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Breast Engorgement

Building the Milk Supply Engorgement is an over-full feeling in your breasts that may happen a few days after your baby is born as your milk volume increases. Your breasts may feel warm, full and firm. It is important to reduce the swelling and keep your milk flowing.  Keep your baby skin-to-skin as much as possible in the first several days after birth  Breastfeed on cue at least every two to three hours, both day and night  Be sure baby has a deep latch to prevent nipple damage and pain  Express some milk before latching the baby to soften the areola  If your areolas are firm and difficult for baby to latch, use Reverse Pressure Softening (RPS)  RPS- your fingers pressing back on the areola at the base of the nipple to make it easier for baby.  Use cold compresses (bags of frozen vegetables wrapped in a cotton towel) for 10-20 minutes after feedings  Raw green cabbage leaves worn against your breasts are a comfortable “cool compress”  Wear a supportive bra if it is comfortable and avoid underwire styles Ask your HCP for an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory to help with the pain and swelling  Watch for symptoms of a breast infection (redness, fever, inflammation) Leaving your breasts engorged can cause your supply to decrease and puts you at risk for plugged ducts or a breast infection. If your baby is not nursing well, or if you are exclusively pumping for your baby, using a hospital-grade breast pump to empty the breasts completely and regularly can decrease the chances of breast engorgement and ensure a good milk supply. Normal breast fullness will usually decrease in a day or so with frequent breastfeeding.


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