Brandon and Mott Hospital
Engorgement is a filling of the breasts with increased
amounts of milk, blood and lymph fluid. Some mothers will experience only
slight fullness and others will become very full, tender and lumpy. Engorgement
may cause the nipple to flatten which can make it difficult for your baby
to latch and nurse well. Engorgement usually is relieved within 24 to 48
hours, but the following suggestions will help to give you some relief sooner.
- Nurse your baby frequently (every 2 -2 1/2
hours or sooner); do not let him go longer than 3 hours between
feeding in the first week of life.
- Nurse baby at least 15 to 20 minutes after
"let down" has occurred. Breasts should feel softer after feeding.
- Let baby "finish" first breast before offering
- Use cold packs on the breasts for 20 minutes
after nursing and about once an hour between feedings. (they can
be made by putting cold water in a disposable diaper and freezing)
Do not apply ice directly to breast, place a soft towel between
ice pack and skin.
- Fresh cold cabbage leaves may be applied to
- Wash leaves of cabbage and crush in hand
or roll to break veins of cabbage.
- Apply enough cold leaves to cover entire
breast and underarm area.
- Lay down on back to elevate breasts higher
than heart. Ice packs may be applied over cabbage.
- When cabbage is warm and wilted remove and
reapply new cold leaves if engorgement is still present.
***Caution, use only long
enough to make yourself comfortable, cabbage can "dry milk up" if
used after engorgement is over.
- Warm moist heat can be applied to breasts for
3 to 5 minutes just before nursing infant to help milk "let down".
- Hand express or pump breasts to soften areola
if infant is having difficulty latching on to breast.
- You may take Tylenol or Motrin if needed for
Call your health care provider
or a lactation consultant
if no improvement within 24 hours.