Engorgement: Formula Feeding


Dr. O’Connor

If you plan to formula-feed your baby, it’s still possible that you’ll experience some breast engorgement. Engorgement will usually happen several days after your baby is born. It’s caused by an increase in circulation to your breasts and your incoming milk supply. It can be uncomfortable as your breasts become hard and tender due to engorged tissue.

To help ease the discomfort of engorgement, wear a firm, supportive bra. Avoid contact to your chest area whenever possible. Even a warm shower hitting your chest or holding your baby up across your shoulder can be a stimulant. Medications are no longer given to dry up milk because of the dangerous side effects. If your breasts do become engorged, they’ll be uncomfortable, but the condition normally lasts for just a few days. If the engorgement has not improved within 10 days, check with your healthcare team.

Be sure not to pump or express any of your breast milk. While this temporarily relieves pressure, it actually prolongs the engorgement by signaling your body to make more milk. A mild pain reliever and ice packs applied to your breasts can be used to relieve the discomfort.