally. If you use them alternatively, the milk from both the breasts can be drained, and engorgement can be relieved.
Express it Out
When you can not nurse, express some milk as it will accumulate according to your child’s need and cause engorgement. To express, you can use a pump or do that by hand. But ensure that you do it in a substantial amount. If you express a lot of it, there are chances that your body may produce more milk, therefore, be cautious.
Take Pain Medication
To get rid of pain, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or paracetamol.
Breast engorgement is a common condition that mostly occurs when you breastfeed your child. To prevent it, make sure the timings and schedule of feeding are followed properly. Do not change it often. If for some reason, your child is not taking the feed, you can express the milk out. If you have a complaint of breast engorgement that does not go away on practicing the above-mentioned remedies, you should visit a gynecologist in Lahore.