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Annabel Karmel
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Managing breast engorgement

Engorgement is caused by an oversupply of milk and fluid, making your breast very large, full and swollen. This leads to baby having a difficult time latching on.

Here are my tips for dealing with engorgement:

  • Nurse as often as possible and keep baby close so you can offer feeds more often.


  • Try reverse pressure softening, in which you press gently with your fingers around the nipple and compress, to then immediately offer for baby to latch on.


  • Try warm compresses or a warm shower before a feed. You can also hand express a little milk out first, so baby might find it easier to latch on.


  • A mini pumping session on a low-suction setting before each feed to relieve pressure could be helpful. You could save this milk or store it in the freezer for further use.


  • Moving and massaging your breast to move excessive lymph fluid around – whilst lying flat lets gravity help you.


  • Especially in the early days of establishing breastfeeding – with milk coming in and excessive fluids after birth – engorgement is common. If you feel swollen lymph nodes in your armpits during that time, that’s milk-making tissue that you never knew you had! Rest up and nurse well.


  • If you are suffering from any severe symptoms like fever, or else, check with your GP.


  • Engorgement will pass with frequent nursing and breast massage, take your time to work on your breasts and rest up mama.


Visit @milkmakingmama for more advice and support.


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