7 Means of Relief
It should only last for the first week or so, but engorgement can be painful for some women. A few tried-and-true remedies:
1. Nurse! It drains milk from your breasts and sets your milk production on the right schedule. You should breastfeed a newborn about every two hours around the clock, but sometimes infants need more frequent feedings. (And sometimes they'll sleep for a four-hour stretch, which you can allow at night but should never allow during the day. Wake your baby up and feed him, for his sake and the sake of your swelling breasts!)
2. Take a warm shower. This triggers letdown and releases some of the extra milk your body is making. Of course, washing your milk down the drain may seem like a bit of a waste, which is why you can...
3. Pump. Drain a half-ounce before a feeding, and it will be easier for your baby to latch on. Then after your baby is finished, you can pump extra breast milk and store it in the freezer.
4. Keep nursing pads in the freezer. When you put them in your bra, the coolness will work as a compress to gently relieve swelling until your next feeding.
5. Wear wireless bras. An underwire will increase breast discomfort if you're engorged. Soft cotton nursing bras or ones made of stretchy material are better bets for now and for as long as you're breastfeeding.
6. Try putting cold cabbage leaves in your bra. This simple remedy really works! Because cabbage has such a high water content, it stays cool between nursing sessions and makes a great cool compress. Just keep a head of cabbage in your fridge or freezer, and after feeding, pull off two leaves -- they're conveniently breast-shaped! Wear them in front of or behind nursing pads, whichever works better.
7. Lie on your tummy. For some women, lying down on their engorged breasts is too painful. But for others, the light pressure eases soreness.
Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics; La Leche League
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.