You’ve had your baby, breastfeeding has gone fairly smoothly, and then day four hits. “Oh my gosh, is this how it will feel to have milk for my baby??” You, my friend, are experiencing engorgement.
And to answer that question, no, this will not stick around for long. Engorgement occurs when your milk comes in for the first time. Your body is learning what it is like to make milk and exactly how much this little baby needs.
Engorgement typically lasts around two days, and then will settle down. Your boobs will grow in size, feel very hot, and also feel as hard as rocks. It’s uncomfortable to say the least. Hang in there!
- Nurse often. Do not skip feedings.
- If baby has a hard time latching on because the breast is so firm, your options are: hand express a little milk, dip your breast in a bowl of warm water a few minutes before you nurse, or pump just a couple of minutes to relieve some of the pressure.
- Remember, the more you nurse or pump, the more milk you will make, so don’t pump a long time just to relieve engorgement.
- Take over the counter Ibuprofen every six hours for up to a week. (If you have been taking it since delivery, make sure you count those days as part of your week.)
- When you shower, don’t face the warm water. It will make your milk let down and stimulate you to produce more. Only do this if you are getting out to immediately nurse your baby.
- Place ice packs on your breast when you are done nursing for comfort.
- Generous amounts of lanolin on your nursing pads will also help with nipple relief.
- Some people swear by soothies. Honestly, they never worked well for me. They didn’t seem to improve the soreness, and they would stick to my nipple when I tried to remove it. Ouch! I would recommend TheraPearl Breast Therapy instead. You can use them for warm relief before you nurse (which will also soften the nipple for baby to latch) or for cold relief once you’re done.
Hang in there! This too will pass. Once the initial engorgement improves, you may experience some engorgement every now and then if your baby skips a feeding, or when you are attempting to ween. All of these hacks will work for those times as well.
Check out these swaddling hacks to keep your baby sleeping calmly after nursing.