What is the best way to prevent engorgement while breastfeeding? Frequent feedings! Feeding your baby 10-12 times per 24 hours and making sure your breasts are emptied each feed should reduce your risk of experiencing engorgement. However, if you are experiencing that painful fullness here are a few tips
Strategies to reduce engorgement
- Hand express or pump the breast for 1-3 minutes prior to feeding
- If you can get milk to flow use moist warm compresses to increase milk flowing
- If you cannot get milk to flow use cold pack on breasts
- Warm shower with back to water, taking a “breast bath” in warm water, and/or applying wash cloths that are moist and warm
- If the breasts or areola are too swollen for baby to latch pump or and express for 1-3 minutes to soften breast before feeding.
- Apply light to moderate pressure (REVERSE PRESSURE SOFTENING) to move fluid around nipple and to make it more latchable.
- Use cold compresses, over a protective layer of fabric, on your breasts, chest, and under arms to help decrease swelling.
- Wear bras that are not too loose and not too tight.
Engorged breasts can make your breastfeeding experience tough. The best way to treat engorgement is to prevent it! However, if you are experiencing persistent engorgement and would like additional help, schedule a free screening with one of our lactation counselors.
Written by Jessica Keenan, MA, CCC-SLP/L, CLC