My breasts feel too full. Do I have too much milk?
During the first week after delivery, as the colostrum
is changing to mature milk, your breasts will become full. This
normal postpartum fullness usually diminishes within 3-5 days.
Engorgement may develop if your baby does not adequately remove the
milk from your breasts. During this time, your breasts will feel
hard, painful and hot.
You can prevent engorgement by:
Breastfeeding your baby frequently, 8 - 12 times in 24
Avoiding supplements of water or formula for the first
3-4 weeks unless medically indicated.
Expressing your milk, if you miss any feedings.
Weaning your baby, over a gradual period.
Apply a hot, moist towel (or disposable diaper) to
your breasts for 2-5 minutes, or take a hot shower before nursing your
If your breasts are severely swollen and engorged, try
applying icy cold compresses, or cold cabbage leaves, prior to
Hand express some milk to soften the areola after
using moist heat. This makes it easier for baby to attach
to the breast.
Use gentle breast massage before and during
breastfeeding or pumping.
Use deep breathing, soft music or other techniques to
relax before and during nursing.
Try applying icy cold compresses to your breast after
nursing to relieve the discomfort and decrease swelling.
If your baby takes only one breast, use a
hospital-type automatic electric breast pump or hand expression to
express the milk from the other breast during the engorgement period.
If your baby can't latch on or your nipples are
flattened, use a hospital-type electric breast pump or hand expression
to express some milk which will help to soften the areola. Use
moist heat and breast massage before pumping. Continue pumping
every 2 hours, 10 minutes per side, until your baby can latch on.
If your nipples remain flat, wear multiple holed
breast shells for half an hour before breastfeeding. This will
help draw out your nipple, making it easier for the baby to latch on.
Discontinue usage if discomfort occurs.
Avoid bottles, pacifiers and nipple shields during
this engorgement period. These may cause nipple
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