Engorgement can happen anytime during your years of breastfeeding.
Your breasts feel swollen and like they have bumps inside of them, which are actually the milk ducts filled with milk.
This happens because your breasts becomes overfilled with milk because they're not being emptied.
It's the same as if you were filling a balloon with water (or milk).
Eventually the balloon will burst open!
Luckily for us this doesn't happen to our breasts. Instead they just become sore and lumpy....all the way to our armpits!
Some of the reasons why your breasts would become overfilled are:
• Milk first coming in....in the beginning your body is trying to see how much milk it needs to produce for your baby, so it will overproduce until it gets the milk supply just right.
• Baby not latching on properly....this can definitely cause your breasts to swell with milk fast!
• Baby sleeping thru the night...although this is a good thing for us tired mothers, it can be painful for our breasts in the beginning.
If your body is used to your baby nursing during the night, it will continue to produce that amount of milk, even once your baby starts sleeping thru the night, at least until it realizes you don't need to produce that much milk anymore.
But until then......expect to wake up with your breasts swollen and lumpy.....and sometimes lop-sided(one breast bigger than the other)!
• You are away from your baby too long....like 5 hours or more. Such as being at work or school or out on the town.
If your baby is little and still nurses a lot, your breasts will become swollen with milk.
If your baby is older and has started eating solid food, you can stay out longer without becoming extremely swollen.
I have experienced engorgement in all four of these situations....so what did I do?
Go get a hot wet wash cloth, as hot as you can stand it, and grab your baby while you're at it!
Find a comfortable place to sit and place the wash cloth on top of your breast.
Let your baby nurse on that same breast. The warmth of the towel will make your milk come out quicker, relieving your pain fast!
If your baby doesn't want to nurse or you're not around your baby, still do the exact same thing with the wash cloth and just pump your breasts with your hand or a breastpump.
My first mistake was buying a cheap breastfeeding pump.
In the beginning, for a day or two, my baby was latching on pretty good......
Then we just couldn't get it anymore.
My breast started filling up with milk fast because he wasn't latching on like he was supposed to. He wasn't opening his mouth wide enough for me to put enough of my breast in, in order for him to eat and empty them.
And because my breast were filling up fast, it became even more difficult to get the nipple into his little mouth.
I then used my cheap pump from Walmart to try and empty my breasts in order to feed him a little milk and try again to get him latched on. This would make it a little easier since my breasts wouldn't be so swollen.
But the pump didn't pump good enough. It didn't extract enough milk from my breasts to make them go down.
So there I was......
Engorged, heading towards mastitis, with a crying, hungry baby in my lap and a cheap breastpump!
Whether you are away from your baby for long periods of time, your baby is sleeping thru the night, not latching on properly or your milk is coming in for the first time, having a good breast pump will help tremendously.
Also, when your baby starts sleeping thru the night, you can always wake him up to nurse in order to relieve the pain. I'm sure your little precious won't mind snuggling under mommy!
Now that your breasts are de-gorged (made-up word), I recommend getting some booby tubes (not made-up word). My second mistake was not having these in the beginning!
Warm them up and put them on your breasts while you are nursing to help get your milk flowing, and to prevent engorgement by keeping your milk ducts unclogged.
Freeze them and wear them between feeding to help reduce the swelling of your breasts.