Engorgement: Breastfeeding


Nurse Goodwin

About two to three days after you deliver your baby, your milk comes in. This causes something called “engorgement,” which can make your breasts sore, tender, swollen, and hard. Fortunately, this feeling goes away as you begin to breastfeed your baby regularly.

Establishing a regular feeding schedule every one to three hours should help relieve discomfort from the engorged tissues. If discomfort continues, there are several tips that can help, including:

  • Gently massage the breast. Stroke it from the outer edges to the nipple area, especially when you’re taking a warm shower.
  • Use warm packs followed by expressing some milk before feeding or between feedings.
  • If your baby ended her last feeding on your right breast, begin the next feeding on your left breast. Be sure to alternate.
  • Use over-the-counter pain relief medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen if needed. Before using pain medication, consult with your healthcare team for the medication that’s best for you.
  • After breastfeeding, if you’re still engorged, apply cold compresses to your breasts intermittently, for 10 minutes on then 20 minutes off, to help reduce swelling.