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treating engorgement the right way

but let's Kiki (chat) about postpartum engorgement after you’ve had your babee.

First I want to say to you, honey....congratulations on your babee 🎊🎉

If it's day one and you're wondering where and when all this milk is going to show up???? It's already there (colostrum since 16 weeks) waiting for you to latch babee consistently so let me assure you more is on the way IF you drain the breasts frequently and consistently.

Colostrum is thick like a honey type of consistency and doesn't express as easily but keep latching your babee using feeding cues or if exclusively pumping keep pumoing to tell your body to move to the next phase of your milk production.

Now, welcome to the second phase of your milk production, the plentiful upgrade to transitional milk.

In this phase many honeys may experience postpartum engorgement --> swelling, tightness, and an increase in size of the breasts as much as a full cup size in the early days of breastfeeding, between day 3 and 5.

There’s relief but let’s do it the right way.

First latching your babee consistently and efficiently can lessen the symptoms of engorgement but many pregnant honeys not understanding how milk production works will experience this normal physiological process quickly. Sometimes overnight, rather. But with qualified lactaion support we can educate and alleviate some of the symptoms over a few days or so.

Lactation professionals including myself were trained and recommended to do warmth (guilty) and deep breast massage (not me, it just seemed to aggressive) to lessen the symptoms of engorgement and possibly mastitis but we now have NEW Academy Breastfeeding Medicine protocols to go by when treating engorgement. Protocol #20 to be exact if you’d like to take a peak.

Okay...back to your breasts!!

No heat!

🍯 First things first. Heat increases causes inflammation which can increase the pain you feel and your chance of infection in the breasts. The breast massage performed next usually creates enough warmth to get milk flowing. However treating engorgement in the shower is helpful as well. Just turn your back towards the shower when expressing by hand or manual pump.

***Never use an electric pump or device in the shower.***

Gentle breast massage

🍯 I generally start with a gentle lymphatic breast massage to move some of the fluid that has accumulated up towards the lymphatic system for drainage. After massaging for a few minutes the warmth created by rubbing the skin usually gets the milk flowing and oxytocin flowing.

Reverse pressure softening

🍯 Next, I perform reverse pressure softening around the areola to push fluid built up in the nipple back towards the chest wall to drain and make an easier latching experience for honey and babee.

Move that milk!

🍯 Express milk whether it’s latching first, hand expression if latching isn’t going well or the use of a manual pump. If you are exclusively pumping utilize an electric hospital grade pump to drain your breasts.

Cold therapy

🍯 After a feed/pump you want to apply cold therapy for 10-15 minutes after to reduce the swelling. Repeat steps each feed/pumping session until symptoms subside which takes about 48 hours.


Are you ready for that first joyful latch?! Sign up to save your spot in my next breastfeeding class #TheFirstLatch then book a lactation consultation after you have your babee to help guide you in real time through the early days of milk-feeding.

I'm here to serve you and your family!! #bookmehoney

***this blog is not a replacement for medical advice. As always work with a qualified lactation professional or an IBCLC to receive evidence based information to provide quality dyad care to accomplish your breastfeeding goals***


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