The sensation of breast fullness and heaviness comes into play as your milk transitions from colostrum to more mature milk between day 3 and day 7 after birth.
With engorgement your breast may be heavy, hard, and warm with a full sensation and may go up about 2 cup sizes.
This can make it hard for the babies to latch onto the breast as the areola can become very engorged also.
What can you do to help ease engorgement?
1.Feed often, watch your baby and not the clock.
New babies will feed anywhere between 10-12 times in a 24 hours period with varying times between each feed.
2. Feed from both breasts at every feed think dinner and desert.
3. Ensure good positioning and attachment at the breast from the breast this is so important for proper milk drainage and transfer.
4. Take pain relief if it is very uncomfortable both anti-inflammatories’ and paracetamol are breastfeeding safe.
5.Try reverse pressure softening before a feed to reduce the edema at the nipple base. Laying on your back use your fingers to gently apply pressure around the nipple base using the finger tips from both hands to form a flower shape .Apply firm but gentle pressure ,after 30 seconds or so move the fingers by dragging them back away from the nipple , continuing to apply pressure, continue the same process altering the positions around your nipple. Repeat until your areola has softened before latching your baby on straight away.
6. The use of either cool compress or alternatively fresh green cabbage leaves can be really effective, pop into your bra after a feed and wear until leaves wilt before removing. Use these with caution as they can have an effect on your milk supply use for no longer than 20 minutes and wear with an old or black bra as they can stain.